Would you ask your local GP doctor to perform heart surgery? They’re both doctors, right? Would you ask a house painter to paint your portrait? They’re both painters, right? Would Ferrari ask an Uber driver to drive its F1 car? They’re professional drivers, right?
So, would you ask a commercial lawyer to look at your contracts or legal issues relating to the entertainment and creative industries? Of course not!
Don’t make the mistake of asking any old lawyer, manager, or agent to provide advice on entertainment and creative industry contracts and legal issues.
Issues in the entertainment and creative industries are unique. Anticipating and understanding specific industry issues, customs and complexities is something only an Entertainment or Creative Lawyer is really able to do.
We are experts in our fields. We understand the entertainment and creative industries like a heart surgeon understands the heart.
We don’t need to get “up to speed” with the kind of deal you’re negotiating – we know how it works and we can move quickly at a sophisticated and detailed level.
We can spot what is not in a deal (i.e. things that should be in there and have been missed) … rather than just tell you what the agreement says.
Entertainment lawyers have extensive experience negotiating, reviewing and drafting entertainment deals from both sides of the table too. We have an understanding of market conditions and what the standard terms and conditions may be, depending on your position.
We can answer questions like; ‘is this a good deal for me?’ and ‘what should be in my agreement?’.
We have heard all the war stories and can help you learn from other people’s mistakes. The nuances in the kind of language used in entertainment industry contracts are unlike those in standard contracts, and they really do count!
A general commercial lawyer can only really tell you what the ‘fine print’ says, without being able to provide insight into the deal as the whole. On the flip side, mangers and agents can often tell you whether the commercial terms are good (e.g. fee, royalties, timing, deliverables, etc), but without clarity on the impact of the “fine print”. As entertainment lawyers, we do both, and can help you protect your rights as well as help you understand your obligations.
The reality is, lawyers generally aren’t cheap. However, as creative lawyers we understand that sometimes you don’t need a 20 page services agreement, when a five page document will do (in the context of budget and risks). We also understand some legal issues and outcomes will effectively never arise… and we can save you from wasting time and money by telling you exactly what you need to worry about!
Of course, understanding the client and the industry allows us to make an immediate assessment of risks and provide long hours of assistance where needs be, while also being nimble enough to having five minute calls to resolve matters in full, when that would suffice. We are always happy to take the quick ‘does this make sense?’ phone call!
Understanding the Other Side
We act for talent, managers, publishers, artists, production companies, directors, producers (both music and film/TV/digital content), writers, PR companies, brands, developers, agents, promotors, venues and so many others in the entertainment and creative industries. As a result, we understand what the other side usually wants. We also often know the lawyer on the other side, so we also know what they are likely to see as being important! This helps in almost all aspects of negotiations and disputes.
Need Advice from an Entertainment Lawyer?
If you’re in the entertainment industry and need legal advice, don’t rely on a lawyer who does not specialise in entertainment law. It’s also not advisable to rely on managers or agents to provide advice on matters relating to legal matters in the entertainment and creative industries.
We are happy to help you, so please get in touch if you need assistance from an Entertainment Lawyer in connection with any of your entertainment and creative industry matters.