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Media, Entertainment, Music & Sports

Media, Entertainment, Music & Sports

Overview

Our sports and entertainment group has long been trusted counsel to companies, athletes, teams, leagues, associations, and related organizations for a wide variety of high-stakes matters. From team, event, and stadium financing and structuring of joint ventures, entities, and franchises, to litigation, launches of sports networks, and entertainment and media agreement negotiations, Carlton Fields has played a pivotal role in the sports and entertainment industry. We offer comprehensive litigation and transactional services to clients involved in all aspects of the media, entertainment, and sports industries.

How We Can Help

  • Team and stadium financing
  • Sponsorship, naming rights, intellectual property, and licensing
  • Team, league, joint venture, entity, and franchise development and structuring
  • Tax planning, structuring, and representation against taxing authorities
  • Sports and entertainment media transactions and negotiations
  • Transactional documents, licenses, and agreements for content providers, artists, and advisers for various entertainment-related deals involving music publishing and recordings, film and television, and literary works
  • Equity and debt capital financing transactions to raise funds for entertainment projects
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Complex commercial agreements
  • Litigation, arbitration, and collective bargaining

We represent all music industry players, including songwriters, recording artists, record producers, and record labels. On their behalf, we prepare and negotiate a wide range of industry agreements, including those related to copyright protection and licensing of music compositions; recording and distribution of master recordings of songs; and performances of music by recording artists.

  • Our representation of copyright holders, actors, directors, producers, and distributors covers the full range of agreements and relationships necessary to take an original work or reality concept from its acquisition — or creation as an underlying literary work — to its final distribution as a film, television, or internet production.

Our representation of authors and publishers includes negotiating publishing agreements for both traditional print and online content, assisting in clearance and defamation reviews, and licensing literary works for use in other formats or media. We provide comprehensive services that address issues such as an author’s engagement of agents, managers, and other professionals; copyright protection and licensing of literary works; clearance and defamation reviews; arrangements between multiple authors; publishing agreements; and the licensing, sale, or acquisition of rights to use literary works.

Carlton Fields represents clients, including innovative startups and emerging growth companies, in the areas of digital media, entertainment, internet applications (apps), gaming, and technology (including software, hardware and internet) industries. Our team handles a wide variety of their legal matters, including startup, formation and organizational work, commercial and transactional, corporate and M&A, seed and VC financing, real estate, litigation, HR and employment, IP protection and enforcement, rights review and clearance, union and guild matters, and data use and privacy matters.
 
We have particular expertise in structuring, negotiating, and drafting a wide array of commercial agreements in the following areas:
 
Interactive Entertainment/Gaming: All types of agreements involving interactive entertainment and games for consoles, PC, mobile, virtual and augmented reality and other devices and platforms, including development, marketing, publishing, licensing and distribution agreements. 
 
IP and Technology Transactions: IP licensing and technology based agreements, including merchandise and trademark licensing, digital advertising, software development and licensing, software service and subscription based agreements (SaaS), software publishing and distribution, IT infrastructure, cloud computing and distribution, and hardware design and manufacturing.
 
Digital Advertising: Advertising network advertiser and publisher terms of service, analytics and data use and sharing agreements, IOs and other partnership agreements with major advertisers (brand and performance), IAB terms and conditions, RTB programmatic ad exchange agreements, and ad platform technology licenses.
 
Digital Media and Distribution Platforms: Licensing, distribution and streaming of media and entertainment content via various digital distribution and streaming platforms, including cloud gaming, electronic sell-through (EST), and video on demand (VOD).   
 
Entertainment Content Acquisition and Licensing: Content acquisition and license agreements with major film and television studios and other major content companies.
 
Network and Data Center Infrastructure: Colocation, Network/POPs, IP transit, fiber and wavelength and other infrastructure and telecommunications agreements relating to the placement and operation of servers in network data centers, including data center leases.

We represent investors and producers of theatrical productions. Our services cover the preparation and negotiation of underlying investment agreements, the acquisition of literary and any grand rights for productions, and agreements with or for directors, choreographers, and actors. 

We advise and represent clients, including journalists, newspapers, and advertisers, regarding the U.S. and international laws that affect media and mass communication. Our services cover matters related to defamation; publicity and privacy rights; commercial speech regulation and related FCC and FDA rules; and other First Amendment issues, such as those concerning content based regulation, broadcast, cable and satellite regulation, ratings of film content, political programming, and obscenity.

We represent clients, including athletes, major and minor league franchises and franchisees, investors, companies, teams, leagues, associations, and related organizations, in a wide variety of sports-related matters. On their behalf, we provide comprehensive services that address issues including team, event, and stadium financing; structuring of joint ventures, entities, and franchises; litigation; launches of sports networks; sports franchise sales and acquisitions; player contracts and endorsements; marketing, branding, and advertising arrangements for franchises and athletes; naming rights for arenas and other venues; and copyright and trademark matters.

Experience

Our team has a comprehensive understanding of the legal challenges that can arise in the sports and entertainment industry and the best approaches to address these wide-ranging issues.

Media and Entertainment

  • Represented authors, publishers, and newspapers in defamation actions. 
  • Represented newspapers in litigation seeking access to public records.
  • Represented newspaper, defending invasion of privacy claim based on its publication of name of victim of alleged sexual assault.
  • Represented movie studio and writers in defense of copyright infringement claim.
  • Prosecuted and defended copyright claims on behalf of publishers. 
  • Represented television and radio broadcaster in breach-of-contract litigation involving rights to live recordings in the company’s music archive. 
  • Represented telephone directory publisher in false advertising case. 
  • Represented broadcast network in defense of copyright claim. 
  • Represented financial publisher and documentary filmmaker in First Amendment reporter’s privilege cases. 
  • Obtained court approval of contracts to bind entertainers who had not yet reached the age of majority. 
  • Financed production and global distribution of several major motion pictures.
  • Negotiated and drafted $16 million naming rights agreement.
  • Represented music licensing organization in enforcement of licensing and copyrights. 
  • Represented anonymous Internet message board posters in opposing subpoenas aimed at uncovering their identities.
  • Represented various artists and record companies in preparing recording, publishing, and producer agreements.
  • Represented production companies, filmmakers, artists, directors, producers, and others in connection with television and feature film deals.

Sports

  • Represented city in relocating its professional ice hockey team, rebranding, and financing strategy to construct new arena.
  • Represented NHL team in entity structuring and extensive U.S. tax planning, as well as against taxing authorities, resulting in millions of dollars of tax savings. 
  • Represented NFL team owners in connection with stadium financing.
  • Represented university in negotiations and structuring of employment arrangement with its legendary former head coach of Division I men’s basketball team.
  • Represented company in its multimillion-dollar naming rights deal for NHL hockey and entertainment arena.
  • Represented NFL team in tax structuring, planning, and against taxing authorities, resulting in millions of dollars of tax savings.
  • Represented company in financing of TPC golf courses.
  • Represented professional athletes and celebrities in a variety of different matters, including appearance agreements, endorsement agreements, sponsorship agreements, merchandise licensing agreements, brand ambassador agreements, name, image and likeness license agreements, talent agreements, consulting agreements, publishing agreements, and loan-out corporate formations and agreements.
  • Represented sports marketing firm in sponsorship deals, broadcast rights, and sales, as well as the dissolution of the company and sale of its assets.
  • Represented company in the acquisition and sale of soccer teams, as well as all aspects of promotions, including activations, merchandise sponsorship and sales, and acquisition and sale of broadcast rights.
  • Assisted with client services and the facilitation of successful brand partnerships and other endorsement opportunities at several top sports talent agencies.
  • Worked as front office staff with professional sports teams, providing evaluation of professional basketball data patterns and strategic solutions based on in-depth player and personnel analysis.
  • Advised on governance matters regarding minor league baseball league. 
  • Represented both major and minor league clients in transactional matters including franchise acquisitions and disposition. 
  • Prosecuted franchise relocation application with sports authorities. 
  • Resolved territorial rights issues. 
  • Negotiated licensing and merchandising agreements. 
  • Drafted league constitutions and bylaws.
  • Structured, drafted, and negotiated agreements for development, construction, management, lease, and use of sports facilities and venues. 
  • Represented clients before governmental authorities to secure facility rights and incentives.
  • Drafted and negotiated agreements with governmental, regulatory, and supervisory agencies and bodies.
  • Represented major and minor franchise and leagues in regulatory and operational matters.

Insights

Our Team

Key Contacts

Richard A. Denmon
Shareholder

Additional Members

Steven T. Anapoell
Shareholder
Los Angeles
Alexandra Beguiristain
Associate
Miami
David P. Burke
Shareholder
Tampa
Natalie J. Carlos
Shareholder
Miami
Chris S. Coutroulis
Shareholder
Tampa
Luciano de Almeida Freitas
Corporate Finance Consultant
Miami
Michael P. Donaldson
Shareholder
Tallahassee
Steven C. Dupré
Shareholder
Tampa
Christopher B. Freeman
Shareholder
Atlanta
Harvey W. Geller
Shareholder
Los Angeles
William Giltinan
Of Counsel
Tampa
Austin L. Jackson
Associate
Los Angeles
David A. Karp
Of Counsel
Miami
Brad S. Markoff
Shareholder
Los Angeles
Andrew J. Markus
Of Counsel
Miami
Scott L. Menger
Associate
Los Angeles
George J. Meyer
Of Counsel
Tampa
Haroon N. Mian
Associate
New York
Meredith M. Moss
Shareholder
Los Angeles
Mark A. Neubauer
Shareholder
Los Angeles
Alan Rosenthal
Shareholder
Miami
Eleanor M. Yost
Shareholder
Tampa

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.