Entertainment law is not, in and of itself, a separate legal discipline. Instead, the practice of entertainment law lies at the intersection of various traditional legal disciplines, such as contract, tort, copyright, trademark, antitrust, secured transactions, etc., and applies those disciplines to a unique business setting. This course is intended to approach the study of entertainment law from a practical perspective, applying the principles of traditional legal disciplines to avoid problems and find solutions in various facets of the entertainment industry. To accomplish the necessary background, we will study the entertainment industry from both a macro level (i.e., the organization of the motion picture, television and music business, including the function of studios, producers, networks, record companies, agencies, managers, lawyers and labor unions) and a micro level (i.e., examining actual agreements in order to understand the principal components of motion picture talent, production and distribution contracts, television series contracts, music and book publishing contracts). We will also examine key litigation issues that affect the industry, such as the interaction of the First Amendment and the right of publicity, the right of privacy and libel, the anti-SLAPP laws, the "final cut" and profit participation cases. The impact of the digital media (including the internet) will, of course, be analyzed, along with the future of the entertainment industry, including convergence, holograms, syntho-thespians and the like. We plan to include guest speakers from the entertainment industry so that this class will embody both business and legal considerations. The overall goals of this course are (1) to expose students to the unique and increasingly complex structure of the entertainment business; (2) to foster an understanding of the role the law and entertainment lawyers play in that unique business structure; (3) to strengthen students' ability to draft key documents and craft persuasive legal arguments to accomplish the goals they may seek to achieve as lawyers in the entertainment industry; and (4) to develop the analytical and problem-solving skills necessary to make them into effective entertainment lawyers. Elements used in grading: Class participation, brief writing exercises, team contract negotiation and drafting projects. Writing (W) credit is for students entering prior to Autumn 2012.
Instructors for this courseBonnie Eskenazi