Prof. Rubin quoted in Variety about talent deals in digital age
Assistant Professor Barbara Rubin, executive director of Loyola's Entertainmnet Law Practicum, outlined for Variety ways to improve compensation models in an era of shifting distribution models.
Barbara M. Rubin, partner and chair of the entertainment department at Glaser Weil and adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, offers a solution to potentially avoid profit disputes, shifting to contracts that depend not on revenue returns but on “trigger points,” or set bonuses for such events as when a TV series is sold into syndication or a renewal of a network license.
In other words, rather than rely on studio profit-participation statements that leave much of talent frustrated, such an arrangement would spell out revenue returns from the start. Before the era of vertical integration, when talent had considerable leverage, she notes, deals did offer non-refundable advances against future profits.
“I feel the frustration of everyone,” Rubin says. “The studios spend too much of their time defending their lack of profits. That in turn frustrates the talent when they have reasonable expectations that, in success, they are entitled to share in some profits. That is not what the studios want to spend their time on and auditing is not what the talent wants to spend their money on.”
She adds, “It would save a lot of headaches for the studios, and it would do the same job of providing long-term incentives to the talent.”