Celeb Magazine

Cases Within the World of Entertainment Law

Posted on the 14 December 2011 by Rosedon19 @rose2_rose

In the world of entertainment law there are a number cases entering the courts on a daily basis, covering a very large range of topics.While researching many of these cases I came across a couple of cases that I found interesting. The first case deals with first-sale-doctrine. As defined first-sale-doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e. sell or give away) a particular, lawfully made copy of the protected work without permission once it has been obtained. Basically that means the distribution rights of a copyright holder end once the copy is lawfully transferred. The case that we are going to actually look at where this topic was brought to the courts is between UMG (Universal Music Group) v. Augusto. A brief synopsis Augusto acquired promotional CD’s and began selling them on Ebay for profit. He argues that this is a first-sale-doctrine and because he is the owner of the CD’s then he should have the right to do what he wants with his property. UMG argues that the CD’s were not lawfully acquired or purchased, the CD’s were sent out for promotional purpose only. They argued that had Augusto purchased these CD’s then he would have that right to do exactly that transfer the ownership of the CD’s how ever he wished.

The courts saw this issue the same way that Mr. Augusto saw it and they ruled that the CD’s were first-sale-doctrine and the purchaser has the right to actually do what he wanted with his property. The way they came to this conclusion was based on the fact that the promotional CD’s that were sent out to the radio station did not have a return address on them so they are consider a final sale. Therefore it would fall under first-sale-doctrine. The thing to keep in mind is that these CD’s are all in their original format and packaging, not bootlegged copies. So technically you have the right to resale/transfer the right of ownership for an item that you purchased lawfully.

Cases within the World of Entertainment Law

The second case deals with a minor in a wrongful termination breach of contract case. Here we have Caitlin Sanchez who was the voice for the very popular Nickelodeon children’s show Dora the Explorer. Caitlin Sanchez, 12 at the time was hired to perform as the voice of Dora, her contract paid a little over five thousand dollars with some back end perks and residuals payments as well. By the age of 14 she was terminated due to the fact that she had undergone puberty and her voice had changed therefore Nickelodeon alleged that she no longer could provide the right sound for the Dora character. Sanchez’s lawyer states that his client signed a contract with her agent without the presence of an attorney, also stating that they agent aggressively pushed for her to sign the contract after only reviewing for 22 minutes of receiving this agreement. But this contract was never submitted for court approval and in the state of New York all minor contracts are to be submitted for the courts to approve and give full validity to the agents. The void ability here is the fact that this contract was not properly submitted therefore Sanchez could have a case where Nickelodeon does not have the proper release to show any episode that air the voice of Sanchez, so they would have to go back and renegotiate in order to get the authorization to do so.

Within the management side of entertainment industry it is so important that you have the proper documentation in place, as well as an understanding of the jurisdiction in which you are doing business. Especially for me looking at this minor case, it would be in my best interest to know what exactly I would need in order for my contracts to be legal.

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