When dreaming of Hollywood, it’s easy to get lost in the glitz and glam. You might think of the movie premiers with the beautifully dressed people and hoards of photographers or the adoring fans at a concert. What you’re forgetting are the people in the background. The people who make everything run smoothly and help ensure that the stars get paid well and are treated appropriately.
One person that is vital to any superstar’s success is an entertainment lawyer. If you look up an example of an entertainment lawyer, you’ll likely be shown John Branca, attorney to the stars. He has worked with musical powerhouses like Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and Justin Timberlake. While working with musicians has comprised most of Mr. Branca’s work, he has also worked with other major stars and brands like Mike Tyson and Playboy magazine.
Entertainment law has many different categories, and before deciding which kind of law you want to specialize in, it’s important to understand the differences between some of them.
The majority of a film lawyer’s time is spent on talent agreements between actors, producers, composers, directors, and screenwriters. There are also contracts between the studio and the talent to ensure that everyone understands precisely what is expected of them and that they are paid a fair wage. Additionally, lawyers help iron out the film’s distribution, which covers press releases, talent interviews, merchandising and franchising, and advertising campaigns. Moreover, film lawyers also deal extensively with intellectual property issues, such as copyright and trademark infringement. They write cease and desist letters when they find that their client’s likeness or work is being misused and file lawsuits to stop the unlicensed use.
Entertainment lawyers who specialize in music negotiate deals between songwriters, composers, and musicians. They work with record labels, performers, artists, and publishers. Furthermore, they create deals with merchandisers and live event promoters to protect and advance the musical artist’s brand. They also work out lucrative deals that allow their clients to get paid per radio play and even help the musicians buy their musical catalog from their record label or producer to have exclusive rights to the music.
Since its creation, the internet has quickly become home to many breakout stars. Lawyers that work with internet stars focus on unnecessary censorship and copyright and trademark infringement. They also help protect their client’s privacy and ensure that their client hasn’t violated anyone else’s privacy in their online content. Finally, they negotiate promotional and sponsorship deals between their client and major brands.