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What is Entertainment, Sports, and Leisure Law?

Entertainment, sports, and leisure law covers a wide range of professions and media, including visual entertainment (movies, television, radio); performing arts (theater, music, personal appearances); media (visual arts, publishing, Internet media); and sports, both professional and amateur. An attorney who practices this area of law typically provides legal services such as contract negotiation, agent representation, labor law, merchandising, and licensing. This is a broad practice area encompassing both state and federal laws across several legal disciplines.

Important Terms to Know

  • Copyright: A person's exclusive right to reproduce, publish, or sell his or her original work of authorship (as in literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or architectural work).
  • Agent: A person or entity (as an employee or independent contractor) authorized to act on behalf of and under the control of another in dealing with third parties.
  • Licensing: The sale of a license permitting the use of patents, trademarks, or other technology to another.
  • Contract: An agreement between two or more parties that creates in each party a duty to do or not do something and a right to performance of the other's duty or a remedy for the breach of the other's duty.

When You May Need an Entertainment Attorney

Any party to a contract or production involving entertainers, athletes, or other public figures (such as authors or public speakers) may need the counsel or advice of an entertainment, sports, and leisure attorney. Lawyers practicing in this area must be familiar with several different areas of law, including employment, contracts, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, and intellectual property.

For instance, an internationally renowned musician typically would need a special type of visa to work in the U.S. (immigration); help negotiating contracts; and assistance with copyright and licensing issues (intellectual property). A film producer may work with an entertainment lawyer to draft contracts with actors, photographers, writers, and other professionals involved in a project, or to license content to a third party.

Agents representing actors or professional athletes often are licensed attorneys.

Related Practice Areas

Contact an entertainment, sports, and leisure attorney near you if you need assistance. You can also learn more by reading lawyers' answers to state-specific entertainment, sports, and leisure law questions.

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