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.
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.
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.