Apr 10 2012

Television Production Law (2 units)

Television production law is a fast paced area of the law with multi-faceted dimensions.

The television production lawyer is a jack-of-all-trades:  part lawyer, part business person, part problem solver, part expectation manager; a drafter, a responder, a defender, a mediator – you name it – the production attorney may be called upon to do it.  This course is designed to take a one-hour drama from development through production to the final product ready for distribution, giving an overview of the production attorney’s role during all of these phases, including the basic understanding of the network v. the studio, studio parts and components, as well as a basic understanding of the issues most commonly addressed by a production attorney with respect to certain aspects of rights, drafting, responding to comments, understanding contract provisions, clearance, claims, how unions and guilds affect the process, and the marketing and advertising of the series.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Television Production Law course, students will be able to:
  • identify the different roles of a studio and network play in the development and production of a TV series and analyze the monetary structure of a studio vs. the network;
  • conduct a chain-of-title review for underlying materials;
  • identify the components of a rights option/acquisition agreement in order to be able to draft such agreement;
  • become skilled with the meaning of provisions of blind script agreements and the standard terms and conditions for such agreement in order to draft the agreements and respond to comments from opposing counsel;
  • analyze terms of a  back-end definitions and be able to converse about how calculations are done;
  • analyze a test-option deal,  guest star agreement, guest star rider and identify the major components of each agreement and how they fit into the business structure and production structure for hiring actors, and learn the components of support letter when hiring a foreign actor and how to draft this support letter and guest star rider;
  • identify the major provisions of  above-the-line talent agreements such as a staff writer, director, and technical consultant;
  • analyze the use of intellectual property on a set and  in a script and be able to identify when permission is needed for the use of such materials and be able to communicate with production as to the legal and monetary risks associated with respect to copyright and trademark issues for set decorations, props, location filming, costumes and other clearance issues faced on a day to day basis;
  • analyze a copyright claim, name claim and damage claim and be able to determine a response that fits the need of the client and gets best results for your position;
  • evaluate the need for marketing, publicity and research of television programs and how a production attorney will be involved in these areas; and
  • communicate with production and business affairs regarding guild provisions of the WGA, SAG and DGA, and the roles of these guilds and their provisions in the development and production of a television series.