The Tweet Smell of Success: Social Media Clauses in Sports & Entertainment Contracts

By John G. Browning

Editor’s note: The following story is reprinted with permission from the Fall 2013 Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Journal. Read more from the Journal here.

Once upon a time, if you mentioned the topics of “social media” and “contract clauses” in the same sentence to entertainment industry big shots, they would associate it with a way to limit entertainers from discussing their projects on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking platforms.

As recently as October 2009, the Hollywood Reporter was revealing that “there’s a growing number of studio deals with new language aimed specifically at curbing usage of social-media outlets by actors, execs, and other creatives.”1

The article further reported that, due to concern about confidential information being leaked out over social networks, studios like Disney and DreamWorks had added clauses requiring actors and others not to share information “via interactive media such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other interactive social network or personal blog.”2 

The overriding concern, apparently, was related to celebrities who jumped the gun on official announcements before studio spinmeisters had a chance to break the news; one example given was Paula Abdul, who announced her decision to leave “American Idol” via Twitter and surprised Fox executives.

But fast forward a few years to 2013, and now studios, agents, and talent in the entertainment and sports realms regularly sit down to negotiate how much social media activity the actor or athlete will be required to engage in as a way of supporting his or her work and burnishing a brand image. What accounts for the new change in attitude?


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Former State Bar president returns from Turkey

Richard Pena has spent a lifetime advocating for the rule of law—in Texas and around the world. Pena, who practices in Austin, just returned to the United States from a trip to Turkey, where he met with lawyers, law professors, law students, and bar association officers to learn about that country’s justice system. The former State Bar president is used to traveling the globe and learning about other cultures while educating others about ours. He was chair of the Leader Advisory Board of the People to People Citizens Ambassador Program, an incarnation of an initiative founded in the fifties based on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s belief that communicating with other countries can foster peace. He currently is Special Assistant for Legal Program Travel at Academic Travel Abroad. Pena’s first of 16 trips, in 2000, was to China, and since that time, he has lead delegations of legal professionals to places such as Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, Israel, South Africa, Cuba, Russia, India, Brazil, and Turkey. 

To learn more about Pena's trips, go to his blog at or contact him directly at or email him at

Below, he provides his commentary on his recent stay in Turkey.

The president and board members of the Istanbul Bar Association are going on trial Jan. 7, 2014. They are facing two to four years in prison, as well as disbarment. They are being charged for the actions of asking a judge, in open court, to permit a fair trial for defendants in a high profile case. The technical charge is “attempting to influence a member of the judiciary.”



See a slide show from Pena's trip to Cuba and read about his trip to India




Former NSA director to speak at 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Bobby R. Inman, a former National Security Agency director, has accepted an invitation to speak at the 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Austin.

Inman, who also is a former deputy director of Central Intelligence, will speak on national security Thursday, June 26 at the annual Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon. The luncheon is part of the State Bar’s Annual Meeting, set for June 26-27, 2014, at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center.

Click here for more information about the State Bar’s Annual Meeting or to reserve a hotel room at the group rate. Follow the State Bar of Texas on Facebook and Twitter for more updates as the meeting approaches.

New lawyers inducted at Austin ceremony

The Supreme Court of Texas held an induction ceremony for new members of the State Bar of Texas on Monday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

Tom Owens, the high scorer on the July 2013 bar exam, addressed the crowd before Chief Justice Nathan Hecht led licensees in the lawyer's oath. State Bar of Texas President Lisa M. Tatum and Texas Young Lawyers Association President Kristy Blanchard welcomed the new lawyers to the profession.

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A letter to the new attorneys of Texas

David Ray Olivas of Flower Mound passed the bar exam in October but will not be able to attend the new lawyer induction ceremony at the Frank Erwin Center on Nov. 18, 2013. He is living in Mazar-e-Sharif, in the Balkh province of northern Afghanistan. Olivas has been stationed there a while, where he generally works 10 to 12 hours a day seven days a week. He knew he had to carve out time to study for the bar exam—and he did, although it wasn’t easy. He began with 20 to 30 questions a night, about two to three hours on top of his long shifts providing intelligence. He was determined to stick with his grueling schedule, though (allowing a night off here and there for video games and FB correspondence). And he finally felt ready. He used his R&R time to fly home, see his wife and seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, and take the exam. 
Below is what he would like to say to his fellow inductees if he were at the special session:

Failure creates better success stories. We’ve heard the axioms like: “You got to lose to know how to win.” Disney makes a killing off of these stories. We will struggle in our new career; these struggles will define us as attorneys. Will we fold? Will we take the easy way out? Will we stand there and face the fire? Will we succeed? Those answers and more as our lives continue.

I am excited to join the ranks of Texas attorneys.


ABLA holds first pro bono clinic based on SBOT's Care Kit









On Nov. 9, the Austin Black Lawyers Association hosted its first free legal clinic based on the State Bar of Texas’s Care Kit that encourages lawyers to engage in pro bono work.

Rudolph Metayer, president of ABLA, said he hoped the clinic would achieve one simple goal: to help the community. “It is my personal opinion that [lawyers] want to do what is right,” said Metayer. “The problem is that, I think just because we’re so busy, we don’t always have the ability to do so. The [Care Kit] played a vital role.”

Volunteer lawyers with ABLA and the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid nonprofit met with about 38 community members in just four hours to discuss matters concerning family law, bankruptcy, wills and estate, and landlord/tenant law. Although impossible to solve a legal matter during a short 30-minute consultation, clients left the ABLA clinic with more knowledge and direction for moving forward.

“I have called some attorneys, and they quoted me $2,000 to $5,000 to deal with a case like mine,” said Jacqueline Fisher of Round Rock, who sat down with Metayer at the clinic to discuss a child custody case. “So for him to give me a [phone] number for Legal Aid actually helps me out a lot. I know now what I need to do to take care of my case.”

Editorial: Community Effort Needed to Bring our Men and Women in Uniform all the Way Home

Nathan Hecht
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas

More than 1.6 million veterans call our great state of Texas home. On this Veteran's Day we honor each and every one of our men and women in uniform for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our safety and freedom. All Texans share in the important responsibility of assisting our veterans in transitioning from military to everyday life. It’s a community wide effort and we need to be doing more. Our veterans deserve more. 

Many veterans come home empowered by their time in the military, able to adjust with little to no assistance. For others, overcoming demons arising from their experiences in combat takes time and support.

Justice for Vets, a national organization committed to the expansion of veterans treatment programs reports that, out of the more than 2.4 million men and women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 460,000 suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression, and 345,000 suffer from an alcohol or drug addiction. If treatment isn’t received, the consequences can be dire: unemployment, homelessness, criminal convictions and even suicide. 

A downward spiral from war to jail should not be our veterans' narrative. Texas’ Judicial Branch is stepping up its efforts to ensure that our veterans' futures are on a positive path. The state’s first Veterans Court started in Harris County in 2009. Since then 11 additional courts have opened their doors with three more scheduled to come online next year in Williamson, Webb and Cameron counties. These courts’ specialized dockets are solely dedicated to veterans in an effort to keep them out of our criminal justice system.

They operate first by identifying qualifying veterans following an arrest. The most common offenses are DWI, assault, theft and domestic violence. The courts, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and a team of prosecutors, defense attorneys and others then work together to create an intense treatment program that provides structure, support and accountability.

Veterans are often required to come to court before their judge every one or two weeks for a progress report in addition to their inpatient and outpatient treatment regimen. If a veteran successfully completes the nine month to two year program, the charge is cleared from their record.

Veterans report that the programs restore their dignity, build their self confidence and give them hope. The recidivism rate is evidence that Veterans Courts need to continue and expand. Travis County has graduated 40 Veterans from its program since it began in November of 2010.  As of today, only one graduate has been re-arrested.

Texas needs to continue to provide support and funding for these programs. Our communities would be well served by having more Veterans Courts. The programs play a vital role, and I am proud the Texas Judiciary is playing a critical role in bringing our men and women in uniform all the way home. 

Nathan Hecht is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He is the longest-serving appellate justice in Texas history. Prior to his judicial service he was a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAGC). Follow him on Twitter: @NathanLHecht or contact him at

Hecht, Brown take oaths at Texas Supreme Court ceremony

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Jeff Brown were sworn in Monday during a formal investiture ceremony at the Texas Capitol.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on hand to administer the ceremonial oaths of office inside a crowded House Chamber. Scalia, who is responsible for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Texas, has sworn in each of the past three Texas chief justices, including Hecht, Wallace Jefferson and Thomas Phillips.

Hecht, a longtime state Supreme Court justice, took office as chief justice Oct. 1 after Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to replace Jefferson, who left the court to return to private practice. Perry then appointed Brown, a justice on the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, to fill Hecht’s seat.

For photos of the event, and from the State Bar of Texas reception that followed, visit the State Bar’s Facebook and Flickr pages.

Crash course on jury duty for high school seniors

Many people dread jury duty, which is associated with detouring from our all-too-comfortable daily routines. High school seniors are no different, and with a multitude of enticing alternate options for how to spend their time, they likely are more susceptible to developing jury duty apathy.

On Nov. 7, a program of the Houston Bar Association will bring together 10 Harris County judges to teach Houston high school seniors about the importance of jury duty, as well as how juries are selected. Each judge works on humanizing the jury process for the students and dispelling common jury duty myths. The judge leads its class through mock questioning, treating the students as if they were potential jurors, and then selects a jury panel and discusses what made those students appropriate choices.

HBA created the Voir Dire Program in 2000 during a period of low juror turnout in Harris County. It seeks to increase the number of people who show up for jury duty in order to create a large, diverse jury pool for efficient administration of justice.

“Jury duty is not only a civic duty but a privilege,” said Judge Paula Goodhart of the Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 1. “And the less intimidating and more informative we can make it for young adults, the more likely they will respond when called to duty.”

Get started on your Christmas shopping! Visit the State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program

Have you done your holiday shopping yet? Make sure you check the State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program website for big savings on the products and services you’ll want to give – and they’ll want to receive!

For the coffee lover on your list, think Keurig. Get an additional 25% discount on select brewer packages this holiday season, and get free shipping on orders of K-Cups! gift certificates are an affordable choice for anyone on your list – starting at $10 for a $25 certificate.

Fresh fruit baskets from Cherry Moon Farms and The Fruit Company are a beautiful, healthy gift – and you’ll save 15% with either choice. Have more of a sweet tooth? Godiva chocolates, Fannie May confections and Shari’s Berries can satisfy that with candies, dipped strawberries and more. Save 15% on fresh-baked desserts from Cheryl & Co., too. Gourmet baskets are more affordable with 1-800-BASKETS.COM, and popcorn lovers can get in on the fun, too, with The Popcorn Company.

Order greeting cards online and save 20% site-wide at Wishing Tree – find custom products for every occasion, printed on your choice of papers. See website for more details. Save 15% at Levenger – find beautiful briefcases, totes and accessories as well as furniture and lighting. Perfect for avid readers – and lawyers. RedEnvelope has jewelry, art and gifts for the special people on your list. Save 15% with your State Bar of Texas discount.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit, click “For Lawyers” then select “Review Member Benefits and Discounts” from the Benefits section.

Random Profile: Elizabeth Rivers, Houston

Elizabeth RiversFor Random Profiles, we randomly pick one of our 92,000-plus attorneys and do a Q&A. We've found that every Texas lawyer has an interesting story. Will yours be next?

Favorite food: It’s a toss-up between lobster and snow cones.

Hobbies: Gardening, but without a green thumb. What I do might better be described as slowly killing plants.

If I had more time, I would: Flip houses.

Favorite saying/quote: A recent favorite: “Let’s eat grandma. Let’s eat, grandma. Commas save lives.”

Best thing about being a lawyer: The law is constantly evolving, so there is always something new to learn. And if you don’t like what you learn, you have the opportunity to argue different interpretations, new applications, or outright change. That keeps life interesting.

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State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program

Managing your practice can be a full-time job of its own! Save on products and services that can take off some of the pressure with your State Bar of Texas Member Discount Program.

The Texas Legal Directory can help your practice gain more exposure throughout Texas – with more than 70 years of publishing experience, you can count on the Blue Book for what you need. Forming a P.C., PLLC or LLP? Corporate Creations can help, with big discounts on registered agent and incorporation services for State Bar of Texas members.

Looking for an efficient way to manage your small firm? Clio keeps your data secure and accessible from anywhere via computer or even iPhone. It’s also available for your support staff. State Bar of Texas members get a 10% lifetime discount on Clio services.

Websites are an easy way to gain exposure for your firm. Take advantage of reduced fees for online services from Amicus Creative Media, and Lexblog. Amicus Creative Media specializes in legal marketing. Save 25% on development fees and get a custom website solution tailored to meet your needs – complete with unlimited revisions and unlimited site pages. EsqSites can help you build a website in less than 10 minutes with easy-to-use software. Save 25% on setup fees with your State Bar of Texas membership. Lexblog offers training, support and development services for legal industry blogs.

Try out LawPay for hassle-free credit card processing and simpler accounting. LawPay is designed to meet the needs of firms of all sizes. It gives you the flexibility to accept credit card payments for retainers and also for collections. Your firm can save up to 25% off standard credit card processing fees using LawPay. It’s recommended by more than 60 bar associations, too.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit, click “For Lawyers” then select “Review Member Benefits and Discounts” from the Benefits section.