Television and Film Law

The film and television industry has undergone dramatic changes due to the array of media platforms available to deliver content such as cinema, TV shows, sports and news. Today, more than ever, production companies and distributors need business savvy to structure effective deals. Similarly, actors, and screenwriters are faced with new legal challenges in obtaining fair compensation for their work.

The Hay Law Group, PLLC works with actors, producers, screenwriters and directors on a wide range of issues related to television, film and Internet production. We have extensive experience with business entity formation, the state incentive process, guild compliance issues, copyright registration, rights clearance and negotiating talent agreements. We also serve as legal counsel to production companies by negotiating and preparing critical contracts that can help move a project forward in a manner that is consistent with the production budget.

Television and Film Business Entities

Forming a film production company depends on a number of variables such as the structure of the company’s operations, its exposure to legal liabilities, as well as the filmmakers and investors involved in the production. We work with a variety of clients in selecting business organizations, particularly Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs), in order to limit personal liability and maximize return on investment.

Guild Compliance Issues

If your production involves working with members the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Writer’s Guild of America or the Directors Guild of America, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in compensation, benefits, and work condition requirements under collective bargaining agreements, as well as issues related to distribution and production rights.

Rights Clearance

In order for television and film producers to successfully distribute their work in certain territories across multiple media outlets, it essential to obtain clearance rights to use copyrighted material such as music, recordings, clips of moving images as well as talent. We have experience negotiating and preparing a variety of licensing agreements as part of a comprehensive clearance strategy.


Whether you are an actor, producer, screenwriter or director, protecting your rights demands having a well-designed contract in place. We routinely review and prepare a variety of contracts, including:

• Work for Hire Agreements
• Life Story Rights
• Location Agreements
• Master Use Licenses
• Producer Agreements
• Extra Releases
• Composer Agreements (Film/TV Score)
• Director Agreements
• Writer Agreements
• Merchandising Agreements
• Product Placement Agreements
• Actor Deal Memo & Agreement s
• Music Supervisor Agreement s
• Personal Appearance Releases

We also negotiate and prepare agreements related to the production, and distribution of film and television content. In addition, we provide development services related to obtaining rights to existing stories, such as books and scripts, through option agreements. Similarly, we arrange work for hire agreements for adaptations by screenwriters and secure depiction rights for stories based on real people and actual events.

Given the complexities of the contemporary media landscape, it is essential to engage the services of an experienced entertainment attorney. In light of the budget constraints of independent productions, we design affordable legal packages that may include flat-fee contract review and preparation. The Hay Law Group, PLLC leverages its legal know-how and business experience in order to protect the interests of a wide range of clients in the television and film industry. Call our office today for a free 15 minute phone consultation.