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.
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
Video Gaming Bill Reintroduced in Pennsylvania
Adam Berger,Frank A. DiGiacomo,Eric D. Frank,Christopher L. Soriano, April 06, 2015
Pennsylvania House Bill 808, introduced this week, would authorize video gaming machines for video poker, bingo, keno and other games in establishments with valid liquor licenses, such as restaurants, bars, taverns, hotels or clubs, in Pennsylvania. In addition to providing an overview of the...
Bill Restricting Casino Gaming Operations in Pennsylvania Goes to Committee
Adam Berger, March 30, 2015
Last week, a Pennsylvania bill, which would restrict the hours of operation of Pennsylvania casinos, was referred to the House Committee on Gaming Oversight. Specifically, House Bill Number 165 would require casinos in the Commonwealth to close between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. In a memorandum...
Anti-Money Laundering Remains at Forefront of Compliance in Nevada Gaming Industry
Jennifer Roberts, March 25, 2015
There is a lot of talk in the Nevada gaming industry about anti-money laundering efforts. In 1970, Congress passed the Bank Secrecy Act, which required banks to report large cash transactions in order to help find drug trafficking and tax evaders. The Bank Secrecy Act is enforced by FinCEN, the...
Pennsylvania Considering Video Gaming Machines Again?
Frank A. DiGiacomo, March 25, 2015
On February 12, 2014, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Gaming Oversight Committee held a hearing to receive testimony regarding the prospects of legalizing electronic gaming devices, i.e video gaming machines, in the Commonwealth. The hearing focused on gaming along the lines of...
Kentucky Attorney General: Internet Sweepstakes are Illegal Gambling
Eric D. Frank, March 19, 2015
This past Friday, the Kentucky Attorney General issued an opinion (OAG-15-005) concluding Internet sweepstakes machines meet the definition of illegal lotteries under Kentucky law and computers used at Internet sweepstakes cafes constitute illegal gambling devices.
Kentucky Senate Approves Shared Lottery Games Measure
Eric D. Frank, March 19, 2015
The Kentucky Senate today approved a measure to amend Kentucky’s lottery laws to add “shared lottery games” tying lottery ticket sales and horse races together. Senate Bill 74 permits proceeds from lottery ticket sales to be used to place pari-mutuel wagers by the Kentucky Lottery...
Restoration of America’s Wire Act Reintroduced in Congress
Eric D. Frank, March 18, 2015
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) reintroduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act today in the 114th Congress. The bill is identical to a measure set forth by Rep. Chaffetz in the last session of Congress.
Pennsylvania Could Enact Medical Marijuana Legislation In 2015
Seth A. Goldberg, March 13, 2015
On January 26, 2015, in a bipartisan effort, Pennsylvania senators Mike Folmer (R) and Daylin Leach (D) reintroduced to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania a bill (Senate Bill No. 3) providing for the medical use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Senate Bill No. 3 comprises a...
Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee Introduces Bill That Would Allow Existing Casinos to Offer Internet Gaming
Adam Berger,Frank A. DiGiacomo,Eric D. Frank,Christopher L. Soriano, March 04, 2015
On February 25, 2015, John Payne, Chairman of the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee, introduced a bill that would allow existing Pennsylvania casinos to offer Internet gaming to patrons in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which currently regulates casino...