My articles and publications on media and entertainment law topics

Podcasting - An Overview of Legal and Commercial Issues

In this seminar paper I provide an overview of the legal and commercial matters relating to the production and distribution of podcasts, and discuss some of my experiences working as a lawyer in this area.

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Covid-19, Frustration and Force Majeure

Without warning, the Covid-19 pandemic has crashed into the entertainment industry, freezing productions and crippling businesses. What does this mean if you were meant to perform at Dark Mofo in June? If you are a film producer who was due to shoot a documentary in China this May? If you are promoting a music festival in rural NSW in July?

What happens when you are a party to a contract that, suddenly, makes no sense, or is impossible to perform, in a world shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic?

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Documentary Films - Participant Releases and Access Agreements

Where the film is based on an individual, or group of individuals, it is crucial to make it clear from the beginning that it is the film-maker who has the final say on the form and content of the film.

The subjects must be willing to participate on this basis. The key is that the subjects trust the filmmaker to portray them honestly and respectfully. Broach the subject of editorial control at the beginning of the project, so the project can be terminated without the waste of too much time if the subjects are not willing to accept this. A common compromise is to allow for consultation at the rough-cut stage.

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A Guide to Contracts

Contracts can be daunting. But signing something you don’t understand can be disastrous. Here are some basic principles to help you find your way through.

A Meeting of Minds
Contract, Agreement, Deal Memo, Deed, MoU, Short-Form, Purchase Order – all different names for the same thing – people making promises to each other which can potentially be enforced by a court. A contract can be verbal, a string of emails, the way someone acts, a formally executed deed, or a mixture of these things.

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A Guide to Film Contracts: The Producer’s Journey

We open with our heroic film producer, contemplating the peace and tranquillity of her office. Then comes the call - her next film. She knows the road will be long and arduous, through the towering paperwork, the gloomy spreadsheets, the menacing financiers – but she cannot refuse the quest. And she has a map of the route she must travel to reach opening night.

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A Guide to Music Contracts

The Music Industry is a strange world, with its own unique set of rules, practices and customs. It is fluid and fast moving, populated by some unusual characters, and it seems to anticipate technical and commercial developments that hit other areas of the entertainment industry years or decades later (Napster anyone? Bowie Bonds?).

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Clearing and Commissioning Music For Film and TV

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of legal and contractual issues involved in clearing and commissioning music for use in film, television and other audio-visual productions. The transactions and agreements a practitioner is likely to encounter in this area will be reviewed, with a focus on commercial terms and industry standards.

For simplicity this paper will refer to ‘films’ – however the issues discussed are relevant to any audio-visual production: television program, video game, YouTube video or webisode, advertisement etc.

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New Coin - Brand Funded Content

This paper discusses practical legal issues arising in connection with the production of ‘Brand Funded’ media content.

Practitioners working in this area will, of course, need to tackle the tasks common to any film or television production – securing the chain of title, engaging crew and cast, clearing and allocating rights etc – however there are particular issues that need to be considered when the production is funded by a brand as part of a marketing campaign.

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