Practice/Industry Group Overview
Duane Morris attorneys have extensive experience representing clients doing business in entertainment and new media. Whether pursuing new opportunities or investments, enforcing contracts or agreements or protecting clients' rights, the firm's lawyers understand the unique issues presented by operating in these industries, including the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships, controlling sensitive information, maintaining privacy and confidentiality and achieving goals in tight timeframes. Providing personal service similar to a boutique firm which may have offices in one or a few cities, Duane Morris provides clients access to lawyers around the world working in all the legal disciplines that clients may require. Whether in New York, Los Angeles, London, or any of the more than 20 markets where Duane Morris has offices, the firm's attorneys are able to provide experienced counsel and effective representation for clients in these fast-moving, high-stakes industries.
Duane Morris attorneys have represented clients in all facets of the entertainment industry, including:
- Actors, comedians, media personalities
- Musicians, performing artists, entertainers
- Authors and artists
- Film/TV producers, production companies
- Broadcasting companies
- Music producers, record companies
- Video game companies
- Electronic content providers
- Theaters and venues
New Media and Technology
In the creative industries, our lawyers work together with innovative companies and individuals at the intersection of technology and the law in new media, social networking, interactive entertainment, video games, software, and electronic content sharing and publishing. The firm regularly represents clients in the sale, acquisition and protection of domain names and other electronic assets. Several of our lawyers are well known for their work in data security and privacy issues. A Duane Morris lawyer defended the first criminal prosecution of a software company under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Another of our lawyers drafted the first open source agreement.
Negotiating deals can be career defining moments. Our lawyers initiate, structure and finalize deals with some of the best known companies and organizations in entertainment. Our attorneys regularly handle negotiations for clients, including:
- Merchandising and licensing
- Broadcasting, syndication, content distribution
- Copyright/trademark permissions
- Joint ventures and investments
- Venue naming rights
- Real estate
In entertainment, names, logos, likenesses and published works are among the most valuable aspects of the industries. Enabling their use in the most advantageous ways while simultaneously protecting against non-permitted uses is a constant balancing act. For many years, Duane Morris attorneys have negotiated trademark and copyright licenses, purchases and consent agreements for entertainment clients. More recently, Duane Morris has become increasingly involved in global anti-counterfeiting enforcement, coordinating efforts of to stop the sale of knockoff goods around the world.
Wealth Management and Tax Planning
Entertainers' flow of income and return on investments can be more volatile than almost any other, making it of the utmost importance to have solid current plans and future financial strategies. Duane Morris attorneys have experience counseling high-profile, high net-worth individuals in all stages of their career, advising them and their heirs on estates, trusts, asset planning and protection and the creation and management of charitable foundations. The firm's Tax Accounting Group is a unique, in-house CPA practice that provides tax planning and consulting services, working in conjunction with the firm's attorneys to strive for tax minimization while ensuring necessary compliance in an evolving tax landscape (such as the growing importance of multi-state tax reporting, as states are becoming increasingly aggressive in seeking tax revenue from athletes and entertainers performing in their states).
Misconduct/Criminal Charges and Civil Claims
Public figures facing claims of wrongdoing can find themselves simultaneously trying to protect their livelihoods and their reputations. When an entertainer is charged with a crime, Duane Morris lawyers understand the situation not only needs to handed effectively, but it needs to be done quickly and discretely to best put the client back in a position to perform.
Liability and Risk
Duane Morris attorneys are among the pioneers in the law regarding liability and risk in sports, recreation and outdoor industries. For decades, the firm's lawyers have represented equipment manufacturers, retailers, venues and trade groups, and in that time helped revitalize and define the doctrine of primary assumption of risk. The firm serves as national counsel for many well-known brands of snow, water and outdoor gear. Whether representing a equipment company, resort, or other client, our lawyers are adept at helping weigh the potential risks and benefits of litigation or settlement, while managing the possible financial and public relations consequences. The firm also advises clients on risk management and avoidance, as well as insurance issues.
International and Immigration
The entertainment world knows no borders. From business deals to asset management, and intellectual property rights to technology issues, the firm's attorneys advise clients on opportunities, obligations, and rights in nations throughout the world. Also, Duane Morris' globally-recognized immigration practice assists entertainers and their families with visa and naturalization issues.