Film and TV

Our work includes providing a wide range of services to the parties involved in producing, distributing, and monetizing motion pictures, television productions, and other video programming. Producing this content is a significant undertaking and so clients benefit from the firm's experience in managing the numerous agreements and rights-issues related to each project – from rights acquisitions, to talent and crew agreements, to location releases, and from synchronization licenses, to acquiring the proper insurance, to chain-of-title reviews.

We also have handled the behind-the-scenes matters for cable television networks – for instance, Derek served as the sole legal counsel for two start-up cable television networks, and this work included, for one of these networks, executing all “pre-launch” legal and business affairs responsibilities, such as acquiring, integrating, and implementing a custom digital rights management system and securing all “air chain” services (origination, encoding, play-out, uplink, and transponder capacity).

Digital Experience

The firm works with companies that are on the front line of deploying new digital distribution platforms for video content, including those offering over-the-top (OTT) and other delivery methods employing Internet Protocol (IP), and we also work with video content owners seeking to capitalize on the current shift in how video programming is experienced. We have extensive experience with the distribution agreements available for digital platforms – such as VOD, electronic sell-through (EST), streaming, and on-demand retention licenses (ODRLs) – and apply this experience to structure deals that maximize our clients’ priorities.

We have advised clients on, and negotiated and closed, a diverse range of matters and deals relating to motion pictures, television productions, and other video programming, including the following:

  • Agreements for acquiring, producing, distributing, and monetizing motion pictures, television programs, and other video content (scripted and unscripted), including:
    • agreements for acquiring (or options to acquire) rights to underlying properties (e.g., scripts, formats, literary works (published and unpublished), and life story rights),
    • agreements with talent (e.g., actors, directors, composers, producers),
    • agreements with third party production companies, agreements for ancillary, incidental, and subsidiary rights (e.g., merchandising rights, soundtrack album rights, novelization rights, and rights to produce and exploit remakes, sequels, prequels, and spin-offs),
    • agreements for using third party intellectual property in motion pictures and video programming (e.g., synchronization licenses, other copyright licenses, and trademark licenses),
    • non-disturbance agreements, location agreements, certificates of authorship, and general talent releases
  • Public performance licenses for distributing video content via broadcast television, cable and satellite, and the Internet, including over-the-top (OTT) providers, and other IP-based delivery systems
  • Content license agreements
  • Agreements for distributing and monetizing motion pictures and video programming via the Internet and other IP-based services, including by means of “over-the-top” providers (OTT), multi-channel networks (MCNs), and streaming services, and by means of electronic sell-through (EST) and “locker” (cloud-based) services
  • Cable and satellite carriage agreements for television networks (including video-on-demand and authenticated subscriber (“TV Everywhere”) services and “VCR” functionality) (i.e., “affiliation agreements”)
  • 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
  • Agreements for digital asset management systems and digital media storage platforms
  • Agreements for designing, acquiring, integrating, and implementing a customized infrastructure for producing, editing, storing, and managing all video programming for a cable television network
  • Assisting with 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
  • Synchronization licenses
  • Reviewing content for risk analysis, such as potential applicable torts (e.g., privacy torts and commercial or trade torts), possible unauthorized commercial uses of the name, likeness, or other indicia of identity of any person (right of publicity matters), copyright issues, and trademark usage, and evaluating any possible privileges or exemptions to the foregoing
  • Conducting due diligence concerning the intellectual property underlying a motion picture or other audiovisual production, including reviewing the chain of title
  • Negotiating and drafting exclusive sponsorship agreements, product placement agreements, agreements with creative agencies, agreements for purchasing advertising inventory, and agreements for online advertising platforms
  • Branding, endorsement, marketing, merchandising, and sponsorship agreements
  • Counseling on matters associated with the right of publicity, commercial or trade torts, trademark, and unfair competition;
  • Strategic transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures of motion picture and video programming libraries
  • Collateralizing the copyright ownership of motion pictures and other types of audiovisual works
  • Administering and managing copyright assets

The firm's motion picture, television, and other audiovisual production clients have included the following:

  • Businesses engaged in distributing and monetizing motion pictures, television productions, and other video programming, including:
    • cable and satellite television networks,
    • IP-based delivery services, including over-the-top (OTT) providers and multi-channel networks (MCNs)
    • services offering electronic sell-through (EST), “locker” (cloud-based) services, and streaming services
  • Producers of motion pictures, television programs, and other audiovisual content
  • Screenwriters
  • Actors
  • Score composers
  • Business providing special effects services