What is Entertainment Law?

Renee Booker

Entertainment law is a term used to describe a variety of different areas of the law that all apply to the entertainment industry. Among the areas of the law that are commonly found in the entertainment industry are intellectual property, contracts, defamation, and international law. Aside from lawyers, people involved in entertainment law include artists, singers, actors, writers, directors, and anyone else who regularly works in the entertainment industry.

Entertainment law covers contracts, intellectual property, and other types of law.
Entertainment law covers contracts, intellectual property, and other types of law.

Intellectual property law is one of the most important areas of entertainment law. These laws protect ideas and artistic creations such as video game concepts, manuscripts, or television pilots. In most cases, the creator must secure a copyright or other protection for the idea in order to protect his or her financial interests. If, for example, a writer feels that someone has used a story idea that is his or her intellectual property, then a lawsuit may be filed claiming copyright infringement.

Libel is defined as written or printed defamation.
Libel is defined as written or printed defamation.

Contracts are another area of the law within the purview of entertainment law. In the entertainment industry, everything operates under a contract. Actors, singers, dancers, and musicians all perform according to contracts created between them and a record label, promoter, or studio. An entertainment lawyer will frequently be retained to help the artist negotiate his or her contract. Additionally, if either party to the contract feels the other has breached the contract, then a lawsuit may be filed to resolve the alleged breach.

Defamation is the area of the law that addresses claims of libel or slander. Famous entertainers are constantly being reported on in the media, albeit not always accurately. If the subject of the report feels that the report rises to the level of libel or slander, then he or she has the option to sue the publisher.

The entertainment industry is a global industry, and therefore entertainment law must address issues of international law and immigration law. When an artist wishes to perform in a foreign country, he or she must abide by the immigration requirements for that country. Additionally, many of the final products produced by the entertainment industry are distributed to the global marketplace, requiring the parties involved to understand the specific laws of each country where they intend to distribute the product.

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Discussion Comments


While I do feel that it's important not to steal other people's work, sometimes, I feel that it can be taken to the extreme, especially if it's not one's original work in the first place.

For example, in 1987, there was a movie out called Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, which is supposed to be an unofficial sequel to Disney's Pinocchio. When Disney found out about this, they tried to sue the company with copyright. In that case, it makes no sense.

After all, the original version of Pinocchio is a book that came out long before the Disney version. Generally speaking, Disney was just adapting their work, and their movie version isn't the original. This is one of the few cases where copyright issues went too far.


The second paragraph is what caught my attention the most, especially considering how it makes note of the severity of intellectual property, and breaking said rule. When making any kind of movie or piece of media, though it's always good to have ideas, also make sure that you're not "stealing" them from others, even if it's unintentional.

If you feel that you are, it's best to contact the company of the original creation, and ask them if it's OK to do so. I know that I had to do this when I was working on one of my Senior Seminar projects a few years ago, related to media nonetheless.

Speaking of which, some of the concepts in this article remind me of cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid called House of Mouse. To make a long story short, the show revolved around Mickey Mouse hosting a club filled with many famous Disney characters.

How does this relate to the article? King Louie from The Jungle Book was supposed to make an appearance, but due to issues with copyright, and how Louis Prima's wife wouldn't allow any mention of King Louie, they couldn't do so, and had to come up with their own character, known as King Larry. And to think that this is only one of the examples of not being able to "steal" other people's idea.

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