Our entertainment clients include film companies, broadcasters, television producers, music studios, game developers, and the talent they employ along with the below the line supporting members of the industry.
Finance and Tax Credits
At the end of the day, the entertainment industry is a business, and business requires capital. At Taylor English, we provide guidance to independent producers and below the line vendors just starting out on early stage formation, seed, angel and initial rounds of preferred equity financing, stock options and incentive compensation for employees. As these companies grow, we provide follow-on financing, venture capital and private equity/debt transactions, tax credit financing, strategic acquisitions and company reorganizations.
For those companies with productions in the State of Georgia, we provide insight on the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act. Through the Act, qualifying projects are able to receive and transfer tax credits based on production expenditures in the State. We not only have experience with assisting film, television, and gaming projects using the tax credits, but also with transferring credits and managing ancillary matters related to the credits.
Talent and Employee Relations
Entertainment is a business—a business driven by creativity. Whether that creativity comes from above or below the line, creativity requires talent, and talent equals people. One of Taylor English’s cornerstone practices is its employment practice. We understand that the employer-talent/employee dynamic is critical to the success of any production or business. We provide counsel related to:
- Employment and talent,
- Image, talent and materials releases,
- Labor issues,
- Sexual harassment and workplace training,
- Performing rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI,
- Union contract negotiations and modifications, and
- Union contract grievances and arbitrations involving hiring, firing, discipline, and contract interpretation issues.
Intellectual property rights for assets such as screenplays and merchandising are key components to recouping financial investments and protecting creative integrity of any production brought to market. Solidifying IP rights provides your company with defense against loss of income due to your production being compromised. We counsel on IP rights related to:
- Digital rights,
- Licensing and clearance,
- Social media, and
Marketing and Merchandising
Over the last 30 years, movies radically changed how the entertainment industry markets its products. Add in social media and marketing can be at warp speed. Today, merchandising and product placements are not only common place, but also may be used as a financing tool. We understand the importance of these functions, and keep this in mind as we negotiate and draft contracts related to:
- Ad clearance,
- Event space agreements,
- Licensing and merchandising, and
Every sports and entertainment production now is theoretically a global brand. Through digital distribution and e-commerce, our clients have expanded the reach of entertainers and sporting events potentially to every computer and smart phone in the world. We counsel clients on:
- Intellectual property protection,
- International sales agreements,
- Program licensing and rights clearance,
- Security of programming on digital networks, and
- Technology licensing.
Production and Recording
The mechanics of producing a film, a television show or an album require contracts. As the production company or the service provider, understanding how the terms of the contract will impact your business and/or production are key. We work with you to craft and negotiate solid contracts related to:
- Location agreements and releases,
- Production and acquisition agreements,
- Production financing,
- Production services,
- Recording agreements, and
- Studio use and rental.
Taylor English delivers a full spectrum of corporate and business legal services that are efficient, cost effective and often with the perspective of our more than two dozen lawyers who have worked as senior in-house counsel or general counsels. Our legal advice is tempered by the real-world experience of attorneys who have participated in running businesses. We provide counsel on:
- Corporate law,
- Employee benefits,
- Executive compensation,
- Litigation, and
- Real estate.
Each year, there are more than 1.5 million cyber-attacks on U.S. businesses. Victims include some of the biggest names in American business, as well as smaller businesses in every industry. Perhaps more importantly, everyday access to data can result in losses even without an attack: devices can be lost or stolen, for example. Most companies benefit from a cross-functional team, including legal counsel, IT professionals and the C-suite executives, that addresses risk management and best practices in order to limit exposure. Our breadth of experience is the perfect complement to your internal cross-funded team. Likewise, we have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of attorneys who work with clients to manage risks in advance of any problems, and respond quickly if an incident occurs. Every data incident has the potential to become a legal matter and can result in financial losses, litigation and erosion of investor and customer confidence. We advise clients on:
- Compliance with government regulations,
- Internal assessment and planning, and
- Response to incidents and litigation
Promotions and Contests
Promotions, contests and sweepstakes often are an important part of the marketing strategy for our entertainment clients. We show you how to keep the fun in such promotions while we assist with the details of compliance. We counsel clients on:
- CAN-SPAM Act,
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,
- Direct Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act,
- Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA),
- State consumer protection laws, and
- Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.
Creation and review of privacy policies and procedures for media, healthcare, and other clients.
Represented a bank lender in the financing of a tax credit syndicate using ownership interests in the entities owning film tax credits as collateral for the loan.
Defended and achieved settlement in copyright infringement lawsuit brought in the Northern District of Georgia by a former employee of our client, a video production company. The former employee claimed to own the copyright in the commercials produced by our client.
Create master agreements covering A&R executives and recording artists for fledgling music label. Advise on royalty structure, buy-out, rights and other matters. Complete buy-out of rights from prior producer in exchange for participation in new recording agreement.
Active defense counsel for TBS, Inc. and subsidiaries, including CNN, CNN Español, and The Cartoon Network, Inc., in administrative charges filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in federal lawsuits brought in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York, New York, alleging discrimination and retaliation under federal anti-discrimination laws. Taylor English regularly advises TBS, Inc. and its subsidiaries on complex employment law issues and prepare ...
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- November 28, 2016
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- Fado Irish Pub Midtown, October 28, 2015
- May 29, 2019
- "Creatives: Understanding the Business and Legal Side of Your Film Shoot in Georgia," 2016 Savannah Film FestivalSavannah, Ga., October 22-29, 2016
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