Understanding the Business of Entertainment: The Legal and Business Essentials All Filmmakers Should Know (Paperback) book cover

Understanding the Business of Entertainment

The Legal and Business Essentials All Filmmakers Should Know

By Gregory Bernstein

© 2015 – Routledge

314 pages

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Description

Understanding the Business of Entertainment: The Legal and Business Essentials All Filmmakers Should Know is an indispensable guide to the business aspects of the entertainment industry, providing the legal expertise you need to break in and to succeed.  Written in a clear and engaging tone, this book covers the essential topics in a thorough but reader-friendly manner and includes plenty of real-world examples that bring business and legal concepts to life. Whether you want to direct, produce, write, edit, photograph or act in movies, this book covers how to find work in your chosen field and examines the key provisions in employment agreements for creative personnel.  If you want to make films independently, you’ll find advice on where to look for financing, what kinds of deals might be made in the course of production, and important information on insurance, releases, and licenses. 

 

Other topics covered include:

  • Hollywood’s growth and the current conglomerates that own most of the media
  • How specific entertainment companies operate, including facts about particular studios and employee tasks.
  • How studios develop projects, manage production, seek out independent films, and engage in marketing and distribution
  • The kinds of revenues studios earn and how they account for these revenues
  • How television networks and new media-delivery companies like Netflix operate and where the digital revolution might take those who will one day work in the film and TV business

As an award- winning screenwriter and entertainment attorney, Gregory Bernstein give us an inside look at the business of entertainment. He proves that knowing what is behind filmmaking is just as important as the film itself.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS …………………………………………………………………. xiii

INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………….1 ix

SECTION 1

Law and Entertainment ………………………………………………………… 7

Chapter 1 Copyright Law ………………………………………………………………9

Introduction 9

In the Beginning 9

What Works Qualify for Copyright Protection? 12

What Can’t Be Copyrighted? 15

When Does Copyright Ownership Begin, and What Do You

Have to Do to Secure Copyright Ownership? 24

What Specific Rights Do Copyright Owners Receive? 25

Joint Works 30

Work for Hire 32

How Long Does Copyright Last? 33

Copyright Infringement 35

Fair Use 41

Chapter 2 Music Copyright ………………………………………………………….55

Introduction 55

Music and Copyright Law 56

Music Publishing 63

Licenses 64

Chapter 3 Copyright and Piracy…………………………………………………….71

Introduction 71

The Betamax Case 72

Napster and Grokster 74

YouTube and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 77

Morality and Digital Piracy 78

Chapter 4 International Copyright …………………………………………………83

The Berne Convention 83

Moral Rights 84

Chapter 5 First Amendment Law …………………………………………………..87

Introduction 87

Entertainment and "Speech" 88

Obscenity 90

 

 

x Contents

 

 

Indecent Speech 91

The Internet and Indecent Speech 93

Violence in Entertainment 94

Voluntary Censorship 96

Libel and Slander 99

Invasion of Privacy 103

Defamation and Invasion of Privacy: Life Rights Agreements 106

 

SECTION 2

Entertainment Companies: Growth and Power ………………………. 115

Chapter 6 The FCC and Government Regulation of the Media……………117

Introduction 117

Vertical and Horizontal Integration 118

The FCC: Basics 119

The Right to Broadcast 120

FCC Media Ownership Rules: 1934–1980 121

Film Regulation: 1934–1980 123

TV and Film Regulation Since 1980 123

Regulation: Where We Are Today 126

Chapter 7 Media Growth and Ownership……………………………………….127

Introduction 127

Film: The First Few Decades 128

The Early Days of Radio and Television 132

Media Conglomeration 135

Media Ownership Today 143

The Impact of Media Conglomeration 146

Chapter 8 Unions, Agents and Managers ………………………………………153

Entertainment Unions 153

Agents and Managers 163

 

SECTION 3

What Studios Do …………………………………………………………….. 171

Chapter 9 Development …………………………………………………………….173

Choosing Ideas 173

Studio Film Development 179

Television Development 181

Some Thoughts About Development Hell 183

The End of Development 184

Which Studio Departments Manage Development? 185

Production and Post-Production: The Filmmakers

Take Over 187

Chapter 10 Distribution ………………………………………………………………191

Introduction 191

The Cost of Film Distribution 191

 

 

Contents xi

 

 

Distribution Strategy 193

Distribution Personnel and Activities 194

Following the Money 195

The Impact of High Distribution Costs 197

Television Distribution 199

Internet Distribution 204

Other Studio Departments 204

 

SECTION 4

Money and Contracts……………………………………………………….. 209

A Few Words About the Negotiating Process 210

Chapter 11 Gross and Net Proceeds………………………………………………213

Introduction 213

Film Accounting: When is a Film "Profitable"? 213

Gross Proceeds and Net Proceeds 214

Chapter 12 Entertainment Contracts …………………………………………….227

Introduction 227

Rights Agreements: Option/Purchase Contracts 227

Agreements for Screenwriters 239

Agreements for Directors 244

Agreements for Actors 249

Agreements for Producers 252

Chapter 13 Independent Film Development, Financing,

Contracts and Distribution …………………………………………..263

Introduction 263

Development 263

Film Financing 264

Television Financing 268

Negotiating Contracts with Independent Filmmakers 269

Film Distribution 270

Film Finance and Distribution Deals 271

 

SECTION 5

Voices …………………………………………………………………………… 277

Chapter 14 Making It Into the Business …………………………………………279

 

 

 

Hamilton Sterling 287

Dana Lustig 290

Maureen Tunney 293

 

INDEX ……………………………………………………………………………………. 297

About the Author

Gregory Bernstein has worked in the entertainment business for the past 33 years from both the business and creative sides -- as an entertainment attorney, studio business affairs executive, WGA union senior executive, and award-winning screenwriter.

After graduating from the UCLA Law School in 1980, Bernstein practiced entertainment law for two years at O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm.He then worked for six years as vice-president of business affairs at Columbia and Tri-Star Pictures, negotiating more than a hundred acting, directing, producing, writing, rights, financing and distribution agreements.Following his studio executive years, Bernstein enrolled in the film directing program at the American Film Institute where he earned an MFA degree. Since leaving AFI, he has received writing credit on three films: The Conspirator, which was released in 2011 and directed by Robert Redford, and for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize; Trial and Error, which starred Charlize Theron, Michael Richards and Jeff Daniels; and Call Me Claus, which starred Whoopi Goldberg. He has also sold scripts to Disney and Dreamworks. In 2003, Bernstein took a sabbatical from writing and entered the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a master’s degree in public administration. Upon returning to Los Angeles, he served as the assistant executive director of the Writers Guild of America, West from 2004 until 2006. Since 2012, along with screenwriting, he has also taught film at Arizona State University.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART057000
ART / Film & Video