Entertainment law – also known as media law – covers the gamut of laws governing entertainment industry businesses and professionals. Lawyers practicing in this area of law are known as entertainment lawyers. They are also familiar with other areas of law such as litigation, labor law and contract law. Entertainment lawyers predominantly help clients with negotiating contracts and with infringement suits related to copyrights. These lawyers also take on the role of agents to help their clients manage their careers and assets. In addition to this, they also help out with a number of legalities as far as the entertainment industry is concerned. Here is a look at what an entertainment lawyer does.
Job description of an entertainment lawyer
Entertainment lawyers draw up contracts for their clients and review those from their managers, studios, publicists and such. Their knowledge of entertainment law ensures that these contracts keep their client’s best interests in mind. If not, then these lawyers help clients negotiate these contracts. In addition to this, these lawyers create relationships with studios and record labels. This helps them stay aware of deals that may be viable for their clients. Also, this way they are aware of who in the industry has a stronger presence and they can use this knowledge to establish deals for clients with ease.
Areas of specialization of an entertainment lawyer
These lawyers also help clients who have joined the industry newly to understand what deals and contracts will be beneficial for them. They also make these clients aware of their performing rights. They help clients with understanding how to hire an agent, manager and accountant. With their awareness of entertainment law, lawyers provide general counsel to clients. They also aid with inputs on merchandising and marketing deals. Entertainment lawyers help their clients with tax issues and real estate deals too.
What to look for when hiring an entertainment lawyer
There are a few aspects an artist will have to consider when hiring an entertainment lawyer. First is the expense of hiring the lawyer. The artist will also have to enquire about the lawyer’s billing methods. Some may charge fees on an hourly basis while others may charge a percentage of the artist’s income. Few other lawyers may charge a set amount for each contract or for a month. Sometimes lawyers use value billing wherein a fee is charged on the basis of their client’s deal size and their own contribution to acquiring it. Artists should also enquire about hidden charges that can be charged in addition to the lawyer’s fees. This may include costs for photocopies, phone calls and such.
Second is a conflict of interest that may surface on hiring a lawyer who has a close association with the client’s competitor. Third, is to check for references for the lawyer that the artist is interested in hiring. This lawyer’s clientele should ideally consist of entertainment industry professionals/businesses with legal requirements that are similar to that of the artist in question. They should enquire about the lawyer’s responsiveness, level of involvement and dedication by asking relevant questions to his/her prior clients.
The business or professional should ideally hire a lawyer with a specialization in entertainment law. A careful research of different lawyers is highly recommended in order to make an informed decision.