Entertainment and Media Law

Entertainment and Media Law

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group provides unique, insightful and personal guidance to the firm’s creative clients. We are mindful of the fact that developing artists are often distracted by the long and winding road they must travel to transform their passion into a protectable form of art and a successful business. Our attorneys walk this road arm-in-arm with our clients, seeking to empower and protect their creativity and imagination with our analytical, detail-oriented thinking. Whether we are guiding promising new artists through the formation of their first business entity, consulting independent filmmakers on the production of their newest project, or litigating complex business disputes on behalf of clients in courtrooms nationwide, we ensure that our clients know their legal needs are cared for, leaving them to focus on what they do best—create.

Our lawyers provide a full array of services in the film, television, music, theatre, digital media and Internet industries.  We represent clients in negotiating and protecting their intellectual property rights, licensing and distributing content, music publishing, merchandising, touring, acquiring and clearing rights, negotiating royalties and resolving disputes. We also take pride in helping our clients negotiate innovative advertising and promotional opportunities to further develop their brand. Whether negotiating recording, management or partnership agreements for our musically inclined clients, or preparing production and distribution agreements for our television producers and filmmakers, our lawyers are proud of the personal relationships they form with our clients.

The Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group also represents clients in the ever-changing and evolving area of on-demand “New Media.” We have assisted clients with issues related to privacy, data security, technology and intellectual property as they relate to various Internet, video game, digital and online multimedia outlets. Our attorneys have assisted clients in the field of mobile, social and digital media, working to protect their interest in user generated content, product placement, sponsorship, rights of publicity, and other areas through the preparation and negotiation of various New Media and technology agreements.

Our lawyers also represent concert promoters and venues specializing in the production of musical and entertainment-related performances.  For these clients, we provide comprehensive consultation and advocacy with respect to a variety of actions, including personal injury and premises liability claims, ordinance compliance, incident investigation and vendor disputes.

While we work hard to avoid litigation on behalf of our clients, when litigation becomes necessary, our lawyers work hand-in-hand with our clients to strategize the most effective and cost-efficient manner by which to resolve often complicated and expensive disputes. We often coordinate with our litigation and dispute resolution colleagues at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, who are uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of our clients in the courtroom with respect to complex entertainment-related disputes involving copyright infringement, royalty disputes, trademark claims, breach of contract, defamation and First Amendment claims, advertising injury, Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims, and rights of publicity and privacy. 


Chicago, June 5, 2018
Becker Discusses Entertainment Law Topics on WGN Radio Show
Host Karen Conti talked with Becker during her weekly radio program about the technicalities of morality clauses, the Sesame Street lawsuit and copyrights, as well as what it means to be an entertainment lawyer.

Chicago, June 4, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Hosts "Sound of Summer" Showcase at House of Blues Chicago
Sound of Summer will feature performances by four client artists: Trapo, Carly and Martina, Todd Kessler, and Hiber.

Chicago, May 16, 2018
Wahl Lectures on Music Business at Azusa Pacific University
Wahl presented on national and international copyright and trademark, and music revenue and royalty streams.

Chicago, January 17, 2018
Becker Moderates Panel on Musicians' Guide to the Music Business
"Holy Sh*T….Why Didn’t I Know That!? A Musician’s Guide To The Music Business" is a business boot camp for musicians, offering fundamental steps to ensure the foundation of their business is strong.

Chicago, December 28, 2017
Becker, Albright Defeat Defamation Lawsuit
The lawsuit was filed by an Olympic swimmer from Hungary against a U.S. swimming commentator and swimming publication.

Chicago, November 13, 2017
Becker Presents at CIMMcon on Entertainment Law
Founded in 2008, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to exploring the relationship between music, movies, and visual media.

Chicago, October 17, 2017
Wahl Gives Entertainment Presentations at DePaul, 2112
Wahl spoke at DePaul University College of Law on "Breaking Into the Entertainment Industry." and at 2112 on "Musical Compositions and Sound Recordings - Copyright Basics."

Chicago, October 2, 2017
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Continued Growth
In recognition of its 25th anniversary year, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP has made a monthly donation to a non-profit with whom the firm has a strong relationship.

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Chicago, July 26, 2017
"Sound of Summer" Gathered Clients, Friends for Emerging Artist Music Showcase
Also new this year – a portion of ticket sales benefited the Chicago Children’s Choir and Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

Chicago, July 18, 2017
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Hosts “Sound of Summer” Showcase at House of Blues Chicago
"Sound of Summer" Showcase will benefit the Chicago Children’s Choir and Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

Chicago, June 12, 2017
Becker Named to Recording Academy Board of Governors for Chicago Chapter
The Recording Academy hosts the GRAMMY Awards and offers professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education, and human services programs.

Chicago, May 9, 2017
Sheean, Wahl Speak at DRI Business Litigation Seminar
Sheean chairs the DRI Business Litigation Committee; Wahl will speak to young lawyers on copyright basics in musical compositions and sound recordings.

Chicago, May 1, 2017
Becker Speaks on Music Streaming, Technology at Lake FX Summit & Expo
He spoke on “The Effects of Streaming on the Music Industry” and moderated a panel on “The Future of Music & Technology.”

Chicago, February 28, 2017
Wahl Presents on Trademarks for Musicians at 2112
Wahl spoke to attendees on “Making Your Mark in the Music Business – Trademark 101 for Musicians.”

Chicago, Lisle, January 5, 2017
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names Three New Partners
Sullivan practices in Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Lisle office, while Lothson and Wahl practice in the firm’s Chicago office.

Chicago, October 10, 2016
Entertainment and Media Group Hosts Luncheon with TuneCore, Audium Founder Jeff Price
More than 50 Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys and guests listened as Price discussed the shift from physical sales and downloads to streaming services, and how that has impacted artist revenues.

Chicago, July 18, 2016
Becker Speaks at LCA Music Boot Camp on Artist Management
He will offer practical guidance on business and legal consideration in various uses of music.

Chicago, May 5, 2016
Former Harpo Attorney Joins Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment Practice
McMillan’s practice encompasses a broad range of matters in the entertainment industry, with an emphasis on television and motion picture matters.

Chicago, May 4, 2016
Becker Moderates Music Business Panel at Lake FX Summit + Expo
Becker and three other leaders in music business will share details on building a strong business team.

Chicago, February 22, 2016
Becker Leads CBA Presentation on Copyright in Music
He will discuss the intricate and evolving role that copyright law plays in the music industry.

Chicago, January 18, 2016
Becker, Patterson Lead Tech Talk on New Media
The talk is hosted at 2112, Chicago's first incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs in music, film/video, and creative technology.

Chicago, October 9, 2015
Law Bulletin Recognizes Becker on "40 Under Forty" List
Becker, referred to in his profile as "an attorney's attorney," was recognized for his practice in Entertainment Law / Commercial Law.

Chicago, August 24, 2015
IICLE Entertainment Industry CLE Features Becker, Wahl as Speakers
The CLE is titled, "Entertaining the Idea: The Ins and Outs of Representing Entertainment Industry Clients."

Chicago, July 6, 2015
Becker Authors Law Bulletin Article on Crowdfunding
Becker explains a recent FTC ruling on investor protection in crowdfunding.

Chicago, June 8, 2015
Becker Joins Dramatists Guild Panel on Musical Theatre Writing
Becker will speak on the business aspects of musical theatre writing at Porchlight Music Theatre in Chicago.

Chicago, June 2, 2015
Wahl Elected to IDC Board of Directors
Wahl and fellow newly elected directors will be recognized at the IDC's Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon

Chicago, March 18, 2015
SXSW Panel on Contract Termination Features Becker
Becker and two other panelists will discuss how to terminate a contract.

Chicago, March 2, 2015
Becker Authors Pair of Law Bulletin Articles on Copyright and the Music Marketplace
The articles discuss several fundamental changes the U.S. Copyright Office recommends for the way in which the American music marketplace operates.

Chicago, January 15, 2015
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners
Six associates were recently named partners, including one in St. Louis.

Chicago, August 20, 2014
Becker Speaks at Yellow Phone Music Conference
Yellow Phone Music Conference is a four-day gathering of talented artists and music professionals from around the country.

Chicago, July 10, 2014
Becker Discusses Band Law for Bands at LCA Event
Becker and others will lead an interactive discussion on internal band agreements and copyright basics.

Chicago, June 17, 2014
Wahl Receives Rising Star Award at IDC Awards Reception
Wahl also received the Meritorious Award and the President's Commendation.

Chicago, May 23, 2014
Becker Speaks at LCA Music Law CLE Seminar
He will discuss strategies to help clients exit a deal, recover rights and regain control of their music and other property as part of a contract.

Chicago, January 9, 2014
Becker Authors Law Bulletin Article on Spotify
Becker focused on ways in which Spotify, the on-demand music streaming service, compensates its artists.

Chicago, December 12, 2013
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Highlights Entertainment and Media Law Practice
The article quotes Partner Brian W. Bell and Practice Group Chair Jeffrey S. Becker.

Chicago, December 3, 2013
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Launches Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group
While firm attorneys have provided legal services in the film, television, music, theatre, digital media and Internet industries for many years, the new practice group formalizes those efforts.

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