Entertainment law (or media law) is legal services to the entertainment industry. Entertainment law overlaps with intellectual property law (especially trademarks, copyright, and the "Right of Publicity"), but the practice of entertainment law often involves questions of employment law, contract law, torts, labor law, bankruptcy law, immigration, securities law, security interests, agency, right of privacy, defamation, advertising, criminal law, tax law, International law (especially Private international law), and insurance law.
Entertainment law covers an area of law which involves media of all types (TV, film, music, publishing, advertising, Internet & news media, etc.), and stretches over various legal fields, including corporate, finance, intellectual property, publicity and privacy, and, in the United States, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
For film, entertainment attorneys work with the actor's agent to finalize the actor's contracts for projects. After an agent lines up work for a star the entertainment attorney negotiates with the agent and buyer of the actor's talent for compensation and profit participation. Entertainment attorneys are under strict confidentiality so the specifics of their job are kept secret. But some entertainment attorney's job descriptions have become comparable to those of a star's agent, manager or publicist. They also assist in building a client's career.
As the popularity of media became widespread, the field of media law became more popular, as certain corporate professionals have wanted to participate in media. As a result, many young lawyers fledged into media law which allowed them the opportunity to increase connections in media, and the opportunity to become a media presenter or an acting role if such an opportunity arose. As technology made a huge advancement lawsuits began to arise which meant the need for lawyers was necessary.
Entertainment law is generally sub-divided into the following areas related to the types of activities that have their own specific trade unions, production techniques, rules, customs, case law, and negotiation strategies:
- FILM: covering option agreements, finance, chain of title issues, talent agreements (screenwriters, film directors, actors, composers, production designers), production and post production and trade union issues, distribution issues, motion picture industry negotiations distribution, and general intellectual property issues especially relating to copyright and, to a lesser extent, trademarks;
- MULTIMEDIA, including software licensing issues, video game development and production, Information technology law, and general intellectual property issues;
- MUSIC: including talent agreements (musicians, composers), producer agreements, and synchronization rights, music industry negotiation and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright (see music law);
- PUBLISHING and print media issues, including advertising, models, author agreements and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright;
- TELEVISION and RADIO including broadcast licensing and regulatory issues, mechanical licenses, and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright;
- THEATRE: including rental agreements and co-production agreements, and other performance oriented legal issues;
- VISUAL ARTS AND DESIGN including fine arts, issues of consignment of artworks to art dealers, moral rights of sculptors regarding works in public places; and industrial design, issues related to the protection of graphic design elements in products.
Media law is a legal field that refers to the following:
- Morals clause
- Intellectual property
- Media reform
- Media regulation
- Music law
- Engineering law
- Sports law
- Sunshine in the Courtroom Act