Sports & Entertainment Law2021-08-12T15:19:03+00:00

sports & entertainment law

As of July 1, 2021, all NCAA athletes will be able to profit from their name, image and likeness (“NIL”). One of the last dominos to fall in the players’ rights movement was the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA cannot enforce certain rules regarding benefits that athletes can receive while in college. While this is refreshing news that is long overdue, it does not come without challenges, and a legal landscape that will be changing minute-to-minute.

As of July 1, 2021, all NCAA athletes will be able to profit from their name, image and likeness (“NIL”). One of the last dominos to fall in the players’ rights movement was the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA cannot enforce certain rules regarding benefits that athletes can receive while in college. While this is refreshing news that is long overdue, it does not come without challenges, and a legal landscape that will be changing minute-to-minute.

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Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Overview

As of July 1, 2021, all NCAA athletes will be able to profit from their name, image and likeness (“NIL”). One of the last dominos to fall in the players’ rights movement was the unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA cannot enforce certain rules regarding benefits that athletes can receive while in college. While this is refreshing news that is long overdue, it does not come without challenges, and a legal landscape that will be changing minute-to-minute.

Athletes will be required to navigate state law, school regulations, and NCAA rules. Some universal rules, such as a prohibition against “pay-for-play” and inducement in order for an athlete to attend a particular school, will remain. Still, it is an exciting time for NCAA athletes and the opportunities will be vast and relatively unlimited, provided they can understand the rules and laws governing compensation for NIL.

The best professional to help an athlete navigate this new world is an attorney, not an agent. Our attorneys are well versed in negotiation and contract law. Not only do we write, edit, and review contracts, we litigate them. At Bitman, O’Brien & Morat, we provide NIL, Name Image Likeness, legal services to high school, college and Olympic athletes nationwide. All other professional law practices areas are offered only in the state of Florida. A Bitman, O’Brien, & Morat attorney is vital to an athlete when procuring NIL contracts. Without an attorney by their side, an athlete could unintentionally contract away valuable rights, or engage in an illegal or impermissible contract.

Sports and entertainment law are a broad practice. It includes various legal areas as applied to athletes, celebrities, influencers, and entertainers within various industries. Providing guidance and counsel in this type of law requires experience. Our Orlando entertainment lawyers understand many areas of law. This includes contract, commercial, business, corporate, employment, intellectual property, and torts. Our Orlando entertainment lawyers understand many areas of law.  We are also well versed in:

  • Athlete-agent laws
  • Salary arbitration
  • Contract negotiation
  • Crisis management
  • Appropriate social media use practices
  • Litigation
  • Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) agreements
  • Misappropriation issues.

FAQs

Can I benefit from my NIL if I am a high school student?2021-07-09T15:19:06+00:00

Florida high school students can not currently benefit financially from their name, image, and likeness. The Florida High School Athletic Association governs these rules, and presently there is no exception similar to the NCAA’s policy and the new Florida law.

Are NIL Contracts Exclusive?2021-07-09T15:18:43+00:00

There is nothing in the current NCAA policy or Florida law that prevents an athlete from entering into exclusive contracts. As such, an athlete could pigeon-hole themselves into working with only one company, which could limit their compensation. Alternatively, an athlete could demand that a company not use any other athlete. An attorney can help you review the contract, including any hidden terms, to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.

What if I violate a policy, rule, or law?2021-07-09T15:18:23+00:00

Reporting of all contracts are required, even if they are not in writing. Presently, international students are not permitted to profit off of their name, image, and likeness pursuant to Federal law. Taxes must be reported on all income consistent with IRS rules. Failure to abide by NCAA policies and school regulations could result in being declared ineligible, or worse (for example, forfeiture of games, etc). Punishments have not changed for violation of the rules. The best thing an athlete can do to protect themselves from non-compliance issues, is to seek the guidance of an attorney.

Will my NIL contracts be kept Confidential?2021-07-09T15:17:55+00:00

The NCAA NIL policy requires that contracts for compensation be disclosed to the post-secondary educational institution at which the athlete is enrolled. The purpose of this is to ensure compliance with NCAA rules such that eligibility is not affected.  This limits the athlete’s ability to keep contracts confidential. Still, certain confidentiality provisions may be permissible. Contact at attorney to review options.

What can be done about a school’s Intellectual Property Rights?2021-07-09T15:17:13+00:00

An athlete may want to sell apparel as part of their effort to capitalize on the new NIL rules. While it would be tempting to sell a jersey with your name and number on it, it is not permitted. The school still owns the rights to a vast array of intellectual property, such as logos, names, typography, colors, sayings, etc. In order for an athlete to use this intellectual property in their pursuit of compensation, they will have to obtain licensing rights from the schools themselves if permitted by state law. This is yet another legal hurdle, but one that may be surmountable with the help of an attorney. Still, grey areas exist which will necessitate the assistance of an attorney.

Can I obtain a NIL contract if I am under 18?2021-07-09T15:16:37+00:00

Minors can still benefit from these new rules, but will have additional hurdles to jump through. In, Florida, such a minor will have to commence legal proceedings consistent with Florida Statute 743.08 and 743.09.

Do School’s have their own NIL Policies?2021-07-09T15:16:09+00:00

Many schools have already implemented NIL policies to assist their athletes in navigating this new terrain. Many of these policies are more restrictive than the NCAA policy. These policies reiterate the major points of the NCAA policy, including a prohibition of “pay-for-play” and inducements. Schools are also making it clear that athletes are not permitted to use university or athletic department related marks and logos, including uniforms. This includes wearing school related apparel while engaging in endorsements. In order to use such intellectual property, separate licensing agreements will need to be secured by the athletes. Many schools have also placed prohibitions on endorsements, such as the endorsement of alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, steroids, gambling, illegal firearms, or sexually oriented businesses. Additionally, there may be prohibitions against entering into contracts with school partners, or entities with which the school does business.

What does the Florida NIL statute say?2021-07-09T15:15:42+00:00

Even though not all states have passed NIL laws, Florida has passed its own NIL law effective July 1, 2021. The statute permits compensation for the use of an athletes name, image, and likeness provided that compensation is equal to the market value of the name, image, and likeness. This compensation cannot be in exchange for athletic performance, or attendance at a particular school. An athlete cannot request fans send them money via venmo/cashapp/zelle/etc. The law permits an athlete to use an athlete agent or an attorney to represent him or her for the purpose of securing compensation. It even permits minors to contract and be compensated provided they follow Florida law in the approval of such contracts. Generally, an athlete cannot engage in a contract that conflicts with its school team contract, and must disclose the contract to his or her institution. The law also requires that post-secondary institutes provide financial skills workshops for its athletes. For more information on the Florida NIL law, contact an attorney at Bitman, O’Brien, & Morat.

What is the new NCAA Amateurism Policy?2021-07-09T15:14:58+00:00

The sands are shifting with respect to the rules of the game as the NCAA, schools, and athletes scramble to make sense of the new rules. The NCAA adopted an interim policy on June 30, 2021, that in effect, will permit athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. The policy provides certain guidelines such as:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities (meaning an attorney or a licensed agent).
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in NIL activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • State law and schools/conferences may impose reporting requirements.

During the interim NIL policy, the NCAA’s expectation is that schools and student-athletes will not use NIL transactions to compensate for athletic participation or achievement or as an improper inducement.

It is important to note that this policy is not retroactive. Any NIL activity before July 1, 2021 is still considered impermissible.

The NCAA will undoubtedly implement formal rules in the near future. An attorney is best suited to help you understand and traverse these new rules.

What does a sports lawyer do?2021-05-16T16:40:04+00:00

Sports lawyers represent the legal interests of anyone in the sports profession. This includes any type of athlete, single players, coaches, and, in some cases, entire teams. An Orlando sports lawyer handles business dealings, negotiates contracts, resolves disputes, defends their clients, and more.

How much does an entertainment lawyer cost?2021-05-16T16:40:28+00:00

How much your Orlando entertainment lawyer charges will vary. Lawyers often charge on billable hours or a retainer fee. However, it’s important these fees may not cover the costs of various legal documents or fees.

What does an entertainment lawyer do?2021-05-16T16:39:32+00:00

An Orlando entertainment lawyer protects represents the legal interests of creative companies and people. This includes all niches of the industry. They may work with a client in film, music, publishing, theater, TV, or a similar field.

At Bitman, O’Brien & Morat, PLLC, our commitment is to your best interests and total satisfaction. Our Florida attorneys always strive to achieve the best outcome for you. Our core values and creative thinking drive our legal guidance and success. We provide cost-effective services and practical legal services.

Contact us today to speak with an Orlando entertainment lawyer or Orlando sports lawyer. Find out how our experts can help you. Our Florida lawyers serve you with offices in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale.

Sports Law Issues

The practice of sports law focuses on a target industry rather than a separate and distinct body of law. The most common issues facing the sports world are:

  • Employment issues
  • Contract issues
  • Unfair competition
  • Torts

The most challenging part of sports law is the range of organizations governing different levels of sports, such as:

  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA®)
  • International Olympic Committee
  • National Labor Relations Board

Each organization has their own distinct set of rules, so they all involve a unique set of legal issues. That’s why it’s so important to have an expert Orlando sports law attorney. They can assist you as you navigate the sports world.

Also, new issues legal issues continue to emerge in the sports world. These issues include:

  • The NCAA® expanding how they define amateurism
  • Name, image, and likeness (NIL) legislation
  • Equal pay based on gender

Our Orlando sports attorneys have the expertise to help you navigate these complex issues. We stay up to date with the latest news to provide you with the best legal advice. Our commitment is to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Entertainment Law Issues

Entertainment law involves various intellectual property questions issues surrounding copyright, trademark, licensing, defamation, privacy, and first amendment issues. Within the arena of intellectual property law you have issues surrounding trademarks, copyright laws, and the right of publicity.

Some of the hottest issues in this industry are:

  • Distribution of materials
  • Licensing
  • Copyrights on social media posts

It’s vital that you draft agreement and protections for yourself as early as possible. It’s important that you work with an attorney well-versed in this area so you have adequate protection.

Work with an Orlando entertainment lawyer from our qualified team. Our attorneys have a deep grasp on the latest entertainment law news to offer you the best legal guidance. Our lawyers always work in your best interests, and they use creative thinking to provide you with practical advice.

Why to Hire an Orlando Entertainment Lawyer

This type of law is often complex because it requires a thorough knowledge of multiple areas of law. It’s important for you to work with a lawyer who understands every nuance and detail of your industry. This enables them to provide you with the best legal guidance. Protect yourself and your creative works by working with an Orlando entertainment lawyer.

Copyright law is a large part of entertainment law. In fact, copyright in the United States includes specific verbiage related to this industry. It’s essential for you to work with an Orlando entertainment lawyer who understands your rights under this law. It can be confusing to navigate these issues on your own. However, an attorney can help.

How to Choose an Entertainment Lawyer in Orlando

We understand you have many options as you choose your lawyer in Orlando. You want a lawyer who understands your concerns and has the expertise to get you the best possible outcome. You need expertise you can rely on.

Ronnie Bitman is the co-founder and managing partner of Bitman, O’Brien & Morat, PLLC. He’s regarded as one of Florida’s leading lawyers, and he heads our firm’s sports and entertainment law practice group. His expertise helped him earn honors like:

  • Florida Super Lawyers™ 2019 – 2021
  • Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite™ 2016
  • Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40™ 2014

Bitman’s experience includes representing athletes, musicians, sports clubs, TV personalities, and celebrities in many business and legal matters. He often handles difficult litigation for corporations and high-profile clientele. Bitman’s extensive knowledge impacts every Orlando entertainment lawyer on our team, giving you the best possible guidance.

Talk to an Orlando Entertainment Lawyer Today

Be proactive with your sports and entertainment law legal protection. Explore your options to protect yourself and your image. Prevent any potential losses for yourself.

At Bitman, O’Brien & Morat, PLLC, your satisfaction is our goal. This includes making every effort to secure the best possible outcome for you. Work with an Orlando entertainment lawyer you can trust to put your best interests first.

Contact us today to get started. Reach out to one of our attorneys today to discuss your legal concerns. Our Florida sports and entertainment lawyers serve you from offices in  OrlandoMiamiTampa, and Fort Lauderdale.

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