Venable attorneys are trusted advisor to the entertainment and media industries. We work with clients in film, television, home entertainment, direct response, advertising, and digital media industries, and know the issues and the players. Clients rely on us to resolve disputes and to structure, negotiate and document their business transactions with efficiency that few firms can rival. We also advise entertainers, athletes and others in the industry on a wide range of legal issues, ranging from robust estate, tax and business planning strategies, to advertising, sponsorship and co-branding opportunities, and guild and labor issues.
SKILLS THAT KEEP YOUR PROJECT MOVING
Disputes can be expected. We help resolve them.
Ownership of ideas and artistic control are always at issue in the industry, so conflicts involving intellectual property and personal services contracts are common. Labor and union issues also frequently grow into disputes that require legal intervention. Venable handles them all. We are tough, effective trial lawyers with extensive experience in state and federal courts, and we’re also skilled in mediation and arbitration.
Venable has broad experience in copyright, trademark and right of publicity cases and frequently represents clients in breach of contract, fraud, accounting and unfair competition disputes. Our attorneys also counsel on libel, slander and related First Amendment issues, as well as wrongful termination and discrimination claims.
We represent the interests of production companies, distributors, television networks, motion picture studios and talent agencies in all types of contractual and IP disputes, including large cases involving complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation. Our team has also defended and prosecuted a wide array of commercial disputes concerning specific performance, accounting and partnership issues.
Our attorneys also provide experienced counsel on labor, guild and employment issues, ranging from the drafting of employment agreements and compensation plans, to litigating employment disputes should they arise—such as representing commercial production houses in industry-wide wage-and-hour class-action lawsuits. However, a significant focus of our practice is dedicated to counseling on claim prevention, to help alleviate the need to embark on costly and time-consuming litigation.
We're helping clients anticipate new connections between entertainment, commerce and technology.
Strong, enforceable contracts are critical to parties on all points of the entertainment and media spectrum. Venable’s experience is an asset to players in all areas, including producers, production companies, distributors and investors who must shape deals that anticipate and address their business and legal concerns. We have a thorough knowledge of film financing and guild practices, and we negotiate all types of agreements—from content distribution and production financing to book deals and product licensing.
With new technology accelerating changes in content delivery, identifying future streams of income—such as those from digital rights—can help creative and financial contributors realize sustained returns. Venable is attuned to the connections between entertainment, commerce and technology, so we can help producers, production companies, distributors and advertisers spot opportunities to expand the use of content and increase audience size.
Comprehensive tax, estate and business planning for the entertainment industry.
Our team has built a reputation by working alongside business managers, personal managers, agents, financial advisors and entertainment attorneys in order to address the litany of tax- and business-related needs faced by their clients.
For example, we work to craft tax and charitable planning strategies that extend from the establishment of charitable trusts and private foundations, to the formation of complex estate and tax plans, as well as advice on international tax issues. Clients also turn to us for advice on other tax matters, including counsel for individuals working or living abroad, the tax ramifications of the sale of intellectual property and other transactions, and a broad array of income tax-related concerns.
We also help our clients who are forming, purchasing or selling a business by guiding them through the nuances of the process. This includes advising on such matters as business formation, contracts and agreements, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and more.
You've been approached to lend your name to an advertising campaign. We can help.
Businesses, nonprofits and other organizations can build credibility and brand awareness through the use of entertainers and athletes in marketing campaigns. When opportunities like these present themselves, we work alongside entertainment industry professionals to ensure that such deals provide maximum value for all parties involved.
In this realm, we provide guidance on branding relationships and opportunities, sponsorships, and placement co-ventures and productions. In addition, we help develop alternative marketing and distribution strategies for entertainment properties.
In recent matters, we have represented:
- more than 40 commercial producers in an industry-wide wage-and-hour class action suit;
- a major advertising agency in a $40+ million indemnity action against its former client;
- a nationally recognized sports writer in defense against defamation claims;
- internationally prominent athletes and celebrities in a variety of matters;
- independent film producers in a $5 million fraud and breach of contract suit brought by foreign investors;
- a famous sculptor in blocking a release of the home video of a major motion picture on grounds of copyright infringement;
- a public company in setting up its multi-platform advertising campaign for its cornerstone product;
- a major manufacturer of internet protocol solutions in litigation against its competitor and certain former employees—the case involved claims of theft of trade secrets, patent infringement, copyright infringement and other claims;
- a major independent feature film group in advice on production transactions and financings, as well as in handling issues that arise during filming, such as labor and employment disputes;
- a successful author in negotiating one of the largest book publishing deals in history and then in resolving a long-running dispute over the movie rights to one of his books—our understanding of rights acquisitions in the film industry enabled us to work with the producer’s attorneys to agree on a settlement favorable to both sides;
- one of the largest commercial production companies that was hired by a major Hollywood studio to produce an entertainment project—we guided the producers through the intricacies of working for a major studio, including dealing with rights issues and the expectations of unions and others throughout production;
- an international luxury brand in connection with its spokesperson agreements with Hollywood celebrities; and
- various clients on product-distribution issues—ranging from protecting intellectual property embedded in products and services to implementing distribution models to advertising and marketing issues to developing legal strategies to protect market share.
Whether you need assistance resolving a dispute or structuring and negotiating a contract, devising a charitable planning strategy or advising on a marketing campaign, Venable can help. Our experience and relationships in the entertainment and media industry, and our knowledge of Hollywood’s political landscape, enable us to offer astute, efficient counsel to clients across this dynamic field. The firm’s broad capabilities in other areas of law also enable us to address a full spectrum of other legal needs.