Entertainment Law

…Representing the Imagination of San Francisco®

… and the entire Bay Area…

Richard Idell’s entertainment law practice focuses on legal issues in the presentation of live entertainment productions (including sports and entertainment) as well as the music, motion picture, television and new media industries with a particular focus on legal issues implicated by the intersection of entertainment and technology. Mr. Idell provides clients with experienced and responsive counsel necessary for success in the global multimedia entertainment industry. He also provide branding, copyright and trademark registration services including prosecution of trademark disputes at the administrative level and in court.


Mr. Idell represents a broad range of professionals in the music industry, including recording artists, producers, music executives, record and publishing companies, managers, talent agents and agencies, live event producers and promoters, theatre owners and operators, distribution companies, production companies, publishers and songwriters. He negotiates and drafts recording and publishing agreements along with producer, management, distribution, touring, merchandising, corporate sponsorship, licensing and Internet agreements. He consults with artists, record and publishing companies regarding their entertainment and Internet strategies and the protection, licensing and sale of their intellectual property rights. He is familiar with all aspects of the presentation of live entertainment performances having represented most of the major music and theater venues in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades.

Live Entertainment:

The Idell Firm have been at the legal forefront of Bay Area and National presentation of live entertainment performances for over 25 years. Founding Partner, Richard Idell, represented Bill Graham and his organization in the mid-80’s until Mr. Graham’s death in 1991. Thereafter he continued representing the company until it was purchased by key employees. Thereafter, he served as counsel to SFX Entertainment and later Clear Channel as the company merged in the wave of concert company consolidation. He was also counsel to Live Nation for many years. The firm and Mr. Idell now represent Another Planet Entertainment, LLC and its various subsidiaries in a variety of live entertainment productions, presentations and endeavors. Mr. Idell is counsel to the Greek Theater, the Fox Theater in Oakland, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and numerous festivals and tours including the San Francisco Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival and the Treasure Island Music Festival and BottleRock ®. Mr. Idell represents Teatro Chicago, licensee of the dinner/theatre show Teatro ZinZanni in the Chicago area. He is also counsel to SHN, Shorenstein-Hays Nederlander Theatres, LLC, of San Francisco which produces and presents Broadway plays and musicals. He is also counsel to a variety of other promoters and presenters as well as special event planners and festival venue owners. Mr. Idell is on the Board of the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. Mr. Idell has served on the Advisory Board of the Green Center Performance. Center located at Sonoma State University and the location of the Sanford I. and Joan H. Weill Hall. Mr. Idell is also on the board of the California Film Institute which presents annually the Mill Valley Film Festival. Mr. Idell offers a full range of legal service in the live entertainment area.

Music (Basic Services):

  • Band Name Protection
  • Business Organizations
    • Partnership
    • Corporation
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Formation of Touring Entities
    • Formation of Entities for Self-Publishing and Recording
  • Management Agreements
  • Agency Agreements
  • Live Performance Agreements
  • Merchandising & Sponsorship Agreements
  • Recording Agreements
  • Music Publishing Agreements
    • Publishing, Co-Publishing & Administration
    • Performing Rights Issues
    • Synchronization Licenses
  • Distribution Agreements
  • Producer Agreements
  • Copyright Protection
  • Licensing Music on the Internet
  • Production Agreements for Recording Live Performances
  • Broadcast Agreements for Broadcast of Recorded Performances
  • Agreements for Exploitation of Publicity Rights

Motion Picture/TV:

Mr. Idell provides counsel to actors, writers, directors, producers, managers and production and distribution companies in the film, television, cable, and interactive media sectors. He negotiates and drafts option/purchase agreements for exploitation of life story rights, scripts, short stories, books and treatments. He negotiates and drafts film financing documentation and writer, performer, director and producer agreements. He represents sound engineers, editors, sound effects and other motion picture and television professionals. He counsels and negotiates distribution agreements, licensing and product placement arrangements, and he provides intellectual property counsel and rights clearance services.

Motion Picture/TV (Basic Services):

  • Film Financing
  • Selling/Securing Story and Publicity Rights
  • Distribution Agreements
  • Work for Hire Agreements
  • Guild Issues
  • Option Agreements
  • Rights Clearance & Acquisition
  • Union and Labor Law Compliance
  • Insurance Issues
  • Employment/Services Agreements
  • Digital Distribution/Streaming Media Issues
  • Trademark & Copyright Protection

Internet/ Multimedia:

Mr. Idell assists individuals and enterprises in their Internet-related activities and provides experienced transactional and litigation guidance through the statutory maze applicable to the Internet – from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 512 and related), Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq.), Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030) to the WIPO domain name dispute resolution mechanism to First Amendment issues, obscenity laws, privacy issues, and publicity rights. He assists in the process of developing, protecting and monetizing content on the Internet including the drafting and negotiation of content and database creation and licensing agreements, software and website development agreements, web site hosting and linking agreements and advertising, promotion and joint venture agreements such as sponsorship, affinity marketing, fulfillment and endorsement agreements. He assists in the creation, licensing, sale and protection of multimedia content and provide guidance through the intersection of numerous legal issues implicated by the combination of music, text, graphics, illustrations, photographs, software and other elements and he provides counsel in the effort to avoid infringement of the legal rights of others.

Internet/Multimedia (Basic Services):

Photography and Photographers (Basic Services):

  • Drafting of Work-for-Hire Agreements and Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Drafting of Agreements for Commission of Photographic Assignments
  • Drafting of Licensing Agreements

For Licensing of Photographs

  • Registration of Photographs
  • Enforcement of Photographer’s Copyright Claims
  • Drafting of Purchase and Sale Agreements for acquisition and sale of photographs and photography collections
  • Drafting of Agreements for Photographic Exhibitions