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March 1, 2024

Understanding Trademark and Copyright Laws In The Entertainment Industry

A Comprehensive Overview of IP Laws For Creators

The entertainment industry is a multifaceted industry with a wide range of creative individuals all of whom require specific trademark and copyright protections for their work. Copyright and trademark are the two most important, and most valuable
intellectual property rights for creatives in this industry.

Trademarks protect brand names and logos associated with goods or services, while copyright protects original works of authorships that are fixed in a tangible form of expression, like books, scripts, images, movies, and comics. No matter what part of the entertainment industry you are in, having an experienced entertainment attorney help protect your work is essential to the success of your career as a creative, and the monetization of your work. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key
principles and concepts of copyright and trademark law, and how they apply to various sectors within the industry.

Copyright Law in the Entertainment Industry

Copyright law is the foundation of intellectual property protection in the entertainment industry. A copyright owner has exclusive rights in and to their work, whether it be a script, film, painting, photograph, or other piece of original work. These exclusive rights include the right to distribute, perform, reproduce, display, and create derivative works based on the original work. As the holder of these exclusive rights, a copyright owner can prevent others from infringing on their rights.

Although a copyright exists from the moment a work is created, you may not be able to sue another individual or company if they infringe on your exclusive rights without registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office first. Having an experienced
entertainment attorney register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is the best way for you to ensure that your work is properly protected. Should you ever discover that someone has stolen your work in any way, shape, or form, a registered copyright will give you the ability to pursue legal action for infringement and/or claim statutory damages. It can also deter someone from taking your work and profiting from it.

In the entertainment industry, copyright law is particularly important for protecting musical, dramatic, literary, or artistic works such as scripts, films, TV shows, music compositions, songs, poetry, podcasts, and other types of creative work. Copyright law
can protect a film from being distributed or duplicated without authorization, safeguard a musician’s original composition, and give social media influencers the right to control the reproduction of their work.

Trademark in the Entertainment Industry

Trademarks also play a significant role in the entertainment industry because they protect a person or company’s ability to brand and market a product or service. Trademarks also help consumers easily identify the source of a good or service and know the quality that they are receiving if they choose to purchase that good or service. While trademarks typically protect brand names and logos, they can even protect celebrity names, social media handles, or someone’s distinctive image or voice. In the
entertainment industry, trademarks are vital to creating and protecting a brand identity.

Securing a trademark registration can be complicated and requires thorough knowledge and research by an experienced IP attorney to ensure that your desired mark is eligible and not already in use. Proactive enforcement strategies, including monitoring by an IP attorney for potential infringement, and understanding how to take appropriate legal action, are vital for protection.

Getting Legal Help to Protect Your IP

If you are a creator in the entertainment industry and you have created something special, then you need to protect it. Speaking with an entertainment attorney as soon as possible is the best way to ensure that your creative work is properly protected, so you
can pursue your endeavors comfortably and confidently.

In addition to protecting your work, an entertainment attorney can also help you draft or review contracts to help ensure that you are being paid and credited properly for your contributions to a project. A verbal contract is not going to protect you. You need to
have a written legal agreement that has been reviewed and approved by an entertainment attorney.

If you are a creator of any kind looking for copyright and trademark protection or need the advice and guidance of an entertainment attorney specializing in intellectual property law, contact the experts at Ameri Law in Beverly Hills, CA.