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Student Project: Arbitration in the Entertainment Industry: Home

This research guide provides primary and secondary sources to understand what arbitration is and how it plays a role in the entertainment industry.


This research guide provides resources for understanding the current role arbitration, plays in the entertainment industry. The following tabs will help explain its role:

Lights, Camera, Arbitration!

What's the Difference?

"Arbitration is a dispute-resolution process in which the disputing parties choose one or more neutral third parties to make a final and binding decision resolving the dispute."

Mediation is "a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques."


Litigation means "to prosecute or defend a legal action; pursue a legal cause."

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is "an attempt to resolve a dispute without a court proceeding, for example arbitration or mediation."


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Arbitration Meets the Entertainment Industry

Over the last two decades, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the entertainment industry has been a growing trend for resolving legal disputes. Most entertainment agreements and disputes revolve around the complexities of contract law. Entertainment lawyers often include arbitration clauses in contracts to avoid litigation and opt for arbitration. When a dispute arises between two parties, they often want a quick resolution. 

As a consequence of the fast-paced world of the twenty-first century, the desire for quicker resolutions leads to many settlements. However, when both parties cannot agree on a settlement, the next step usually is mediation. If this fails, arbitration is the last step. In Hollywood, litigation is portrayed as the most common dispute resolution technique, but anyone who has been involved in litigation knows it can be years before the court hears a case. Those unfamiliar with the law see the TV trials depicted as lasting as long as an episode of Law and Order or Suits. In reality, litigation is a costly and time-consuming approach that can take many years, and thus is not commonly chosen. 

Because the entertainment industry is global, many international controversies arise due to conflicting laws. As a result, the entertainment industry often resolves legal disputes through popular ADR such as mediation or arbitration. Labor unions also play a role here because inside of the entertainment contracts lies collective bargaining agreements. This guide will provide researchers with the necessary resources and tools to understand how arbitration plays a role in the entertainment industry. 



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Ashley Arcuri
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, J.D. Expected 2019

Junior Associate, Pace Intellectual Property, Sports, and Entertainment Law Forum

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