Choosing An Online Video Marketing Attorney

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adler-davidAttorney David Adler, Partner with The Adler Law Group in Chicago, shares his expertise with ReelSEO on what criteria companies who are publishing and promoting video online should look for in choosing legal counsel, to help them protect their assets.

Mr. Adler recently returned to speak at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, on the panel, Intellectual Property and Trademark Issues: What SEMs Should Know. His professional legal background includes corporate law, intellectual property law and entertainment law, including contract interpretation, drafting, negotiation and enforcement. He also specializes in advising artistic talent and creative professionals in the media and entertainment industries, and is the past chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Start-up and Entrepreneurial Ventures Subcommittee. (Full disclosure–  he’s also this author’s own attorney!)

Grant: How well do you think online marketers understand the legal ramifications of how they publish and promote their video content online?

Adler: It’s been my experience that they certainly understand that they own their creative work, but that’s as far as their understanding goes. I think the issues that they are less clear on are 1) what others may or may not be able to do with that content, and 2) the allowable extent that other people’s intellectual property appear in that video content.

For instance: using trademarks of other businesses, whether they’re registered trademarks or not, as well as the individual personality rights who may appear on the video. So the rights of publicity and privacy, which are more state-law based rights than they are federal rights; and they’re very different than trademark rights.

I think marketers don’t understand the degree to which they need to get permission to use a lot of this stuff, which shows up in the content. It spills over a lot into the filmmaking world. A lot of neophyte filmmakers don’t understand that they need to get site releases, to film locations; and building releases, to film buildings; and releases from the individuals who appear in the film. And when you extend it to video content marketing, unless you’re using paid actors and actresses, you have a lot of the same issues regarding the background content.

Grant: If a company doing online video marketing is searching for legal counsel, is it enough for them to have an IP attorney who specializes in online marketing? Or, does an attorney need to be brought in that has a background in television?

Adler: I think if you have a good intellectual property attorney, they will be able to address 90-95% of the issues out there. I think if you can deal with an entertainment lawyer who’s also familiar with ecommerce and internet marketing as well as well as the other IP issues, you’re definitely getting a little bit extra value there; because, there’s no need for the attorney to get up to speed on what the issues are going to be. They’re going to know what all of the issues are going in. And, they’re probably going to have enough experience to know what pitfalls would occur from poor planning, or just from lack of experience.

In tomorrow’s article, Mr. Adler and our other attorneys discuss trademark infringement issues being done by video marketing companies, and the unfair (and potentially illegal) competitive advantage they may be having on your own customer prospects.


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