This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho

In India, the films are not looked upon just as entertainment. They’re a way of life. 

-Shah Rukh Khan

Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.10 per cent to touch Rs 2,660.20 billion (US$ 39.68 billion) by the financial year 2022-23, from Rs 1,436.00 billion (US$ 22.28 billion) in financial year  2017-18. 

Progressive liberalization of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms and the large size of the Indian market has led to significant investment in various kinds of content-based technology apps. 

As an indicator, FDI inflows in the sector were USD 8 billion in financial year 2017-2018.

Domestic companies are scaling up by raising foreign capital or by entering into joint venture arrangements with leading global players. 

In the past few years, the introduction of digital content apps on the internet further altered the face of the entertainment industry. Subscription based entertainment and media apps have added a new dimension to the industry.

Media companies have realized that licensing content from the large production houses and studios is not enough – they need to create original content.

It led to the race for owning and streaming the greatest volume of original and exclusive content.

In 2018 Netflix put out nearly 90,000 minutes (close to 1,500 hours) of original series, movies, and other productions in 2018 (see Quartz story here), and more than 850 exclusive titles (see list here). 

It would have taken more than 4 hours of streaming per day, every day of 2018, to watch all of it. 

Netflix is not the only player in the market – it has many other competitors, which means there is more original content being created globally. This content is in addition to all the content that was already being created by production houses for satellite television and cinema, prior to the global spread of digital music and video.  

Media and entertainment work is not the same as it was in the era of cable TV, or at the time of the internet, when Napster and other P2P sites and torrents were ruining the market owing to piracy. 

Separately, a new game is being played out for dominance in the regional content space. The market dynamics in this space are very different from the Hindi and English markets in which global players such as Netflix or Amazon Prime are currently operating.      

Apart from its high population, what makes India an attractive market for global players is that its media consumption is nine times that of US and twice that of China. 

These developments have led to the creation of an enormous amount of contracts and licensing work.  

India is also one of the highest spending and fastest growing advertising markets. India’s advertising revenue is projected to reach Rs 1,232.70 billion (US$ 18.39 billion) in FY23 from Rs 608.30 billion (US$ 9.44 billion) in FY18. 

Celebrity endorsements form an important component of advertising. This space is heating up. Talent management agencies are flourishing in this environment, managing different kinds of rights of celebrities with brands.   

India’s online gaming industry is also expected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent between FY18-23 to reach Rs 11,900 crore (US$ 1.68 billion) in FY23.

The entire industry is dependent on content, and acquisition and production of content today requires execution of various kinds of contracts, so there is a lot of legal work being generated by the industry, which is primarily related to drafting contracts around licensing and for different kinds of services. 

Apart from contract drafting work, from time to time there is regulatory work around compliance as well. For example, release of a print newspaper or print journal, movie release in a cinema theatres or airing of a TV programme needs to be compliant with specific regulations applicable in this industry. 

These compliance activities may involve filing certain forms with statutory authorities, but prior to that, there are multiple stages of internal review within the organization itself. In-house media and entertainment lawyers (and sometimes, external lawyers) are involved in these stages of review.     

Occasionally, disputes-related work around intellectual property infringement, breach of a license contract, defamation or comparative advertisement issues or challenge of a regulatory action also arise.   

Unlike an M&A or capital markets practice of a law firm, the dimensions of a media law practice are still evolving in India. As the industry grows, young lawyers who start out early in this area will stand to benefit. 

Do you want to work for the media companies, production houses, large distributors, digital media businesses?

Remember that to build a career in this area, lawyers need to learn about the type of work that is performed for clients in these practice areas and how to do such work. 

For example, which are the contracts that Netflix or Disney would be entering into on a day-to-day basis? 

Which contracts were required to be executed before Game of Thrones or Sacred Games could be filmed and then aired?  

How did J.K. Rowling or George R. R. Martin assign rights in Harry Potter and Game of Thrones? 

How do digital music companies such as Spotify, Wynk and JioSaavn acquire music to expand their collection? How are royalties to the record labels structured? 

To what degree can a digital app compare competitor’s products in advertisements to demonstrate the superiority of its app?

What role do copyright societies play in adding revenue to performers and composers for public usage of music created by them?

What should be done if the CBFC refuses to grant a specific kind of certificate to a movie, drastically reducing the audience that can watch it in movie theatres and thus eroding box office revenue predictions? 

How does Byju’s engage Shahrukh Khan for endorsing its products? How are these contracts structured, negotiated and drafted? 

How are the contracts and IP rights for toys based on Marvel characters (or Chhota Bheem-related merchandize) structured? How does the legal drafting reflect the economic understanding and flow of IP rights? 

Those who work in this area execute about anywhere between 5 – 15 contracts everyday around these areas. This is their bread and butter.

Law school syllabi do not focus on in-depth on these aspects of copyright and its application to contracts in the media and entertainment contracts and licensing. 

Even leading textbooks on media law which are available in the market are also based on a pre-2012 era. They primarily focus on the applicable statutes for print media, cable television, defamation and constitutional law around free speech alone, without coverage of daily work performed by lawyers in this area.

The largest segment of media-related legal work is performed by in-house counsels who are working at technology companies, production companies or media houses, and also at law firms which have a media and entertainment laws or a technology, media and telecom (TMT) practice.

Daily work in the industry primarily involves drafting, vetting and negotiation of various kinds of media contracts. Specialized applications of copyright law are involved too. 

Excellence in this work requires a lawyer to have sector-specific understanding of the commercial intent for different kinds of deals in the media and entertainment sector. 

General contract drafting skills alone are not sufficient.   

For example, music licensing contracts are different from agreements to create a movie based on a bestseller or the rights release contract of a model. These agreements are in turn different from movie distribution agreements. 

Without understanding these subtle differences and practising how to apply these aspects to real contracts, one cannot demonstrate that one has the skill-sets necessary to work in this area to potential clients and recruiters.  

If you are a young lawyer looking to identify emerging areas which would be extremely lucrative in the coming years, working on media and entertainment contracts and licensing could be one of them. 

This course covers unique laws regulating different forms of media, intellectual property and other legal issues pertaining to media and entertainment industry. 

After pursuing the course, you will be able to work as an in-house counsel in a company working in this sector, an intellectual property law firm, a boutique media and entertainment law firm or in the technology, media and telecom laws practice of a law firm. 

As you understand the contracts intricately, you will have a distinct advantage while performing litigation work as well. 

What is the career potential after doing this course?

  • Media and entertainment companies are building up their in-house teams continuously to handle a large volume of legal work as they expand their content repertoire through original content creation and licensing of existing content. This is the largest opportunity.  
  • Established TV channels and production houses are setting up their proprietary digital apps to stream existing video and new kinds of audio and video content. They require a legal team to lead, manage and execute contracts for this work on a daily basis. 
  • Technology companies which are in the business of content production and acquisition, such as Netflix, JioSaavn, Hotstar, etc. are expanding their in-house legal teams. As their businesses are content-based, significant contractual documentation work in respect of intellectual property rights creation and exploitation exists.
  • New businesses which intend to create video apps for regional content are also entering the space as they identify a vacuum in this market and a scope for growth, and they have similar legal needs as the established players. This is a great career opportunity to tap for young lawyers.  
  • Boutique media and entertainment law firms (especially in Mumbai) and mid-sized IP law firms (ranging between 50-200 lawyers) want to hire people who are trained in this work. 
  • In addition, there are also opportunities for doing freelance work for artists, individual creative professionals and talent management agencies.
  • If you want to pick up some expertise and knowledge on media and entertainment laws, this is a great time. The market is not saturated and very few lawyers have comprehensive knowledge of these laws. It will definitely go a long way to make your CV stand out, impress the interviewer, get the next promotion, or even help you to find a break to start your own practice.

Relevant industries: 

  • Media and entertainment, 
  • Radio, 
  • Music, 
  • Broadcasting, 
  • Sports, 
  • Fashion and Art,
  • Digital Media,
  • Technology, 
  • FMCG (advertising)

Potential employers

  • Media and entertainment law firms, 
  • Boutique practices of TMT firms
  • Media and entertainment companies, 
  • TV channels, newspapers, 
  • Social media companies, 
  • Entities focussing on digital media content, 
  • Media-related technology companies, 
  • Production houses, 
  • Music companies, 
  • Advertising agencies, 
  • Heavy advertisers (e.g. FMCG), 
  • Independent litigators

Who should take this course?

  • Young lawyers who want to work as in-house counsels for companies working in the media and entertainment space, such as movie production houses, record labels, technology apps, FMCG, etc.
  • Lawyers who want to work in the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) practice of a law firm or a boutique media and entertainment firm
  • Independent practitioners who want to perform contract drafting work in the media and entertainment industry
  • Litigators who want to work on media and entertainment transactions, or who want to understand media and entertainment contracts to handle disputes work more effectively 
  • Law students who intend to work as in-house counsels in media and entertainment companies 
  • Law students who want to work in law firms which have a TMT practice 
  • Decision-makers and officers in media and entertainment companies
  • Music and movie directors and artists can benefit from this knowledge

Training methodology

  • Access to basic study material through online learning management system, android and iOS app
  • Hard copy study material modules to be  couriered to your address
  • 2 practical exercises every week, followed by written feedback 
  • Access to templates of different kinds of media transactions
  • based on the exercises, there will be a live video based online class. You can ask questions, share your screen, get personal feedback in this class.
  • Classes are held after regular work hours. Typically classes are kept on Sunday afternoon or 8-9 pm on other days.
  • You can ask questions and get your doubts cleared in live classes as well as through online forums

What will you learn?

  • Get exposure to end-to-end contract drafting and licensing work in connection with the creation and distribution of movies, music over different kinds of media 
  • Learn about product-placement related work, character merchandising and personality exploitation rights 
  • Learn how to customize copyright license clauses in different contracts to optimize monetization of intellectual property depending on the goals of your organization or your client 
  • Learn how to impose limitations on exploitation through restricting territorial exploitation, language or the mediums of delivery of the film or music 
  • Learn about the commercial interests of all parties and how the financial and commercial understanding gets factored into contracts
  • Learn how to represent a client’s interests if you are acting for a record label or large production house, or for a director, actor, musician, author or other independent artist
  • Develop comprehensive familiarity with the regulatory framework and compliance requirements in respect of print media, digital media, News, FM Radio and advertisements 
  • Learn about the most common types of media-related disputes and remedies sought in such situations

Specific Learning Objectives

 

  1. Learn how to execute legal documentation on behalf of the producers and the actor to involve the actor in a film /show
  2. Structure contracts for product placement of a brand’s products/ services within a film/ TV-series  
  3. Facilitate monetization of intellectual property in fictitious work through character merchandising agreements   
  4. Work with music labels and film producers to legally manage distribution of music rights
  5. Work on film distribution arrangements for release of a movie in cinemas
  6. Perform licensing work necessary to stream movies and TV shows on over-the-top (OTT) platforms  
  7. Work on movie distribution agreements for satellite broadcast of movies on TV channels
  8. Perform contractual and IP work required for promotions and digital marketing for various kinds of production houses, ad agencies and platforms
  9. Enable authors and production houses to optimize monetization by creation of movies based on bestseller books
  10. Fine-tune commercial clauses and royalties in transactions with music labels, music composers, singers etc
  11. Work in the celebrity advertising and endorsement space by mastering the documentation executed between a celebrity, talent management agency and brands
  12. Perform end-to-end legal work for organization of live concerts and major events 
  13. Work on acquisition of content by one production house from another 
  14. Draft work for hire agreements to engage music composers, arrangers, script writers and other parties for creation of music or movie/ TV show scripts
  15. Facilitate recording of changes in commercial understanding or renegotiation of transactions through execution of addendums and novation agreements 
  16. Perform compliance and diligence-related work for apps which intend to launch web series 
  17. Draft agreements for commercial advertisements and sponsorship with ease
  18. Strategize compliance-related disputes with respect to film content
  19. Perform compliance and diligence-related work for TV programmes and strategize disputes

Industry contributors

Abhyuday Agarwal, COO and Co-Founder, iPleaders and LawSikho, Former Associate at Trilegal

Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO and Co-Founder, iPleaders and LawSikho, Former Associate at Trilegal

Preeti Gandhi, Media and Entertainment Lawyer, SVF Entertainment

Ritisha Mukherjee, Associate Advocate, Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Online Faculty 

Ritisha Mukherjee, Associate Advocate, Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Silpa Das, Associate and Mentor, LawSikho

Money back guarantee

If you take this course, follow it diligently for a month, do all the exercises but still do not find value in it, or not able to understand or follow it or not find it good for any reason, we will refund the entire course fee to you. It is a 100% money back guarantee with only one condition, you must pursue it properly for a month. If you don’t find it valuable after that, get your entire money back. How to get a refund? Read the detailed money back guarantee policy here. 

Job and internship support

We are the only organization in India which teach this kind of comprehensive arbitration law course. Many employers, lawyers, companies and law firms are happy to recruit our high performing students. If you do well in your exercises and classes, we can help you to get jobs, internships and assessment internships in good law firms, with renowned lawyers as well as in various companies.

List of Weekly Exercises

  1. Draft an Artist Agreement between the producer and an artist engaging the artist for his services for a film/ show 
  2. Draft a Celebrity Endorsement Agreement between a brand and a celebrity’s Talent Management Agency engaging the celebrity in endorsing certain product/s of the brand such as Deepika Padukone endorsing TISSOT 
  3. In-film/show integration/ Co-branding Agreement between the producer of a film/show and a brand entitling the producer to place the brand in scene/s as a means to co-branding the product in the film/ show such as Aston Martin cars in Bond movies
  4. Draft copyright assignment agreements or agreements on character rights licensed by the producers/ creators  
  5. Distribution of music rights/ Music synchronization licensing agreement
  6. Draft an agreement between producer and an acquirer entitling the acquirer (e.g. a TV channel) to acquire and exploit commercial rights in films
  7. Draft a theatrical distribution agreement for distribution of a movie in movie theatres
  8. Draft an Online Subscribed Video on Demand (SVoD) distribution agreement between the producer and OTT platform such as Netflix, Hotstar or Amazon Prime entitling the OTT platform to stream the film/show 
  9. Draft a Satellite Distribution Agreement between the producer and a satellite channel such as Sony, Zee Cinema etc. entitling the satellite channel to distribute the film/ show through satellite television or web channels
  10. Draft a Digital Marketing Agreement between the producer/ creator and an agency/ other for the purpose of designing, development and hosting of the official website, pay-per-click advertisement management, social media campaign (such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN etc.)
  11. Draft a writer’s agreement to create a story or a script-writer’s agreement to create a script for a movie 
  12. Draft a music composer’s agreement with producer or music label with a musician
  13. Draft, review and negotiate an agreement between an Artist and a Talent Management Agency
  14. Celebrity Event Management Agreement between the celebrities and agencies to organise, conduct and host shows/ live-in concerts/ premiers/ launching events etc. 
  15. Draft an agreement for buying back licensed rights by a production house from another producer or in other appropriate situations
  16. Draft a book-option agreement for granting rights to create a movie based on a book
  17. Draft a work for hire agreement to engage a music composers, arrangers, script writers and other parties for creation of music or movie/ TV show scripts
  18. Draft an Addendum and Novation Agreement to modify any of the above agreements in case of a modification in commercial understanding or to replace a party
  19. Draft an agreement for the exploitation of rights in future works
  20. Prepare a checklist/ due-diligence report regarding  compliances for web-series
  21. Plan a strategy to address compliance-related disputes for a film
  22. Prepare a checklist/ due- diligence report with respect to regulatory compliance for TV programmes and relevant dispute related strategies

For a detailed syllabus click here

*Please note that the price of this course will increase from 14th August, 2019  from Rs. 12000 to Rs.14000

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