December 12, 2020

Top Legal Issues Affecting Entertainers and Athletes

From choosing the right business structure and filing for intellectual property protection to handling contract issues and resolving disputes, the legal issues affecting entertainers and athletes can be similar to those of any new or growing company. However, there are also some legal concerns that are specific and custom to sports and entertainment law. Below are some key issues that could warrant the assistance of an experienced attorney

Legal Issues Affecting Entertainers and Athletes

Legal Contracts & Agreements

The livelihoods of artists and athletes are often linked to complex, high-dollar contracts that can contain many terms specific to the industry (such as intellectual property provisions, non-competition covenants, exclusivity provisions, assignment provisions, or morals clauses). The financial success of entertainers, artists, performers, and athletes can often hinge on the successful negotiation and execution of performance, service, financing, publishing, or licensing agreements with a wide variety of counter-parties, including entertainment companies, professional franchises, sponsors, agents and managers, public relations firms, and others.  An experienced attorney can assist with the review, preparation, negotiation, and enforcement of these agreements. 

Publicity & Protecting Intellectual Property

One of the top legal issues affecting entertainers and athletes is the monetization and protection of one’s commercial identity.  Branding, endorsement, and product placement deals can result in significant revenue streams to celebrities and other public figures.  Such deals not only provide a source of income, but link personal identities with the cachet and goodwill of another brand. 

An experienced legal professional can also navigate copyright and trademark protection and registration, licensing those rights to third parties, and the enforcement of rights against third-party infringers.  The development of intellectual property rights and the ability to leverage those rights in various commercial contexts is vitally important to maximizing the financial opportunities available to creatives and athletes. Commercial deals in entertainment and sports industries come in all shapes and sizes, but at the heart of them is the monetization and exploitation of creative content, brands, and performance.  Having an experienced, dedicated attorney can be crucial in protecting that heart. 

Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Intellectual property, contract, right of publicity, and various other disputes can often arise in the entertainment and sports industries and such disputes account for many of the legal issues affecting entertainers and athletes. In addition to handling disputes related to copyright and trademark infringement, an attorney can act as a valuable advisor to resolve disputes before they rise to the level of litigation.  

Of course, sometimes litigation is the only option available in order to assert rights against a third party or to defend against claims.  In such cases, an experienced attorney conversant with both litigation and the underlying industry is best situated to aggressively represent his or her client’s interests in the dispute.  

Business Planning & Strategy

The multifaceted business models of today’s artists, performers, and athletes require sound legal understanding to cover a wide variety of activities and revenue platforms. As with forming other types of businesses, the setup stage is extremely important to the future success of the enterprise. Due to recent shifts in the necessary components of a successful business strategy, it is even more important to have a knowledgeable professional on your side. Such shifts have been brought on by the changing economics of today’s music industry, particularly in the age of streaming content and COVID-19. 

An experienced attorney can provide assistance during the formation and operation of music record labels and throughout the acquisition and exploitation of creative content and digital media. Other strategic legal areas from which creatives and athletes can benefit include sponsorship opportunities, licensing, branding, and monetization of personal identities. 

Athletes and Entertainers Seeking Legal Representation

From business set-up and IP protection to legal contracts and dispute resolution, these top legal issues affecting entertainers and athletes merit close consideration.  Legal representation can ensure that the commercial opportunities available to entertainers and athletes are maximized and their rights are protected.   

Ziliak Law offers assistance to clients in the entertainment industry on a broad variety of legal matters. This includes representing individuals and organizations in music, film, television, fine art, publishing, and sports. Ziliak Law has the experience and skill set to offer ongoing support throughout your ventures.


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