A new entertainment landscape
There's no business like show business. The interplay between technology and consumer demand is transforming the marketplace. Content is king, and the challenge is finding the right platforms to deliver and monetize your film, TV or music properties. With the globalization of financing, production, distribution and licensing, you need the right mix of business savvy and legal expertise. That's the value Manatt provides—to help you stay ahead in the rapidly changing market for entertainment and media.
Entertainment and media is in our bones. Manatt is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the industry, with our team receiving regular accolades in national and international trade and entertainment publications. Our practice covers music, film and TV, as well as digital media, sports, live events and other ventures.
Film and TV
Our film, TV and digital content practice provides both transactional and litigation services to studios, networks, telecommunications companies, production and distribution companies, banks, funds and other investors.
From our Los Angeles and New York offices, our film and TV lawyers broker deals across America and in Asia, Europe and Latin America. And we're shaping the future of digital media, providing crucial strategic support to major players in this space.
The team is practiced and pragmatic, excelling in financing, production, distribution, licensing, mergers and acquisitions in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries.
Our music lawyers represent some of the world's biggest artists as well as the record companies, producers, concert promoters, publishers and distributors. We handle licensing and merchandising, corporate sponsorship, financing, copyright litigation, mergers and acquisitions, tax, real estate, privacy, FTC, labor matters and more.
With decades of experience and long-lasting relationships, we understand how things work and know whom to talk to. We see things from both legal and commercial standpoints, advising clients on business decisions that create successful deals. We also have a sterling record in entertainment and media litigation.
Who we work with
Being the go-to firm for some of the biggest global players in entertainment, our clients know they can rely on us to deliver value and advance their business objectives. We work with:
- Film and television companies
- Record labels and music publishers
- Independent producers and distributors
- Digital media ventures—digital content producers and distributors in music, video and gaming
- Telecommunications companies
- International media companies entering the U.S. market
- Financial institutions, funds and investors
- Film, TV and music talent—actors, writers, directors, producers, managers, musicians, promoters and authors
- Athletes, professional sports teams, sports league associations and sports media companies
What we do
We cover the entire spectrum of entertainment and media law and consultancy. Our wide-ranging work includes:
- Entertainment financing, production, and distribution
- Endorsement, licensing and sponsorship opportunities
- Employment and talent agreements
- Contractual aspects of worldwide tours
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Intellectual property protection
- Privacy and data security
- Real estate
- Litigation and Federal Trade Commission defense
Recent experience include the firm's representation of:
- Alliance Films, one of the top five international independent film entertainment companies in the world, in the renewal of a long-standing distribution partnership with Miramax Films, a leading independent film motion picture distribution and production company. The deal gives Alliance distribution rights in Canada for the entire Miramax Library, a collection of over 700 motion pictures, in addition to long-term Canadian distribution rights for all films that Miramax produces or acquires in the next five years.
- BMG Rights Management GmbH (BMG) in several recent transactions that have aggregated over 1,000,000 copyrights in the last few years, including:
- BMG’s acquisition of R2M Music, procuring for BMG 12,000 copyrights, with 35 Top Ten hits. The transaction also encompassed the music publishing assets of former Transcontinent Musikverlag GmbH, including rights to an extensive German Schlager music catalog.
- BMG's $300 million acquisition of Bug Music, whose renowned clientele includes the estates of Johnny Cash, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as some of today's top musical artists, such as Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Ryan Adams, Wilco, The Guess Who and Jamie Foxx.
- BMG’s acquisition of Chrysalis, a leading independent music publisher, and its 100,000-song catalog that includes songs by David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Cee Lo Green and Blondie.
- BMG’s acquisition of Evergreen Copyright Acquisitions LLC, and its catalog that includes songs recorded by artists such as Eric Clapton, MC Hammer, Michael Jackson and Nick Drake.
- BMG’s acquisition of Stage Three Music, a leading independent, international music publisher based in London, from its shareholders Apax Partners, Ingenious Ventures and the management.
- BMG’s acquisition of Cherry Lane Music Publishing, whose roster of songwriters included leading performers such as Elvis Presley.
- BMG’s acquisition of the music publishing catalog of Crosstown Songs America, consisting of more than 8,000 songs.
- Concord Music Group, Inc., in numerous acquisitions that have contributed to its rich catalog of more than 10,000 master recordings and strengthened Concord’s status as one of the world’s most significant independent record companies, with a leadership position in multiple genres, including:
- Concord's acquisition of certain assets and music rights from Rounder Records Corp. and affiliates.
- Concord's acquisition of Telarc International.
- Concord's acquisition of Fantasy, Inc.
- Crescent Entertainment, LLC, in its acquisition of promissory note and warrants to acquire 50% of the main film production and distribution companies that make up Village Roadshow Pictures Group.
- Eton Park Capital Management, L.P., a $15 billion hedge fund, in the restructuring of its mezzanine debt position in The Film Department, a film production company. The restructuring included assessment of several private equity transactions, as well as the completion of a Forbearance Agreement and a Buyout Agreement. We were directly involved in the structuring, negotiation and documentation of the deals.
- Image Entertainment, Inc., in its acquisitionby BTP Acquisition Co., LLP.
- INgrooves, a global provider of digital distribution, marketing and promotion services to the audio, video and publishing communities via its ONE Digital platform, in the following:
- A Series B Preferred Stock financing by Shamrock Capital
- INgrooves's acquisition of Fontana Distribution from Universal Music Group. The new company, INgrooves Fontana, will combine INgrooves' asset management, distribution platform and a decade of experience in the digital world with Fontana's physical distribution and marketing capabilities.
- Isolation, the parent company of INgrooves, in the sale of 50.1% of the stock of INgrooves to Universal Music Group.
- Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) in multiple financings, including:
- SPE in a $150 million multi-film co-finance deal with Hemisphere Capital Management to provide financing for three Sony tentpole films. The Manatt team drafted and negotiated all agreements related to the cofinancing deal.
- SPE in a multi-film co-financing agreement with Beverly Boulevard, LLC, and Relativity Media.
- SPE in a $500 million multi-film co-finance deal with an offshore financing entity. The Manatt team is drafting and negotiating all agreements related to this complex, international co-financing deal.
- Stage Three Music in its acquisition of the song catalog of Mosaic Music, which includes copyrights such as Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," ZZ Top's "Legs" and songs recorded by Run-DMC and Eminem.
- Village Roadshow Ltd., an international entertainment and media company, regarding the structuring of a bridge loan facility for one of its stockholders.
- WOWOW, the leading premium pay television satellite broadcaster in Japan (who obtained from the Japanese government two additional channels of high-definition broadcast) to find suitable coproductions with international companies to provide original programming. The Manatt team is advising our client with regard to strategies and negotiations for output deals from major motion picture studios in the United States, giving them access to studios and producers in the U.S., and guiding them in connection with international business strategy and U.S. tax law and immigration.
- A major international beverage brand that fully financed a new cable reality series. We worked closely with the producers and network to ensure that the brand messaging was appropriate and seamless.
- A two-time Academy Award winner as general counsel. Recent work includes the negotiation of the deal for the actor to reprise his iconic role in a film sequel, as well as a deal for him to star in a feature film released in 2010.
- A three-time Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 34 million records worldwide. We served as general counsel in a number of matters, including the negotiation of an agreement for the publication of his memoir and a reality series.
- One of America's largest television networks in a multiyear finance/production/distribution agreement for its late-night programming slate.
- Several major studio feature films in working with producers to seamlessly integrate different brand categories into the story lines and subsequently pitching brands and closing deals.