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Entertainment law 101

That's the title of the Seminar I helped teach last week to a wonderful group of attorneys & paralegals. As usual, I'm convinced I learned more than I conveyed because the teaching experience is so robust. It's the same with representing clients and producing--the learning experience is amazing, especially when you are responsible for the content whether it be educational, entertaining or hopefully, both.

The seminar I taught cost over $300.00 to attend, but here's some free advice just for you!

1. If you produce video or stage productions, Hire union actors & crew whenever you can because you'll get better results. You don't have to shoot "union" in the Florida-Right to Work-State, but you should if you can for the best value on your money. Same goes for DGA, WGA, Actor's Equity and IATSTE members--hire them!

2. Don't raise money without considering whether state and federal securities laws apply and of course, comply with those laws at all times. I can refer you to a qualified securities attorney and I work with several on various projects. The bottom line is-unless you are using your own money or are in an active joint venture with someone you knew prior to deciding to put money into a project, you likely must comply with such laws and they require various disclosures to investors that are specific and detailed.

3. Always assume you must get a trademark owner's permission before including their product or logo in your production no matter how positive you think the placement is. It is common knowledge that product placement or better said, "Product Integration" in a production can provide revenue to the producer in the form of placement fees or at least fee use of such products, BUT it is the owner's sole decision whether to agree to any such placement or integration. If you can recognize the trademark or logo in your production, you need consent, period.

4. Assume everything about your venture--music, video or stage production--will take longer and cost more than you think. Give yourself ample time to create and to satisfy those that are counting on you. And of course, seek the advice of an expert to help you with contracts between you and everyone, including partners, agents, cast, crew, distribution, marketing and agents.

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