Reality Television, Internet, Wireless Communications Increase the Power of Consumers as Arbiters of Celebrity, Reports 2005 International Entertainment Law Journal

MIDEM 2005 CANNES, France--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 21, 2005--

Editor Jay Cooper of Greenberg Traurig Sees Cultural Shift to Consumers Controlling Celebrity Increasing Need for Legal Protection of Privacy

Consumers will increase their power as the direct arbiters of the mantle of celebrity, thanks to the explosive growth and use of new entertainment technologies that exploit celebrity, according to this year's International Association of Entertainment Lawyers Journal, to be released at MIDEM 2005 in Cannes. The 2005 Journal, themed "Celebrity," is edited by Jay Cooper, chair of law firm Greenberg Traurig's entertainment practice in Los Angeles, and colleague Ken Burry. Published by Five Eight/Frukt, the journal includes insights from 25 entertainment and media attorneys from around the globe.

"Today's celebrity culture is relentless, with enormous resources being poured by mass media to tap into the public's insatiable appetite for this information," said Cooper. "Along with the 24/7 entertainment television shows and a blizzard of magazines and tabloids, there are also Internet sites and `blogs' devoted to individuals, motion pictures, television shows and gossip."

The result will be an increase in legal privacy protections for public figures driven in part by consumers' growing power in controlling celebrity versus the right of the public to know, according to the 2005 Journal. The fact the courts are using right-of-privacy justifications to shield celebrity from the public eye is indicative of today's unforgiving culture of fame and the direction laws may take in the future with respect to privacy protection, added Cooper.

"A celebrity is not just a movie star today," noted Burry, a Greenberg Traurig shareholder. "It's any individual of public notoriety whose personality, personal story and private facts have captured the public's imagination and then becomes public property," he reported.

In another chapter, Jonathan Coad, a partner at London-based The Simkins Partnership, and Greg Nylen, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, explore the difficulty of simultaneously using laws to combat unfair defamation and at the same time respecting and working with the media in managing a celebrity brand. The press is often an ally in building a celebrity brand, but can be damaged if not stewarded correctly in the courts to defend the same brand. The venues for such legal and public relations strategies are often key elements of success.

"Although the United Kingdom is not as claimant-friendly as it once was, it remains a much more neutral playing field between the celebrity and the press than the United States," said Coad. "If you have an international reputation or privacy problem, the best strategy is to tackle it in the UK, then through astute public relations transmit the remedy out to the US and (continental) Europe once it has been achieved."

A third chapter looks at how new technologies have altered the landscape and the legal frameworks within which celebrities seek protection. According to the chapter authors, Mark Bateman and Paul Chamberlain, prior to the technology boom, the public received celebrity news from the cinema and mainstream newspapers and publications. Now, celebrities have their personal lives hyper-examined by a host of specialized magazines, websites and digital television stations. The ever-growing appetite for celebrity content means that a celebrity's image is an extremely valuable asset worthy of adamant protection.

"Technology plays its part in keeping a public increasingly addicted to celebrity tales supplied with its regular fix," said Bateman and Chamberlain. Internet-based content providers are a challenge to celebrities and their lawyers. Some web-based publishers will post stories that mainstream content providers often avoid. The Internet-based publication may be forced to identify the source of false or unconfirmed material. However, there will be less likelihood that the responsible party will face a damage award, let alone the reimbursement of litigation costs.

For a copy of the 2005 Journal or interviews with the editors, media may contact Daniel Margolis at (310) 396-2400 or dmargolis@cswpr.com.

About Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP is among a select group of international law firms with more than 1,000 attorneys. In the United States, the firm is ranked No. 11 as reported in The National Law Journal's listing of the country's largest law firms. Globally, the firm's nearly 1,100 lawyers and governmental professionals in 24 offices strive to bring experience and creativity into every client relationship -- whether with an emerging company or a Fortune 500 corporation. For additional information about Greenberg Traurig, visit the firm's website at www.gtlaw.com.

Greenberg Traurig offices in the United States and Europe: Albany, N.Y.; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Atlanta, Ga.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Morristown, N.J.; New York, N.Y.; Orange County, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Tysons Corner, Va.; Washington, D.C.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Wilmington, Del.; and Zurich, Switzerland.

About International Association of Entertainment Lawyers

IAEL was officially founded in 1977 at MIDEM, Cannes. Three years prior to IAEL's charter, the founding members had begun holding informal seminars and discussion groups for MIDEM participants interested in the legal aspects of the entertainment industry.

Over the past 30 years, IAEL has fulfilled a unique role for lawyers not only in Hollywood, but also throughout the world. The organization has expanded enormously in both its number of members and the scope of its activities. The three founding members, Robert Allan, Jay Cooper and Michael Sukin, are still actively involved in IAEL. The enthusiasm of the IAEL's officers, past and present, lends the association a style that remains distinctly personal. Members oversee areas of expertise that cover nearly all aspects of entertainment law. The IAEL may be contacted at iael@dentonwildesapte.com.

Please see below for a complete listing of IAEL Celebrity 2005 Journal authors.


Rachel Atkins, US


Ken Burry,

US Greenberg Traurig (editor)

Jay Cooper, US

Greenberg Traurig (editor)

Mark Bateman, UK

Davenport Lyons

Stephan Benn, Germany


Marcel Bunders, Netherlands

Hellingman Bunders Advocaten

Vincent H. Chieffo, US

Greenberg Traurig

Jonathan Coad, UK

The Simkins Partnership

Doug Colton, US

Sukin Law Group

Jay Dougherty, US

Loyola Law School

Dr. Sven Dierkes, Germany

Wilde Beuger & Ellmer Lawyers

Felix Fong, China

Fong & Ng

Eamonn Forde, US

Stuart Gibson, Australia

Middletons Lawyers

Margriet Koedooder, Netherlands

Kalff Katz & Koedooder

Annette Mak, Netherlands

Greenberg Traurig

Abhishek Malhotra, India

DSK Legal

David Markman, US

Greenberg Traurig

Atsushi Naito, Japan

Aoyama Law Offices

Greg Nylen, US

Greenberg Traurig

Charlotte Paoli, France

School of Higher Studies in Arts

Anne-Marie Pecoraro, France

Bignon Lebay & Associes

Aaron Rosenberg, US

Greenberg Traurig

Alexander Ross, UK

Wiggin & Co.

Michael Sukin, US

Sukin Law Group

Five Eight (managing editor)

Daniel Margolis,

+1 (310) 396-2400, ext. 14