LAW 482

Representing Talent in Television

Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property

The legal representation of talent in the television business is one of the most dynamic and interesting areas of entertainment law.  It is also one of the most competitive.  This Course will examine the television business from the point of view of the talent lawyer.  What is the role that the entertainment attorney plays in the talent representation eco-system?  How does the entertainment attorney contribute to the talent’s team of representatives which generally includes a talent agent or a manager or both in addition to a lawyer?  

This Course will assess the function and practice of the entertainment attorney representing clients that are involved in the development and production of episodic television programs including the acquisition of underlying literary rights and the adaptation of material from another medium.  We will examine the component parts of the employment agreements for each of the central creative collaborators in television:  the pilot and staff writers, the director and the series regular performers.  Each of these agreements have their own terms of art, jargon, customary elements and compensation scale that are unique.  We will also review the relevant legal principles in the context of talent agreements such as the allocation of risk and the purpose of representations, warranties and indemnities, the talent and employer’s rights regarding suspension and termination for breach, incapacity and force majeure, and the remedies available to talent and to the employer.  This Course will be presented in several units with a case study approach, including lectures, guest speakers from the industry and a mock negotiation to give students a real sense of what it takes to successfully represent talent in the television business.  It will be co-taught by two entertainment attorneys with years of experience as both senior studio executives and entertainment lawyers representing a diverse roster of clients in motion pictures and television.

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