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Knowledge Base .: Meet The Author .: General Non-Fiction .: A Conversation with Joy R. Butler Author of The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through The Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions.

A Conversation with Joy R. Butler Author of The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through The Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions.

Author: Joy R. Butler

ISBN: 9780967294018

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor & Publisher of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest, Joy R. Butler who is an entertainment, intellectual property and business attorney. Joy is also the author of The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through The Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions.

Good day Joy and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

When and why did you become interested in entertainment and intellectual property law and have you always practiced this specialization?

Joy:

I was always interested in entertainment and media in high school and college.  I performed in school productions, wrote for the newspaper, and even disc jockeyed at my college radio station.  Combining my interests in law with my interests in media seemed like a natural fit.  In terms of specialization, I categorize myself as a business attorney with specific expertise in entertainment and media.  That has been my area of practice for over twelve years.

Norm:

How did your book come about? Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?

Joy:

The book grew out of seminars and workshops I gave for authors, filmmakers, and other creative types on the proper and legal use of copyrighted materials in their works.  The book answers many questions I get from the producers of film, books, websites, etc. who come into my office.  With the book, producers can answer some basic questions on their own and determine whether they need to retain an attorney for further assistance and analysis.

Norm:

How long did it take you to write your book and what kind of research did you do to write this book?
 
Joy:

It’s funny you ask that question. Like most attorneys, I track my time for billing purposes. The habit spilled over to my work on the book and I actually tracked the number of hours I spent working on the book.  The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle took about 900 hours over a two-year period.  I started with an outline generated from the questions clients typically ask me about rights clearance matters. 

Norm:

Many years ago, when I was a law student, media law was not part of our curriculum. I believe this has changed. How popular is the subject today among law students today?

Joy:

Media law is quite popular.  Many law schools offer courses in copyright, trademark, internet, intellectual property, and entertainment law.  I believe it’s a bad idea for law school students to place too much focus on one area.  I recommend using law school as an opportunity for broad exposure to many areas of law.  Also, what many people may not realize is that the practice of media and entertainment law encompasses many business issues.  The courses I took in corporate law and employment law help me service clients just as much as my intellectual property law course work.

Norm:

What can a client expect from an entertainment and intellectual property law attorney and how does one go about choosing a competent attorney?

Joy:

Recommendations from other satisfied clients and word of mouth are perhaps the best ways of finding an attorney with whom you will be happy.  An attorney should explain the law to the client and the consequences flowing from each action the client may take.  The attorney helps the client decide how to proceed; however, the final decision must ultimately be made by the client.

Norm:

Why do you think this is an important book at this time? How has the feedback been so far?
 
Joy:

Feedback for the book has been positive.  We often hear how the internet and other technologies are leveling the playing field and spurring the do-it-yourself climate. People are producing movies, dvds, websites, and books on their own without large corporations behind them.   That’s liberating but it also means more business responsibilities fall upon the creative people. One of those responsibilities is rights clearance. That’s where this book helps. 

Norm:

What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?

Joy:

Researching and writing Chapter 23 which deals with entertainment guilds was challenging. Entertainment guilds are labor unions for creative people.  They include the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America. When you use a clip from a popular film or television program in your production, you must usually obtain clearance from and make payment to the appli­cable guild or guild member. The guilds’ rules are not transparent or easy to follow.  It was a challenge to get correct answers to all the questions a producer might have and relay that information in a format that readers would be able to apply. I overcame the challenge by speaking to guild representatives and devoting a significant amount of time to that section of the book.

Norm:

How will you be marketing your book?

Joy:

I have some upcoming speaking engagements in Washington, DC and in New York including a book signing at BookExpo 2007.  They are posted on the www.guidethroughthelegaljungle.com website. I will continue to be a resource for the press doing stories related to media and entertainment and that helps promote my book projects.

Norm:

With the advent of the Internet over the past several years, there has been a great deal of plagiarism pertaining to content. How does one go about protecting his or her content that appears on Internet sites?

Joy:

For the most part, you protect your online content in the same manner you protect your offline content.  Registering the copyright in your work gives you more tools for protection.  One resource specific to work distributed online is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The DMCA shields online producers from copyright infringement liability for material posted by visitors to the site as long as the online producers agree to remove infringing material when requested to do so by the copyright owner.  If you discover your material improperly posted on a website, you can send a takedown notice to the operator of that site asking that the material be removed.  Whether or not the site has availed itself to the DMCA safe harbors should be posted on the website along with the contact information for the person to whom you should send the takedown notice.

Norm:

What have been the results of the majority of intellectual property cases you have handled? Have they been resolved out of court?

Joy:

Intellectual property has a business side and a litigation side.  I work on the business side which means I negotiate contracts and deals on behalf of my clients.  I don’t handle lawsuits or matters that go to court.  As a business attorney, I always structure the deals I negotiate in a manner that will hopefully avoid lawsuits.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered and what is next for Joy Butler?

Joy:

What’s next?  I’ll continue working with clients.  Most recently, I’ve been doing a lot of work for clients producing original television programming.  I’ll also begin my next book project this summer which will address internet and e-commerce issues.

Thanks once again and good luck with your book.

To read Norm's Review of The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through The Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions CLICK HERE

 The above interview was conducted by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Retired Title Attorney: Editor & Publisher of Bookpleasures. Here are  Norm Goldman's Reviews       

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