Our attorneys advise and counsel clients on a wide range of deals across the film and television industries. We provide value-added service by applying our thorough knowledge of deal making, finely honed contract negotiation skills, and astute legal acumen to solve our clients’ most pressing business challenges.
Our clients include film and television production companies, studios, sales agencies, talent agencies, distributors, creative talent, directors, writers, showrunners, composers, producers, filmmakers, actors, managers, and scripted and unscripted content creators.
If you and your film or television business need assistance with negotiating contracts relating to the entertainment industry or navigate the complexities of the relevant intellectual property laws, an experienced TV lawyer from The Hollywood Lawyer has you covered.
Our Film & Television Industry Services
From the very inception of a film or television company and all the way through production and distribution, the film lawyer Beverly Hills trusts can provide the full range of legal services necessary to get your film or television business off the ground and running smoothly. Below are some of the different ways the attorneys at The Hollywood Lawyer can help members of the film and television industry with their legal demands.
Creating a Film or Television Business Entity
Once you have the idea to start a business, the next step to making your business dreams a reality is by legally forming a business entity. Depending on a number of factors, the television lawyer Los Angeles trusts can guide you with respect to the entity type that is right for you. Some of the factors your lawyer will take into consideration are your business purpose, how many people will initially be involved in the business, where your business will be located, and the services you plan to provide. Your choices at this point will have both tax and legal implications for how your business functions, so this is a critical step in the business formation process.
Some of the forms of business entities that we help film and television clients create include:
Partnerships. Partnerships usually involve at least two people working together with shared responsibilities for contributing labor, assets, and skills to the business. The specific arrangements are negotiated within a partnership agreement that outlines how each of the individual partners will share in business profits or assume responsibility for business losses.
Corporations. Corporations create an entirely new legal “person” under the state’s law where the entity is formed. For example, an experienced Los Angeles film and TV lawyer would be able to incorporate a business in California on behalf of an entertainment industry client. One of the greatest benefits of incorporation is that it protects the individuals involved from liability in most situations. The corporation structure also makes it easy to transfer business assets, ensure business continuity even when key executives are no longer with the company, and issue shares through stocks to raise capital for the business.
Limited liability companies (LLCs). LLCs are similar to both corporations and partnerships in certain ways. Similar to a corporation, an LLC protects its members from personal liability for any debts that the LLC incurs. Like in a partnership, LLCs retain a level of flexibility regarding how it operates, and LLC members are personally responsible for paying taxes on any revenue the LLC brings in.
Joint ventures. Joint ventures allow at least two businesses to collaborate on a single enterprise, sharing in the venture’s profits, costs, and management. For example, if a joint venture involved a film production company, an experienced production lawyer could help draft a memorandum of understanding and a letter of intent for the parties to the joint venture to sign.
Content Licensing and Distribution
Without an audience to experience the finished product, a film or television show cannot truly succeed. This is why the film and television industry relies heavily on content licensing and distribution agreements, including theatrical licensing, broadcast agreements, and streaming video contracts. Gone are the days when all films would be distributed through movie theaters and DVDs, and all television programs would either air on broadcast or cable television. With the rising prevalence of streaming video on demand (SVOD), pay-per-view (PPV), and electronic sell-through (EST), these contracts have become increasingly complex because of how the licensed content is distributed, viewed, and stored.
By utilizing content licensing agreements, the licensor grants rights to a licensee, allowing the licensee to use the licensor’s intellectual property in an agreed-upon way. In exchange for the use of the licensor’s intellectual property, the licensee makes royalty payments to the licensor. Similarly, distribution agreements dictate how a distributor will acquire something from a supplier and sell it. In the television and film industry, these types of agreements often arise when it is time to find ways to sell a movie or television program to the appropriate audience. In today’s digital age, many of these distribution agreements are between studios and digital streaming platforms, like Netflix, Hulu, or Apple TV+.
Other scenarios in the television and film industry in which distribution and licensing agreements become important include when:
A film producer wishes to use a musician’s song within the film
A book publisher wants to create a novel based off of a television show
A manufacturer is interested in licensing screenshots from a movie to print on merchandise to sell
Production agreements, such as location agreements, appearance releases, vendor agreements, and music licensing, are essential to the film and television industry, as well. A seasoned production lawyer can help ensure that the contracts are properly structured and represent their clients’ best interest. In a production services agreement, a producer and distributor may seek to contract with a production company to handle the day-to-day duties with regard to film or television show creation.
In most cases, above-the-line and below-the-line production agreements will outline each party’s responsibilities, identify each party’s rights with regard to compensation or sharing in profits, and how disputes will be handled. Some of the individuals who are parties to these types of agreements include:
Production company executives
Other Ways We Can Help in Film and Television
A TV lawyer from The Hollywood Lawyer also has significant knowledge of how to represent producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and investors in connection with their participation and endeavors in the film and television industry. Our attorneys regularly draft agreements for actors and on-screen talent in connection with film, television, and new media projects, including in both scripted and unscripted productions.
In addition to the services listed above, our lawyers also have extensive film and television industry experience with regard to:
Equity and debt financing
Shopping, development, and attachment agreements
Collaboration and co-production deals
Option and purchase agreements
Overall and first-look deals
Even if your specific situation or legal need is not listed above, we have the tools and knowledge to help – contact us today for a free consultation to see how our experience and detail-oriented approach can benefit your career or your business needs within the television and film industry. We are only a phone call away, and we are ready to assist you with your legal needs.