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Monthly Archives: March 2008

360 deals – some basics from M.E.L.O.N.

My friend and colleague Tony Berman is at it again, preparing a useful and comprehensive blog post about the growing phenomenon of so-called 360 deals, where record companies participate not only in revenues from an Artist's record sales, but also from merchandise, touring, ticketing, online presence, marketing, sponsorships, endorsements, and the like.  Essentially, any money the artist earns is shared with the label..

Check it out the first installment of his multi-part article at  Multimedia Entertainment Law Online News.

Law and Video Podcast – new episode

The latest episode of The Law and Video Podcast is now available at

This week we discussed:

News:  Industry pushes for Copyright Prevention Law tied to college loan funding

  • Live Call:  Can I do anything with some old film footage I bought at a garage sale?

Email questions:

  •  How do I start an independent record label?
  • How do I find and hire an entertainment lawyer?
  • What can I show and what can't I show when making a “Cops” style local TV show.
  • Can an adult-video producer require participants to sign a confidentiality agreement? Can it be enforced?
  • Blu-Ray licenses required for authoring discs?  DRM and the DMCA.

The Law and Video podcast is a weekly live call-in question-and-answer audio programwhere I answer questions about legal and business issues facing video- and film-makers.

Smoking Bans and Theatre – the debate continues

The New York Times reports in this article, that a Colorado State appellate court has ruled against the owners of several theatres who've challenged the State's ban on smoking indoors on First Amendment grounds.  The theatres have indicated that they'll appeal to the state's Supreme Court.

Will they succeed. Is “smoking” an expressive form of speech?  Isn't the use of smoke, lighting cigarettes, etc., sometimes powerful in its symbolism, etc?

Suppose stage directions call for an actress to take a drag on her cigarette, and then, in response to something another character says or does, blow the smoke into his face?  Isn't this a significant part of the playwright's expression of the characters' disdain for one-another?  Isn't this  a form of protected speech?

Under traditional first amendment analysis, the State's law must be “narrowly tailored” to acheive a “compelling government interest”.   The compelling government interest here is ensuring public health and safety… but is a total ban on indoor smoking really “narrowly tailored” .  Is there some, less restrictive alternative available?

If so, should the theatres prevail? Should the burden be on the theatres' entertainment lawyers to prove that such an alternative exists?

I'm inviting your comments… I look forward to hearing what readers think!

Some legal guidelines for Photographers

While surfing the net tonight, I discovered this article on Photojojo, which has some interesting tidbits of legal information for photographers. Most of the tips apply to amateur and professional photographers alike, but if your photos will be used for commercial purposes, don’t forget that some jurisdictions have stronger rights of publicity and privacy laws… Continue Reading

An Update on smoking bans and theater

Since I first wrote about this  here and here, there have been some interesting developments on the questions surrounding laws banning smoking in public places.   Following passage of a smoking ban law in Minnesota (the “Freedom to Breathe Act”), a growing  number of bar and restaurant owners have been staging “theatre nights”, wherein they involve… Continue Reading

Filed Under: Law

Law and Video entertainment law Podcast for March 4, 2008

The latest episode of The Law and Video Podcast is now available at This week we discussed: Smoking Bans vs. the First Amendment – Minnesota bars and restaurants casting themselves as theatres. Patrons as “performers”, with smoking as theatrical performance. Copyright Ownership of public access broadcasts of city council meetings Legality of UFC (Ultimate… Continue Reading

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