Exclusive Reports: Non-Compete Clauses in the Broadcasting Industry

Recently, MSNBC anchor David Shuster was suspended indefinitely (and most likely, permanently) after he taped a pilot for competitor CNN in violation of his contract. As David Shuster’s suspension makes headlines, non-compete clauses in employment contracts for broadcasting employees, and particularly news anchors, may once again become the subject of controversy. Several states, including Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York, restrict broadcasting employers’ use of non-compete clauses in their broadcasting contracts. California has taken a more extreme view of non-compete clauses, banning these types of clauses across the board with very limited exceptions. Continue reading the full story . . . »


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Is There “Labor” in Labor?

I’m a mom. I’ve experienced the miracle of childbirth, and it truly is wondrous (and terrifying and, well, sticky). Yet I’ve always been confounded by the popular practice of bringing a camera into the delivery room to chronicle this incredibly private and moving moment. The purpose for many seems to be to hold uncomfortable slide shows for friends and family. That’s entertainment? Personally, I just don’t get it.

Still, during pregnancy, I found myself addicted to the plethora of childbirth reality shows, in which the process of labor and delivery (and typically the first few weeks of baby’s life) is documented with Jacques Cousteau-like surveillance, and then run five days a week on basic cable for all to see. I found it fascinating, yet couldn’t help but ask myself: why do people sign up for this? With all due respect to Andy Warhol, not everyone needs to be famous for fifteen minutes, particularly women in labor and gooey, newborn babies. Many apparently disagree, and to you I say: better you than me. Continue reading the full story . . . »


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Leggo My Likeness: When Video Game Characters Resemble Celebrities

As anyone who plays video games these days knows, computer-generated representations of real people have become both increasingly commonplace and incredibly realistic. So much so, that a new area of litigation has emerged: right of publicity lawsuits for the unauthorized use of a person’s likeness in a video game.

Right of Publicity Law

The basic idea of the right of publicity is quite simple. Under the laws of most states, a person has the right to control the commercial use of his or her identity or “likeness.” This right encompasses all of a person’s distinctive characteristics, e.g., the sound of a chanteuse’s voice; a basketball star’s former name; or even a race car driver’s distinctive racing car. Traditionally, right of publicity lawsuits have been filed over unauthorized uses of a celebrity’s likeness in advertisements (usually television commercials): Continue reading the full story . . . »


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Q&A: How Can I Use My Dream Song in My Film?

Q: There’s a song on one of my favorite albums that I’ve always thought would be perfect in a movie. I’ve been making movies for a few years now and finally have a project that the song is perfect for. Who do I need to contact to get permission?

A: Let me guess. You want to use “Oops I Did It Again” in your sequel to Titanic. I’m glad you feel passionate about the song. Now comes the hard part. You’ve got to figure out what rights you need and from whom you need them. Continue reading the full story . . . »


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3D Conversions: Is It Time to Dust Off that Rider?

If you aren’t aware that the current film industry buzzword on the lips of theater-goers and film industry executives alike is “3D,” then you must have been living under a rock since December 18, 2009. That’s the date James Cameron’s 3D, Oscar Award-winning epic, Avatar, opened in theaters across the country and around the world. In the wake ofAvatar’s unprecedented success (it is the highest grossing film of all time after all), action film junkies, fan boys and girls, family fare devotees and those just wanting to check out the big summer blockbuster, are eager to see whether they will be watching their next “can’t wait” movie wearing those ever so attractive glasses. Continue reading the full story . . . »


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Owning Conan: Or, How Conan Emerged Victorious (But Not “Triumph”ant)

On April 12, 2010, Conan O’Brien thrilled fans in this blogger’s hometown of Eugene, Oregon with the kickoff to his new touring stand-up show that makes light of his severance contract with NBC: the “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour.” As has been widely reported, the terms of O’Brien’s severance prohibit his appearance on TV, radio or internet appearances until at least May and on starting a new TV show until September. Starting in November, it was announced last month, O’Brien will be appearing Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. on TBS in a yet-to-be-named show (in my unsolicited opinion, I like the simple ring of “The Coco Show”). Continue reading the full story . . . »


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