Find an Entertainment, Sports & Leisure Law Lawyer

Entertainment, sports and leisure law is heavily regulated. It falls into the broader area of intellectual property law (because of copyright and trademark issues) and sometimes touches the area of discrimination law.

That's Entertainment

Issues within entertainment law include, but are not limited to, merchandising, licensing, advertising, franchising, contracts, copyrights and trademark infringement, and taxes. This area of the law often deals with motion pictures, books, newspapers, television broadcasts and Internet laws.

An important and fairly recent development in this area of the law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. The DMCA limits the liability of Internet service providers for acts of copyright infringement by their customers who are using the providers' systems or networks.

Most frequently, entertainment lawyers handle publicity rights for their celebrity clients (and even the rights of deceased celebrities); they protect clients' names and images from being exploited.

Lawyers also handle issues in connection with creating derivative works, which are based on one or more pre-existing works. A motion picture version of a novel, an abridgment or condensation of a book, the translation and fictionalization of a real-life drama are all examples of derivative works. An author's right to protect the derivative work applies only to the elements he or she adds to the book.

Sports and Leisure

The Sports Broadcasting Act, Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, Drug Enforcement Agency's Controlled Substances Act and the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 are some of the laws in this arena. Sports and leisure law also deals with the same issues as entertainment law.
Regulatory bodies are as diverse and the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Official Rules of the associations or leagues of each sport, and state courts for matters that can be litigated.

Topics that become matters for the law to declare judgments upon include standard concerns such as publicity rights, eligibility rights, recruiting policies, collective bargaining agreements, breach of contract, and requirements for registered athletic trainers.

More complex issues include whether athletes infected with the AIDS virus are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, franchising, and the controversial matter of the distinctions between “professional” athletes and college athletes who are deemed to be “amateur athletes.”

Entertainment, sports and leisure touches many areas and complexities of the law. If you're searching for a lawyer, be sure to select one with knowledge and experience in many of these areas. Be aware that most litigation in this area will involve retaining expert witnesses to testify as to the value of damages claimed in a lawsuit.

By Kathleen Goolsby           

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