What Does an Entertainment Lawyer Do?

Jun 26, 2019

Red Cinema Seats - Photo by Lloyd Dirks on Unsplash

Our eighth minisode of "The Creative Influencer" podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere. In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon. In this minisode, Jon answers a question about what entertainment lawyers do and about what he does for influencers.

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A transcript of the episode follows:

Today's e-mail is from Joseph and the subject is "What does an entertainment lawyer do for influencers" It reads:

Subject: What does an entertainment lawyer do for influencers

Dear Mr. Pfeiffer,

The intro to your podcast says that you are an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica and that you represent influencers and other creatives. What exactly does that mean? What do you do for influencers?

I want to go to law school, how do I become an entertainment lawyer?

Thank you in advance for answering my question.

Best regards,
Joseph

Traditionally if you are an entertainment lawyer it means that you handle one or more of the following things: motion pictures, television, or music. Music law is a real specialty and music lawyers tend to handle just music. Most entertainment lawyers who handle motion pictures also handle television matters and vis-a-versa.

In the mid-90s I started litigating international distribution agreements between studios and production companies and foreign motion picture distributors. Over time that expanded to include all aspects of motion pictures and television. In the last four years, or so, it expanded to representing influencers.

The next question is: what do I do for influencers?

I review all of their contracts to protect them. That includes brand deals ranging from product mentions in YouTube videos or Instagram posts to photo shoots and popup appearances. As my clients branch out the range of contracts expands to include book deals to tours to merch. I also look at their other contracts including NDAs - non-disclosure agreements - for people they hire.

That's on the contract side. Every once and a while there will be a lawsuit and I'll represent them in court. When I started practicing law, trials were my primary focus.

Joseph's last question was "how does one become an entertainment lawyer?"

First, and most obvious, go to law school. While you're in law school take as many entertainment law and intellectual property classes as are offered - when I say intellectual property I mean copyright classes. Also, it's never too early to start networking. Go to industry functions and meet people. Finally, the big one is to take the California or New York bar exam because California and New York are the states where the majority of the action is.

Years ago, I was invited to speak to a group about breaking into Hollywood. I have an article on my website that summarizes the key points from that talk. It's called "Breaking into Hollywood: An Insider's Guide" I'd encourage you to check it out.

Good luck Joseph and let me know if you go to law school.

That's it for this minisode.


The Creative Influencer podcast discusses influencers and internet creatives.

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