With consumers seeking an ever-widening array of outlets for accessing entertainment, the motion picture and television industries face tremendous opportunities, driven by new technologies and evolving business relationships. The production, financing, licensing, and distribution of content have become increasingly complex and dynamic.
To take advantage of these opportunities, attorneys in this practice area help to structure, negotiate and execute a range of agreements for a wide variety of industry participants, including motion picture studios, cable and broadcast TV networks, device makers, financial institutions, and private investors that finance content development, and bond companies that insure content completion.
These transactions can include:
Media content carries with it particular risks of litigation, and to mitigate that risk, attorneys provide production and pre-broadcast review for defamation, copyright violation, and other issues, as well as offering chain-of-title clearance review. Among the most common actions against which TV and film companies must be defended with respect to their content are copyright infringement, theft-of-idea, misappropriation, defamation, and violation-of-privacy suits.
- First-look agreements, rights acquisitions, and commission of productions.
- Sponsorship and product-placement agreements.
- Talent and other production-related agreements.
- Financing transactions using entertainment- and media-related assets and revenue streams as collateral.
- Syndication agreements, content-licensing agreements, and output and slate agreements.
- Intellectual property protection is critical to the content business, and attorneys in the field regularly advise on trademark and copyright issues, registration, dispute resolution, and matters related to joint authorship, termination of licenses, and work-for-hire.
The television industry is subject to especially intense scrutiny by public watchdogs and regulators. FCC access, programming, and digital conversion regulations are all matters on which attorneys regularly provide counsel.
Attorneys in this practice area may also help investors evaluate rights and protect their investments in film- and television-related asset portfolios and, if necessary, establish an exit strategy for distressed holdings.
Jill R. Cohen, Partner
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