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Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark

Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark Entertainment & New Media Lawyer Entertainment Lawyer focused on Film, Theatre, Music, Internet and New Media Law

Operating as usual

It was great to be a part of Christopher Hines's podcast.  I'm featured in this episode.  check it out!
04/07/2022
The Legal Side of Podcasting ft Gordon Firemark - Marketing Podcast Network

It was great to be a part of Christopher Hines's podcast. I'm featured in this episode. check it out!

On today’s episode, the podcast lawyer Gordon Firemark joins the show! We had chance to discuss the realities of podcasting and the legal side everyone seems to ignore. As a podcaster, you need to know more about protecting yourself. You’ll get all those details and more on today’s episode. Ge...

04/01/2022

Please note that our
phone number has changed.
New number is (310) 421-9970

03/23/2022
03/19/2022
A disturbing trend in Podcast "shopping" agreements

#A troubling trend in Shopping Agreements.

Recently, I've started seeing a dangerous trend in so-called "shopping" agreements . The first few of these came up in deals between podcasters and networks or production services, but I've also encountered the problem with TV producer/writer deals. What's odd is that, while they seem innocuous, these deals really don't serve either of the parties very well. Sort of a case of "Penny wise; Pound foolish".

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post titled Option vs. Shopping Agreements: How to secure your position with your next project.https://firemark.com/2015/10/05/option-vs-shopping-agreements-how-to-secure-your-position-with-your-next-project/>.
In that piece, I outlined the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches when producers want to be "attached" to a property.

## Refresher: Option vs. Shopping deals

In a traditional Option agreement, the producer pays a small(ish) option price to secure the exclusive right to purchase the rights to the property at an established price, within a fixed period of time. For example, a one-year option for $1,000, locks in a purchase price of $100,000, if the option is "exercised" within that one-year period. Otherwise, all of the rights revert to the owner. This has the benefit of locking up exclusive rights to the property, for relatively low cost, while assuring both parties of a fixed price, if the project moves forward.

Meanwhile, in a 'traditional' Shopping Agreement, the producer pays little or nothing up-front, but secures a short period of time in which to "shop" the property trying to set it up with a studio or network. Then, if there's interest, the producer and the owner of the property each negotiate their respective deals, services, rights, and fees separately with the financier/buyer.

##A disturbing trend: Enter the "shoption" agreement.

In recent months, I've encountered more than a few of this new breed of so-called "shopping agreement". These deals grant the producer not just an attachment with the right to 'shop' the property, but also full control of negotiations for the rights and services of the Owner. Often, there's no guarantee that the creator/owner will receive any compensation whatsoever, usuallty, it's only vague promise to split the profits from expliotation of the project.

In my view, such deals are, essentially, option contracts masquerading as shopping agreements.and they're often a bad idea for owners and producers alike.

You see, such arrangements leave the creator/owner with no control over whether or not their properties and services are valued appropriately by the producer negotiating the rights component of the deal, while that producer is free to negotiate separate (and lucrative) producing or executive producer fees that arent shared.

## Vulnerable to "creative" dealmaking and accounting.

Moreover, anyone with a few years around the entertainment industry knows that "net profits" are famously elusive. Hollywood-style accounting can make achieving profit almost impossible; but even using generally accepted accounting principles, expenses can easily be shown to equal or exceed the revenues. This is especially so, when producers draw their fees separately, and see them deducted as expenses. The sad truth is, there's just too much room for "creative" dealmaking and accounting. And that leaves owners holding an empty bag, having tied-up and/or sold their properties for, what often amounts to nothing except the [misplaced] hope and prayer that there's someday a profit.

#Bad for the goose, AND the gander

These deals can be just as detrimental to the producers' interests. For starters, producers' expectations of there being any actual net profit are often just as misplaced as owners'. And, saavy financiers increasingly decline to pay meaningful producing fees. And, holding the pursestrings very tightly, just as often refuse to pay reasonable value, even when dealing with experienced producers. Sadly, I've seen producers left nearly as empty-handed as owner/creators.

Owner/creators and producers alike should resist these new-style shopping agreements. Even if it means passing up what looks like an otherwise promising opportunity. Personally, I'd rather regret saying no to a mediocre deal, than regret saying yes and being under- or uncompensated and feeling like a rube.

Whether you're a screenwriter, a podcaster, author or producer, these "shoption" agreements are a disturbing trend that should be resisted whenever possible. The time has come to respect the more reliable option contract model when acquiring properties. This provides a greater degree of certainty to all concerned. The producer/buyer is able to control the rights, and need not raise a great deal of cash, since the eventual purchase price will be paid by the studio or network. Meanwhile, the creator/owner is assured that if the project is produced, they'll receive a reasonable price, along with whatever other terms have been negotiated into the option. This beats hoping and praying any day. After all, 50% of zero profit is zero, no matter which side of the split belongs to you.

I had some good fun talking law-podcasting with Shelley Appleby-Ostroff of the XL Legal podcast.  It's A Podcast Devoted...
03/11/2022
Podcasting for Lawyers with Gordon Firemark

I had some good fun talking law-podcasting with Shelley Appleby-Ostroff of the XL Legal podcast. It's A Podcast Devoted to Practice Excellence and Wellness Tips for Lawyers!

Worth a listen!
https://exellegal.com/podcasting-for-lawyers-with-gordon-firemark/

The Podcast Lawyer™ – Gordon Firemark – shares his expertise and advice about podcasting for lawyers.  Gordon’s a media, entertainment, and business lawyer; podcaster; author; and creator of an online podcasting training course designed specifically for lawyers.  Topics discussed include: ...

Hey Friends... if you're a podcaster, this is for you.  Whether you aim to make podcasting your business or not, it pays...
02/13/2022
Get Legit! Go Pro! Business and Legal Fundamentals for Podcasters

Hey Friends... if you're a podcaster, this is for you. Whether you aim to make podcasting your business or not, it pays to approach it with professionalism.

You aim for pro sound quality
You aim for pro content quality
Shouldn't your business and legal affairs be pro-quality too?

Good news! It's easy to do-it-yourself, and it doesn't need to cost much.

Join me for this free webinar on February 24th to learn the fundamentals.

http://getlegitgopro.com

Learn how to handle your podcast's business and legal affairs the way the pros do. Without lawyers, without hassles, without uncertainty.

Always a pleasure to join Tom Fox on his podcasts to talk about the legal stuff surrounding podcasting.   Here's the lat...
01/17/2022

Always a pleasure to join Tom Fox on his podcasts to talk about the legal stuff surrounding podcasting. Here's the latest. https://buff.ly/3A9yTck

12/27/2021
Who’s in?   Sign up now!
12/27/2021

Who’s in?

Sign up now!

More, Better, Faster in 2022!

Whether you're a creative, a business owner, entrepreneur, or even a fellow attorney, you can achieve tremendous growth, success and fulfillment.

Join me for FREE group strategy sessions (live zoom workshop sessions) each morning 12/27-12/31 at 9am PST
No Pitch!
No Catch!
Just a chance to get ready for massive growth, success and achievement in the year to come!
visit http://gpf.link/strategy

More, Better, Faster in 2022! Whether you're a creative, a business owner, entrepreneur, or even a fellow attorney, you ...
12/23/2021

More, Better, Faster in 2022!

Whether you're a creative, a business owner, entrepreneur, or even a fellow attorney, you can achieve tremendous growth, success and fulfillment.

Join me for FREE group strategy sessions (live zoom workshop sessions) each morning 12/27-12/31 at 9am PST
No Pitch!
No Catch!
Just a chance to get ready for massive growth, success and achievement in the year to come!
visit http://gpf.link/strategy

12/23/2021
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2021/10/ftc-puts-businesses-notice-false-money-making-claims-could-lead?f...
11/03/2021
FTC Puts Businesses on Notice that False Money-Making Claims Could Lead to Big Penalties

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2021/10/ftc-puts-businesses-notice-false-money-making-claims-could-lead?fbclid=IwAR2NyWqOXr4PPP_Bumaa2LfuZqOHjBO7Ci5RGNT3ycrt0t60pHMvsd-CVpg

The Federal Trade Commission is putting more than 1,100 businesses that pitch money-making ventures on notice that if they deceive or mislead consumers about potential earnings, the FTC won’t hesitate to use its authority to target them with large civil penalties.

Best investment ever!! Ben’s exact method for writing a book in 5 weeks, how he got a lucrative speaking gig (before pub...
10/27/2021
Publish, Position and Profit MasterPlan – Influence With A Heart® by Ben Gioia

Best investment ever!! Ben’s exact method for writing a book in 5 weeks, how he got a lucrative speaking gig (before publishing), AND a 10-month consulting contract with a Fortune 100! Only $47 Register now.

You'll know your optimum timeline for bringing your book to life... with the milestones to achieve (and the pitfalls to avoid).

10/11/2021
08/19/2021
Are podcasters journalists?

Are Podcasters Journalists?

The Podcast Lawyer™ Live at 4pm PDT.
Bring your questions, comments and observations.

08/05/2021
From Podcast Movement in Nashville, it's The Podcast Lawyer™ Live

From Podcast Movement in Nashville, it's The Podcast Lawyer™

In this episode:

My #PM21 diary for August 5, 2021;

Doing Audio-Drama? What podcasters need to know to keep it legal.
�What to do if you want to use a title that's similar (or identical) to that of a product or company; and,

07/22/2021
The Podcast Lawyer™ July 22, 2021

What happens to your podcast if you die?
In which class should you trademark your podcast?
Think it won't happen to you? Podcasters ARE getting sued!

07/15/2021
The Podcast Lawyer™ Live July 15, 2021

This week on The Podcast Lawyer™ Live:

Is Audiboom’s new tool going to raise legal issues for podcasters who use it?

What can you do if another podcast has the same title as yours?

And more!

06/17/2021
06/16/2021

My friend Ben Gioia's event may actually blow your mind!!
Whether you have an idea, a half-done book, or a messy manuscript, you will know exactly what to do with your best roadmap for writing, publishing, launching, profiting and making a bigger impact!
Register here https://buff.ly/3pz838z

My friend Ben Gioia's event may actually blow your mind!!Whether you have an idea, a half-done book, or a messy manuscri...
06/08/2021

My friend Ben Gioia's event may actually blow your mind!!
Whether you have an idea, a half-done book, or a messy manuscript, you will know exactly what to do with your best roadmap for writing, publishing, launching, profiting and making a bigger impact!
Register here https://buff.ly/3pz838z

06/03/2021
04/29/2021

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10940 Wilshire Blvd Fl 16
Los Angeles, CA
90024

Telephone

+13104219970

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We hope everyone is having a safe and wonderful New Year. Welcome to 2021! In our first show of 2021, we will welcome back Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark to discuss copyright law and dispel those myths running rampant out there. You know the "I bought the art on Etsy, so of course I have the rights to it..." We want to know what question you have. This is a live show you don't want to miss, but to be able to best ask Gordon the question you have we are asking that you post your question on this thread and we will compile them and get me in front of Gordon. Look for more details on the show coming soon and see you all back on Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 10 AM Central time.