It’s no secret that all forms of entertainment have embraced and migrated to the web. Why? The internet allows you to select what, when, where, and how the new media is delivered. The present technology provides a vast new world of opportunities to those engaged in the entertainment industry, including artists, musicians, producers, actors, writers, production companies, the film industry, radio and television stations, record distributors, game designers, and many more.
It was not long ago that Napster offered you the ability to download mp3 music files without having to purchase the CD. And there were those who thought it was legal to engage in cybersquatting by buying domain names of famous companies, like Panasonic, or individuals, like Madonna, and then trying to gouge them by offering to sell those very names back at a greatly inflated price.
Even today, it is not uncommon for some to illegally download mp4 files containing feature films that have not yet been released in theaters, and/or participate in identity theft, cyberbullying, pirating, copyright and trademark infringement, email scams, spam, and much more. In fact, the internet, in many respects, is still much like the wild west.
On the one hand, let’s suppose you had good intentions and didn’t realize it was illegal to click that hyperlink which allowed you to receive an mp3 containing songs from a copyrighted CD, or an mp4, mpeg, mp2, divx, avi or mov file containing a film or television show from a copyrighted DVD or Blu-ray disc. When you receive that letter from a cable company, lawyer, law firm, the RIAA, or MPAA, threatening a law suit, what will you do?
The answer is don’t deal with it alone. Anyone who represents him/herself has a fool for a client. It is imperative that you select an attorney who not only practices entertainment law, but internet and technology law (“cyberlaw”), intellectual property law, and litigation.
On the other hand, let’s review a scenario where we are not dealing with pending litigation and/or damage control, but building a new entertainment entity like an internet record distribution company, recording studio, or something along those lines. Before the internet, many felt it was not necessary to perform a trademark or domain name search to clear the name for the entity. Today, it is absolutely essential to the survival of any business that its brand be available as a trademark and domain name. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Elliot Zimmerman has practiced cyberentertainment law and litigation for over thirty years. Additionally, he is a recording artist and computer programmer. As such, he is uniquely positioned to know the intricate nature of your entertainment or cyber business.
The CyberEntertainment Lawyer
Elliot Zimmerman, P.A.
Board Certified Intellectual Property Lawyer
100 NW 70th Avenue, Suite 203
Plantation, Florida 33317