Co-Chair, Entertainment and Mediaemail
Co-chair, Entertainment and Mediaemail
A Powerhouse Practice
Lauded 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 and 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 from other firms by the array of services we offer, our lawyers handle, on a worldwide basis, film and television financing, production and distribution, copyright matters, union and guild contracts, film, television and music licensing deals, corporate mergers and acquisitions; represent legendary music, film and television talent; and litigate a wide variety of entertainment- and media-related disputes. We’re also at the forefront of brand integration, working closely with Manatt’s leading-edge Digital Media and Advertising, Marketing and Media practices to create innovative and successful tie-ins between big-name brands and the entertainment industry’s creative output.
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 in Contracts, Deals and Financings
Manatt’s entertainment and media practice includes the handling of 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 experienced at raising of debt and equity capital from private and public sources to fund major studio and independent projects as well as entertainment startups, and are active in M&A transactions throughout the industry.
Film and Television
Manatt 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 on a broad range of matters, from drafting and negotiating talent contracts and distribution agreements to handling complex financings and licensing agreements. Our goal is to make sure our clients receive every possible source of revenue for their endeavors, including from 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.
Manatt’s music lawyers represent rock, metal, alternative, urban and country music songwriters and recording legends, as well as their 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, such as RCA Records, BMG Rights Management GmbH and Warner/Chappell Music, as well as production companies, concert promotion companies, music industry executives and managers, and songwriters in connection with contracts, licensing and merchandising, corporate sponsorship, financing, copyright litigation, mergers and acquisitions, tax, and labor matters.
The line between sports and entertainment began blurring long ago, and today the two are virtually one and the same. Our clients aren’t just world-class athletes and well-known teams; they’re also multitalented individuals and diversified businesses with investments to protect and opportunities to pursue. We work to advance and safeguard the economic and career interests of our clients, be they athletes, professional sports teams, sports league associations or sports media companies.
Not many Entertainment and Media practices have handled the breadth and depth of labor matters that we have. Our experience covers matters that affect those who work at every level of the industry, from back lot to boardroom. For the recording, motion picture and television industries, we handle union and guild contract negotiations and labor disputes, as well as employment contracts for talent and top executives.
Tough Litigators for a Tough Industry
Our entertainment litigators in Los Angeles and New York are supported by Manatt's multidisciplinary entertainment industry practice, which encompasses film, television, radio, music, art, digital entertainment and advertising. From high-profile disputes over copyright infringement or breach of contract to right of publicity matters, trademark claims, false advertising consumer class actions and Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims, you can be confident of Manatt’s counsel—because chances are we’ve already successfully handled a case like yours. 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 GmbH and EMI Music Publishing. We are handling multiple major matters for these clients and others of this stature; matters which, quite often, have established important legal precedents and, in some cases, preserved revenue streams, such as when a major courtroom victory we had worked tenaciously for literally saved the television industry from extinction We've also handled a multitude of copyright infringement cases for major recording artists.
At the Forefront of Branded and Integrated Entertainment
Working in conjunction with lawyers from the firm’s Advertising, Marketing and 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 the Brave New World of Digital Entertainment/Media
Manatt is helping to shape the future of the new digital media world. Optimally located in Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., we provide crucial strategic support to film and television studios and networks, music companies, A-list talent, video game publishers, digital media companies and others in this space. In addition to helping major entertainment and media companies and A-list artists establish a digital footprint, we also represent small firms with transformational technologies to support the delivery of digital content in their quest to become the next INgrooves or YouTube.
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
Our attorneys work with artists, celebrities and companies from traditional media, including motion pictures, television, and music and new media to negotiate and structure endorsement, licensing and sponsorship opportunities for our clients. 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 corporate and business points including 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:
Ranked in California for Media & Entertainment Law 2007–2015
Ranked Nationally in Tier 1 for Entertainment Law 2010–2016
Named 2016 Law Firm
of the Year for Entertainment Law – Music
Named 2011 Law Firm of the Year
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