What is Entertainment Law? How to Find an Entertainment Lawyer.

Entertainment Law

What is Entertainment Law?

Entertainment law encompasses a number of areas of law, including media law, intellectual property law, agency law, labor law, copyright law, and more. Entertainment law is more of a general category that relates to any laws or legal activities relating to all areas of entertainment. Legislation and case law develop in response to legal actions, and it is considered one of the broader categories of law. Most of the time, entertainment law is transaction based, and it does not always lead to litigation.

Because of its breadth, entertainment law is typically broken down into subdivisions. The primary subdivisions generally include film, multimedia, media, music, publishing, television, theatre, radio, visual arts, fashion, and design. Privacy rights and defamation law are two of the faster growing additional subdivisions. So far, entertainment law does not include a specific Internet section. Internet related issues typically fall into other categories such as visual arts, publishing, or multimedia. Current attempts at creating a separate body of Internet law have failed.

Governing Law

Federal law as well as state law form the basis of entertainment law. Case law forms the strongest base of the current entertainment laws, particularly relating to agency law and creative representation laws. Media and copyright laws are generally codified by a combination of state legislatures and federal statutes. Because of the interstate nature of entertainment law, movements are underway to codify all entertainment law in the federal government rather than allowing for such overlap. It is heavily influenced by production techniques, unions, rules, negotiations, and customs.

Reasons for Hiring an Attorney

Entertainment attorneys serve in a number of capacities. The most well known service they perform is working as agents. Most of the time, these attorneys have specializations in either music, acting, fiction, or drama. They may represent individuals or corporations. Entertainment attorneys also serve as lobbyists to help promote the interests of the entertainment industry and lobby for increased or lowered restrictions. Another popular reason for hiring an attorney is to claim copyright infringement or defend against copyright infringement. Entertainment law often overlaps with trademark and patent law to a certain extent, but trademark and patent attorneys are not necessarily entertainment lawyers. Entertainment attorneys focus on protecting your rights and protections as a creative individual whereas a trademark and patent attorney focuses on the initial protection methods alone.

What to Look for in an Entertainment Attorney

General entertainment attorneys are not in high demand. Instead, you need to find an attorney who specializes in the area of entertainment law where you need help. Since most entertainment law is transaction based, it's good to choose an attorney who has experience in contract law. Experience in the individual industry is also a strong point. Closely related fields such as copyright law and trademark law between television and film can be combined in a specialty. A good entertainment attorney will represent you without damaging your relationships with others in the industry. Further specialization and authorization does not have to be objectively established except through references with one exception. Trademark and patent law requires an additional law license. Make certain that the attorney has the necessary qualifications to represent you.

If you choose a law firm or a lawyer, make sure that you choose one that you feel comfortable with. Most of the time, the lawyer will be serving as your agent in some capacity. Also take the time to verify that your agent or whoever you hire is actually an attorney. Not all negotiators or agents have to be attorneys. In fact, most states do not have any additional requirements for claiming such a role. It only becomes an issue if they attempt to practice in entertainment law or before the courts.