“I’m a fearless negotiator and solutions-oriented advocate for my clients in protecting their creations and enforcing their rights.”

-Attorney Joseph Bellanca

I’ve been involved in various aspects of the entertainment industry for nearly 20 years. Through managing bands, producing local and national events, and operating a 7,000 seat amphitheater, I am able to combine my unique business experience with knowledge of the law and industry trends to provide full scope representation for my clients. I take a holistic approach to addressing each client’s needs with a focus on accomplishing both short- and long-term goals.

My knowledge of historical practices and industry trends in a constantly-changing entertainment landscape results in efficient representation of each client. I’ve negotiated countless recording, licensing, publishing (music and books), endorsement, production, sponsorship, and management agreements for celebrities and up-and-coming artists. I am often engaged to represent business clients and creative agencies in obtaining rights for multifaceted national creative campaigns.

I’ve been practicing trademark and copyright law in both entertainment and non-entertainment related matters. I understand the importance of protecting a brand and the tireless work that is invested in developing brand loyalty, recognition, goodwill, and value. Whenever I am engaged to represent a client, I seek to provide the advice and guidance needed as efficiently as possible while creatively resolving disputes and enforcing valuable intellectual property and personal rights.

Education

Michigan State University, BA (2003)

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, JD (2008)

Bar Admissions

State Bar of Michigan
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
United States Supreme Court

Practice Areas

Entertainment Law
Intellectual Property

Honors & Awards

SuperLawyer Rising Star, Entertainment Law – 2013-2019
dBusiness Top Lawyer 2013 – 2017
Michigan Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Lawyer – 2014

Examples of Excellence

  • Represented the estate of a songwriter whose original song was sampled in a multi-platinum hit song.
  • Represented artists in signing recording agreements with major record labels.
  • Represented a well-known artist in severing ties with its personal manager
  • Negotiated resolution of a shareholder dispute between the owners of a major record label.
  • Obtained significant monetary damages from a major television production company resulting from the unauthorized use of an individual’s copyright and likeness.
  • Negotiated multiple distribution and joint venture agreements on behalf of independent record labels and artists with major record companies and related distributors.
  • Represented athletes and entertainers in multi-year endorsement and licensing agreements.
  • Negotiated and secured all rights for the production of multiple Super Bowl commercials.
  • Successfully enforced a breach of contract claim against a music venue who refused to pay a world-class artist for his performance.
  • Negotiated the production and presentation of a major international sporting event on a multi-year basis.
  • Recovered unclaimed royalties for songwriters, producers, performers, and music publishers.
  • Represented a major music festival in negotiations with artists, agents, managers, sponsors, and vendors.
  • Provide chain of title written opinions for feature films, documentaries, and commercials.
  • Represented venue, bar, restaurant, and festival owners and producers against allegations made by performing rights organizations
  • Obtained an immediate dismissal of a copyright infringement and unfair competition case brought against a visual artist.

Professional Affiliations & Credentials

Chair: Arts, Communication, Entertainment & Sports Section, State Bar of Michigan

Vice President: Italian American Bar Association of Michigan

Executive Board: Detroit Music Awards Foundation

Member: National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), American Bar Association Forum on Sports & Entertainment, Oakland County Bar Association, Macomb County Bar Association

Testimonials

Thank you to attorneys Howard Hertz and Joseph Bellanca, my power house legal team at Hertz Schram, for negotiating the screenwriting deal and contract – now I have a producer from NY attached. You guys are the pros in everything.

Lance K.

Joe Bellanca’s experience and professionalism made it very easy to be confident in his skills as an attorney. Like most people, I didn’t know who to go to after hitting a few brick walls. Joe has been the answer to my prayers and helped me win the case! With Joe on your side, you are in the best position for success.

Kim B.

As an ad agency working in both the automotive and music industries, Joe has guided us through some very complex music licensing, artist acquisition, and all things contractually-based. With Joe as part of our team, we’re always confident our deals are solid.

DeAnn F.

I have worked with Joe a number of times on projects across multiple sectors in the entertainment industry. He is hardworking, dedicated to his clients, personable and truly an expert in his field. His legal knowledge and experience mixed with his business acumen makes him a tremendous asset that I will continue to work with and recommend for years to come.

Kevin S.

Without hesitation, I strongly recommend Joe as an attorney capable of assisting you with your legal needs. Joe takes great pride in providing exceptional legal services to his clients. I have always known Joe to be an articulate individual who possesses great command of both the written and spoken words, which makes Joe an ideal attorney in a great deal of legal disciplines from negotiating entertainment contracts to civil litigation.

Ryan P.

Working with Joe Bellanca has been nothing short of phenomenal! His ability to cater to an artist needs in the ever-changing climate of the music industry is not only impressive but admirable. Joe has built and maintained my trust, 100%.

Chad N.

Awards and Accolades