Thursday, March 24, 2011
Seems like every writer, director, producer, casting agent, production company, post-production house and studio now has a webpage. All well and good as the Internet can – and often is – one of the most cost-effective ways to reach out and target someone, be it those who might work with you, those who might want to buy a ticket to your “picture” or those who might want to purchase your services and/or products.
Chances are, you too already have a webpage…and if you don’t, you should. Here’s why: aside from having the ability to look insanely cool, webpages can have embedded practically any media you want. Are you a musician looking for a publisher? You’ll want your webpage to have some downloadable music files. Just made your first film? Then you’ll want your webpage to have trailers. Do voiceover work? Audio samples of your voice should be readily available on your webpage.
Importantly, the above definition dovetails with the law viewing your website as “commercial” even though you might think it’s not. Most folks set up a webpage in the hopes of doing everything to finding an agent to obtaining financing for their project. These are all commercial activities. And they should be. As well, using your webpage to engage in “data mining” (e.g., whose looking at my webpage? how often? have they bought tickets? what sorts of information are they requesting? and so on, and so on) is not only permitted, it’s a good way to find out of your webpage is generating the “buzz” that you want.
You get the picture (pun intended).
Whether it is a Homeric epic recited onstage at the theater at Epidaurus, a classic comedy reworked and replayed in an amphitheater in Rome, Shakespeare resounding from the boards at the Globe Theatre to one of the stages at Ashland, a Broadway musical performed at the Hollywood Bowl, a motion picture premiere, streaming Internet media or a podcast series, the dramatic arts entertain us, inform us, teach us, connect us, take us to new places, expand our horizons and continuously offer up opportunities (including – yes – employment) for those who participate, including writers, producers, actors, directors and all those that work to develop entertainment, in the dynamic arena we know as “The Business”.
And attorneys, such as the author of this Blog.
Without much that lawyers do – ranging from assembling an option and purchase agreement for the literary property that forms the genesis of all projects, to counseling a production company, to negotiating the terms of distribution agreements, and so on and so on – projects would simply not get off the ground. The good news is that when the legal counseling is done right, everybody wins: the writer, the producer, the director, the actors, the post-production people, the craft services folk and, of course, all those who experience the final entertainment product.
The purpose of this Blog is to provide insights into the goings-on in the entertainment business in general – hence the title of “The Arts Law” – and current legal issues in particular…all delivered with clarity, intelligence, realism and no small amount of humor.