What Does an Entertainment Lawyer Do?
An entertainment lawyer is a lawyer that specializes in entertainment law. Entertainment law is an area of law that merges contract law with intellectual property law. This can range from books, to movies to music. Employment law may involve areas of law including:
Entertainment lawyers handle issues including:
- Intellectual property;
- Trademarks; and
- Any other issue that arises in the entertainment industry.
An entertainment lawyer is an extremely important part of keeping what you create your own. If you create your own work, such as songs or books, your lawyer can protect that work from being copied by others.
An entertainment lawyer can also be invaluable if you are working in the entertainment business, such as singing a record contract. Your lawyer will make sure your rights are protected and can assist you in negotiating aspects of the contract, such as pay.
Why is it Important to Have an Entertainment Attorney?
It is very important to have an entertainment attorney assisting you with any aspects of entertainment law. This area of law encompasses many legal concepts and issues and it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.
Your attorney may be aware of entertainment issues you have not considered. Additionally, your attorney will work to ensure future disputes do not arise.
One of the most important reasons to have an entertainment attorney when you create your own work is registering a copyright. A copyright prevents other individuals from using your original work.
A copyright can protect many types of creative work, including:
- Recorded music or sheet music;
- A book or a novel;
- Software codes, video games, and CD-ROMs, although these may not be protected if they have already been distributed through a copyleft agreement; and
- Art, including:
- dance choreography; and
Pursuant to federal copyright laws, a copyright entitles the owner to many exclusive rights, including the right to:
- Reproduce the work that is copyrighted;
- Distribute copies of the work to the general public for sale;
- Perform the copyrighted work;
- Produce a license that is derived from other copyright materials; and
- Licensing rights to manufacture and make a copyrighted product.
These issues may be very important when this copyrighted work is your source of income. If other individuals are permitted to copy or re-create your original work, it may take away from your profits.
What are Some Other Issues Related to Entertainment Law?
Another important aspect related to entertainment law that you may encounter is a trademark. Most individuals are familiar with trademarks, as our favorite things, such as sports teams, often trademark their merchandise.
A trademark can be a word, phrase, logo, or symbol that is used to identify your unique product, the source of the product, and the merchant or manufacturer. Trademarks are used to distinguish products and their manufacturers from one another.
A trademark should be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After registration, the trademark will be protected against other individuals who wish to copy or duplicate the trademark. It will also put the rest of the country on notice that the specific trademark has already been utilized and registered.
In addition, once a trademark is registered, it is entitled to protections under federal law if it is used without permission. A registered trademark is protected from infringement and dilution. Infringement occurs when an individual uses the same or similar trademark for a similar good or service. Trademark dilution occurs when an individual uses a trademark for a different service, but either tarnishes the trademark’s good name through its use or weakens the consumer’s association between the trademark and the services.
Trademarks may provide an entertainer with a way to provide identifiable merchandise to their fans. It is important to have an attorney’s help to ensure the trademark is not already in use before you invest in making it public.
What are the Benefits of Hiring an Entertainment Law Attorney?
There are many areas of the entertainment industry that provide potential for disputes. Hiring an entertainment attorney will help you protect your rights, your profits, and your work.
An entertainment law attorney can ensure your copyright and trademark applications meet their deadlines and fulfill all requirements. Your lawyer can also perform on-going research to ensure no one else is using or diluting your trademark without your permission.
In addition, if there is a future issue with your trademark or copyright, your attorney will be there to assist you. Your attorney can guide you through the difficult and strict procedural requirements for litigation and fight to protect your work and profits.
It is essential to have an entertainment attorney helping you negotiate any formal contracts or copyright privileges. Having a copyright may entitle you to future income in the form of licensing fees if other individuals want to use your original work.