Entertainment Media

For leading entertainment media companies, as well as for the independent producers and the artists who drive the creative process, success is built on talent, hard work and creativity. Lathrop Gage’s record of serving entertainment clients reflects those important values. Members of our group have represented motion picture and television studios, production companies, computer game companies, and music publishers in a wide variety of disputes, many involving copyright, trademark, defamation, right of publicity, right of privacy, unfair competition, trade secret or false advertising issues and claims.

Independent production companies are at the heart of the complex business arrangements that make artistic performances possible. Our firm understands the concerns of both performing artists and the management of production companies and can advise on concerns ranging from intellectual property rights to international production and distribution agreements.

IP rights are paramount for musical, motion picture and broadcast entertainment, and we have helped internationally prominent performing artists and entertainment companies protect and exploit their publicity, privacy, fair use and related rights. Members of our team have handled numerous claims concerning a variety of popular motion picture and television entertainment works. We also have provided fair use and publicity rights advice to prominent national television personalities as well as to television networks and represented both entertainment companies and musical performers in fair use controversies involving song compositions.

Representative Experience:

  • Won a significant victory for Kesey LLC (an entity formed by the heirs of the late author Ken Kesey) when a magistrate judge ruled in its favor in an action to establish our client’s sole and undisputed ownership of Kesey’s screenplay Last Go Round. The ruling deals with important issues arising under the Copyright Act’s work-for-hire and statute of frauds provisions, and may have important ramifications in other cases where a screenplay or other work has been created for a production or distribution entity under circumstances where no executed writing spells out the parties’ respective rights in the work.
  • Defended ABC television and producer Stuart Krasnow in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who had alleged that both ABC’s television show National Bingo Night and the Game Show Network’s Bingo America were based on his idea for a proposed show to be known as TV Bingo. The court found that the plaintiff had entered into no enforceable contract or other business relationship with ABC or Krasnow with regard to his proposal for TV Bingo. The court additionally noted that the idea was neither confidential nor novel, and that no evidence existed that it had been submitted by the plaintiff for sale to ABC or Krasnow.