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Practicing Law in Florida and the following areas

  • Ft Lauderdale
  • Miami
  • Jacksonville
  • Bonita Springs
  • Tallahasse
  • West Palm Beach
  • Naples
  • Daytona
  • Collier County
  • Hendry County
  • Fort Myers
  • Okeechobee
  • Broward County
  • Charlotte County
  • Lee County
  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach
  • Collier County

Sports & Entertainment Law FAQ's

  1. When entertainers first begin what do they need to know?
    1. NEVER actually sign anything without having a lawyer see it first. You will save yourself years of career-frustration and ruinously expensive litigation down the road.
    2. As unfortunate as it is to say, ALWAYS assume that the other party is not worthy of your trust.
    3. If the other party can't explain the deal in a way you can understand, it's probably not a good deal.
    4. If the deal sounds "too good to be true," it usually is.
    5. If you're in the music business, try to find and work through a personal manager. The most important attributes of a personal manager, in order of importance, are: (1) trustworthiness; (2) persistence; and (3) contacts in the business.
    6. Find an agent who is interested in you.
    7. If you're a musician, you need a decent sounding demo tape of two or three songs. If you're in another field, you should create a good-looking video or DVD reel of how you look and what you do.
  1. Can I launch my career from any location, or do I need to re-locate?
    1. Anything is possible from anywhere.
    2. However, it is going to be much easier for you to succeed from one of the entertainment capitals (e.g., New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville for Country and Western Music).
    3. Once you're a star, you can operate out of any location you like, even an Island in the Caribbean.
  1. How do I attract an endorsement or merchandising deal using my identity?
    1. Self-promotion, self-promotion, self-promotion. Never forego an opportunity.
    2. Persistence and a high capacity for initial rejection.
    3. Assure that the results of your last deal are such that the other side in that deal will want to rave over you to your next potential deal.
  1. I want to use a celebrity to promote my products. How do I get the right to do so?
    1. Determine initial interest by contacting the Celebrity and/or his/her agent (lists of agents are available from Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Harry Fox Agency in NYC for musical personalities, etc.)
    2. Be ready to discuss dollars from the get-go.
    3. Have your lawyer call the Celebrity's lawyer.
  1. If I am under 18, may I sign a contract?
    1. In most states and most situations, you can sign, but the contract cannot be enforced against YOU.
    2. In most entertainment-industry states (including Florida, New York, California, and Tennessee) there are court-related procedures that the over-18 party must follow to gain an enforceable contract right against a minor.
  1. Describe the basics of copyright protection and registration.
    1. In the US, you have a copyright in anything you write or record from the instant that you "fix" it in a tangible medium of expression - like a CD, DVD or tape recording.  Registration (see below) is, however, a good idea.
    2. Registration is simple and cheap, and can be done by downloading forms from the Library of Congress website at www.LOC.GOV and mailing them to the US Copyright Office with a small registration fee; or you can call a lawyer for help.
  1. What are some different methods of financing a music or film production?
    1. Always start with investments from friends and family, and don't go to more than about a dozen possible money sources without talking to a lawyer about securities-law issues.
  1. How do I protect the title of my play?
    1. The conventional wisdom that a title can't be protected is not quite true. While you may have difficulty gaining an exclusive trademark in a title for all purposes, usually it can inhibit use by someone else of a title that is "confusingly similar" to yours.
  1. Should we trademark the name of our band?
    1. Absolutely. As soon as you can afford the $1,000-$2,000 that it will realistically cost to carry the trademark application through. Copyright registration is cheap; trademark registration is not cheap.
    2. Even more important than protecting the name of your band, though, is an intra-band agreement (an agreement among the band members), so that if, and when, the band breaks up (they almost always break up at some point) everybody knows who can continue to use the name and how they can use it. Otherwise, you're headed for litigation, which will leave you with heartburn and thin wallets.
  1. Do I need a lawyer or agent to "shop" my demo tape?
    1. In many cases, major entertainment companies will not listen to or look at anything that has not come to them under the letterhead of an attorney or agent. They do this in order to protect against later claims that they "stole" someone's idea and to screen out submissions that are less likely to be from "serious" talent sources.

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