Legal and Business Affairs

With extensive experience both as a media business executive and a media attorney, Ms. Berry is especially qualified to integrate industry-specific business needs with the ever-changing interpretations and applications of copyright, trademark and licensing law.

Legal and Business Affairs Services Overview:

  • Evaluating and consulting on strategic and business planning as well as all legal matters for small and mid-size entertainment industry businesses.
  • Negotiating all rights, employment, financing, guild and business agreements related to the development and production of film and television programs.
  • Drafting and administering all contracts governing development, production, copyrights, financing and distribution.
  • Identifying and facilitating co-productions, co-financing and distribution opportunities for program producers.
  • Negotiating pre- and post-production licensing and ancillary distribution deals for media products; resolving outstanding legal and contractual disputes to help avoid costly litigation.

Project Development

For a select number of media projects, Ms. Berry will take an active project development role in addition to handling production legal concerns.

Project Development Services Overview:

  • Assisting in the strategic planning and development of projects.
  • Evaluating potential funding sources.
  • Finding co-production or funding partners.
  • Negotiating and drafting final multi-party production and/or distribution deals.
  • Monitoring and advancing the progress from point-of-sale through the development and production stages.
  • Resolving unforeseen contract disputes.

Arbitration

Ms. Berry is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization, American Arbitration Association (AAA) Los Angeles, New York and Boston Commercial Panels; the AAA/Federal Communications Panel; and is a former member of ABA Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution in the entertainment industry.

Given her production and entertainment law background Ms. Berry is most effective arbitrating media and IP disputes, as either a solo arbitrator or as a member of an arbitration panel.

Arbitration Services Overview:

  • Rendering final and binding decisions to end disputes arising from production, distribution or licensing contracts.
  • Enforcing the flexible nature of arbitration by working with the parties to clarify the scope of issues to be resolved and the type of relief to be awarded.
  • Conducting arbitrations which originate either as a result of provisions in existing contracts or arbitration agreements created by the parties at the time of the dispute.
  • Independent television producer and cable network, over program distribution and claims of unmet first-refusal provisions.

Representative Matters:

  • Fees in a literary agency agreement where author contended that agency did not meet industry-minimum standards.
  • Fees for a known television personality arising from AFTRA Regulations Governing Agents collective bargaining agreement.
  • Various musical group tours where performance dates had to be cancelled due to performer’s illness.
  • Trademark and copyright licensing agreements which included the right to use and sublicense characters.
  • Fees arising out radio network’s music license agreements for individual stations.
  • Action brought by a major production company asserting unfair dealing and fraud in video distribution by top-ten video distributor.
  • Contract between manager and musical performance group over management services.
  • Film development agreement where investor held that producer did not shop the property pursuant to the contract terms.
  • A television syndication company and a production company, over syndication licenses and fees collected.
  • Licensing of theatrical rights to a producer for development and out of town performances prior to bringing a show to Broadway.
  • Joint venture partner bringing action against successor in interest of a bankrupt internet music distribution company.

Mediation

Ms. Berry has mediated more than 100 cases through court-supervised mediation programs and has acted as a mediator at all stages of multi-party interactions.

Mediation Services Overview:

  • Understanding the positions and concerns of both parties.
  • Defusing party hostility.
  • Clarifying goals and possible outcomes.
  • Qualifying party demands by testing them against industry standards.
  • Creatively crafting solutions seen as fair and realistic by both parties.

Representative Matters:

  • Several infomercial agreements between production companies and product owners or advertising agencies on questions of production standards and appropriate deliverables.
  • Royalty participation of film co-producers/co-writers based on creative contributions and final credit.