Entertainment Law

Why You Might Need an Entertainment Lawyer – and When to Hire One

January 10, 2023

Do I need an entertainment lawyer? When should you hire an entertainment lawyer? These are questions that many people in the entertainment industry ask themselves. But what if you aren’t in the entertainment industry? Or at least you don’t consider yourself to be — these questions become a bit more ambiguous. If you’re an online course creator, coach, public speaker, or social media influencer, it may not be so obvious that you might need an entertainment lawyer. As new forms of digital media arise and new opportunities present themselves, you may be surprised to learn that you may actually need an entertainment attorney. 

This blog post will provide an overview of the role of an entertainment lawyer and the circumstances that might require you to seek the legal assistance of one. By the end of the post, you should have a better understanding of when you might need an entertainment lawyer and how to go about finding one.

What is Entertainment Law?

Before we can explore the role of an entertainment attorney, it’s important to understand what entertainment law is. Entertainment law, also referred to as media law, pertains to legal services provided in the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry (by definition) is constantly expanding as new forms of media are created. In addition to traditional entertainment industries, like music, television, film, literary works, theater and sports, other industries that fall within the entertainment industry include:

– Digital Media (ebooks, online courses, digital videos, social media, apps, etc.)

– Podcasting

– Influencer Marketing

Within these industries, entertainment law covers a variety of legal areas. Including, but not limited to, business law, intellectual property law, defamation, contract law, advertising, civil litigation, and labor and employment law. The main focus of entertainment law is protecting creative works and helping the individuals behind them make informed decisions. 

What Does an Entertainment Attorney Do?

Entertainment attorneys are well-versed in how the various areas of the law mentioned above, impact their clients within the scope of the entertainment industry. Because of the intricacies within each industry and each area of law, not all entertainment attorneys can help you with all entertainment law matters. Most entertainment attorneys specialize in specific industries and focus on a particular few areas of the law. 

For instance, at C. Handy Law, we specialize in digital media, podcasting, literary works, influencer marketing, and music. Our work primarily involves contract negotiation, transactional intellectual property protection, and licensing. Thus, if you are a songwriter looking to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, we wouldn’t be the right law firm for you since we don’t handle civil litigation. 

Entertainment attorneys are vital to helping you navigate the often complex legal issues within the entertainment industry. They can help you protect your intellectual property and ensure that you receive your fair share of any revenue generated from your creative works. An entertainment lawyer can also help their clients navigate through complicated business deals and advise them on strategies to ensure they are getting the best deal possible. Furthermore, when disputes arise, or someone else uses your copyrighted material without permission, your entertainment attorney (one that handles civil litigation) will represent your interests and handle negotiations or litigation if needed.

When Should I Hire an Entertainment Attorney?

If you are in a position where you are entering into contracts within any of the industries outlined in this blog, and you are unclear about your legal rights, options, or obligations under the contract, you should hire an entertainment attorney. Here are some examples to help you gauge whether now is the time to hire an entertainment attorney:

1. You’re unsure if you can continue working with a long-term brand partner if you sign a contract with a new brand that has restricting exclusivity terms. 

2. You’re considering licensing the content of your signature online course, but don’t know how to do it and still get paid the value of the course. 

3.  You’re slated to speak at a large corporate event and want to protect your image as well as the materials you create for your talk.

4. You’ve been asked to host and develop a podcast with a major network and have never seen this type of contract before. You have no idea what to look for or what rights you could be giving up. 

These are just a few examples of the types of scenarios we help our clients navigate at C. Handy Law. An entertainment lawyer can provide you with guidance on understanding your rights and help protect your rights when entering into these types of agreements.

A great entertainment attorney will also make sure that you have essential legal components in place before you enter into these agreements. This could include forming a loan-out company for your talent services, obtaining permission from third parties, drafting contracts with co-creators, and registering trademarks and copyrights. 

How Do I Find the Right Entertainment Attorney?

Before you make the decision to hire an entertainment attorney, it’s essential to do your research and ensure that the attorney has experience in your industry and understands your long-term goals. Having an attorney with experience, and your best interest at heart will help avoid any legal surprises down the line and ensure you’re getting the best deals and opportunities possible. 

Lastly, finding out what other clients have said about the attorney can also help narrow down the search for a suitable candidate. Reading reviews and talking to other clients about their experiences with a particular lawyer can help make sure that you are comfortable with the person you choose to work with. Taking the time to do research and getting to know the attorney can make all the difference when it comes to signing an agreement and building a relationship with that attorney for future business and agreements.

You can learn more about how we serve clients at C. Handy Law and get started with one of our entertainment law services here.