The author is an arbitrator, mediator and attorney in practice in New York City. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article discusses the players in the entertainment industry, the entertainment contracts, and the advantages of having an arbitration clause in these agreements.
Productions in the entertainment industry vary depending upon the art, the artists, the medium, the venue, the financing and the distribution and marketing of the initial and collateral products. Because no one article can address such a complex and varied industry, I provide only an overview of how the industry generally operates, a description of the types of contracts that provide the basis for its operation, and the role arbitration plays in the domestic and international adjudication of disputes that may arise.
All programming, whether live or pre-recorded, involves many different phases including project development, packaging, pre-production, production, post-production, marketing, distribution and exhibition. Some players participate in all of these phases and others have cameo roles, depending upon the needs of the production. Many contracts define the relationship of the players to one another and to the production itself. Often they contain an arbitration clause, making arbitrators with specific knowledge of the entertainment industry a vital part of the process of resolving disputes that invariably arise. The contracts provide the setting upon which all other actions take place.