Experience that gets results for a high-profile industry's key players
JMBM's lawyers understand both the law and the business of the entertainment industry and offer an integrated approach to entertainment and media law. We have built a reputation as an industry leader by providing top-quality service to leading multinational entertainment and media companies, independent producers, artists and others who drive the creative process, and investors who help turn concepts into reality.
Our innovation and skill at advising our entertainment industry clients matches the high standards they expect, reflecting our lawyers’ years of personal industry experience. This is why our clients include:
- Actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, authors, recording artists, composers and music producers Independent producers, production companies and debt and equity investors
- Senior executives in publicly and privately held entertainment and media companies
- Computer and video game developers and distributors
- Advertising and public relations firms, talent agencies and personal and business managers
- Technology innovators in the entertainment and media industries
- North America's largest producer and presenter of touring Broadway shows
Whether the issue is a contract or licensing dispute, entertainment industry contract negotiations, wealth and tax planning services, or other client needs, JMBM has the capabilities and experience to get results for our clients.
We have a personal familiarity with how the industry, its artists, executives and investors operate from the inside out. Our team of lawyers includes a former EVP of Business and Legal Affairs for the motion picture group of one of the world’s largest studios (who grew up working in the film industry); one of California’s Top 10 entertainment intellectual property litigators as named by California’s largest legal news provider; a former General Counsel and EVP of Business Affairs to the leading provider of one of the oldest existing forms of entertainment (Broadway theatre), as well as one of the newest (an Emmy®-nominated Internet company); and a founding member of the UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium.
Financing and other transactions
JMBM attorneys represent lenders, borrowers and investors in the U.S. and in the major capital markets throughout the world, as well as other providers and users of capital in the entertainment industry.
We regularly draft and negotiate agreements relating to the acquisition, development, production, sale and distribution of motion pictures, television projects and other entertainment content. Members of our team have supervised numerous audits of studio records on behalf of film and television revenue participants. We also have experience negotiating and documenting loans for film and television projects.
Our lawyers represent the interests of actors, directors, producers and writers in all types of talent agreements. The firm’s clients include Academy Award®, Emmy® and Grammy® winners and nominees, as well as newcomers to the business.
In representing these clients, we understand that their true passion is for creating art, not tending to business details. We are mindful that one of our roles is balance a client’s immediate desire to produce a film, record an album, publish a book or sell a screenplay with the long-term benefits that such talent creates.
We take the time to understand the career goals and objectives of creative artists, and use our negotiating skills to ensure that their efforts are properly compensated and protected.
This includes ensuring that the IP embodied by our clients’ artistic expression is properly protected, and that this protection is enforced against infringement and other violations.
Our lawyers have negotiated contracts for and resolved legal issues involved in the production of some of critically and financially successful motion pictures, television series, record albums and songs - including projects for which our clients received Academy Award® and Emmy® recognition and various international awards.
Often these production arrangements involve complex corporate matters, such as our representation of Academy Award®-winning producers and production companies in connection with licensing domestic distribution rights for proposed films to major distributors, in return for a substantial advance against the budget and a back-end participation, all while retaining foreign rights. Our lawyers have negotiated deals covering transactions from a “first dollar gross” actor in negotiating three different actor/producer agreements for pictures with combined world-world-wide box office grosses exceeding $1.2 billion to a “first dollar gross” director in negotiating a motion picture project that required accommodation of several gross and adjusted gross participants.
Just as frequently, our work on the production-side of the business involves resolving complex disputes over ownership and financing arrangements. In one instance, we represented the producers of an Academy Award®-winning major motion picture in a dispute with their former partner over the operations and profits of their production company. In another example, we successfully represented the producers of an Academy Award® winning major motion picture in a dispute over foreign royalty payments due to our clients.
Our litigators have a proven track record representing clients in important and high-profile entertainment, media and IP cases. We are skilled inside and outside the courtroom, and combine tenacious trial skills with the ability to resolve disputes without litigation or publicity. Our litigators have access to the knowledge of our transactional lawyers as it relates to deals and practices in the entertainment business, and can call upon the expertise of JMBM attorneys in other disciplines, as well. This ensures a unified, sophisticated and knowledgeable approach to any litigation matter.
We serve our clients with a total commitment to excellence and skill at resolving disputes over contracts, copyrights, creative and First Amendment issues, infringement, monetary issues, personal injury and torts such as fraud.
Our experience in entertainment and media cases crosses a wide range of matters in film, music, publishing and television, as well as artist management and agency issues. We have litigated cases for plaintiffs and defendants surrounding copyright, defamation, publicity rights and trademark matters, in addition to disputes involving allegations of breaches of contract and fiduciary duties.
Just a sampling of these matters illustrates the range of our capabilities. For example, JMBM litigators:
- Represented the world's largest record company and the world's largest music publishing company in numerous matters, both as a plaintiff enforcing their intellectual property rights against piracy and unauthorized use, and as a defendant defending their rights against claims of ownership and infringement
- Defended both studio and production company executives against the breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by an actor over a horror movie and its sequels
- Represented the executor and estate of a television writer in an action brought by his former talent agency for commissions from an award-winning, long-running television series
- Defended a production company accused of breaching the contract of a supposed producer of a television program based on a beauty pageant
- Defended the age discrimination claims of a long-term employee of a motion picture production company
- Defended a television network against claims of trademark infringement over the use of a name for a fictitious airline in an episode of a most popular television series
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a television network and motion picture studio on claims by a television writer who sought the theatrical motion picture rights to a 1960s television series under the “separated rights” provisions of a collective bargaining agreement
- Represented a well-known songwriter/recording artist in a successful lawsuit to terminate a music publishing agreement
- Represented a popular recording group in enjoining the release of an unauthorized “greatest hits” album
- Represented an award-winning television journalist whose IP rights were infringed by the use of his voice-over and video images in a movie about the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan without proper clearances and attribution of credit
- Represented an Academy Award® and Golden Globe®-nominated film star in his action against the production company of a major motion picture for breach of an oral agreement regarding the use of his services
We also represent entertainment industry artists and executives in confidential matters such as tax, trusts and estate planning, wealth management and personal staff/employment concerns. JMBM has special capabilities in entertainment-related personal services controversies over royalties, contracts and commissions.
In addition to representing leading entertainment industry talent, we often advise leading figures from the worlds of sports and the media. Every client can rely on our absolute personal commitment to confidentiality, and a majority of our work comes to us from personal recommendations and referrals by current clients.
- For Penske Media Corporation (PMC): JMBM Represents PMC in Acquisition of Variety and Related Assets from Reed Elsevier For Penske Media Corporation (PMC): JMBM Represents PMC in Acquisition of Variety and Related Assets from Reed Elsevier Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to have represented long-time client Penske Media Corporation (PMC) in the successful acquisition of the legendary entertainment industry trade publication Variety, from Reed Elsevier. JMBM also assisted PMC with [...]
- JMBM won a jury verdict for a major motion picture company in a breach of good faith and fair dealing case Represented by JMBM trial lawyers, a jury found in favor of independent film production company Morgan Creek Productions, awarding the company almost $2 million for Franchise Pictures’ breach of good faith and fair dealing on an earlier settlement agreement. The jury also found in favor of Morgan Creek on its claims that Franchise Pictures was [...]
- JMBM’s entertainment lawyers negotiated financing for an $85 million independent motion picture JMBM’s entertainment lawyers recently negotiated and closed a production financing facility for an $85 million independent motion picture starring multiple Academy Award winning actors.
- Getting Results - Resolving contract and accounting claims A jury found in favor of our client, a major independent film production company, awarding our client almost $2 million for the distributor’s breach of good faith and fair dealing. The jury also found in favor of our client on its claims that the other party was improperly accounting to our client on two major [...]