WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
This Article is written by Jasmeen Choudhary, student of Banasthali Vidyapeeth.
Entertainment law is a field of law that deals with the entertainment or media industry. It is a specific type of law field. Entertainment lawyer, like any other lawyer, defends and negotiates on behalf of their clients. Along with it, an Entertainment lawyer has other responsibilities. Entertainment law incorporates many studies like transactional law, taxation, litigation, contract law, etc. We can say that it is a combination of many laws. Entertainment lawyer has diverse functions, he is qualified to protect their client's intellectual property rights, represents them in courts, negotiates on their behalf, acts as an agent and has other responsibilities. It is a profession that deals with celebrities, directors, producers or any other part of the film industry. In the further read, we will be discussing the role of an entertainment lawyer in the film industry.
What is entertainment law?
Entertainment is an activity which represents motion pictures, plays, fine as, shows, etc. which further represents creativity and imagination. Entertainment law is a combination of traditional legal disciplines like intellectual Property law, contract law and business law. Even though entertainment law has no glamour like the entertainment industry, it is an important aspect of the entertainment or media industry. Entertainment law specifically deals with the issues involved in the film industry like fighting for freedom of speech, negotiations, contracts, etc. In this field, important skills which play an important role are negotiating, contracting, communication, etc.
Who is an Entertainment lawyer?
Unlike a corporate or a criminal lawyer, an entertainment lawyer represents the companies, theatres, music industries, and others which are related to the entertainment industry in the courts. They also act as advisors or consultants of these individuals on legal matters related to entertainment fields.
What is the role of an entertainment lawyer?
Entertainment law is no special law, but a combination of traditional legal disciplines like contract law, intellectual property law and business law. In order to become an entertainment lawyer you may have several responsibilities as follows:
The primary role of an entertainment lawyer is to draft contract. Contracts includes contract of artists, producers, directors, etc. They have to make contracts in a way which serves the client’s best interests. In addition to this, there role is to help their clients in understanding the terms and conditions of the contract.
Along with drafting contracts, entertainment lawyers must have good negotiating skills so that they can bargain on behalf of their clients. Talent agents and entertainment lawyers together counsel their clients in negotiating fees, regarding terms and conditions of the contracts and make sure that they are getting fair enough for their contribution. Talent agents are those people who find jobs for the people related to film industry like actors, writers, musicians, etc.
Connecting clients with other service providers-
Along with contracting and negotiating, an entertainment lawyer connects their clients with other service providers for their best interest. Here, entertainment lawyer’s duties are similar to that of agents and publicists.
Providing legal advice or guidance is also an important role of an entertainment lawyer. Entertainment lawyers can guide their clients on any aspect of law because they are assumed to be proficient in other fields of law are it contract law or business law. Their is always a need of advisor when the client has to deal with something which is outside their expertise. There are some lawyers who provide free advise or consult also.
Protecting intellectual property
Intellectual property is basically ideas, designs, imaginations or any other invention which is protected from copying by others. Protecting the intellectual property of the clients is a major role of entertainment lawyers. They must be proficient in laws related to copyright, trademark, etc.
Unlike corporate lawyers or criminal lawyers, entertainment lawyers represent their clients in court. They also communicate on their behalf in many situations. Apart from their duties, there are some areas which are also handled by entertainment lawyers. Those are:
As making a film is a huge task, making legal contracts and agreements by an entertainment lawyer is a more gigantic task. The contract includes contracts with celebrities, crews, employees, productions, etc.
Like in films, there are contracts in theatre also like contracts with crews, producers, product issues, copyright issues, trademark issues etc.
Due to the digitalization of the film industry, entertainment lawyers work also increased many fold, like OTT platforms.
Publishing in the entertainment field includes marketing, advertising, authors, etc., these all are also handled by entertainment lawyers.
Basically entertainment lawyers are divided into two categories- transaction based lawyers and litigation based lawyers. Theses both categories have their particular areas to deal with but, some of the common laws which every entertainment lawyer should be aware of are intellectual property law, corporate law, criminal law, labour law, investments law, taxation, international law, immigration, etc. They have experts in every law but even then the client is not satisfied he can keep more then one entertainment lawyer. They can work according to their choices like in law firms or a large entertainment company.
As the field of entertainment is evolving, entertainment law is also evolving with the same pace. Their roles and responsibilities are changing over time. As the entertainment law is evolving the problems related to it are also increasing and hence the need of entertainment lawyer is also increasing. Their role is unique and important in today’s era because of the rapid growth of the Entertainment industry.