Author: Nicole Christman

Will millions curb Calif.’s runaway film trade?

While California, specifically Hollywood, is the legendary film and television capital of the planet, productions have been fleeing to shoot in other states. New York, Louisiana, Georgia — to name but a few competing states — and other countries abroad not only have coveted but they’ve snatched Hollywood’s runaway business, arguably in some measure due to more attractive tax credits for filming. New York, for example, offers about $400 million annually in such lures, four times the amount now offered by the Golden State. Gov. Jerry Brown (right, in Damian Dovarganes, AP photo), of course, recently signed AB1839, which will triple the annual tax credits available to movies and television shows produced in California, so that clattering sound audible may be word processing equipment in law offices all across Southern California churning out applications for the credits, which Brown says of the law he signed, “will make key improvements in our film and television tax credit program and put thousands of Californians to work.”  AB1839 kicks in, in fiscal 2015 and proponents argue it will draw back business to California, making it easier for the state to compete with other states and countries. The Motion Picture Association of America, for example, underscores the economic significance of the industry and its chief has been an outspoken proponent.  Naysayers? Yup, there’s criticism aplenty that for taxpayers, this is an expenditure that...

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Hollywood’s 1st with legal drones in U.S. skies

As the blog has reported earlier, Hollywood has been sky-high about the possibility that the Federal Aviation Administration would grant exemptions for the use of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones) for movie, television, and video productions. And the FAA made it official recently, allowing six firms to go ahead and to fly the craft — the first time a private companies legally can do so in the United States. The decision has huge implications for a broad range of industries. Some claim the decision opens the FAA floodgates for many companies and industries to seek drone approvals, similar to those granted to Hollywood. The FAA, meantime, has taken shots for dragging its feet by not green-lighting the movie, television, and video production by drone sooner. Many movie makers, including those who put out a James Bond thriller, had taken to shooting with drones in foreign countries (as shown in the clip below). Even as it allowed Hollywood production crews the legal exemption to fly drones, the FAA set down strict safety and compliance rules on shooters, aiming for safety and noninterference with commercial aviation. Fans already are filling up YouTube channels with drone vids but the feds, including national park service officials, have made clear that the craft won’t be allowed to zip, buzz, and fill the air overhead like mosquito swarms — witness the Danish tourist who got...

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Hollywood’s 1st with legal drones in U.S. skies

As the blog has reported earlier, Hollywood has been sky-high about the possibility that the Federal Aviation Administration would grant exemptions for the use of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones) for movie, television, and video productions. And the FAA made it official recently, allowing six firms to go ahead and to fly the craft — the first time a private companies legally can do so in the United States. The decision has huge implications for a broad range of industries. Some claim the decision opens the FAA floodgates for many companies and industries to seek drone approvals, similar to those granted to Hollywood. The FAA, meantime, has taken shots for dragging its feet by not green-lighting the movie, television, and video production by drone sooner. Many movie makers, including those who put out a James Bond thriller, had taken to shooting with drones in foreign countries (as shown in the clip below). Even as it allowed Hollywood production crews the legal exemption to fly drones, the FAA set down strict safety and compliance rules on shooters, aiming for safety and noninterference with commercial aviation. Fans already are filling up YouTube channels with drone vids but the feds, including national park service officials, have made clear that the craft won’t be allowed to zip, buzz, and fill the air overhead like mosquito swarms — witness the Danish tourist who got...

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Will Turtles’ win be a rights game-changer?

Who says the old guys can’t rock still? The not always so happy Flo & Eddie have sent a tremor rolling through digital radio land recently, winning on summary judgment against Sirius XM Radio for broadcasting and streaming their music without permission. Flo & Eddie is a corporation owned by the two founding members of the music group The Turtles, best known for once crooning about the pleasure of their shared company (see above). Flo & Eddie sued Sirius for the unauthorized (1) public performances and (2) reproduction of its sound records by broadcasting and streaming content to end consumers and operating its satellite and Internet radio services. After considering both arguments, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted Flo & Eddie’s motion for summary judgment for all claims pertaining to Sirius XM’s public performance, but not the reproduction claims. This is an important case because it shows how the courts will treat copyright claims pertaining to pre-1972 works as their copyright protection periods expire, and the work falls into the public domain. The court ruling will likely bring more litigation from performers like The Turtles. Moreover, similar rulings may encourage SiriusXM, Pandora, and other similar companies to lobby Congress for new copyright laws covering pre-1972 music. Though this is a decision in just one case, analysts have pointed out that the Turtles’ judgment provides important insight as to...

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Why do U.S. TV networks kick up the costs for the rights to World Cup, other global sports?

Faculty adviser to Southwestern’s International Law Society, Professor Robert E. Lutz (left) has encouraged a fun discussion for students, faculty and practicing attorneys called Stammtisch, which is German for “main table” and connotes an informal, friendly group meeting held regularly. At the Sept. 17 Stammtisch, Professor Warren S. Grimes (right) of the law school sparked an invigorating discussion on his work concerning the cost of FIFA’s World Cup viewership rights internationally. ‪In the 2014 World Cup, the United States television networks, specifically, ABC/ESPN and Univision, paid roughly $212.5 million for broadcast rights. This compares to an estimated $205 million...

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Entertainment Law Blogs

The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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