Entertainment and Sports Law

Entertainment Law
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Entertainment and Event Law

There’s no business like show business – hardly any industry is as diverse as the entertainment industry. This also applies to the legal questions that come up. Entertainment law includes the legal support of film, TV, game and music productions, as well as overall event law, which regulates the holding of concerts, tournaments, sporting events, trade fairs, exhibitions, conferences, and other public events.

When implementing national and international film, TV, and game productions, there are a host of legal issues to be aware of. This concerns designing the contracts associated with production for producers, co-producers, analysts, agents, and artists, as well as the legal support for production companies and publishers together with financing from funding institutions, investors, and banks, as well as analyzing the works and events by lenders, worldwide distributors, online platforms, and other copyright holders.

There are also industry-specific legal issues regarding music productions for producers, labels, music managers, artists, bands, orchestras, and choirs. In particular, the design of contracts (e.g. exclusive artist contracts, publishing contracts, other contracts, composer contracts, etc.), and the interests of the parties with respect to record labels, agents, broadcasters, and collecting societies such as the GEMA [German Society for Musical Performance and Mechanical Reproduction] and the GVL [German Collecting Society for Performance Rights] requires specific industry knowledge due to the complexity of the subject.

melis/Shutterstock.com
melis/Shutterstock.com

Finally, music events and sporting events are one of the most important segments of the entertainment industry. The contractual standards used in the minefield of advertising, public relations, various sponsors, and the use of image and sound rights often hold great risks for the contracting partners if there is not sufficient review and negotiation. Even third-party companies that are not themselves party to the contract can be affected by such types of provisions, e.g. when attempts are made to prevent advertising activities of third parties in connection with the event while exploiting their marketing effectiveness (so-called “ambush marketing“) through exclusive contracts or stipulations of domiciliary rights or “house rules”. It is also always important to review the question of the requirement of the event organizer and/or company to contribute to the Artists Social Security Fund (KSK) when engaging artists and other creative hires.

Sports Law

Sports law in particular is at the interface of event law. Sports events are also associated with event-specific as well as other specific questions. Thus, the goal is to help protect the varied interests of the event organizer, the participating sports teams, the event sponsors, the athletes, and finally also the nonparticipating advertisers (“free riders”) equally.

Sports Law
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However, sports law is much more than that. Sports law is a collective term involving a complex situation of various interests and rights. From the perspective of the athletes, there are questions involving (individual) sponsorships, the relationship to the team and the framework conditions in participating in the sport. The team, however, is concerned with implementing its interests with respect to the athletes and with financing itself via team sponsoring. Above all, individual sponsoring compared to team sponsoring is an area with many potential conflicts of interest that need to be avoided without excessively limiting athletes in their entrepreneurial freedom. This task is reserved for the athletes and licensing agreements between the athletes and the team. In this case, there are competition and antitrust stumbling blocks associated with the monopoly-like structure of the sports team method caused by the “single-place principle”. Finally, there are also labor contract-related issues that arise for both sides when hiring athletes and implementing the regulations specific to a certain type of sport. How is the work relationship for an athlete, e.g. football player or soccer player, to be designed and how should a transfer to another team be handled? What can athletes do against disciplinary measures imposed by their team in the event of a violation against a rule?

Our expertise in the field of entertainment and sports law

Our law office has many specialized lawyers with long-standing experience in the listed segments. Due to the described diversity of the legal issues, we work in a team whenever needed. We can demonstrate wide-ranging practical experience, particularly due to our activities for various associations (e.g. as trusted lawyers for the Baden-Württemberg German Musicians Association or the Württemberg Association of Visual Artists), event organizers, and athletes, and our many years of close corporation with various film producers, lenders, filmmakers, journalists, and companies from the sports industry.

We advise and represent national and international clients in the planning and implementing of large and small public events and with projects in the film, TV, computer games, and sports industries. In doing so, we advise on the topics of acquisition, design, structuring, and negotiation of contracts, as well as the enforcement of legal rights before all German district and higher regional courts.

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Christopher A. Wolf, MBA

Attorney . Partner
Fachanwalt für:
Intellectual Property
Copyright and Media Law
+49 711 41019073

Dr. Markus Wekwerth

Attorney . Partner
Fachanwalt für:
Intellectual Property
+49 711 41019074