South Florida has been an iconic movie set destination for decades, attracting many artists, writers, athletes, and actors. When you hire an experienced attorney, it may be to form a business, seek copyright protection for songs you wrote, negotiate a movie deal, or draft or review contracts with sports agents, teams, and managers.

Whether you are currently breaking into the entertainment business or are a seasoned veteran, you want legal services that are tailored to a creative industry. Before you enter any agreement for your services or access to your creative work, contact a Fort Lauderdale entertainment lawyer to guide your decisions.

Contracts Protect Interests

Contracts exist in all businesses but should be specific to the parties’ negotiated terms. To be valid, contracts must contain an offer, acceptance (usually the parties’ signatures), and consideration. Consideration is the exchange of something valuable to the parties. For example, a record label may want the rights to a songwriter’s work, and the songwriter could transfer copyrights or license them in exchange for money. If the price exceeds $500, under Florida Statutes § 672.201, the contract must be in writing, or it will violate the Statute of Frauds.

Some contractual terms that may appear in entertainment agreements include:

  • The length of time an agent will represent an artist and their commission split
  • What a recording artist agrees to on tour, such as the number of days on the road, preferred accommodations, concert locations, and any special requests
  • Who owns a songwriter’s intellectual property
  • A professional athlete’s salary and training schedule
  • Distribution of merchandising profits for a recording artist
  • Actions that amount to a breach of a contract

Every contract will include specific aspects of a particular relationship. The parties include what they represent and warrant, such as the ability and authority to enter a contract. Contracts memorialize the intentions of the parties to them, ensuring there are no misunderstandings in the future. Contact a Fort Lauderdale entertainment attorney to discuss contracts.

Creative Expressions and Copyright Protection

Federal law protects creative expression by allowing artists, novelists, songwriters, playwrights, and screenwriters to register a copyright of their work. Under 17 United States Code § 412, registered work is protected from infringement by allowing the copyright owner to ask the courts for injunctive relief or monetary damages. For example, a movie studio must pay a novelist whose work it wants to adapt into a film.

With the proliferation of social media and online content, artists often find their work available online without their permission. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, online service providers (OSPs) could be responsible for infringement. An entertainment attorney knows how to respond if an artist’s work is posted online without the artist authorizing it.

Other Legal Issues in the Entertainment Industry

Fort Lauderdale entertainment lawyers are skilled in helping creative people of all ages understand legal aspects of their careers. For example, they could talk to actors about what is required when joining a union or actors’ guild, how to plan for retirement from the industry, and how parents can implement extra protections for their child who is getting into acting.

Talk to a Fort Lauderdale Entertainment Attorney to Promote Your Industry Success

Bringing a story to life through movies, plays, or songs brings happiness to people across the world. While you participate in the thriving entertainment industry, we want to promote your success.

The Lomnitzer Law team understands every legal issue you may encounter, from securing contracts to protecting intellectual property. Contact a Fort Lauderdale entertainment lawyer who handles the legal hurdles so you can focus on your talents.