Close-Ups

Entertainment and Media News

On April 8, 2021, Variety released its annual Legal Impact Report, featuring the top in-house attorneys, litigators, and transactional attorneys in the entertainment industry. Venable partner and chair of the firm’s West Coast Tax and Wealth Planning Practice Michele Mulrooney made her eighth consecutive appearance in the report. She was joined by partner Alex Weingarten, included for the fifth consecutive year, as well as partner and vice chair of the Entertainment and Media Group Paul Bernstein
Taxpayers who owe quarterly estimated taxes must make such payments by April 15,2021, notwithstanding the extended filing deadline this year. On March 17, 2021, the IRS announced a one-month extension of the tax filing deadline for individuals from April 15 to May 17 of this year. The rationale, per IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, was that the IRS wanted to “continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic,…
Hollywood is abuzz about NFTs—nonfungible tokens—the digital assets that are being sold at eye-popping prices by celebrities, athletes, and artists as limited-edition collectibles on blockchain marketplaces. Prices are being driven by a relatively small group of buyers who made fortunes by getting in early on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But as the supply of NFTs increases exponentially over the coming months, it is almost universally expected that prices for new NFTs will sputter. The NFT…
On April 5, 2021, William Briggs and Alex Weingarten were recognized by Billboard among its 2021 Top Music Lawyers. This prestigious list spotlights attorneys throughout the music industry who have supported a land rush of negotiations, new business models from livestreaming to nonfungible token (NFTs), and the ongoing need to advocate for their clients and social justice. William Briggs is a trial lawyer and civil litigator with broad experience in the entertainment industry. William represents some of…
Many celebrities balance maintaining their brand by staying in the public eye with privacy in their personal life. A new California law, however, has some business managers and celebrities concerned about maintaining their privacy. With little fanfare, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 592 (the Bill) on September 28, 2020, which may raise eyebrows this year as business managers and taxpayers navigate the 2020 tax reporting season. Specifically, the Bill requires the California Franchise…
On March 11, 2021, a piece of digital art sold for $69,000,000.00 (yes, sixty-nine million United States dollars) at Christie’s Auction House (online, of course). That happened roughly five months after its original sale, meaning that the piece created by the artist known as Beeple sold for over 100,000% of its original price ($66,666.66), pushing Beeple to become one of “the top three most valuable living artists” according to Christie’s. Other than the price, what makes the…
Venable’s elite Trademark Prosecution and Counseling Group recently announced the launch of its Wellbrand service, an innovative naming solution that leverages the firm’s trademark-law intelligence to accelerate the process of finding effective brand names. Currently available only to established clients of the Trademark practice, the Wellbrand service bridges the gap between marketing needs and legal know-how, drawing on a deep well of experience to identify names that are more likely to avoid refusal by the…
Venable partner William Briggs was recently nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. In this Q & A, Briggs discusses his journey from public high school to a prestigious law school, the legal accomplishments he’s most proud of, including his previous advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged children, and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role. You were raised in a single-parent household in Los…
The Supreme Court of New York recently denied a motion to seal the record in the case of Choi v. Solomon, stating that “harsh words are not a basis to seal a case, especially where it appears both sides have no qualms about tearing each other down.”  Decision and Order on Motion at *4, Choi v. Solomon, No. 001-654666 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. November 6, 2020). The case was brought by Yukyung Choi against Scott…
New York has protected the rights of living persons to control the use of their name and likeness in commerce for over one hundred years. The existing right to privacy gives any person the right to sue for an injunction or damages if their name or likeness is used within New York for advertising or trade purposes without their written consent. See NY CRL § 51. These privacy rights dissipate at death. But starting in…