• Entertainment and Media

    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.

    Music

    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.

    Sports

    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.

    Labor Law

    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.

    Areas of Focus

    Film and Television Companies

    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.

    Film and Television Talent

    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.

    Independent Distributors and Producers

    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 matters.

    Internet and New Media Ventures

    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:

    • Digital music: We represent various online companies and Internet and wireless service providers, individual creators of music, record companies and music publishers in every type of agreement pertaining to the digital distribution and licensing of musical material. Our attorneys have prepared agreements for Internet promotions of musical entertainers and product, webcast agreements, streaming agreements and agreements for sales of traditional musical content over the Internet. Among other successes, we represented the first established artist to license sound recordings to Emusic for digital downloads and have advised a number of independent record labels in exclusive catalog licenses with a prominent distributor of digital downloads.
    • Interactive games: We work with game developers, publishers and distributors, as well as a broad range of traditional entertainment industry clients who partner with game companies to develop games that include, or are based on, elements of popular culture. Understanding that interactive games may include live action footage, copyrighted characters and stories and celebrity names and likenesses and may themselves be made into movies or television shows, we assist our clients with all issues of intellectual property, entertainment, advertising, Internet and general business law.
    • Video: Our professionals are involved in all musical aspects of production for the home video marketplace, representing performers and home video production companies in everything from initial agreements and manufacturing to home video exploitation.
    • Internet/Wireless Services: Manatt is involved in all aspects of the production of content for Internet and wireless services and the distribution of content over the Internet and wireless devices. We represent major portals and individual websites providing Internet content and entities that are delivering audio and audiovisual content over wireless and other "new technology platforms." We represent individual producers and companies that finance, produce and license content to the Internet and for wireless devices.

    Music and Recording Participants

    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.

    Promoters and Concerts

    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 sponsorship.

    Advertising, Marketing and Sponsorship

    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.

     

    Employment and Talent Agreements

    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.

    Finance

    Manatt attorneys 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 productions.

    Mergers and Acquisitions

    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.

    First Amendment, Defamation and Right of Privacy

    Manatt entertainment attorneys have advised television news and magazine programs, publishers, motion picture companies and performing artists in disputes over their First Amendment rights.

    International Entertainment Ventures

    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.

     

    Trademark & Copyright Issues

    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 protection.

    • Production companies: We advise companies in the creation, registration, protection and use of trademarks and titles, in merchandising ventures, in the acquisition and exploitation of film libraries and in other businesses such as retail catalog sales, advertising and video games.
    • Writers and authors: Manatt represents many book authors, screenwriters and their estates in negotiating book publishing, literary option and screenplay writing agreements and related issues.

     

    Attorneys & Professionals

    Email
    Name
    Office
    Phone
    Biederman, Charles J. Los Angeles 310.312.4277
    Bromley, Jordan Los Angeles 310.312.4134
    Brunswick, Alan M. Los Angeles 310.312.4213
    Caginalp, Aydin S. New York 212.790.4610
    Conner, Lindsay Los Angeles 310.312.4229
    Cooke, George A. New York 212.790.4538
    Custer, Eric Los Angeles 310.312.4219
    Gilbert, Gary L. Los Angeles 310.312.4232
    Horacek III, Joseph Los Angeles 310.312.4140
    Jacobs, Robert A. Los Angeles 310.312.4360
    Kassoy, Arnold D. Los Angeles 310.312.4314
    Kaufman, Kenneth M. Washington, D.C. 202.585.6532
    Lavie, Jen Deitch New York 212.790.4595
    Lessoff, David S. Los Angeles 310.312.4145
    Levy, Stanley W. Los Angeles 310.312.4379
    Mannisto, Jeffrey A. Los Angeles 310.312.4212
    Marks, Laurence M. Los Angeles 310.312.4154
    Phillips, L. Lee Los Angeles 310.312.4111
    Rappaport, David New York 212.790.4506
    Rexford, Michael Los Angeles 310.312.4287
    Wollman, Shari Mulrooney Los Angeles 310.312.4309
    Yen, Sophia K. Los Angeles 310.312.4122

    Entertainment

    Select MPTV Clients

    • AT&T
    • CBS Broadcasting
    • Eton Park Capital Management
    • Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
    • Huayi Brothers Media Corp
    • IMAX Corporation
    • Lionsgate Television
    • ProSiebenSat.1
    • Sony Pictures Entertainment
    • Twentieth Century Fox Television
    • Tyler Perry Productions

    Select Music and Talent Clients

    • BMG Rights Management GmbH
    • Concord Music Group
    • Pat Benetar
    • Death Cab for Cutie
    • Diplo
    • George Benson
    • Jennifer Nettles
    • Los Tigres del Norte
    • Lyle Lovett
    • Mad Decent
    • Megadeth
    • Michael Douglas
    • Neil Young
    • Estate of Rick James
    • Estate of Robin Williams
    • WME Entertainment

    Entertainment

    Representative Matters

    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.

  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altRanked in California for Media & Entertainment Law 2007–2015

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally in Tier 1 for Entertainment Law 2010–2015

    logo/img/@altNamed 2011 Law Firm of the Year