Harlequin e-Books Royalty Case: A Dollar or a Dime?

In entertainment and media, sometimes business practices evolve more quickly than standard contracts. As recently as 2004, Harlequin Enterprises, the leading publisher of romance novels, did not specify a royalty rate for e-books in its author agreements.  Rather, e-book sales were lumped into an “other rights” category originally intended for book clubs and other activities […]

Crash Profits Restated; Court Responds with “Big Interest”

Can a film company issue a participation statement, then later revise and reissue it, making major changes in its favor? If the changes are decidedly wrong, can there be consequences? Profit definitions typically give film companies an express right to correct mistakes, even retroactively.  After all, mistakes get made. But on January 31, a California […]

Motion Picture Investing: Avoiding Basic Mistakes

Sometimes, financiers from outside the entertainment industry seem to think: “I’ve succeeded in [real estate, tech, oil, fill-in-the-blank]. So I can make money in movies.” Then, too often, they invest and fail. Their mistakes typically involve both their business plans and (yes) their metaphysics. Common mistakes include: (1) departing from the business plan without good […]

Napoleon Dynamite Litigation: Pick the Correct Video Royalty

Participation reporting for certain media and uses can be idiosyncratic. Multiple Choice Question: Cult phenomenon Napoleon Dynamite generated a phenomenal $139 million in DVD sales in its first few years of release.  What percentage of this amount did distributor Fox Searchlight share with the movie’s producers? A.  100% B.  31% C.  12.88% D.  10% E.  zero For […]

Another $300 Million for Guitar Hero Purchase; When is a Statement Final?

Eager buyers often overpay for entertainment assets.  Add a problematic earn-out[1] and the possibility of overpayment increases. In the latest Guitar Hero case[2], the problem was that an earn-out statement became final against Viacom, the purchaser of videogame company Harmonix Music Systems, notwithstanding a sudden, rapid decline in the value of Harmonix’s game inventory. If you’re in […]

New Fantasy Baseball Ruling May Impact Database Practices Generally

Does organized fantasy baseball require a license of Major League Baseball player names and records? In a case involving CDM Fantasy Sports, a federal district court in St. Louis has answered “no”. The Court’s decision potentially may change business practices not only in the fantasy sports industry, but in other businesses in which information is […]

Change of Format Puts American Movie Classics in Breach of Cable Carriage Agreement

In the cable television business, there is inevitably tension between networks, which periodically reposition themselves to maintain and build a loyal audience, and cable operators, who seek a variety of programming on their channels to attract different audiences for their systems as a whole. This tension can be faced either up from, in prolonged and derailed […]