Category Archives: General Information

Things to do for your business before the holidays get in the way.

Things to do for your business before the holidays get in the way.

This Post originally appeared in November, 2014.  Each year around this time, we repost it as a service to our clients and colleagues.

Thanksgiving, and the Winter holiday chaos that ensues are just around the corner. Once they arrive, most non-retail businesses can expect things to go into a sort of “standby” mode until after the new year. the entertainment industry, in particular, goes pretty quiet at this time of the year.

A few to-dos

So, before the holidays really start getting in the way, here are a few to-do items you might consider to make sure your business hits the ground running in the New Year.

Protect your intellectual property

For many of us, especially those in Entertainment and Media, intellectual property like Copyrights and Trademarks are our primary, most valuable assets.

Yet many folks, individuals and businesses alike, neglect taking the important (and relatively simple) steps necessary to protect these assets against loss by infringement, dilution or downright theft.

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Gordon Firemark selected for inclusion in BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA for Entertainment – Theatre

I'd like to thank the academy….

Losangeles-Custompub_pdf

I've just learned that I've been selected by my peers for inclusion in the 22nd (2016) Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for my practice areas of Entertainment Law and Theatre Law

Obviously, I'm honored, and grateful that I've earned the respect of my fellow attorneys.

More information can be found at http://bestlawyers.com

Publication: Case Note on Aereo decision published in Texas State Bar Entertainment Law Section Newsletter

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Place-and-Time-Shifting Technology

Case Note by Gordon Firemark

 

On June 25, the United States Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated ruling in American Broadcasting Co v. Aereo, Inc., handing a victory to Hollywood, and dealing a major blow to the respondent, a technology startup backed by media mogul Barry Diller.

Aereo sells a service that essentially allows subscribers to lease small, individual television antennae, and to view the signals received over the Internet. The Southern District of New York denied broadcasters’ petition for a preliminary injunction (874 F. Supp. 2d 373 (SDNY 2012)), and the Second Circuit affirmed (WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc., 712 F. 3d 676 (2013)), later denying a motion for rehearing en banc (WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc., 722 F. 3d 500 (2013)). This appeal followed.

The Court, in a 6-3 opinion penned by Justice Breyer, explored two issues. First, whether what Aereo does is a transmission regulated by the U.S. Copyright Act; and second, whether Aereo’s service amounts to “Public Performance,” and is therefore copyright infringement. Ultimately, the Court ruled in Broadcasters’ favor on both points.

First, the Court examined the history behind the so-called “transmit clause,” (prior to 1976 two Supreme Court cases (Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television, Inc., 392 U. S. 390, andTeleprompter Corp. v. Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 415 U. S. 394) cleared the way for Community-Antenna Television systems to retransmit distant TV signals without paying fees to the original broadcasters), and held that Aereo’s service is, for all practical purposes, exactly the type of activity Congress sought to address when it added a “transmit clause” in the 1976 revision of the Copyright Act.

Next, the Court ruled that because the Aereo service was offered to the general public, it amounts to a public performance within the meaning of the Copyright Act. Aereo had claimed that because it transmits from user-specific copies, using individually-assigned antennas, and because each transmission is available to only one subscriber, it does not transmit a performance “to the public.” But the Court ruled that “… these behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems, which do perform publicly.”

Thus, having found that Aereo’s activities do indeed violate two provisions of the Copyright Act, the Court reversed and remanded, but went to some lengths to caution that its decision should not be viewed as having wide-ranging effect beyond the specifics of the Aereo service.

Justice Scalia wrote the dissent, and was joined by Justices Thomas and Alito. They favored Aereo’s argument that its “performances” were private, due to the single-user, single-antenna business model, and argued that the majority found Aereo “guilt[y] by resemblance” to cable and CATV systems.

Will the Aereo decision have the wide-ranging implications many in the technology sector fear? Only time will tell.

Gordon Firemark is a sole practitioner in Los Angeles, California, who helps creative and business people in the fields of Theatre, Film, Television and Digital Media make deals that make sense. He teaches Theater Law in Southwestern Law School’s Entertainment Law LLM program, and produces the Entertainment Law Update podcast with his co-host, Texas music lawyer, Tamera H Bennett.

 

 

 

Why you should have a lawyer for every deal

Why hire a lawyer? I’m often contacted by do-it-yourselfers who just need a small tidbit of information or advice about whatever legal transaction it is they’re working on. Unfortunately, even with that tidbit, they’re likely to encounter trouble with the matter, and wind up spending more money to fix their own mistakes, than they would… Continue Reading

When the corporate shield… isn’t one.

New York Case holds film producer liable despite corporate shield. Earlier this year, a New York Court issued a ruling  against a film producer that’s troubling not just for the losing defendant,  but provides a cautionary tale for countless others who do business relying on their small, undercapitalized corporations and LLCs to protect them if… Continue Reading

Adam Leipzig on How Entrepreneurs and Creatives Can Change the World

What would it take to create massive, lasting change? 10%. My friend Adam Leipzig (http://www.adamleipzig.com/) calls for supporting and training 10% of the creative and entrepreneurial people to have higher impact, greater incomes and more sustainable lives within the next decade in order to completely transform America. http://youtu.be/ZTiNpZ8N1IA Continue Reading

Speaking at LA County Bar Association

I’m pleased to have been asked to join  an impressive panel of lawyers, including internet defamation attorney Adrianos Fachetti; class action attorney H. Scott Leviant; Barger & Wolen Marketing Director Heather Milligan, and mediator attorney Victoria Pynchon, to discuss how lawyers can use and benefit from social media. The Details: Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Second… Continue Reading

SAG Board Rejects AMPTP's final offer

The Entertainment trades are reporting that the SAG Board today voted to reject the “final” offer made by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, setting the stage for more turmoil and the possibility of an Actor’s strike. Stormy seas ahead for everybody who works in and around Hollywood. ?Including Entertainment Lawyers. Continue Reading

Academy for New Musical Theatre launches Online Holiday Auction Fundraiser

The Academy for New Musical Theatre is an organization that’s close to my heart.  I serve on their  Board of Directors, and believe very strongly in their mission to foster the development of new  Musicals. November 28 through December 7, 2008, ANMT will be  auctioning off some fun and unique items that you can bid on to help raise… Continue Reading

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