Digital Content Ecosystem

The firm's practice includes representing clients in a diverse range of matters at the intersection of intellectual property rights and emerging technologies. We regularly advise clients on legal, business, and strategic issues relating to the ongoing convergence of technology and content, including using new technologies for distributing and monetizing entertainment assets, and identifying methods for harnessing new forms of digital content. 

This convergence is a defining trend for the entertainment, media, and technology sectors, as digital technologies and connected devices have opened new paths for distributing content direct to users, such as via music streaming services, over-the-top video distributors, and social media networks. The methods for producing, distributing, and consuming content, and the type of content in demand, also are shifting, as illustrated by the surge in user-generated content, such as “machinima” productions and “Let’s Play” videos. Digital convergence has given rise to a new digital content ecosystem, the principle components of which include content creators, rights holders, developers of interactive entertainment, "apps", and other software, cable and satellite television networks, telecom services, social media and other digital services, and, of course, consumers.

With our in-depth knowledge of the entertainment and media sectors, comprehensive understanding of intellectual property rights, unique insight into the relationships among the ecosystem components, and extensive experience with new technology and digital matters, we provide a bridge for our clients to work productively with the various components of the digital content ecosystem. We leverage these advantages for our clients’ benefit, enabling them to gain from the new opportunities offered by digital convergence and to make informed decisions in balancing the benefits and the risks they are willing to accept as part of their digital strategy. 

In our digital work, we help clients navigate through the complex issues associated with making content available within the digital content ecosystem; these issues include:

  • The multiple rights triggered by placing content into the digital ecosystem, the likelihood that two or more parties might own the “bundle” of rights needed to any single item or catalog of content, and the possibility that rights to content might be held by different parties from country to country;
  • The sheer number of options available for distributing and monetizing content, such as streaming (with additional subdivisions into ad-supported and subscription models, and portable, non-portable, online, and offline availabilities), downloads and electronic sell-through purchases, digital rentals, digital “locker” services, and, for video programming, “TV Everywhere” (a/k/a “authenticated subscriber”) offerings that mix cable networks and IP-based services for delivering content to connected devices; and
  • in some instances, legal uncertainty arising from the intellectual property laws not keeping pace with technological developments. 

 

The firm's experience also includes counseling our clients on, and preparing, technical “white papers” and proposed business models or forecasts often sought by content owners as part of the licensing process, and the policies and procedures needed for digital services and products for privacy and other regulatory concerns.

Our clients for digital matters range from businesses who operate solely in the digital environment to companies whose digital operations comprise just one part of their business activities.

We have advised clients on, and negotiated and closed, a diverse range of matters and deals relating to the digital content ecosystem, including the following:

  • All of the agreements and licenses required for distributing and monetizing recorded music, motion pictures, television productions, video programming, and other entertainment content via the Internet and other IP-based systems, including by means of digital downloads and electronic sell-through (EST), streaming services (including ad-supported, subscription, interactive, non-interactive, portable, non-portable, online only, or having offline functionality), digital “locker” (cloud-based) services, “over-the-top” video providers (OTT), multichannel networks (MCNs), and for use as part of user-generated content
  • Agreements for producing original content
  • Agreements for designing, operating, maintaining, and hosting Internet sites
  • Drafting and implementing privacy policies and terms of service (ToS)
  • Regulatory and statutory compliance matters, including the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),
  • Transferring, processing, storing, and securing personal data (including personally identifiable information), including, issues related to the jurisdiction(s) where these activities occur
  • Jurisdictional and rights matters relating to copyrighted works made available via the Internet, including using geo-filtering technology and preventing access from devices that have a particular geographical internet protocol (GEOIP) address
  • Early and late stage financing
  • Strategic investments
  • Software development and license agreements
  • “Local version” license agreements for video game software and “apps”
  • Agreements for developing “apps”
  • Master services agreements
  • Outsourcing agreements
  • Maintenance and support agreements
  • Agreements for digital asset management systems and digital media storage platforms
  • All of the agreements for implementing a customized infrastructure for producing, editing, storing, and managing all video programming for cable television network
  • Agreements for composing and producing original music for use in interactive video games, “apps”, and other software products
  • Preparing and submitting to content owners “white papers” on content protection and security, communicating ingestion and reporting specifications, and other digital asset requirements
  • Agreements for “air chain” services, such as agreements for origination, encoding, play-out, and uplink services, and transponder capacity lease agreements
  • Agreements for purchasing advertising inventory
  • Agreements for online advertising platforms
  • Independent contractor agreements
  • Administering and managing intellectual property assets
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Agreements for the assignment and ownership of intellectual property created by employees or independent contractors
  • Internet branding and marketing arrangements, including online “fan club” services

The firm's clients in the digital content ecosystem have included the following:

  • Cable and satellite television networks
  • Developers and publishers of “apps” and interactive video games
  • Internet services and other IP-based delivery systems distributing and monetizing recorded music, motion pictures, television productions and other video programming, and user-generated content, including:
    • services offering digital downloads, electronic sell-through (EST), and rentals
    • digital “locker” services
    • streaming services
    • over-the-top (OTT) video delivery services
    • multi-channel networks (MCNs)
    • platforms for user-generated content
    • social media services
  • Creators, owners, and producers of musical compositions, sound recordings, motion pictures, television productions and other video programming, and other content, including:
    • recorded music companies
    • music publishers
    • producers of audiovisual productions
    • composers and recording artists

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