Entertainment, Media & Sports


Few sectors of the economy have expanded, added complexity and totally transformed themselves as have the three related realms of sports, media (ranging from traditional print and broadcast outlets to new media platforms that include online offerings and video games) and entertainment. The Entertainment, Media and Sports attorneys of Dykema use their intimate understanding of these businesses to provide counsel and legal representation to clients, helping them protect their interests and reduce their risk.

Our attorneys have successfully handled litigation covering every aspect of these industries: from the sale of studio assets to the procurement of film financing, to handling copyright and publicity and privacy issues, and defending a production company against a claim that it was liable for the murder of a talk show participant by another guest of the show.

Dykema attorneys routinely counsel film producers and production companies on a broad array of legal issues, including: tax, contracts, employment, real estate, financing, government policy and intellectual property.

With offices strategically situated to serve entertainment, media and sports entities, the attorneys at Dykema have made it their business not only to understand the business challenges faced by enterprises—large and small—in these intensely competitive arenas, but to help clients achieve their ambitions. The Dykema team includes experienced practitioners in the fields of Intellectual Property, Public Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Employment, Contracts, Governmental Policy and Lobbying. Dykema also offers, when needed, world-class litigation attorneys.

Our experience includes:

General Representation. Clients with whom we’ve worked include race car drivers, owners of major league sports teams, the PGA Tour, actors and visual effects directors. We’ve handled player negotiations in the International Hockey League, contract negotiations for actors and have represented contracts for domestic and international animation studios. Dykema attorneys have successfully negotiated, on behalf of talent, options on creative projects to studios, as well as name-and-likeness joint marketing contracts. We have defended First Amendment rights, libel actions based upon books, rights of publicity claims, copyright infringement and misappropriation, antitrust issues, syndication of small budget films on behalf of local movie producers, and represented production companies, songwriters, artists and producers in royalty disputes and litigation.

Contracts, Licenses, Agreements. Dykema has negotiated licenses, leases and booking arrangements for The Nederlander Company. We have also licensed likeness matters for The CART Drivers Association. In addition, we have negotiated entertainment/licensing and marketing contracts on behalf of General Motors. Our attorneys have prepared stadium leases, negotiated agreements for energy facilities in foreign jurisdictions, hotels/casinos and athletic stadiums; developed broadcasting and sponsorship agreements, negotiated video game and audio juke box license contracts and agreements. We have considerable experience in the publishing industry, as well, working with book publishers and securing option/purchase agreements. We’ve successfully represented producers, songwriters and other performing artists in a wide array of contract negotiations.

Intellectual Property. Our experience ranges from registering copyrights for singer/songwriters, to defending copyright infringement on ringtones. We have also represented television stations, publishers, and clothing manufacturers in copyright and trademark infringement actions. It also includes representing the NFL in trademark and license infringement litigation and performing copyright litigation in sound recordings.

Mergers and Acquisitions. Dykema has negotiated such significant deals as the acquisition of major league sports teams, including deals involving National Hockey League teams and their affiliates; the formation of loan-out corporations and the acquisition, financing and operational needs of several professional sports franchises and related entertainment facilities.

Employment. Our experience includes negotiating contracts with minors in the entertainment industry, negotiating work-for-hire agreements and drafting employment contracts.

Government Policy. On behalf of clients, we have accomplished such major deals as securing sizable government inducements for business, stadium construction projects and assorted other lease arrangements.

Tax and Estate Planning. Dykema has a rich history of helping create foundations for charitable activities, uncover tax benefits for private foundations and perform high-level estate planning for professional athletes.

Dykema attorneys from all disciplines work closely together in cross-functional teams to bring a comprehensive suite of talents to every client matter. Whether the case involves intellectual property disputes, mergers and acquisitions or privacy concerns, Dykema prides itself at examining the circumstances from every angle, so as to provide strategic counsel and legal advice that seeks the best business outcome. Whether in the courtroom or the court of public opinion, Dykema attorneys structure strategies for the best possible resolution.

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