media law

Wishful thinking and regrets

If we could look back on our lives, most of us will be looking back wistfully hoping to change something that we regret.

It could be something small or drastic which could undo the so-called mistakes in our lives. Personally, I regret the missed opportunities, mismanagement of time and wrong calls. Even if in the moment, a decision seem right, there is no way to know the actual impact until much later.

I have turned down jobs that I thought were not the right fit, roles which seemed inadequate from learning perspective, settled for positions way beneath my qualification, waited for call backs for the roles I had no real interest in, and more. To put it succinctly, I have had my fair share of regrets, and I am sure there are some more stored in my future.

Although I may have some regrets or doubts over some decisions, I am glad that I was able to take a decision at the time. Because all those decisions, big and small, helped me get where I am today. Half a decade into my career, I have had a variety of experiences.

I have worked for a media company, and am now working for a startup. I also have helped run my family business for a few years. These past few months, I have learned a lot about marketing and writing. I have taken up courses, done workshops on policy making and technology contracts. I have also set my eyes on what I want to learn next. The point is, I have learned more professionally after my college, than while I was in there.

So, it made me wonder what it might have been like if I knew back then, what I know now.

I had stumbled into a career of media law. It was never really planned as such. Due to an interest in the media law, I had taken the subject for a semester or two in law school. Based on that I had done my sole internship in copyright law. But that was the extent of my interaction with media and entertainment law.

In the past few months, lawyers and law students have written to me asking about my experience in the media and entertainment industry. Most of them wanted to know how to get their footing in the industry or how to pave their way towards a career in the media and entertainment industry.

You can check out the following articles to have a better idea about the industry:

Know the law!

Any lawyer must know the laws first. So you can begin by reading about media laws. There is copyright laws, trademark laws, patent laws, design laws, i.e., intellectual property laws. But that does not constitute media laws alone.

The sedition and defamation law under the Indian Penal Code also form a core part of media laws. The Constitution of India provides for the freedom of speech and expression. This is where the origin story of  media laws, lies.

There are various bare acts, books, journals, media and entertainment law courses, blogs, websites which will help build your knowledge base. You also need to know about contract laws, negotiation and dispute resolution to put the knowledge into effect.

To understand any legal concept, I prefer to start with the bare acts and then go through the commentaries or articles on a specific topic. They are available in libraries – physical and digital. You just have to look them up. Put in the work. It will work.

Alternatively, to learn about media laws, you can also check out the most comprehensive online course on media and entertainment laws here.

 

Click here to get free materials on media law course!media law

Learn notice and contract drafting

Merely knowing how to draft a basic agreement is not enough and all agreements need to be drafted diligently. This is to protect the company from potential disputes in the foreseeable future.  

The thumb-rule for an in-house counsel is that as the agreements will be used in future dispute resolutions, there should be enough room left for the company, to adapt and make decisions in future, if need be.

Similarly, there are different kinds of notices that media and entertainment companies use. For example, apart from the usual legal notices such as demand notices and breach of contract, there are other specific legal notices that are drafted by in-house counsels. These are cease and desist notice, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices, etc.

Most law students and lawyers like myself may have acquired the basic contract and notice drafting skill through internships or practice after graduating from law school. But now, there is contract drafting course, specially designed to cater to specific needs like drafting and negotiation of commercial agreements, corporate contracts, music licensing agreements, content assignment agreements, etc.

Develop the ancillary skills

If you have figured out in law school itself, what you want for your career, you are already way ahead of others.

To have a career in media laws, you don’t just need the knowledge of the media laws and drafting, you need more. So, while you’re in college start developing your ancillary skills.

Start writing more articles, research papers, blogs about media laws. Publish your work in a variety of publications-digital and physical. This will help to demonstrate not only your interest in media law, but also help establish your intellectual prowess in the field.

Another important skill is networking. Develop a network of your peers and experts of the field. Reach out to them on social media like LinkedIn. Share your common interest of the subject matter through your research papers or articles. Seek their opinions or comments. This will help you to improve your research and knowledge base, and also add on to your professional network.

This network can also help in securing fruitful internships and even help with future job prospects.

If I had known all this back when I was a clueless law student, I would have jumped-started my career in the right direction, and saved a lot of time!

So don’t wait. Learn more about media laws, develop your skills while in college and pave way to your dream career!

 

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