Entertainment Law Blog

Background

The first domino fell in late 2019 when Governor Newsom signed The Fair Pay to Play Act into law.[1]  This was the first statute allowing collegiate student-athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL).  Specifically, the statute bars universities, athletic conferences and the NCAA from preventing student-athletes in California from profiting off their NIL.  Despite the NCAA’s vigorous opposition initially, close to 30 states have since enacted similar legislation or have otherwise legalized NIL deals in their own states.[2]  Moreover, last year’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Alston may not have reached the
Continue Reading What Brands Can Expect from College Sports’ Ever Evolving NIL Landscape

With content distribution methods evolving rapidly, major players within the entertainment industry are looking to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a means to strengthen their position and maintain market share. Industry insiders predict a continued increase in M&A activity within the entertainment sector. In light of the likelihood that entertainment companies may be presented with an M&A opportunity, either as a buyer or as a seller, it would serve entertainment companies well to prepare for such an opportunity.
Continue Reading Practical Considerations for Reviewing Entertainment Agreements in M&A Transactions

There are a number of issues relating to distribution that arise in split rights deals for motion pictures. Whether it’s an acquisition, co-production or co-financing arrangement, one of the more important deal points is what kind of agreements a distributor should make vis-à-vis the sharing with or granting access to another party of picture materials. These can range from physical materials such as trailer materials and TV, airline or other versions of the picture, to marketing materials such as artwork, value-added materials and electronic press kits. If you’re a distributor and are contemplating sharing materials you’ve created (or those created
Continue Reading Sharing Motion Picture Materials: Practical Considerations

Nollywood, as Nigeria’s movie industry is widely known, has grown in leaps and bounds since the acclaimed 1992 home video movie, “Living in Bondage”. In less than two decades, the average film production budget has increased by ten-fold to about US$250,000 to US$750,000 while straight to DVD release has given way to windowing across theatrical, TVOD, SVOD, and/or DVD.[1] Nigeria’s TV and video market revenue grew by 7.49% to reach US$732 million in 2018 and was projected to reach US$806 million by the end of 2020.[2] Widely known for comedy, drama, and romance (many times of average storyline
Continue Reading Nollywood Needs Co-Production Treaties to Move to the Next Level

A newly inked strategic partnership between Sony Music Entertainment and Roblox is another indication of a maturing relationship amongst the music, gaming, and esports industries, a synergy that has evolved for years and in particular, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The major record label and game creation platform have enjoyed the mutual success of their recent collaborations and are now gearing up to allocate more resources to developing “innovative music experiences for the Roblox community that offer a range of new commercial opportunities for Sony Music artists to reach new audiences and generate new revenue streams around virtual entertainment.”
Continue Reading Strategic Partnerships Advance Music and Gaming Synergy

Live entertainment venues, an economy nearly destroyed by the COVID-19 pandemic, are finally re-opening around the country and must consequently adapt to varying state restrictions for holding indoor events. Despite being able to reopen, many venues will remain closed until regulations and capacity maximums are relaxed, reasoning that such restrictions make reopening financially implausible.
Continue Reading Safe in Sound: A Reopening Checklist for the Live Entertainment Industry

On October 22, 1939, the first NFL game aired on television.[1]  Over 80 years later, the first NFL game was exclusively accessible via a streaming platform[2].  What started as two cameras and eight staffers broadcasting to 1,000 television sets has grown into a worldwide multi-billion dollar industry[3]. Local, national, and international networks bid on the rights to broadcast live sporting events from the Olympics to the World Cup to every league of every sport in every country around the world.

But with the continued rise of streaming platforms, many of which have launched in
Continue Reading The Future of Watching Sports

As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the movie theater business in 2020 and into 2021, all Hollywood studios have had to adjust their theatrical release strategies via straight-to-VOD exhibition or concurrent theatrical and digital exhibition. According to one report[1], as the reopening of U.S. theaters at full capacity became more remote towards the end of last year, straight-to-VOD movie premieres increased over three times year-over-year in Q4 2020. While 126 films premiered in either SVOD or TVOD  in Q3 2019, 424 films premiered this way in Q4 2020. However, even with the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and
Continue Reading The Rise of Straight-To-VOD and the Fate of Box Office Bonuses

In February 2021, SAG-AFTRA’s National Board voted to approve a new Influencer Agreement.  But, the announcement included few details, leaving many Brands and so-called Influencers to wonder what’s the deal?
To date, SAG-AFTRA has not released the actual long form agreement covering Influencers, but it has posted an Influencer Agreement Fact Sheet online here.  The Fact Sheet makes clear that, for now, the Influencer Agreement is extremely narrow in reach.  Indeed, it all but places the entire onus of documentation, compliance, and pension and health contributions solely on the Influencer.  Therefore, the Influencer Agreement will allow Influencers to earn
Continue Reading Brands And Influencers Need To Know About SAG-AFTRA’s New Influencer Agreement

Almost a year ago now, the pandemic outbreak disrupted the worldwide entertainment industry – and in particular, film and television production. Similar to the US, European audio-visual productions were halted, movie theaters were closed, events, premieres and entire marketing and distribution campaigns were postponed or cancelled.
Continue Reading The EU’s Initiatives to Redress the Effect of COVID-19 on the Entertainment Industry

Almost a year ago now, the pandemic outbreak disrupted the worldwide entertainment industry – and in particular, film and television production. Similar to the US, European audio-visual productions were halted, movie theaters were closed, events, premieres and entire marketing and distribution campaigns were postponed or cancelled.
Cinemas across the European Union saw a 69.0 % drop in box office numbers in 2020, accounting for a total decrease of €4 billion in revenues compared to 20191. With movie theaters on the brink of bankruptcy, postponed productions with huge increases in costs (in part due to COVID-19 safety measures), and a consumer
Continue Reading The EU’s Initiative to Redress the Effect of COVID-19 on the Entertainment Industry

To date, there are over 1 billion augmented reality (“AR”) users and 171 million virtual reality (“VR”) users worldwide[1], a number that continues to increase as more industries turn to AR and VR to create immersive user experiences. Companies are offering stand-alone experiences that integrate augmented reality and virtual reality at events, such as Samsung and Live Nation’s broadcast of a VR Coldplay concert, as well as through in-store location based applications to encourage a seamless “try before you buy” approach, like Gucci’s AR apparel and accessories try-on app. AR and VR are shaping the future of advertising
Continue Reading Is it Time to Make AR and VR a Part of Your Reality?

Trademarks are the heartbeat of all businesses that rely on brand identity to reach their audience.  Nowhere is this more important than for entertainment and media companies that constantly struggle through the often confusing morass of advertising messages.  A clear message requires a strong trademark.  And a strong trademark may depend on an understanding of how the recently enacted Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 changes the branding landscape.
The Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020.  The Act introduces significant amendments to the Lanham Act designed to strengthen the rights of legitimate trademark owners.  The
Continue Reading Trademark Modernization Act Strengthens Rights of Brand Owners

Even as restrictions on large gatherings are lifted on the local level, the experience of live entertainment will change drastically in a post-quarantine world. The collective live event industries adherence to safety guidelines and prudent practices based on up-to-date information will be unquestionably critical to our return to enjoying live sports, music, and entertainment.
The music and touring industries are at the forefront of the resurgence of the live event industry. Venue owners and staff are now facing the daunting challenge of striking a balance between safety and practicality during a time of uncertainty. On May 19th, in accordance with
Continue Reading Event Safety Alliance Releases Reopening Guidelines for Live Events

Iowa enacted a sports betting law last May. Section 99E addressed fantasy sports contests and Section 99F addressed sports betting.
Under Section 99E: a “Fantasy sports contest” includes any fantasy or simulated game or contest …” and 99E.2 states: “The system of entering an internet fantasy sports contest as provided by this chapter is legal when conducted by a licensed internet fantasy sports contest service provider as provided in this chapter.”
Section 99F.3 states: “The system of wagering on a gambling game and sports wagering as provided by this chapter is legal, when conducted by a licensee as provided in this chapter.”
Continue Reading Is Esports Betting Sports Betting in Iowa?

Musicians and gamers are no strangers to each other; the two industries have been capitalizing on the crossover of their respective fan bases for nearly a decade. Although these collaborative efforts are not news, the utility of virtual and remote fan engagement has been re-contextualized in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. As the average musician derives the overwhelming majority of their revenue from live performances, technologies that can simulate these experiences have taken on a new importance virtually overnight.
Marshmello’s performance within the game Fortnite at the beginning of 2019 revealed how the synergy between music and gaming
Continue Reading The Esports and Gaming Industries Offer Vital Tools to Musicians in the Wake of COVID-19