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Entertainment law

Entertainment law—sometimes known as media law—is a broad topic that includes traditional areas of law when applied to the entertainment industry. As with most industries, these traditional areas of law have unique applications in the entertainment industry.

Some of the areas of law that are often relevant to the entertainment industry and form a part of what is loosely known as entertainment law include contract law; intellectual property law (copyright law, trademark law, trade secret law, right of publicity, licensing law); First Amendment law (content regulation, obscenity, and censorship); privacy law; employment law; labor law; agency law; defamation law; tax law; immigration law; securities law; and civil litigation.

And when people in the entertainment industry have personal legal issues related to criminal law, family law (prenuptial agreements, divorce, child custody, child support), and personal injury law, for example, the related publicity may present additional challenges.

In Texas, entertainment law encompasses various legal disciplines as they apply to the entertainment industry. Contract law is central, governing agreements between artists, producers, and distributors. Intellectual property law is crucial for protecting creative works, including copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. The right of publicity and licensing are also significant, allowing individuals to control the commercial use of their name and image. First Amendment rights are pertinent to content creation and distribution, addressing issues of free speech, obscenity, and censorship. Privacy laws protect against the unauthorized use of personal information. Employment and labor laws regulate industry relationships, including those with agents and unions. Defamation law is relevant for protecting reputations against false statements. Tax, immigration, and securities laws impact financial and operational aspects of entertainment projects. Additionally, personal legal issues such as criminal charges, family law matters, and personal injury can become complex when public figures are involved, due to the potential for heightened media scrutiny. Texas attorneys specializing in entertainment law must navigate these areas, tailoring their legal strategies to the unique context of the entertainment industry.

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Understanding Collegiate Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Rules
In June 2021 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) changed its long-standing rules prohibiting student-athletes from profiting from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).