Entertainment Law

Nashville Attorney Representing Clients in Media and Sports

The entertainment industry is constantly changing. Cutwater Law keeps up with these changes to make sure that our clients' rights are thoroughly protected. There are numerous legal doctrines that are regularly examined in the context of the entertainment industry. Nashville entertainment lawyer Bob Zeglarski has substantial experience advising clients who have created audiovisual works, music, books, or print books, as well as clients who participate in or oversee sports. He also represents people who need a securities law or business attorney to further their goals.


It is wise to retain an attorney to draft an express written contract related to legal rights and licenses. The contract should specify clear and unambiguous terms about how these rights may be used, including any limitations on their use. For example, an artist may not wish to be affiliated with hate speech or attacks on minorities, and this limitation may be included in a contract. An express oral contract may be denied. Generally, to create a valid enforceable contract, there must be consideration—the person receiving the benefit of the contract must usually pay something, however small, to receive that benefit.

Intellectual Property Assets

A copyright is a legal right to exclusively produce a specific work, including audiovisual works, music, books, or films. When you have a copyright, others may not use or reproduce your copyrighted materials without consent. If you, as a copyright holder, allow others to use your protected work, you are granting a license. In Tennessee, a copyright holder has the exclusive privilege of charging whatever it wants for a license. To establish copyright infringement, you will need to show that a new work counts as actionable copying by being substantially similar.

Limitations on Artistic Expression

Free speech is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, section 19 of the Tennessee Constitution. The right to free speech protects speech that is unpopular or controversial. You have the right to express yourself under the First Amendment and the Tennessee Constitution, with some important exceptions. First, you may not violate someone else's copyright. Also, you may not plagiarize by copying someone else's work and calling it your own. Certain other limitations apply.

Audiovisual and Video Games

Under § 47-18-402 of the Tennessee Code Title 47, audiovisual works are electronic and physical embodiments of motion pictures, television shows, video games, computer games, and any other audiovisual presentation, including related images that are intended to be shown through the use of a device such as a computer or projector.


Nashville and Memphis are two of the most important cities in the music history of the United States. Under Tennessee Code § 39-14-139(b)(1), it is illegal to duplicate, carry, or sell any recording for commercial advantage or private financial profit without the consent of the owner. Audiovisual recordings are excluded under this section, and it applies only to sound recordings first fixed before February 15, 1972. Bob Zeglarski, as an experienced entertainment attorney, can help Nashville musicians and others assert their rights under the law.

Print Publishing

Print publishing often involves claims under defamation and federal copyright laws. Defamation refers to making claims about someone else that cause harm to that person's reputation or character. If a statement is made in writing, it is known as libel, while spoken statements are known as slander. To timely file a libel lawsuit, the lawsuit needs to begin within one year from the date that the publication of a false or harmful statement to others took place.


The contracts drafted for professional and student athletes must include numerous safeguards. For example, Tennessee has broadened its definition of an agent for athletes under the Athlete Agent Reform Act of 2011. An agent for an athlete under this law is someone who enters into a contract for representation with a student athlete or solicits a student athlete to enter into a contract, or someone who promises employment with a professional sports team or organization for compensation. Athlete agents are required to register with the state. Industries affected by professional or student sports are also regulated. Tennessee has enacted an exemption from state anti-gambling provisions for daily fantasy sports.

Discuss Your Needs with an Entertainment Lawyer in Nashville

If you are an entertainer or an athlete in Tennessee, you have something valuable to offer the world, and you should consult an experienced Nashville entertainment attorney. At Cutwater Law, we can help you protect your intellectual property and licensing rights. We handle rights related to audiovisual products, music, books, sports, and video games. Call us at 615-933-3545 or use our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your situation. We also represent clients seeking a business or securities law attorney.

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