1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Upcoming Entertainment Law CLE/CPD/Conferences/Stuff

At some point along the way, “CLE” (Continuing Legal Education) has morphed into “CPD” (Continuing Professional Development) for reasons which aren’t entirely clear to me. In any event, here are a couple of upcoming events which qualify as either/both and will be of particular interest to Canadian entertainment lawyers:

Upcoming Entertainment Law CLE/CPD/Conferences/Stuff

Prime Time 2013 – News Flash

Today at the Prime Time Conference in Ottawa, Paul Calandra, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and a Member of Parliament announced the implementation of Canada’s policy on coproductions.
So at this point you may well be asking yourself, “Canada has a policy on coproductions?”, or “what is Canada’s policy on coproductions?”.  The answers to these questions are: yes, Canada does indeed have such a policy; and the policy can be found here.
The policy statement as set out recognizes the importance of treaty coproductions in strengthening Canada’s audiovisual infrastructure and sets the objective of making Canada the number one choice as a coproduction partner.   The recognition of the significance of coproductions and the goal set by the policy should not raise any objections – they are both correct and commendable.  
The policy enumerates certain guiding principles which will be used to achieve the objective of the policy.  These principles are flexibility, openness to renegotiation and negotiation of treaties, alignment of coproduction promotional activities and the simplifying of administrative processes.  Again, its hard to argue with these guiding principles – I know they would be welcome by many people in the production industry.
What remains to be seen is how the policy’s goal is achieved in practice, and whether these principles are in fact implemented for future productions.  It would be interesting if some sort of metrics were available in a year from now to measure any changes in the coproduction landscape as a result of the implementation of this policy.

 

Prime Time 2013 – News Flash

Competition Bureau Statement on Acquisition of Alliance Films

Further to Michael’s post pointing out that the Competition Bureau has issued a “No Action” letter in respect of the proposed acquisition of Alliance Films Holdings Inc. by Entertainment One Ltd., a merger of the two largest film distributors in Canada, the Competition Bureau has issued a statement of its own regarding its decision.  As the statement notes:

The Bureau found that eOne and Alliance were significant competitors for the distribution of films in Canada and that they hold substantial market share in the distribution of Canadian films. Additionally, the Bureau concluded that the distribution of Canadian films constitutes a distinct product market as a result of various government cultural initiatives and funding programs dedicated to developing and promoting a domestic film industry. However, the Bureau found that the policies in place affecting the promotion and distribution of Canadian films would make it unlikely that a substantial lessening or prevention of competition for the distribution of Canadian films would result from the proposed acquisition. Further, the Bureau found that for the distribution of non-Canadian films, a substantial lessening or prevention of competition was unlikely due to effective competition remaining in the market.

The statement goes on to note that, while the Bureau was “initially concerned that the merged entity would be in a position to implement more restrictive distribution terms to producers by increasing distribution fees and/or reducing the minimum guarantee [i.e., the advance paid by a distributor to a producer as consideration for the exploitation rights granted to the distributor]”, the requirements of government funding programs (which many Canadian producers rely on in order to get their movies financed) would sufficiently constrain the ability of the merged entity to implement such terms.

Though the Competition Bureau elected not to require the parties to undertake remedial action in order to implement the acquisition, it is worth noting that the Bureau has published an Information Bulletin on Merger Remedies in Canada, which sets out the Bureau’s policies on merger remedies.  As the Bulletin notes, the Bureau generally prefers “structural” remedies (such as the divesting of certain business segments) over “behavioural” remedies (such as obtaining undertakings from the merged parties to conduct their business in a certain manner or refrain from taking certain actions) in order to preserve competition.

Competition Bureau Statement on Acquisition of Alliance Films

In My Other Life, I’m a Superhero – Lawyers in Comic Books

One of the more charming aspects of practicing entertainment law is that the entertainment bar generally tends not to take itself too seriously.  In that vein, I offer William A. Hilyerd’s “Hi Superman, I’m a Lawyer: A Guide to Attorneys (and Other Legal Professionals) Portrayed in American Comic Books” 15 Widener Law Review 159 (2009).  An exhaustively researched (300 footnotes(!)) and entertaining read, Hilyerd’s article provides not just an nice overview of comic book history, but an intriguing analysis of how the portrayal of lawyers in comic books has changed over time. (hat tip: University of Alberta Faculty of Law Faculty Blog)

,

In My Other Life, I’m a Superhero – Lawyers in Comic Books

Online Celebrity Endorsements in Canada, the US and the UK

In the UK, the Daily Mail is reporting that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will be monitoring celebrity tweets for undisclosed paid endorsements (hat tip: THR, Esq.):

Dozens of celebrities, including actress Liz Hurley and singer Lily Allen, face possible court action over claims that they are endorsing luxury items on their internet blogs and Tweets without declaring that they have been paid by the companies concerned.

Actors, pop stars and TV presenters who fail to mention that they have a financial interest in ‘plugging’ goods such as cars or perfumes online could be contacted by the Government’s consumer watchdog in the coming weeks. … [OFT] enforcement officers are examining possible breaches of the law by celebrities involved in secret deals with manufacturers of luxury goods.

The story appears to be referring to the UK’s Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (see also this Guidance published by the OFT), which make it an unfair trading practice for a celebrity to promote a product without disclosing that the promotion has been in some fashion compensated (which appears to include the provision of free goods).

The United States appears to be, by far, the market leader (so to speak) in regulating online celebrity endorsements, particularly with reference to social media.  In 2009 the US Federal Trade Commission published its guidelines concerning celebrity endorsements and testimonials:

Suffice it to say that paid endorsements in the United States communicated via social media (such as Twitter or Facebook) are required by the FTC Endorsement Guides to make mention of the fact that the endorser is being compensated for their statement (no form of disclosure is mandated, but the FAQ suggests using the hash tag “#paid ad” for tweets).

Suffice it also to say that Canada’s legislative and regulatory regimes do not address these matters in anywhere near the detail found in the FTC Guides.  While the Competition Act (Canada) prohibits making of a false or misleading representation in connection with the sale of a product, we’re left to query whether not disclosing that you’ve been paid to endorse a product (or given free samples of a product in the expectation that you will promote its use) constitutes a “misrepresentation” (and a “material” one at that).

Online Celebrity Endorsements in Canada, the US and the UK