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Do I Need an Entertainment Lawyer?


Whether you are looking to hire an entertainment lawyer or are simply seeking more information about what an entertainment lawyer does, you are in the right place! As you likely know, the entertainment industry is extremely complicated. It is an industry that revolves around specific rules and standards that are generally unknown to attorneys that do not work within the industry. 

As a creator or businessperson working in entertainment, it is often challenging to identify all legal issues that may arise during your career on your own. While every person’s legal needs are different, it is important to know what entertainment lawyers do and how they can be an asset to your team. 

What exactly is “entertainment” law? 

There are many different areas of law that fall under the umbrella of entertainment law. In its simplest terms, entertainment law is a subset of business law. That being said, there are many other legal practice areas that entertainment law encompasses including, but not limited to, intellectual property law, contract law, labor and employment law, and civil litigation. 

Because the entertainment industry is so vast and the industry standards vary significantly from each entertainment sector, an entertainment lawyer must navigate the many complex and unique issues that arise. Some of the different business sectors that the entertainment lawyers at The Bowen Law Group serve include:

  • Film and Television Productions
  • Music
  • Social Media Influencers
  • Literary Works
  • Video Games
  • Print and Digital Media

Note: Not all entertainment lawyers will practice in every sector of the entertainment industry. In fact, because the standards vary significantly from sector to sector, it is common for entertainment lawyers to specialize in a certain area or areas of the business. That is why it is important that you choose a lawyer that has served similar clients in your specific discipline. Sure, a real estate attorney could read a recording contract, but with the importance of that deal and its impact on the professional future of the client, you should not risk a generalist missing the sector-specific nuances of the deal.

So, what is an entertainment attorney?

Now that you have a better understanding of the practice of entertainment law, you may be wondering what it means for an attorney to classify themselves as an entertainment lawyer.  Lawyers may choose to specialize their focus in different practice areas. This means that an entertainment lawyer focuses specifically on the issues that face creators and professionals in the entertainment industry. Simply put, entertainment lawyers are those who focus specifically on practicing law in the entertainment industry. 

Entertainment lawyers provide legal advice and guidance to their clients in all areas of the entertainment industry. Examples of specific clients include:

  • Producers
  • Production Companies
  • Directors
  • Talent
  • Musicians
  • Writers 
  • Photographers
  • Commercial Artists
  • Other Creative Professionals

If you fit into one of these categories, you may be wondering why you should hire an entertainment lawyer and how an entertainment lawyer differs from other members of your team.

How does an entertainment attorney differ from the rest of my team? 

Adding an entertainment lawyer, in addition to the rest of your team, can be a huge asset. An entertainment lawyer is often an essential member of your team, and though your lawyer may share some similar roles with other members of your team, there are some key differences, including: 

  1. An entertainment lawyer is licensed to practice law and as a result, may provide legal guidance and advice that other members of your team cannot. 
  2. A good entertainment lawyer will help you to review business opportunities, resolve legal issues, and manage risk. Though managers and agents may also work with you on these tasks, it is important to remember that only your entertainment lawyer has the authority to provide legal advice and representation on these matters. 
  3. While other members of your team may help secure project deals on your behalf, an entertainment lawyer has a different level of expertise when helping negotiate deals with your best interests in mind – this includes making sure the deal terms are fair and that the agreement is legally enforceable. 
  4. If you are at a position in your career where you are ready to hire an entertainment lawyer, remember that your attorney owes you a fiduciary duty to always act in your best interest. 

Though entertainment lawyers do come at a cost, it is important to remember that there are some things that an attorney can do for you that none of the other members of your team can. If you are in a position where legal questions are arising more frequently and contracts are being negotiated and signed, it may be time to start considering adding an entertainment lawyer to your team. 

Why do I need an entertainment lawyer?

This is a fundamental question that you must answer before deciding to hire anyone to your team. After all, you want to make sure that any time you hire a new member of your team, it is the right decision practically and financially. There are some important things to consider no matter if you are just starting out or have an established career. 

As mentioned before, entertainment lawyers provide a specialized level of expertise in the entertainment industry which allows them to provide the best and most comprehensive representation to entertainment professionals. Simply put, only licensed attorneys are qualified to advise clients on the law. Any time you find yourself signing a deal that will either limit or expand your legal rights, it is wise to have a lawyer weigh in. 

Adding an entertainment lawyer to your team can be vital to your success in the entertainment industry. A great entertainment lawyer will assist you with a variety of tasks, including: 

  1. Negotiating agreements on your behalf while acting as an advocate to assure your rights and best interests are protected;
  2. Protecting and establishing your intellectual property rights;
  3. Drafting contracts and deal agreements;
  4. Providing representation in court in order to pursue legal remedies if your intellectual property rights are ever violated; and
  5. Advising on business decisions to foster career growth and help you to reach your goals.

With an entertainment attorney focusing on the requested legal tasks, including those mentioned above, you, as the creator, will be free to focus solely on the creative aspects of your work. This will allow you to ensure your creative output is maximized while not having to worry about the many legal issues you will face in the entertainment industry. 

There are a few key scenarios to look out for that indicate it may be time to hire an entertainment lawyer:

  1. First, if you are in a position where you are signing deals and negotiating agreements, you will want to hire an entertainment lawyer before you legally bind yourself to the contract. Your lawyer will help advise on the terms of the deal and make sure the terms are as favorable as possible and your rights are not being violated. 
  2. Second, if your intellectual property rights have been infringed upon and you want to take action in court to enforce them, it is important that you are represented by an entertainment lawyer. 
  3. Third, if you are being accused of stealing someone else’s work, you will need an entertainment lawyer to defend you throughout the litigation process. 
  4. Finally, you may want to hire an entertainment attorney to fill a more advisory role if you are making major business decisions. 

On the other side of the coin, if you are simply creating demos or putting out an independent project to a small audience, it may not be essential to hire an entertainment lawyer to your team at this time. However, if you find yourself both needing and seeking legal advice throughout the process, you may benefit from hiring an entertainment lawyer. 

How do I choose an entertainment lawyer? 

One of the most important questions a creator may ask when building their team involves how to find the best possible individuals for each role. By finding an entertainment lawyer that has experience in the specific aspect of your business, you are ensuring that you have the best fitting representation for your legal needs. If you are ready to add an entertainment lawyer to your team, look no further than The Bowen Law Group. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.

The Bowen Law Group’s entertainment practice includes production legal for film and television, music attorney services for all different aspects of the business, and rights acquisitions, to name a few.

Learn more about our entertainment practice areas.