Communications, Media & Entertainment

I’m often contacted by producers, writers, software designers/engineers and other creative professionals concerned about the provisions of a media or IP company’s employment agreement they are considering.  Typically the company’s proposed employment offer letter or agreement and attached standard terms will aggressively provide that the company owns all of your creative work without making any distinction as to creative works and/or projects that you created or contributed to prior to your taking the position with the company.  Also, many creatives have ongoing obligations to other co-creators on pre-existing projects with respect to which they’ve already invested significant amounts of money…
Here are some key points to keep in mind if you are approached by a blockchain developer to license your content for NFT (non-fungible token) creation and sale. Scope of NFT Licensed Rights If you only want to license your content for purposes of NFT creation, it’s critical that the scope of the license agreement is limited to NFT purposes with all other uses excluded or restricted.  In addition, your license should also include a dragnet provision that all other rights in your content are reserved to the content owner licensor. Similar to the concept of a modern artist’s limited-edition…
Did you know that, behind the scenes, Disney and its stars have been battling it out over streaming revenue for the past few years? Through a very convenient loophole, Disney has been keeping 80% of the revenue earned from older shows that it now distributes on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. How They Get Away With It Since VHS first made its debut, Disney has been subtracting an 80% royalty fee to cover all costs of manufacturing VHS videocassettes and their distribution. If you’re thinking this is normal – think again. Disney needing 80% of revenue to…
Writers and filmmakers need to understand their legal rights and how to defend themselves from those who may seek to exploit them or falsely claim their rights have been infringed. This seminar explains how writers and filmmakers can prevent problems from arising by properly securing underlying rights, and by encouraging other parties to live up to agreements with performance incentives, audit rights, default penalties, and arbitration clauses. In the event of a dispute, participants learn what remedies are available to enforce their rights. Other topics include defamation; invasion of privacy; protecting your stories and avoiding being sued when portraying others;…
Cuyuga Nation Loses Defamation Lawsuit Against Showtime’s Billions The Indian tribe Cuyaga Nation and tribal council member Clint Halftown sued Showtime alleging that an episode of the television series Billions falsely portrayed them as having been involved in an illegal casino land deal, bribery of a public official, and blackmail. Defamation is a communication that harms the reputation of another so as to lower the person in the opinion of the community.  In July 2020, New York Trial Judge Kathryn E. Freed dismissed the suit, finding the Cayuga Nation cannot sue for defamation in response to the series because the allegedly defamatory material involved…
Influencer Management is fairly new in the entertainment world, but it’s a profession that is becoming increasingly vital for building a successful brand online. Influencer Managers are in high demand, which means more and more up-and-coming marketing and PR professionals are looking to steer their careers in this direction. If you’ve recently begun searching for an Influencer Manager, you may be finding yourself overwhelmed with the selection of agencies and freelancers. So how do you decide which one is the right one for you? Looking for these five skills will help you in narrowing down your choices. Strong Negotiating Skills…
A federal judge on Tuesday denied a group of internet service providers’ request for a preliminary injunction of California’s net neutrality law, clearing the way for the state to enforce the landmark legislation. California adopted SB 822 in 2018, requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all web communications equally, prohibiting them from prioritizing or discriminating against traffic and from intentionally speeding up or slowing down certain websites. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the legislation after the Federal Communications Commission repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules in 2017. The Trump administration, joined by a group of ISP trade associations,…
Historically, record labels and the recording artists they partner with have operated under an exploitative business model, one that has been known to deplete the revenues artists generate from their music and increase the shares drawn by the record labels. The imbalance in the relationship extends across multiple pressure points, from unnecessary but long-standing industry standard clauses included in songwriter contracts, to record label ownership of masters, which leaves artists unable to control how, when, and where their music can be played. Not all chart-topping or award-winning artists have been subject to this exploitative relationship; a growing list of more…
A California federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a suit alleging that YouTube and its parent company Google discriminate against LGBTQ content creators, holding that a recent Ninth Circuit ruling precludes the plaintiffs’ claims that the companies unconstitutionally restrict speech. U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia DeMarchi held that the plaintiffs’ claims under the First Amendment can’t survive after Prager University v. Google LLC (9th Cir. 2020) 951 F.3d, 991. In that case, the Ninth Circuit held that despite YouTube’s role as a public-facing platform, it’s still a private forum and thus not subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment. Judge…