GPSolo Magazine - October/November 2006
Lindey on Entertainment Publishing and the Arts
By Alexander Lindey and Michael Landau
By Robert Fremlin and Michael Landau Reviewed by Jean Maneke
Most lawyers agree that the cost of the library required for day-to-day practice is one of the largest expenses for a firm. For lawyers in a small firm, the cost of that library cannot be spread over many users, so its portion of the entire practice budget is a hard hit to absorb. And for small boutique firms, the cost of form resources can be especially difficult to cover. If this describes you, read on for some entertaining surprises.
If you practice entertainment law in a small firm, the forms that are generally available for your state won’t be of much help in assisting your clients. Domestic relations forms, real estate forms, estate planning forms—all are generally easy to come by. But if you need a form to book a rock band into an arena, you’re on your own. Similarly, lawyers representing advertising agencies deal with issues as wide-ranging as employment contracts, model releases, interagency contracts, and copyright violation. If you represent an artist, you deal with sale or transfer of rights issues, permissions for use, publishing contracts, and loan agreements. Attorneys for publishers deal with author contracts, royalties, and sales of rights. You’ll need help.
For years, one of the cornerstones of entertainment-related law has been Lindey on Entertainment Publishing and the Arts (3d ed., Thomson West, 2004, $1,437). It is an incredible resource. Saying the book contains nearly any contract you might need to counsel a client is not stretching the point. The third edition was written by Michael Landau, professor of law and director of the Intellectual Property, Technology, and Media Law Program at George State University. Alexander Lindey, the original author of this series, was a New York attorney with the firm of Greenbaum, Wolff and Ernst. His death at the age of 85 on August 22, 2006, marked a milestone for entertainment lawyers who have known his name as the icon of legal treatises in this arena. During his lifetime, he served as counsel to the American Newspaper Guild, the Newspaper Guild of New York, and the Dramatists Guild.
The four-volume third edition is somewhat reorganized from earlier editions. Volumes I and II focus on substantive copyright and trademark issues. Volume III focuses on the torts within the right to privacy and publicity, an area of growing concern for entertainment law practitioners. And Volume IV covers more general First Amendment issues, including sections on trade and educational book publishing.
Within these four volumes are enough forms to cover nearly any situation that might arise for the arts or entertainment practitioner. To set the stage, the preface espouses the beauty of simplification of contract language: “We have streamlined our vehicles, modernized our homes and our appliances. Let’s do the same with our contracts.” Still, it is clear that one form cannot suffice for all arts practice areas and circumstances; if money is no object, Lindey is an incredible resource for a growing firm or practice.
But how about a one-volume book that will help a small firm practitioner with day-to-day practice needs, and for a substantially smaller sum—say, something in the three-figure range?
Entertainment Law by Robert Fremlin and Michael Landau(rev. ed., Thomson West, 2006, $244) discusses many of the same topics covered by Lindey, including defamation, privacy, copyrights and trademarks, performers’ agreements and rights, and publishing agreements. Citations to leading cases are included to assist in understanding the issues.
This book, however, contains not a single form. It likely would be welcomed by an entertainment lawyer who wouldn’t need access to forms. Still, forms are what many of us look for in a workbook. This book, in short, can save you a substantial sum but may not provide exactly what you seek.
Each book has its place in an entertainment practice. Whether that place is your personal library depends on your other resources and your budget. Both are excellent treatises and could be invaluable to your practice.
Note: West Group is a corporate sponsor of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division; this article appears in connection with the Division’s sponsorship agreement with West Group. Neither the ABA nor ABA entities endorse non-ABA products or services, and this review should not be so construed.
Jean Maneke, of the Maneke Law Group, L.C., in Kansas City, Missouri, has practiced in the area of media and entertainment law for 20 years and counsels authors, newspaper and book publishers, film producers, recording artists, advertising and marketing agencies, photographers, and broadcasters.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.