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‘Media Law’ a Primer for Producers

Apr 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The updated fourth edition of the book “Media Law for Producers” includes changes in copyright law, technology, the Internet and current trends in television such as reality programming.
The resource, published by Focal Press, was initially conceived to give producers and other media professionals a point of reference for understanding the muddle of media law, said the author, Philip Miller.
“The real focus for me was to develop something that would provide practical information for people who are out on the front lines actually producing television and other visual material,” said Mr. Miller, an attorney specializing in entertainment and intellectual property law with Irell & Manella LLP in Century City, Calif. “I think it’s important for people to have an understanding and a background on the law and why the law is the way it is and what it means and what the implications are.”
One important addition in the fourth edition is a section on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extends the copyright term by 20 years and was passed shortly after the 1998 publication of the third edition.
The new edition also addresses issues related to the increasing popularity of reality television. The trend has forced producers in the industry to deal with a proliferation of legal issues surrounding privacy.
“Over the years I have put a lot more emphasis on the releases, the privacy issues, dealing with those concerns as they become much more important in the context of reality shows,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Miller hopes that the book will benefit producers by making them more knowledgeable in media law, but he insisted his book is not meant to take the place of a lawyer.
“In the book I go through a checklist of when you need to consult with a lawyer, and if there is any uncertainty about a situation you really need to make sure you are fully covered and consult with a lawyer,” he said.
Mr. Miller combined his professional experience in teaching, television production and publishing with his interest in law to write the first edition of “Media Law for Producers” in 1990.