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Movie licensing and distribution: not for the inexperienced

People who are not employed inside the entertainment industry -- let's just say lay persons who don't command any specialized knowledge of what it takes to create a film or television program and who simply enjoy engaging with the medium -- would undoubtedly be surprised , if not stunned, by how complex it can be.

Consider this, for example: When it comes to identifying the individuals and entities who play a central role in licensing, producing and/or distributing a motion picture or television program, the list is potentially as long as an arm. As we note on our entertainment and business law website at the long-established Los Angeles Law Offices of Barry K. Rothman, it ranges from individual filmmakers, production/distribution companies and directors to producers, performers, stakeholders and even additional parties.

And then there is this: When talk turns to the nuts and bolts of licensing and distribution, the focus must immediately center on what we call the "nuances" involved in agreements that emerge when, say, a television-based cable product is envisioned rather than a theatrical release, or vice versa. Maybe a film will ultimately be released on home video, an Internet platform or, of course, at movie theaters. Perhaps several outlets are being contemplated.

A professional attending to legal matters while working within such complexity must simultaneously wear several hats and command broadly integrated acumen brought to bear on behalf of notably diverse clients. Financial smarts are required. Negotiating ability is at a premium in the entertainment industry. Anything less than stellar ability in contract drafting and proven capability in a courtroom can doom a licensing or distribution matter.

We duly note on our website our lawyers' "broad perspective gained across many decades in practice to protect our clients' interests" regarding what they need to promote and protect in the entertainment industry.

We welcome contacts to the firm and the opportunity to respond to questions or concerns regarding any aspect of entertainment law.

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