Entertainment & New Media Law

A number of Much Shelist attorneys have significant experience in the area of entertainment and new media law, including representation of individual artists and businesses involved in the motion picture, theater, television, animation, professional sports, new media, book and music publishing, digital and video content, and recording industries. We provide counseling in business development, collaborations, financing, licensing, intellectual property protection, and entertainment and media production and distribution. In addition, our close relationships with key players in the entertainment and media industries enable us to provide clients with timely, practical solutions to emerging issues in today's dynamic, multimedia entertainment marketplace.

As businesses make greater use of alternative marketing channels and increase their online presence, virtually every company with a website or a social media presence is now a provider of entertainment content. In this new reality, we help clients understand the impact of the Internet and new media law on their day-to-day operations and strategic business initiatives—offering counsel on a range of matters related to the use of social media.

Our attorneys have represented diverse clients—including production companies, online service providers and other business entities, as well as individual artists, authors, actors, athletes, directors, designers, musicians and entertainment executives—in connection with the following:

  • Defamation issues, copyright matters, rights acquisitions and publishing agreements relating to music, books, magazines and works of art
  • Promotion and sponsorship of television programs and live entertainment events
  • Internet marketing strategies and the enhancement and protection of intellectual property rights
  • Privacy laws and regulations in the United States and abroad
  • Non-traditional broadcast media, including webcasts, webinars and RSS feeds
  • Online sweepstakes rules and regulations
  • The unauthorized use of an entertainer's image and related issues with respect to privacy, publishing rights and the use of a celebrity's likeness

We have also drafted and negotiated a broad range of agreements for our entertainment and media clients, including the following:

  • Contracts with individual entertainers, artists and music groups, as well as with publishers, editors and other executives
  • Collective bargaining agreements involving unions and guilds such as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA)
  • Network contracts for television shows
  • Development deals
  • Hosting and content licensing agreements for international providers of web-enabled transformational learning tools and manipulative-based educational and supplemental materials
  • Distribution agreements with domestic and international distributors of television programming and instructional videos
  • Agreements for the provision of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to optimize online entertainment services
  • License agreements for the manufacture and distribution of board games and online gaming products by an international toy manufacturer and distributor
  • Back-end participation and ancillary product placement deals

Considering the many interrelated legal and business issues that arise when representing clients involved in the entertainment and media industries, our attorneys work closely with their colleagues in the firm's Intellectual Property & Technology, Business & Finance, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Wealth Transfer & Succession Planning and other practice areas to provide sophisticated counsel on a wide array of legal matters, including the following:

  • Formation and structuring of entities to engage in entertainment and new media industries
  • Advising individual entertainers and entities with respect to tax and estate planning issues
  • Acquisition of rights and properties
  • Clearance of brands and literary materials
  • Employment, recording and other contracts
  • Sales, licensing and merchandising agreements
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations
  • Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission regulations, including payola/plugola and broadcast decency standards
  • Franchising
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
  • Publishing agreements
  • Risk assessments, including potential libel, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and other claims
  • Securing and enforcing trademark and copyright protection
  • Strategic alliances