Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Industry Liabilities

In this blog post I want to discuss more legal issues within the entertainment industry. If you would like to follow along I am referencing three podcasts, episodes 38, 42, & 43 from web site Entertainment Law Update. 
The first thing I am going to talk about is what if a student creates audio or art part of a class. Does the student gain all copyrights? Most colleges have policies regarding this issue. In most cases the students are allowed to own any copyright from what they create. Some colleges ask students to sign away any rights when dealing with an on going research or project that’s been happening at a college, or if there will be scientific developing of in technology. Also, when a student creates a piece of music that becomes very popular typically the student owns the rights but it may not apply for someone who is a teacher and their job is to create music for teaching methods. Then the teacher would be acting as more of a work for hire situation rather than a student. It can become a contractual thing if a student is given a grant for college. The person or company giving the grant may have in the contract that if the student develops or creates something during the coarse from which the grant is applied that all ownership is given to the person or company supplying the grant. Not to worry as in most cases, you the student, own the copyrights. (Episode 38)
The next issue will be more about the attack of the interns that I discussed in my last blog post. In a similar case the court took a look at what defines an internship. After analyzing what an internship is the court decided there was a list of criteria that had to be meet in order for the work to be a considered an internship. Such things as is this an educational environment for the benefit of the intern, that the intern isn’t displacing regular employees, that the employer doesn’t derive immediate advantage from the interns work, that the intern is not entitled to a job or compensation at the end of the program, and that both the intern and the employer understand that. In this case, initially “Fox Searchlight” thought it to be the job of the company they hired that was responsible for the interns. The courts found that is was Fox Searchlight was the employer under New York labor laws and that everyone was tied to Fox Searchlight. The court found that the interns provided immediate advantage to the employer by providing low-level tasks that did not require any specialized training, which shows there is no educational environment. That mean they did not receive anything similar to what you might find in an educational or school setting. The judge ordered a class action against Fox for all of its internship programs to make sure they are appropriate. My point of all this is to make sure as an intern you put yourself in an environment that you will learn from and if you are an employer that you make sure the intern will learn from the tasks you give them. As a company you are legally labile for anyone that works under your supervision. (Episode 42)
The last liability I will discuss is ethics. The person who wrote the real Harry Potter books used a pen name. In other words she did not use her real name. Someone from the legal offices revealed her real name and it was published in a newspaper. She then filed suit for breach of confidentiality.  Under law a lawyer cannot reveal any information of a client without written consent from that person. I thought this would be good information to share with those artists who wish to keep their real identity from the public. A good piece of advice, if doing so, would be to not share the information with others outside if your legal offices as it could cause the information to be revealed in public. As in the case of a production company if a provision in the their contract states you cannot share their real name to the public it would be wise to keep the real identity from your employees as this could cause real harm to you, your business, or a clients personal reputation. (Episode 43)

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