Q: Mr. Nebgen, what makes you uniquely different from other entertainment industry attorneys?
A: I believe the biggest value that I bring to the table on behalf of my clients is that I have an extensive background as a producer. I am not just a “suit.” I know what it’s like to be sitting in the seat across from someone and wonder, “How is this person going to help me get my production off the ground?”
Q: How is entertainment industry law different from general business law?
A: I believe that in no other area of law is it so paramount that you know the industry for which you are preparing documents. An argument might be made that there are nuances in the car industry - or any specialized type of industry - and I grant that. However, I believe that once an issue is resolved, for example, a flaw in manufacturing, the industry moves on. In entertainment this is not the case. And the reason is that entertainment is primarily a people business; that is, people are both the manufacturer and the product.
Q: What types of clients fall under the category of “entertainment?”
A: Any entity or individual that, in one way or another, helps to fuel the American zeitgeist-- that particular and hugely popular thing we call “American Culture” -- is part of the entertainment industry. I represent production companies, theater companies, performers, writers, producers and directors, but also Web site designers, authors, artists, poets, dancers and painters.
Q: Give me an idea of the types of services you typically provide to a client.
A: I provide everything from business formation to financial affairs and everything in between. I handle contract negotiations for artists, production deals between companies, and securities work for those looking for investment counsel.
Q: When should an entertainment client engage the services of a specialized law firm such as yours?
A: A client should contact me immediately upon creating any intellectual property, such as a script or a manuscript. The most fundamental thing a person must do is get proper copyright status for any creative idea “reduced to a tangible medium of expression.” It’s imperative that you do notshow anyone any idea until you have properly copyrighted the material.
Q: What about clients who are just getting started?
A: My answer to your previous question is even more important in this context. Clients who are unfamiliar with copyright law and procedures can inadvertently put their material into the public domain, thus losing the ability to exploit the project for their own gain.