16th June 2021
The Global Media Site for Entertainment.

Representation: How Can an Entertainment Lawyer Help You?

Entertainment Lawyer
By Veronica Baxter

As your career grows, so too will the scope of contracts and the complexity of business relationships. A good indicator that it is about time you hire an entertainment lawyer is when heavy legalese starts invading discussions regarding promoting, performing, or displaying your art.

It is possible to manage contract negotiations and intellectual property protection early on in your career. However, as the responsibility grows, it becomes more challenging to manage your art’s legal protections and negotiations. After all, you didn’t become an artist so that you could become an entertainment lawyer.

An entertainment lawyer’s passion is helping clients protect their brand, draft contracts,  negotiate terms, and defend their clients in court. Just as you have spent perhaps tens of thousands of hours honing your artistic skills, entertainment lawyers have done the same, developing their legal prowess.

In this post, we will examine precisely what an entertainment lawyer does so that you can decide whether it’s worthwhile to seek consultation.

What Does an Entertainment Lawyer Do, Exactly?

The scope of an entertainment lawyer’s duties is broader than most people might realize. Of course, they handle contract negotiations and act as legal counsel, but they perform other vital tasks on behalf of their clients. Let’s examine the most common services entertainment lawyers offer.

Negotiating Contracts

As previously mentioned, an entertainment lawyer Is intimately familiar with legal precedent in the practical applications of entertainment law. As the stakes grow higher and your career evolves, it will become more difficult to navigate the legal waters that keep your artistic brand afloat. That is not to say you couldn’t learn about the minutiae of entertainment law, IP protection, and contract negotiation, but doing so would be a time-consuming endeavor. Ultimately it would take away from your ability to create.

Entertainment lawyers are adept at negotiating contracts that serve the client’s best interests.  They are intimately familiar with the methods production companies, studios, record labels, art galleries, and agents use to draft contracts in a way that puts the artist at a disadvantage. You can think of entertainment lawyers like minesweepers who pour over the contract and make sure it doesn’t contain any hidden mines that will cost you in the long run.

Protecting and Monitoring Intellectual Property

As an artist, your intellectual property is the foundation of your livelihood. Not only do you have to contend with those who want to legally buy, sell, or otherwise make use of it, but you need to protect it from those who might seek to use it illegally.

An entertainment lawyer not only helps to ensure that an artist’s intellectual property is treated correctly at the negotiating table, but they have their eyes out for copyright or trademark infringement.

This becomes exceedingly important when dealing with overseas markets. It becomes exponentially more difficult to monitor copyright infringement in nations with lax or practically non-existent copyright laws. You can count on an entertainment lawyer to be vigilant when it comes to protecting your intellectual property.

Legal Counsel and Advice

Entertainment lawyers have unique perspectives on the entertainment industry. Their innate understanding of the legal framework that supports the entertainment industry helps them to see business relationships, opportunities, and potential pitfalls in ways that a manager or agent might not be able to identify.

This is not to undercut the role of the agent or manager — their functions are essential too. However, an entertainment lawyer operates on your behalf under a different set of parameters than an agent or manager would. In truth, if you have the resources, then both a manager/agent and an entertainment lawyer should be in your retinue. Each offers different benefits in perspectives that the other doesn’t have.

Manager, Agent, or Entertainment Lawyer First?

Earlier in your career, if you have business acumen and experience marketing and managing yourself, you might want to invest in an entertainment lawyer first. You must ask yourself what roles you can perform based on your skillset and personality.

Depending on your experience and skill set, you may very well conclude that hiring a manager or agent first is a greater priority. However, if you can handle the role of self-management adequately, then your investment should be in an entertainment lawyer.

Many artists have inadvertently developed skills in booking, managing, outreach, and communication due to the nature of artistic communities. It is easier for an artist to assume the role of a manager or agent than for them to take on the part of an entertainment lawyer.


About the Author

Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She writes for Yao Law Group, a team of successful entertainment and immigration lawyers in New Jersey.

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