Entertainment & New Media

Overview

“Everyone there was professional, personable and knowledgeable. I have no hesitation recommending them.”

— Client feedback, Chambers USA

The entertainment and media industries are constantly evolving, with new participants and technologies altering the way content is created, accessed, distributed, and shared. Understanding the legal issues and surrounding regulatory environment and protecting intellectual property are critical to the security and success of your business. 

Blank Rome is at the forefront of the industry, providing legal advice and counsel to content creators, creative talent, and businesses. We work with leading global entertainment and media companies and innovative start-ups offering products and services through Internet, mobile, and digital media technologies, to help them succeed at every stage of their business. 

We take a client-focused approach to helping clients on a wide range of issues, including: media and gaming company acquisitions, content licensing, distribution and supplier agreements, and commercial deals related to interactive marketing, branded consumer products and services, and Internet technologies. We advise clients on consumer and online contracts, employee and consultant agreements, data protection and management, and other legal issues associated with developing digital content channels.

Our clients include motion picture and television studios; music recording and publishing companies; high-profile actors, writers, directors, producers, distributors, recording artists, talent and sports agents, agencies, and managers; independent production and distribution companies; video game and other interactive developers, publishers and agents; musicians; models; athletes; and entertainment guilds. 

From filing for intellectual property protection to creating new business entities, to contract agreements and estate planning, we have the breadth of skills to support you through any endeavor.

While we try our best to avoid litigation, when it becomes necessary our entertainment litigators work collaboratively with you to strategize the most effective and efficient way to resolve what can become an otherwise costly dispute. We also understand the legislative and administrative process in New York, Washington, Sacramento, and Los Angeles and serve as communicators and business strategists to advocate your position. 

How We Can Help

We represent our clients in matters that are relevant to every aspect of the entertainment industry, including:

  • entertainment and general commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution
  • business restructuring, bankruptcy, and creditors’ rights
  • employment, labor, and benefits, including executive engagements and disengagement
  • government relations
  • intellectual property counseling, prosecution, and litigation
  • matrimonial and family law
  • mergers & acquisitions / private equity
  • tax structuring and planning for both corporations and individuals
  • wealth management and estate planning
  • First Amendment counseling and litigation
  • finance and investment structures
  • white collar defense and investigations

Experience

  • Representation of numerous actors, writers, producers, and directors in disputes with major feature film or television studios, independent film or television distributors, and/or film or television production companies concerning the payment of contingent proceeds (or “net profits”) flowing from the exploitation of various feature films and television shows.
  • Representation of a high-net-worth investor in a lawsuit against the administrators of a multi-hundred million dollar theatrical feature film fund seeking a “finders fee” for a $75 million cash investment brought to the fund. Representation of numerous actors, writers, directors, talent agents, and talent and/or business managers in disputes concerning payment or nonpayment of management and/or talent agency commissions.
  • Representation of entrepreneurial, entertainment, equity venture, and gaming companies in a broad range of corporate finance and real estate matters including developments, capital raises, acquisitions, and sales.
  • Representation of a critically acclaimed feature film screenwriter in defense of an indemnity claim brought by a noted actor, director’s production company, and a movie studio.
  • Representation of a publicly traded entertainment company in connection with the development and financing of a first-run Broadway musical theater, including negotiation of a long-term lease and use arrangements with New York City and New York State development agencies.
  • Representation of an Academy Award-winning best actor in a breach of contract “pay or play” matter also involving First Amendment issues.
  • Representation of a film production company concerning breach of contract, fraud, and other claims by a distribution company concerning a slate of films financed by a bank, litigation which involved, among other things, the obligations of a completion bond company.
  • Representation of a director against a film production company concerning the director’s final cut rights involving representations in the completion bond. Representation of a film distribution company in defense of allegations that it failed to market and distribute a motion picture in accordance with the parties’ agreement.
  • Representation of a foreign sales agent in connection with a breach of contract dispute involving an Academy Award-winning best picture.
  • Representation of a film production company in defense of fraud allegations by a distributor/financier regarding the budgets for a slate of films, the payment of royalties, and the payment of advances.
  • Representation of the owner of the copyright of a film against a film production company hired by that owner to shoot the footage for the film for breach of contract and fraud surrounding the production company’s failure to shoot the film as required, refusal to stop working on the film after being fired, and subsequently holding the footage shot for the film “hostage.”
  • Representation of a film distributor/financier against a film financier, a completion guarantor, and a production company. Representation of an independent production and distribution company concerning breach of contract and business torts against a digital visual effects vendor.
  • Successfully defended Facebook, the social media pioneer, in a major patent litigation action that threatened the core of Facebook’s business. The action concluded with a jury verdict completely vindicating Facebook and the invalidating of the patent at issue.
  • Handle patent work, as well as manage the worldwide trademark portfolio, of Accuweather, an American media company that provides commercial weather forecasting services worldwide.
  • Manage United Way Worldwide’s (“UWW”) global trademark portfolio, provide clearance and registration for its trademarks, infringement protection, licensing, and related legal services. Advised UWW in connection with the development, management, and licensing of a software platform that facilitates relationships between charities, business, and individual donors.
  • Manage the trademark portfolio of Verisign, Inc., and render a variety of business and brand protection advices globally. Verisign is the global leader in domain names and Internet security.
  • Biggs/Gilmore Communications, Inc., a digital advertising and marketing agency, in its acquisition by VML, Inc., a leading digital marketing company and wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP, a world leader in marketing communications services.

Team