Entertainment Law: Growth and Innovation!

McClanahan Powers warmly welcomes you to its Entertainment Law Blog. The entertainment industry continues to grow at an alarming pace, especially with access to many forms of entertainment only a finger touch away through many of the latest smartphones and other gadgets. According to a study commissioned by the CCIA, the value of the worldwide entertainment industry grew from $449 billion in 1998 to $745 billion by 2010.

Economic and innovative growth in an industry brings new legal challenges, opportunities, and pitfalls. Entertainment law embodies many areas of the law ranging from contracts to intellectual property ownership, comprising of copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret laws.

For individuals and organizations in the entertainment industry, the playing field continues to change. The global system of the Internet itself has led to the dissemination and exchange of information in such a rapid medium that artists oftentimes have trouble protecting their rights in a published or licensed work.

The construction of systematized ‘paparazzi’-esk organizations such as California based Thirty Mile Zone (TMZ) have led to an emerging focus on the rights to publicity. While the introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have led to concerns regarding rights to privacy.

Innovations in information sharing technology provide exciting opportunities for entertainers and fans alike. However, such technology comes with its pitfalls. File sharing platforms, referred to as peer-to-peer technology, has given rise to bit-torrent protocols, which is a file sharing platform much more advanced than its Napster predecessors. This technology enables users to exchange a wealth of content in a short amount of time, content in which is often protected by copyright.

This has further led to the conception of ‘copyright trolls’ litigating cases against an excessive number of internet subscribers for copyright infringement. Copyright trolls are essentially individuals or organizations that opt to commercialize their work, often in the form of a movie or photograph, by finding people committing copyright infringement through file sharing.  Then, through the legal system and threats of a lawsuit, they obtain money in the form of settlement from alleged infringers, as opposed to earning money through sales in the marketplace.

Whether you are a musician, actor, author, athlete, painter or programmer, it is important that as an artist and innovator you understand your rights and responsibilities in an industry being modernized through technology and how to protect those rights. It is our hope that in the years to come this blog assists new artists and reminds older artists of the legal implications within their industry.