The Legal Side of Entertainment


The purpose of this report is to highlight some of the rules and laws that keeps the field of entertainment going. It briefly discuss these elements in the field outlining their importance.

The choice of this field is as a result of my interest in business law in conjunction with my passion of having a future company that will in entertainment and this report will be giving me an insight into working at an angle inclined on the entertainment dimension for the same. By examining a range of these elements into detail, their effects are given out in the report with suggestions on ways of not breaking them.

The legal side of entertainment entails the elements in this show business that deals with abiding by the set rules and laws regarding promoting, copyrights, music recording, licensing, antitrust law and entertainment in general.


Entertainment law is legal services to the entertainment industry which overlaps with intellectual property law especially trademarks, copyrights but the practice of entertainment law often involves questions of employment law, labor law, torts and contract laws. Mostly, the work of entertainment law practice is transaction based involving drafting contracts, negotiation and mediation. In some cases, situations may lead to ligation or arbitration.(Taylor, 2006).

Entertainment is a business that combines art and industry, here, arts covers the creative work of artists such as musicians, authors and directors. The art in this context is their intellectual property and safeguarding it requires a comprehensive knowledge of the law and that should be done to ensure this industry keeps moving forward.

These laws are the legal services given to the entire entertainment industry involving media of all types; film, publishing, music, internet, news etc.

The laws also stretches to other legal field like finances, publicity, corporate and privacy as well as intellectual property. In the film industry, entertainment lawyers work with actors to finalize the actors’ projects and contracts. The attorney negotiates with the actors’ agent and buyer of the actors’ talent for profit participation. When these laws when put into practice enables artists build their own career.

Music Law

Music law refers to the legal aspects of music industry and some legal aspects in other sectors of entertainment industry. Music industry includes record labels, merchandisers, music labels, live events sectors and performers together with the artists. The law encompasses the legal components of the music industry and other auxiliary aspects of the entertainment industry on a broader scale.

With this law, assortment of traditional legal themes that include intellectual property laws are covered. Music recording is a major step in music law that entails sound recording. Once a recording artist records, then that particular recording is their own property and they can go ahead and publish it or even sell it to another band or company. Music recording has its roots and foundations in the intellectual property law and the recording artists have dedicated the business and legal affairs departments with attorneys to secure the intellectual property rights and to exploit them as well on a global basis.


Publishing is the primary source of income for musicians writing their own music. All the entities involved in the entertainment industry such as composers/songwriters, whether the performers or recording artists earn money collected form publishing rights. The writer of a song owns the copyrights of the songs and consequently is rewarded with the publishing revenues acquired in the long run. The money collected from publishing is directly linked to copyrights and so the owner is the only one who makes money off the song. According to Tschmuck (2006), an artist or a song writer however can make deals which involve assignment of copyrights with music publishers.

In line with publishing, promoting comes hand in hand which is mostly done by the recording company. As the recording company finds new talents and oversees the recording process, it also goes further a mile to pay for the cost incurred in promoting the artist as well as marketing the record. The artist then makes a deal in form of a contract with the company on a legal basis.


In law, a copyright is a legal right created by the law of a particular country that often grants the original creator of a certain work exclusive rights to how it is used and distributed, often for a limited time frame. These rights contained in the copyright are limited by exceptions to copyright law and limitations. Copyright is a form of intellectual property which may include control over derivative works, public performance, moral rights and reproduction. ( 17 U.S.C. § 106 United States of America, 2011) , these are sometimes considered as territorial rights. Copyright rules shapes the practices that drive recording and touring deals.


Licensing is when a copyright or some aspects of it are assigned or transferred to another party, a case such as when a musician signs an agreement with a company, usually a recording one, in exchange for some loyalties, then the company holds a license for that particular product. When such a company is licensed, it can produce and market the product in which has been included in the agreement in writing between the musician and the company.

For those companies undertaking entertainment as a business, such licenses are documentsthat prove to the stakeholders that such business is allowed to operate in its jurisdiction and its services and products are in line with the expected. The stakeholders are assured that the business is legitimate and accountable. To the licensing authorities, when a business is licensed it shows that the business is functioning and meeting safety and regulations for the authorities.

Antitrust Law

Antitrust law aims at protecting trade and commerce from monopolies, unfair restraints and price fixing. The law is primarily governed by two federal laws i.e. the Clayton Act and the Sherman Act. Antitrust law regards the law that protects competition and prohibition of restraints of monopolization and trade. The law is upheld to promote and maintain completion in the music markets (Taylor, 2006).

With this law in practice, various companies indulging in entertainment business have an opportunity to compete in the market economy fairly. Proper implementation of these laws promotes and protects competition in a nation, this great incentives and the resulting excellence and low prices flourish in every market.


The report has identified the area chosen fordiscussion which is the entertainment law. The elements of this field have been discussed into details and the impact of these laws has been felt by a wider range of users both positively and negatively. Individuals such as lawyers should advocate for a conducive working environment for artists, producers, promoters etc. As the popularity of entertainment became widespread, the field became more popular as certain corporate professionals have wanted to participate in this field. As a result, many lawyers fledged into the music law which has allowed them the opportunity to increase connections in music and opportunities to become a songwriter or producer when such opportunities arose.

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