The Law Offices of Mark Litwak and Associates has offered its clients high quality legal and business solutions for more than thirty years. We serve a global clientele in transactions involving financing, producing, and distributing motion picture, television, and new media projects. We represent numerous writers, directors, producers and production companies.
The firm has served as production counsel for numerous television and new media programs and series produced by independent filmmakers as well as productions made for major studios, networks, and content providers including Netflix, Warner Bros., 2oth Century Fox, Cartoon Network, HBO, IFC, Yahoo!, Disney/ABC, Hulu, Paramount, Seeso/NBC, Comedy Central, Verizon, YouTube, Facebook and MTV.
Mark is the author of six books, numerous articles and
has been cited as an authority by numerous scholarly publications. He has been an adjunct professor at U.S.C. law school since 2013. The firm has won millions of dollars in damages for filmmakers who have been defrauded by distributors.
Mark Litwak has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Southern California for 2019. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. This is the 10th time Mark has been honored with this award which is based on anonymous peer evaluations.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70
practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer
recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-‐phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.
The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to superlawyers.com or click Here.
Mark also has for many years received an AV peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest rating given a lawyer and is indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada.
Podcast: FILM MAKING PITFALLS IN DEAL-MAKING AND DISTRIBUTION
Listen to Cinema of Change Podcast interview of Mark Litwak
We are pleased to have won a $43,811.94 award for our producer client Sydon GMBH against Los Angles based sales agent Spotlight Pictures, Inc. Sydon had entered into a distribution agreement with Spotlight for distribution of its feature film Falsely Accused. Mark Litwak represented Sydon in the arbitration. The arbitrator found that Spotlight failed to communicate with Sydon after the notice of default and once the third quarter 2016 report was issued showing a payment due, Spotlight represented that the payment would be paid but failed to do so. Spotlight improperly continued to withhold payments which it acknowledged were due. The award included interest and reimbursement of Claimant attorney fees.
Mark quoted in New York Post
Mark was recently quoted in an article about the Rev. Al Sharpton and a deal he made with his non-profit for his life story rights. You can read the article here.
Areas of Practice
□ Entertainment Law
□ Contract Law
□ Copyright and Clearances
□ Trademark and Unfair Competition
□ Business Transactions and Formation
□ Motion Picture Finance and Distribution
□ Television and Film Production
□ Book and New Media publishing
□ Defamation, Rights of Privacy and Publicity
□ Intellectual Property acquisition and licensing
Expert Witness Services
Mark Litwak has served as an expert witness for both
plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration. He is an authority on customs and
practices in the movie industry, entertainment law, deal
making, economic damages, chain of title, and the
financing and distribution of films.
SAVE THE DATE April 26, 2019
Mark returns to NYC to present his one day seminar with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: SELF-DEFENSE FOR WRITERS AND FILMMAKERS
Writers and filmmakers need to understand their legal rights and how to defend themselves from those who may seek to exploit them or falsely claim their rights have been infringed.
This seminar explains how writers and filmmakers can prevent problems from arising by properly securing underlying rights, and by encouraging other parties to live up to agreements by adding performance incentives, default penalties and arbitration clauses. In the event of a dispute, participants learn what remedies are available to enforce their rights. Related topics include protecting your stories, typical compensation and terms of contracts, merchandising deals, and negotiating tactics and strategies. The seminar includes more than 100 pages of useful contracts, checklists, forms and materials.
This seminar is for filmmakers and lawyers. Lawyers earn Seven (7) Continuing Legal Education credits: 4 Areas of Professional Practice credits, 2 Skills credits, and 1 Ethics credit.
Mark Quoted in The Economist about ownership of ideas and plots.
Download Contract Templates from our Store.
We have enhanced our store and now if you purchase contract templates from the books we sell, you can download them immediately. You no longer have to wait for a CD-R to arrive by mail. The contracts are in Word format and fully editable. Store
The 4th Edition is
The Fourth Edition updates the existing text and adds more than 100 pages of new material covering changes occurring in the movie industry such as the growth of new media outlets like Netflix and You Tube. Purchase your copy today!
USC's 'Dealmaking' Course Fall 2019
Mark will once again be teaching his Dealmaking in the Entertainment Industry class for lawyers studying for their advanced LL.M. (Master of Laws) degrees at U.S.C. Gould School of Law. Many law firms prefer job candidates with an LL.M. degree because it indicates that the lawyer has advanced, specialized legal training. This class explores legal and business issues that arise in connection with the development, production, and exploitation of theatrical motion pictures and television programs. The LL.M program is designed for international attorneys, judges, government officials, prosecutors, corporate legal counsel, bankers, who are interested in receiving an American law advanced degree.
Music Modernization Act Passes Senate Unanimously
The Music Modernization Act (aka the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act), was passed unanimously in the Senate. The bill is now waiting on a vote in the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass and then be signed by President Trump and become law. At a time when bipartisan agreement is rare, this was an extraordinary compromise supported by both Democrats and Republicans as well as most of the music industry.
The bill is essentially a fix for some issues that have arisen from streaming music by companies like Spotify. The Music Licensing Collective it establishes will begin operating on Jan. 1, 2021. This clearinghouse will be run by the artists and publishers and be paid for by the digital streaming services. It will maintain a public database that will permit streaming music services to easily locate data about who owns music and ensure that the owners are compensated for it. The Act updates licensing and royalties for streaming and provides that songwriters and artists receive royalties for pre-1972 songs.
Home Video on the Decline
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the home video market for sales and rentals of movies continues to decline as more consumers turn to Netflix and other services for movies. Revenue from sales and rentals of movies and television shows totaled $12 billion in 2016, down seven percent from the prior year, according to data released Friday by trade organization Digital Entertainment Group. At the same time, subscription streaming services continued rapid growth, increasing nearly 23 percent to $6.23 billion in consumer spending. For the first quarter of 2017, Electronic Sell Through increased 13 percent. Consumer spending on home-video entertainment grew two percent from the same period in 2016.
The New WGA Agreement
The Writers Guild of America reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), averting a strike. The new deal will extend to May 1, 2020. Minimums will increase by two percent in the first year and by 2.5 percent in each of the second and third years.
Residuals for made-for-pay television increase ten percent in the first year of the contract and five percent in the second year of the contract. Domestic use of made-for-Hight Budget SVOD programs now triggers a residual after 90 days, rather than after one year.