Popular culture—and the way it is produced, distributed and consumed worldwide—is undergoing vast and rapid change. In a new age of entertainment deals, players and platforms, Manatt uses commercial savvy and legal experience to advance and protect our clients’ interests.
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, music or digital properties. With the globalization of financing, production, distribution and licensing, you need the right mix of business savvy and legal experience. That’s the value Manatt provides—to help you stay ahead in the rapidly changing market for entertainment.
Entertainment 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, gaming, live events, fashion and branding, and other ventures.
Film and TV
Our film, TV and digital media practice provides both transactional and litigation services to studios, networks, telecommunications companies, production and distribution companies, banks, funds and other investors, actors, writers, directors, producers, and book authors.
From our Los Angeles and New York offices, our 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, and mergers and acquisitions in all aspects of the entertainment industry.
Our music lawyers represent some of the world’s biggest artists as well as record companies, producers, concert promoters, publishers and distributors. We handle licensing and merchandising, corporate sponsorship, financing, copyright litigation, mergers and acquisitions, catalog sales, tax, real estate, privacy, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issues, 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 litigation.
More and more, traditional media players are realizing a strong digital media strategy is essential to surviving in the new industry landscape. Our transactional and litigation clients in the digital media and multimedia spaces include a mix of high-profile players seeking to finance, produce and distribute content in new formats, and emerging companies and platforms across film, television, music, podcasting, games/esports, XR and other emerging digital media. We leverage decades of institutional knowledge and a complex understanding of the industry to adapt and re-envision deal structures to meet evolving market opportunities, and with the added capabilities of our digital and technology consulting team, we can assist clients in scoping the market viability of new ventures.
Who we work with
Because we are 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
- Digital content producers and distributors in music, video, gaming, podcasting and other digital media ventures
- Telecommunications companies
- Financial institutions, funds and investors
- Book publishers
- Podcasting companies, including podcast networks
- International media companies entering the U.S. market
- Independent producers and distributors
- A broad spectrum of content creators—actors, writers, directors, producers, book authors, managers, musicians, promoters, influencers, and hosts of podcasts and other digital content productions
- Music artists, songwriters and composers
- Athletes (including esports athletes), professional sports and esports teams, sports and esports 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, development and distribution
- Endorsement, licensing and sponsorship opportunities
- Employment and talent agreements
- Contractual aspects of worldwide tours
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Intellectual property protection
- Influencer and brand agreements
- Book publishing
- Privacy and data security
- Real estate
- Litigation and FTC defense
Recent experience include the firm's representation of:
- Dundee Partners in its $1.1 billion acquisition of Kobalt Capital Limited’s music rights portfolio, KMR Music Royalties II, alongside global investment firm KKR.
- Wasserman Media Group in its acquisition of Paradigm Talent Agency’s North American live music representation business and the launch of Wasserman Music.
- Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd., an international music publishing company, in Round Hill Music Royalty Fund I’s acquisition of a pipeline publishing catalog that is valued at $363 million.
- Downtown Music Holdings, a global independent rights management and music services company, in its sale of 145,000 copyrights to Concord Music.
- The Baer Brothers in their directorial debut film, Don’t Log Off, including all legal production matters for the indie thriller, which brothers Garrett and Brandon Baer also wrote. The film is set entirely during the early days of the COVID-19 quarantine and was filmed both virtually and on location.
- Tracy Chapman, the iconic songwriter and recording artist, in a federal court action claiming copyright infringement over the use of Chapman’s copyrighted music and lyrics in a Nicki Minaj song.
- Marshmello, Dan Smith (lead singer of Bastille), U.K. producer and songwriter Steve Mac, Polygram, Kobalt Music and others as lead counsel in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Russian electronic D.J. Artem Stoliarov p/k/a Arty alleging that Marshmello’s hit song “Happier” infringes Stoliarov’s copyright in the song “I Lived (Arty Remix).” The suit raised unique copyright ownership issues with respect to remixes of pre-existing songs, unusual questions concerning causation and damages from live performances of allegedly infringing songs, and jurisdictional issues testing the reach of the Copyright Act to non-U.S. defendants. The court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motions in full, successfully concluding the case in our clients’ favor.
- Kast Media, a top-ten global podcast network, providing both legal and consulting advice on entertainment and corporate matters.
- Limelight Entertainment, the financier of the film Palm Springs, in one of the largest deals ever closed at Sundance. We developed the production finance agreement and participated in the distribution agreement with Hulu. We also represented Limelight in negotiating its cofinancing agreement with eOne and Boies Schiller for the film The Starling.
- Press X, an esports talent and marketing agency, and Everyday Influencers, an agency representing streaming influencers, in their sale to United Talent Agency.
- XSET, an esports lifestyle and culture company, in its partnership with the singer Ozuna, in which the Latin superstar joined XSET as an investor, managing partner and content creator.
- Subnation Media, a games and esports media holding company, in its acquisition of half of the prominent North American Fortnite esports team XTRA Gaming. We also represented Subnation in its partnership with NFL star Marquez Valdes-Scantling and the joint launch of Trench Made Gaming, a franchise for esports teams across multiple game titles that connects brands to players and fans with apparel, original content and other initiatives.