Monthly Archives: July 2009

To LLC or Not to LLC? Not really a question.

Do I really need to form a separate LLC for each film I make?

Every independent filmmaker who consults me about starting a new privately financed project asks me whether it’s really necessary to form an LLC for the Picture, or whether she can do it under her existing production company.   My reply is nearly always,  “Yes.  It's necessary.  Each film should be its own LLC,  or at least some kind of entity.”

WHAT IS AN LLC?

Before I explain the need for the entity, let’s just be clear about the meaning of the term “LLC”. LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. LLCs are a relatively modern entity type. Prior to the 1980s many equity-financed business ventures used a multi-layered approach involving a corporation acting as the general partner of a Limited Partnership insulating investors from liability. This became unwieldy and in response, many States adopted LLCs. At first, most jurisdictions required LLCs to have multiple members, but many (including California, where many films are made), an LLC can have as few as one member.

There are a few reasons for forming an LLC, and in the case of most independent film projects, all apply

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Producers beware! Theatregoer sues over canned music and wins!

We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore! A british theatregoer has prevailed in his lawsuit against a theatre that used recorded music in staging its production of “The Wizard of Oz”. In a time of increasingly tight budgets, many theatre groups are opting for recorded musical accompaniment, in lieu of paying for an orchestra, conductor, and… Continue Reading

Financing (small) commercial theater

INTRODUCTION Raising the financing for any theatrical production is a challenge, even in the best of times. With the current economic climate (which I suspect will remaim the norm for some time), it’s even more difficult to convince investors to fund production of a stage production. For every cloud, though, there is a silver lining.… Continue Reading

Why productions like "Moneyball" get shelved.

Last month, just hours before the scheduled start of production on Columbia Pictures’ “Moneyball”, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Steven Soderbergh, the studio pulled the plug on  production, putting the project into “limited turnaround” With an A-list star like Brad Pitt, and a well-known and respected Director, the film seemed a sure-thing to some,… Continue Reading

Federal Court changes rules for Attorney's fees awards in copyright cases.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an unusual move, has overturned a 68 year old precedent, redifining the term “prevailing party” in copyright infringement cases. In Cadkin v. Loose, 2009 WL 1813263 (9th Cir, 2009), the Plaintiff, after extensive settlement negotiations,  an amended complaint, and other legal maneuvering,  voluntarily dismissed its complaint.  The Defendant… Continue Reading

P.R.O.s continue policy of suing bars and Restaurants. Are your licenses in place?

As  I blogged  here last December,  Performance Rights Organizations like ASCAP and BMI continue their policy of pursuing legal action against bars and restaurants that play music without proper licensing.  The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog has a piece today, that reminds us of the policy.  Earlier this week,  BMI filed a suit against a restaurant… Continue Reading

Copyright Registration and other fees increase August 1st

Everybody knows that copyright registration is important, and that doing so in a timely fashion can provide a copyright owner a greater award in an infringement suit. With the current backlog of registrations in the Copyright office, it’s especially important to get your works into the que for registration as soon as possible. The agency… Continue Reading

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