InsideCounsel Interviews Everingham, Simons, Spicer on Media Content and IP

For its article “Intellectual property issues in film & interactive media,” InsideCounsel interviewed intellectual property partners Chad Everingham and Michael Simons and entertainment and media partner Chris Spicer on IP issues relevant to companies looking to protect their property and rights in today’s dynamic media environment.

Simons and Everingham noted that companies have also become advertisers and content creators, and platforms such as YouTube and Vine provide alternative channels for content distribution, saying “These changes have resulted in an environment where almost everyone is connected. Through the new technology, traditional advertising is easily skipped, creating a challenge for traditional advertising models. However, these same technologies allow for the development of niche audiences who can provide real-time feedback to content creators, allowing for a constant feedback loop and opening up opportunities to target very specific audiences.”

Spicer discussed IP protection in the context of branded entertainment, describing it as a three-sided deal that comprises the brand, the producer and the talent, each with discrete interests to protect: “The brand wants exposure and protection against unfavorable depictions, the producer wants to protect the quality and integrity of the content, and the talent wants to protect his or her image.” On the licenses and rights a brand must obtain and grant to a producer, he said, “To protect its own interests, the brand should be as involved in the production as possible. This includes carefully reviewing scripts and scene pages where the brand is intended to appear, negotiating clear parameters for depiction, mention or integration, seeking limitation of use of the brand within content, and negotiating for exclusivity and minimum guaranteed integration.”

On the topic of the talent’s interests, Spicer said, “Internet personalities with online followings should be doing a few key things to make sure they protect their rights while trying to monetize their online status by connecting with brands. Internet personalities are often both the talent and the producer of the content. This means that they should consider a broader scope of interests than either the producer or the talent in a traditional brand integration model.” On the topic, Simons and Spicer also said, regarding the impact of brand integration on personal image, “Working with the brand from the outset of the agreement to define the scope of the anticipated activities and possible tie-in advertisements limits the potential for problematic litigation down the road,” adding that this could include parameters for depiction or mention and careful negotiation of exclusivity and minimum guaranteed integration terms.

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