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How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Reshaped Entertainment Law

July 14, 2020, Variety

Neema Sahni spoke with Variety about how COVID-19 has impacted entertainment law and  negotiating force majeure clauses during the pandemic. Ms. Sahni says, “Force majeure clauses are typically boilerplate, they’re at the back of an agreement and maybe not given a whole lot of thought. I would definitely say this is the first time in my career where so much attention has been given to those clauses and what they mean. Every single word of the clause — what meaning does it have? How does it change the meaning of the contract? I’ve had to learn that area of the law, which in some cases is very dated. You’re going back and looking at how courts have interpreted this for decades and centuries and trying to analogize it to a circumstance that is very different than anything we’ve experienced before. It’s not black and white, it’s not straightforward and you really do have to dig into the law.”

She adds, “Unlike other contracts which speak in general terms, clients are interestingly trying to define real parameters around this pandemic. There’s not a lot of clarity or certainty about what this will look like in six months or a year and, in some ways, one of the challenges of contracting is guarding against the unknown. The exact impact [of COVID-19] on businesses month to month is really fluid and so working with clients and trying to develop the right level of detail in their contracts to guard against that certainly has been really interesting and incredibly challenging.”

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