Co-Chair, Entertainment & Mediaemail
A Powerhouse Entertainment & Media PracticeLauded as a pioneer and leader in the industry, Manatt is consistently ranked among the top entertainment law practices by Chambers USA and U.S. News & World Report. We recently received top billing by being named the Law Firm of the Year by the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel. Our lawyers have also achieved star status, receiving accolades in The Best Lawyers in America, Los Angeles magazine, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
With offices in the entertainment hubs of Los Angeles and New York City—as well as in the regulatory center of Washington, D.C.—our Entertainment & Media practice is international in scope, representing a broad range of high-profile clients in film and television, music, digital media, sports, video games, and advertising. Distinguished by the full array of services we offer, our entertainment lawyers handle film and television financing, production, and distribution on a worldwide basis, copyright matters, union and guild contracts, entertainment licensing deals, mergers and acquisitions of companies and film, television and music assets, as well as representation of legendary music, film and television talent, and litigation of a wide variety of entertainment and media disputes. We’re also at the forefront of brand integration, working closely with Manatt’s leading-edge Digital Media and Advertising, Marketing & Media practices to create innovative and successful tie-ins between big-name brands and the entertainment industry.
Industry heavyweights hire Manatt to negotiate complex contracts, leverage entertainment properties, and skillfully handle disputes when they arise. We know the industry players, often on a first-name basis, because our lawyers have had a hand in many of the entertainment industry’s biggest contracts and deals. Members of our team include veteran outside counsel to film, television and music clients, as well as a former Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at Capitol Records, a former Vice President and in-house counsel for the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a former Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel at HBO, and two former Vice Presidents of Business and Legal Affairs at Universal Music Group. Our lawyers’ deep and substantive entertainment industry experience gives us the advantage of knowing where to go, whom to talk to and how to get things done for our clients.
A Marquee Name for Contracts, Deals and FinancingManatt’s entertainment practice handles finance, production and distribution agreements as well as talent and executive employment, union and guild contracts, rights acquisitions and sales agreements for both established and emerging film, music and media entities. Our lawyers are also knowledgeable on the raising of debt and equity capital from private and public sources to fund major studio and independent projects and entertainment companies, and are active in M&A transactions throughout the industry.
Film and TelevisionManatt lawyers represent many of the largest film studios and television corporations in the industry. Our clients include CBS Broadcasting, Dick Clark Productions, Imagine Entertainment, Lionsgate Television, Lucasfilm, Mark Burnett Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Warner Brothers. We also represent financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity groups, and a wide variety of smaller and middle-market production and distribution companies.
Manatt also helps actors, writers, directors and producers with a broad range of matters, from drafting and negotiating contracts and distribution agreements to complex financing and licensing agreements. Our goal is to make sure our clients receive every possible source of revenue from their endeavors, including new media and international distribution. We also call upon our deep resources in real estate, trust and estate planning, intellectual property, advertising, tax and finance to counsel clients on personal as well as professional matters.
MusicManatt music lawyers represent rock, metal, alternative, urban and country music stars, songwriters and recording legends as well as estates to protect their interests. We draft and negotiate recording, publishing, management, distribution, touring, merchandising, licensing, partnership and Internet agreements, as well as devise strategies to help our clients protect their intellectual property rights.
We also represent record and publishing companies like BMG Rights Management, RCA Records and Warner/Chappell Music, production companies, music industry executives and managers, songwriters, and concert promotion companies on a range of matters, including contracts, licensing and merchandising, corporate sponsorship, financing, copyright litigation, mergers and acquisitions, tax and labor.
SportsThe line between sports and entertainment began blurring long ago, and today the two are virtually one and the same. Our sports clients aren’t just world-class players and well-known teams, they’re business people and multitalented individuals with many diverse investments and opportunities. We represent and protect the entertainment interests of our clients which include athletes as well as professional sports teams, sports league associations and sports media companies.
Entertainment LaborNot many entertainment law practices have handled the breadth and depth of labor matters that Manatt has. Our experience covers matters that affect those who work at every level of the industry, from backstage and backlot to the highest levels of the boardroom. For the recording, motion picture and television industries, we handle negotiations regarding union and guild contracts, labor disputes, as well as employment contracts for talent and top executives.
Tough Litigators for a Tough IndustryWith entertainment litigation teams in Los Angeles and New York, our strength lies in a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses film, television, radio, music, art, digital entertainment and advertising. From high-profile disputes over copyright infringement and breach of contract to right of publicity matters, trademark claims, false advertising consumer class actions, and Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims, clients can be confident of Manatt’s counsel—because chances are we’ve already successfully handled a case like theirs. We advise some of the biggest global players in the sector—film studios and TV production companies such as NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox, Endemol and American Idol Productions, and music publishers like Warner/Chappell, BMG Rights Management, and EMI Music Publishing. For clients of this stature, we are handling multiple major matters—matters which quite often set precedent in the industry and which, in the case of our work for TV companies, can literally save certain industries and revenue streams. We also handle a wealth of copyright litigation for major recording artists.
At the Forefront of Branded and Integrated EntertainmentWorking in conjunction with lawyers from the firm’s Advertising, Marketing & Media practice, Manatt represents the interests of key business and creative players in structuring and negotiating innovative brand integration and activation deals for feature films, television, new media, music and video games.
Helping to Shape a Brave New World of Digital Media and EntertainmentManatt is helping to shape the future of the new digital media world. With lawyers optimally located in Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., we provide crucial strategic support to clients that include film and television studios and networks, music companies, A-list talent, video game publishers and digital media companies. While helping many major entertainment and media companies, as well as artists, expand their businesses to the digital platform, we also represent many small firms seeking to be the next INgrooves or YouTube—entrepreneurs with transformational technologies for the delivery of digital content.
Manatt has advised motion picture and television writers, directors
and executive producers, as well as studios, networks and independent production
companies on the development, production and exploitation of hundreds of films,
both scripted and reality televisions series and programs. Our counsel covers
everything from First Amendment issues, to financing and syndication, to
international production and distribution agreements.
Manatt represents top producers, actors, directors and writers
working in film, television and the Internet, including many who redefine
traditional boundaries and act in multiple capacities. Our attorneys advise
"crossover" talent and companies simultaneously operating in the film,
television, Internet and music fields.
Manatt has a strong reputation for representing independent
producers and distributors of film, television, video and Internet products for
both the U.S. and international marketplaces. We work with our clients from the
formation and funding stages through production and delivery of the finished
product, including the issues that arise from global distribution rights. Our
attorneys have a practical feel for acquisitions, licensing and corporate
We are deeply involved with the new
and non-traditional ways in which entertainment is delivered to the consumer.
Our attorneys have substantial experience in theme park design and construction,
first-run syndication, production for video and cable, the development and use
of production facilities outside Hollywood, the video game industry, video
publishing and the complex and constantly evolving issues concerning content
licensing and exploitation over the Internet and wireless devices. Our
particular areas of technology focus include:
Manatt attorneys have in-depth experience that meets the needs of
all major participants in the music business, including recording artists,
songwriters, recording companies and independent record labels, music
publishers, producers and concert promoters. We represent them in commercial
negotiations involving record and production deals, publishing agreements, side
artist agreements, catalog acquisitions, copyright protection, concert
agreements and Internet-related issues that include music downloading. We have
particular insight into the most specialized industry issues, such as
California's seven-year rule on recording contracts and the needs of motion
picture and television production entities in contracting with music artists and
record companies for music used in films and television programs.
Our music lawyers handle the contractual aspects of worldwide
concert tours for both performer and promoter clients, including contracts with
promoters, sound and light companies, stage designers, insurance companies,
concert halls and ticket agencies and negotiations for tour
relationships with advertising agencies, artist representatives and celebrities,
formed by years of experience as one of the premier law firms in the
entertainment industry and strengthened by the firm's substantial Advertising,
Marketing and Media Practice Group, are the foundation for our counsel on
advertising, endorsement licensing and sponsorship opportunities for clients. We
work with artists and companies from all media, including motion pictures,
television, the Internet and new media, music and recording to negotiate and
structure agreements that benefit all parties. With our comprehensive practice
strengths, we can handle the trademark and copyright details, ensure compliance
with advertising laws and regulation, resolve labor union or guild issues and
settle such corporate and business points as compensation and royalties. We have
particular skill at helping artists protect all rights to their names and
likenesses through trademark registration.
We represent numerous entertainment
companies in preparing and negotiating contracts with their talent employees,
and we engage extensively in the counseling of these companies with regard to
entertainment guild matters. Our attorneys also frequently serve as counsel to
talent management companies and individual talent managers in negotiating
agreements with their artist clients.
represent lenders, borrowers and public and private investors in the U.S. and in
the major capital markets throughout the world, as well as other providers and
users of capital in the entertainment industry. We negotiate and document loans
for particular projects, as well as complex overall credit lines and "slate"
deals. We have extensive experience with traditional negative pick-up and "gap"
financing structures, as well as more complex structures, including such
innovations as insurance-enhanced lending, complex multi-distributor "split
rights" financings, foreign co-financings and foreign tax shelters. We also
negotiate and document sophisticated joint ventures, private placements, public
offerings and equity fund financings. We have also negotiated numerous audit
disputes in the motion picture, television, recording, publishing and
merchandising industries. Our recording industry audits have involved active pop
and rock music performers and the estates of deceased performers, and we have
handled audits involving current television shows and classic motion picture
Our attorneys have assisted clients in
the acquisition and disposition of entire businesses, of equity interests in
publicly and privately held media and entertainment entities, asset acquisitions
and dispositions and in merger transactions. Because of our in-depth knowledge
in the entertainment industry, we are able to bring to these transactions the
requisite level of expertise in assessing intellectual property rights and
similar industry-specific knowledge.
Manatt entertainment attorneys have advised
television news and magazine programs, publishers, motion picture companies and
performing artists in disputes over their First Amendment rights.
Manatt attorneys regularly advise non-U.S.
media companies on how to enter and do business in the U.S. entertainment
industry, as well as assist U.S. companies with problems they encounter in
global markets. We advise these groups and individuals on how to structure split
rights and rights acquisition transactions and represent some of the largest
entertainment companies in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Canada on a variety
of new entertainment ventures.
For artists and production companies, the use of intellectual
property protected by trademarks and copyrights is a vital and complex concern.
Manatt attorneys are experienced with all legal and business issues involving
these works and provide focused counsel at each stage of their use and
Recent experience include the firm's representation of:
Named 2011 Law Firm of the Year
Ranked Nationally in Tier 1 for Entertainment Law 2010–2014
Named 2014 Law Firm of the Year for Entertainment Law - Music
Ranked in California for Media & Entertainment Law 2007–2014
© 2014 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. All rights reserved.