May 1, 2019 – Can my daughter play in a local charity soccer tournament with celebrity players from pro teams without risking her NCAA eligibility? How do we trademark the name of our band? Will you handle negotiations with a performer we are trying to bring in for an end of summer concert?
These questions represent just a fraction of the range of legal issues arising from entertainment and sports settings – issues that require attention to multiple disciplines and that can involve state, federal, and sometimes international law.
This guide serves as an introduction to legal resources in these areas. With the breadth of practice areas at play in entertainment law and sports law, numerous resources with which you are likely already familiar are often useful in addressing related legal issues. There are, however, many subject-specific resources to add value to your work.
What is Entertainment Law and Sports Law?
Lawyers whose practices involve entertainment law or sports law have diverse experiences and careers, with possible expertise in disciplines from antitrust to contracts and intellectual property to torts, from labor & employment to taxation, and beyond.
Elana H. Olson is the director of the Eckstein Law Library at Marquette University Law School and is a past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW).
These practitioners might handle venue negotiations, fee arrangements, liability concerns, copyright protection, collective bargaining, and many other activities encompassing multiple areas of law within all levels of the entertainment and sports industries.
The American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division offers a range of brief articles about sports and entertainment law and practice. You’ll find Jeff B. Cohen’s Entertainment Law 101, and Matthew J. Mitten’s What is Sports Law and Who Is a Sports Lawyer? While these two articles are geared toward newer members of the profession, they are of interest to anyone intrigued by the idea of entertainment law or sports law.
National Sports Law Institute’s Sports Law Research Website
The National Sports Law Institute (NSLI) at Marquette University Law School hosts a Sports Law Research website, with links to an extensive set of resources organized by categories like high school and collegiate athletics, professional and international sports, and recreational and youth sports.
This website and its collections of links are a hub for links to:
NCAA and conference websites, manuals, and other compliance materials;
entertainment and sports law journals and reviews;
sports news; and
industry-specific information, such as coaching contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
To keep up-to-date with changes to the law and current events, access features like the Annual Survey of Recent Developments in Sports Law, or use the list of sports and sports law blogs.
The NSLI’s Sports Law Research website also lists federal statutes and select U.S. government agency resources related to sports and athletics, and relevant state statutes, including Wisconsin’s recreation statutes.
Wisconsin State Law Library Resources
Attorneys licensed in Wisconsin and their staff, along with members of other qualified groups, are eligible for a library card from the Wisconsin State Law Library to borrow materials and access select materials remotely.
In addition to a variety of print and subscription-based electronic resources, you will find links to freely available resources on the State Law Library website, including:
A topical guide to Entertainment Law, with links to relevant association websites and to U.S. and Wisconsin statute sections governing motion pictures, sound recordings, television, and entertainment facilities.
Look in the right column of the page for links to additional resources, including an Art & Entertainment research guide with information about books and journals available at or through the State Law Library.
A topical guide to Sports Law, with links to associations, government agencies, and relevant sections of the U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, and the Wisconsin statutes. The right column again offers links to additional related resources.
Select Entertainment Law and Sports Law Periodicals
Use the list of sports law periodicals on the NSLI’s Sports Law Research website to access legal periodicals covering issues and developments in entertainment and sports law. Many links lead to free archives of publications or, at least, freely available copies of recent issues – although some require login credentials.
Some limited-access publications with are freely available to you through the Wisconsin State Law Library’s subscription to HeinOnline or by visiting that or another law library. The State Law Library offers a helpful tutorial on logging in to databases with your library card. Contact a librarian in advance if you have questions about access.
Here are a couple of good resources:
Entertainment & Sports Lawyer: The publication of the ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries, recent issues are freely available online. Older issues may be available in print or online through HeinOnline at the Wisconsin State Law Library, Marquette University Law Library, or the U.W. Law Library.
Marquette Sports Law Review: Access begins with the first volume, when the publication was known as the Marquette Sports Law Journal. Browse or use the search box in the left column.
Select Entertainment Law and Sports Law Books
Entertainment Law for the General Practitioner (via Marquette University and U.W. law libraries): A co-publication of the ABA’s Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries and the ABA’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, this book is described as a roadmap introducing a broad range of entertainment law topics to general practice and solo practitioners.
How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know (via Marquette University and U.W. law libraries): Published by the ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries, this book provides an overview of laws governing the sports industry.
Law of Professional and Amateur Sports (via Wisconsin State and Marquette University law libraries): In addition to the substantive explanations and citations to authority in this multivolume treatise, there’s a range of useful content conveniently included as appendices to many chapters, such as copies of collective bargaining agreements.
Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing, and the Arts: Agreements and the Law (via Wisconsin State and Marquette University law libraries): This multivolume set is a leading treatise on entertainment law, offering analysis as well as forms and other practical resources.
To access other similar books, consider searching a law library catalog by subject. Try searching subjects like “performing arts law and legislation United States,” “sports law and legislation United States,” “artists contracts United States,” or “sports lawyers United States.” If you are visiting a law library like the Wisconsin State Law Library, Eckstein Law Library at Marquette, or the U.W. Law Library, consider browsing by call number. In these libraries, you will find some sports law books at or around KF3989 and some entertainment law books at KF4290.
Related Readings and Resources
Concussion Law and Youth Sports: A New Law That Protects the Head: Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, July 2012
Contracts for Creative Works, Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, May 2016
Feds Issue New Guidelines Covering Student-Athletes with Disabilities, Inside Track, Aug. 7, 2013
Representing Creatives — In life and After, Wisconsin Lawyer magazine, May 2016
Sports Law Offers Creative Opportunities, Inside Track, Sept. 17, 2012
Summer in Wisconsin: Resources for Tourism and Hospitality Law, Inside Track, July 5, 2017
The State Bar of Wisconsin has a Sports and Entertainment Law Section, which is active in sponsoring CLE sessions.