Savannah Attorney Charles Bowen to Discuss Film Industry at Buy Local Savannah May Meeting

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Savannah Attorney Charles Bowen to Discuss Film Industry at Buy Local Savannah May Meeting

(SAVANNAH, GA.) Charles “Bo” Bowen of the Bowen Law Group will discuss the Savannah area’s burgeoning film industry when Buy Local Savannah gathers for its May meeting Thursday, May 23, at Cohen’s Retreat, 5715 Skidaway Road.

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Bowen will discuss film and television production in the area, including existing barriers to its continued expansion and the risks presented by potential boycotts. Bowen’s law firm specializes in commercial and entertainment law, and he has expanded his involvement to larger interests in the film industry.

He is a frequent commentator and writer on entertainment industry topics in local media. In 2015, Bowen founded the Savannah Film Alliance to promote the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration.

He also founded Southern Gateway Production Services to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers coming to Savannah to film their projects.

Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he graduated with honors in psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. He has developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law.

The Buy Local meeting will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and lunch will be served. Reservations are required.

The local trade association boasts about 150 member businesses in varied fields. Buy Local Savannah’s mission is to support locally owned and operated, independent businesses in the greater Savannah area, to maintain the area’s unique community character, provide continuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, build community economic strength and prevent the displacement of community-based businesses by national and global entities.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Based out of Savannah, Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial and entertainment law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. Bowen was named “Business Advocate of the Year” in 2015 by the Savannah Morning News. He won the “2016 Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” presented by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He also chaired the 24th Annual Kiss-a-Pig campaign on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. He also has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s 12th Annual Legal Elite in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law. He is the author of three eBooks. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Follow The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

How to Get into the Film Industry By Charles “Bo” Bowen

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How to Get into the Film Industry
By Charles “Bo” Bowen

So you want to be in pictures? Considering that Savannah is transforming into a thriving entry point for film and television careers, you are definitely in the right place.

Until fairly recently, almost all roads leading to the film and television screen started in Los Angeles or New York City. Over the past decade, however, advances in technology and financial incentives like those the state of Georgia adopted in 2008 have expanded the industry far beyond California and New York. Georgia has been the primary beneficiary of this expansion with Atlanta topping the list of current filming locations and significantly-smaller Savannah coming in second.

If you are interested in becoming a part of Georgia’s film industry, you should know one thing up front: no one starts at the top. The movie and television industry rewards experience and is merit-based. Anyone willing to work hard and maintain a positive attitude in the high-paced and stressful world of film production, however, will likely find themselves progressing quickly.

Granted, experience is crucial to success in almost all professions, but it is especially true in the entertainment industry. When a production begins filming, hundreds of strangers come together to work intensely on a single project — often for months at a time — and then immediately move on to the next opportunity. There may be a few stories of overnight success, but for the most part, those individuals worked hard for 20 years to earn that “overnight” success.

If you believe a career in movies might be a good fit, it is always a good idea to give your interests a thorough test drive. A great place to start is to work as an extra on one of the numerous productions in and around Savannah.

Working as an extra largely consists of waiting around for hours for a few minutes of work as a background player with no lines and minimal pay. But it is a prime opportunity to watch what film professionals are doing. Does it look interesting? Can you cope with the rigid top-down management and stressful environment? Does the reality look as appealing in person as it did in your imagination?

Casting calls are typically well covered in local media, thus finding an opportunity to work as an extra can be as simple as searching “casting in Savannah GA” on the internet. Casting calls are also often listed on the Savannah Regional Film Commission’s website, savannahfilm.org, or you can send a request to join www.facebook.com/groups/savannahextras.

If you still feel drawn to invest in a film-related future after being on a set, Savannah has you covered. Thanks to Savannah Technical College, our city hosts one of the 12 campuses of the Georgia Film Academy. This unique partnership of the University System of Georgiaand the Technical College System of Georgiaprovides a certification program of 18 credit hours, complete with internship opportunities.

Georgia Film Academystudents study a curriculum of on-set production, set construction and scenic painting, lighting and electric, grip and rigging, introduction to special makeup effects, post-production effects and, in the future, production accounting.

At $89.00 per credit hour (plus fees) at the technical college level, you can complete the entire course of study in just two semesters for a very affordable price. This can be a worthy investment to help break into a field where the Georgia Film Academyestimates an average salary is $84,000.00 a year (not to mention retirement benefits and health insurance coverage).

The required introductory course is currently on the schedule for Savannah Tech’s summer semester.

These types of jobs are on the production crew. There is a tremendous need for local crew in Savannah and once you receive the requisite training and experience, work should be easy to find. If you are more interested in the creative side of the process (directors, screenwriters, actors, etc.), there is still far more than just luck involved.

Savannah has a number of successful theater groups where you can audition for local productions to help you explore whether acting may be for you. There are also quite a few acting classes and workshops taught locally to help you hone your skills. Savannah offers college and university resources for those careers, as well. You can pursue theatrical performance degree programs at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong and Statesboro campuses as well as Savannah State University. Savannah College of Art and Designoffers programs in almost every spectrum of the creative side of the entertainment industry from highly-skilled and respected professionals.

Most importantly, do not give up.

Almost everyone enters the film industry slowly for little pay to learn firsthand what the entertainment world is all about while gaining practical skills and making all-important contacts prior to finding success. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, Savannah’s film production boom ensures the opportunity is there for the taking.

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Business and entertainment attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen is the founder of Southern Gateway Production Services. He started the production services company with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing them connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Bowen is also recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliancein 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Georgia’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. http://www.thebowenlawgroup.com

 

Attorney Charles Bowen Honored by Georgia Senate Resolution and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award

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Attorney Charles Bowen Honored by Georgia Senate Resolution and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award

(ATLANTA, GA) A resolution passed by the Georgia State Senate has recognized Savannah attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen for his services to both the state’s entertainment industry and to its legal profession.

In addition, Georgia Secretary of StateBrad Raffensperger honored Bowenas an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen.”

The Senate resolution was sponsored by State Sens. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) and Ben Watson (R-Savannah) and praises Bowen’s role in promoting Savannah’s growing movie and television industry. The resolution cites, in part, the reasons for the recognition: “Bo founded the Savannah Film Alliancein 2015 to foster cooperation and collaboration within the local entertainment industry; he is also the founder and president of Southern Gateway Production Services, which provides support to all out-of-town productions coming to the region; and he is the co-founder of Aeroscope Studios, the author of three eBooks on business and entertainment law, and currently serves on numerous corporate boards and councils.”

The resolution also recaps business honors Bowen has received. They include being named “Business Advocate of the Year” by the Savannah Morning News, winning the “Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” from the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerceand receiving additional accolades from the legal profession.

The full text of the resolution can be found here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20192020/183638.pdf.

Bowenfirst met with Governor Brian Kemp before heading to the Senate floor. Sen. Jackson then read the resolution aloud and invited Bowento address the Senate. He was then named an Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Georgia Secretary of State.

The recognition from the Secretary of Statereads: “May this Outstanding Citizen be afforded every courtesy as a Goodwill Ambassador from Georgia in his travels to other states, to nations beyond the borders of the United States of America, or wherever he may hereafter travel or reside. Thank you for your service to our State.”

Charles Bowen

(Left to Right): State Sen. Lester Jackson, State Rep. Craig Gordon, Alayna Bowen, Charles ‘Bo’ Bowen, State Sen. Ben Watson and Alexandra Bowen.

Bowen’s two daughters accompanied him to the Georgia State Capitol. In his remarks before the Senate, Bowenstated: “I am deeply honored, and I am very grateful that my two teenage daughters could be here today to see firsthand that working hard in your profession and trying to help others succeed does not go unnoticed. I know that is a lesson they will carry with them into adulthood. I also want to thank all of you, the leaders of the State of Georgia, for the tremendous work you have done in promoting the entertainment industry and helping ensure every year that Georgia remains the greatest place in the world to conduct business.”

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Based out of Savannah, Charles Bowenis a business attorney who focuses on commercial and entertainment law. Bowen attended Mercer Universityin Macon, Ga., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown UniversityLaw Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. Bowenhas received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. He also has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Groupis located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Follow The Bowen Law Groupon Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Carriage Trade Public Relations
cynthia@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

SEDA Entertainment Incentives Extended for Three Years: How to Make it Work for You, By Charles Bowen

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SEDA Entertainment Incentives Extended for Three Years: How to Make it Work for You
By Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Savannah did not become a preferred filming destination based solely upon Mother Nature’s bounty. While warm weather, beaches, forests, creeks, and marshes (not to mention some of the most beautiful architecture on the planet) can offer up a feast to any camera’s lens, the truth is that the lifeblood of the film industry is illusion. One room with a simple green wall can be instantly transformed into any location in the universe. Thus, despite the breathtaking nature beauty of the Coastal Empire, continued success will not be assured by our looks alone.

Movies and television shows can be insightful, inspirational, and uplifting. They have the ability to mentally transport the viewer to another time and place and have motivated some of the greatest leaders of our generation. But first and foremost, they are also a business. That means that money counts. A lot.

The State of Georgiahas become one of the top filming locations in the world due to the generous film tax credits offered by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Those financial incentives are why the dead walk in Senoia, Georgia and the Black Panther’s homeland of Wakanda has an Atlanta ZIP code.

While that is great for the state as a whole, what about Savannah? That is where the Savannah Entertainment Production Incentive comes into play. The Savannah Economic Development Authority(SEDA) has just approved a three-year renewal of this unique set of financial incentives for movie and television productions.

Thanks to SEDA, Savannah became the first city in the state to add additional benefits on top of Georgia’s already generous incentives. These local incentives provide $4 million to qualifying film and television productions that shoot in Savannah. They have also earmarked $100,000.00 of that total for professional auditing to ensure that the guidelines are being followed by the recipients.

So how do these incentives benefit local businesses? In the broad economic picture, everyone in the region indirectly profits due to the boost that productions provide the local economy. Movie and television productions directly spent more than $120 million dollars in the Savannah area in 2018, which equates (according to the experts) to a total economic impact of over $250 million. Landlords, florists, security firms, antiques dealers, equipment rental firms, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and many other industries all shared in that windfall.

If you would like to apply for the incentive directly, however, you must be planning a feature film or television pilot with a budget of at least $2 million with at least $500,000.00 of that amount being spent on approved expenditures within Chatham County. Productions that meet those requirements can qualify for a 10 percent rebate on qualified local spending up to a cap of $100,000.00. Television series have higher budgetary requirements but the annual cap goes up to $250,000.00.

The precise guidelines may be found on the Savannah Regional Film Commission’s website, savannahfilm.org. The incentives previously applied only to Chatham County but now cover any filming within a 60-mile radius of Savannah City Hall.

It should also be noted that SEDAis providing economic incentives to help build the local crew base, as no production would be possible without the myriad of individuals working diligently behind the scenes. If you have five years of verifiable experience as a film or television technician and would like to relocate to Chatham County, the local incentive will reimburse up to $2,000.00 per household for qualified moving expenses. The current budget allocates up to $100,000.00 per year on these crew relocations. That is enough for fifty crew members per year to move to Savannah, helping ensure that producers can find the local crew they need. Even better, the production itself can qualify for a bonus incentive if 50 percent of its official crew is hired locally.

Given the tremendous advantage that Atlanta has over Savannah in terms of both population and infrastructure, Atlanta will likely always remain the top filmmaking destination in Georgia. Indeed, Atlanta showed up No. 2 on MovieMaker Magazine’s January 2019 list of the best major cities for making movies. Savannah, however, claimed the No. 1 spot on that same magazine’s list of best small cities and towns for film and television production. This is a tremendous testament to the hard work of all the individuals in the Savannah Regional Film Commission, SEDA, and the countless other individuals and companies that have tirelessly and diligently labored to help build the Savannah film and television industry.

If your business has benefitted from the entertainment industry, or even if you just enjoy the thrill of wondering whether that person at the corner table in your favorite coffee shop is a movie star who has slipped away from the bright lights, a great deal of the credit goes to the Savannah Entertainment Production Incentive.

Charles Bowen is an entertainment attorney and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

Everything You Need to Know about the GDPR

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Everything You Need to Know about the GDPR
by Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently went into effect across the European Union (EU). The GDPR is a data privacy law that gives citizens of the EU far more control over their personal data and requires businesses to keep all such data private, safe and protected.

This law was passed in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the private personal data of millions of people was sold to England’s “Leave the EU” campaign and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Any company that collects data on people who live in the EU must follow the new regulations, no matter where the company is based. That means that if you own a company in Savannah but sell to a European customer, you are subject to the new GDPR privacy rules.

To better ensure privacy and protection, companies must now procure their customer’s actual consent in order to store their personal information. This request for consent must be clear and written in plain language (rather than buried in 50 pages of terms and conditions).

Any company that does not obtain this explicit consent may only store a customer’s personal data if they can prove they have a “lawful basis” for doing so such as a contract or other legal obligation.

What this means in practical terms is businesses will have to pay a lot more attention to the security of their customers’ personal data and they will not be allowed to hold onto it for any longer than necessary. Also, anyone can ask for their personal information to be deleted from a company’s servers at any time.

Any company found to be in violation of these new rules will face huge financial penalties. Large companies can be fined up to 4 percent of their annual global sales, which can run into billions of dollars. Even small companies can be fined up to $23.5 million.

The GDPR was designed to protect consumers due to the large number of cyber attacks and data leaks over the past few years. And despite the fact it is a European law, given the global reach of the internet, it has been estimated that 92 percent of American businesses will be affected.

There currently are no plans to expand the provisions of GDPR to the United States, but many experts believe that given the almost daily occurrence of large scale data hacks, it’s only a matter of time until such protections are extended worldwide. It will be interesting to see how effective the EU’s monitoring of the GDPR is over the next several months and how aggressively violators are prosecuted.

It seems clear, however, that data breaches and mishandling of personal customer information will be a lot costlier.

Despite the effort it will take to understand, implement and enforce the GDPR, it is hard to deny some type of action must be taken. Anyone who has ever shopped for a product on Amazon and then immediately seen an ad for the same product on Facebook knows how creepy and invasive the internet’s targeted advertising technology can be.

The National Security Agency can use that same system to seamlessly track almost anyone in the United States, and political firms such as Cambridge Analytica can use it to secretly single out political subgroups and sell that data.

Hopefully, the GDPR is a good start in restoring a bit of privacy to the worldwide web, but it’s just the first step of a long process.

Charles Bowenis a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking and manufacturing law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

10 Legal Questions Small Businesses Don’t Always Know to Ask

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10 Legal Questions Small Businesses Don’t Always Know to Ask 
By Charles Bowen

Owning a small business is an exciting endeavor, particularly when it means turning your passion into an income-generating career. But as almost every entrepreneur learns somewhere along the way (often painfully), being a business owner, unfortunately, does not make you a legal expert.

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

I’ve worked with small business owners for well over twenty years now and helped them manage corporate compliance issues, intellectual property laws, contract disputes, state and federal regulations, litigation, and countless other unexpected legal hurdles. As a result, I wanted to share the answers to ten questions that small business owners often don’t know to ask until it’s too late:

1. Do all of my agreements need to be in writing?
Keeping track of every transaction and conversation may be tedious, but it is crucial to your company’s success in the event of a dispute. Whether it’s contracts with your customers or just a receipt for merchandise, written records greatly reduce your liability and can serve as winning evidence if a disagreement arises. Even a simple email memorializing a conversation can make the difference between legal victory and a costly defeat.

2. How can I avoid getting sued?
Knowing and addressing the most common risks of your industry can greatly reduce your risk of getting sued. Lawsuits can arise in many areas, such as employee complaints, accidentally infringing on someone else’s intellectual property, and failing to meet all state and federal regulations for operation. The first step is to recognize where your company is most at risk and then taking steps to minimize that risk as much as possible.

3. What impact will investors have on my business?
Investors can be a great source of the capital, knowledge, and connections necessary to grow your business. However, it is important to remember that every investment also brings added duties to the investor and reduces your autonomy as the owner. Be sure to that your investment agreement is clear and comprehensive, and that you are not ultimately giving up more than you are receiving.

4. Can I use my personal assets to operate my business?
One of the most common and devastating mistakes made by small business owners is blurring the line between personal and business assets. It is crucial to keep them separated. When you are transferring assets, pay yourself with the same company checks you use to pay your employees. Remember: if you treat your personal and business assets as one and the same, then creditors and courts can do so, too.

5. What can I do to protect my brand?
Regardless of industry, the most important assets of any business are its name and reputation. That’s why making certain your brand is protected is an extremely important part of any business plan. Be sure to register trademarks for your brand name, logo, and other important identifiers of your company. Registering can also help you put a stop to any competitors infringing on your intellectual property.

6. Should I incorporate or operate as a sole proprietor?
If you do not form a formal business entity, you are placing all of your personal assets at risk. To prevent this scenario and limit your personal exposure, you can form a corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or a limited partnership. Review each structure and how each will affect the way your business is owned, managed, and taxed. Then choose the style that best suits your vision.

7. How can I foster a good work environment and limit my risks as an employer?
Rule one: don’t be a jerk. Now that we have that out of the way, another very effective way to ensure a good relationship with your employees is to create a comprehensive company policy and procedure manual. Knowing the rules (and knowing they will be followed) allows all employees to feel valued, protected, and secure. In addition, stay informed on all federal and state employment laws that affect your business, including anti-discrimination laws, health and safety regulations, wage and hour laws, and licensing requirements.

8. What should I do if I get sued?
The unfortunate reality is that the more successful you are, the more likely you are to get sued at some point. More success means more employees, more customers, more transactions, and inevitably more complaints. If you do get sued, follow three simple rules: (1) remain calm and do not respond in anger; (2) gather together all of the documents and other evidence in your possession related to the lawsuit; and (3) contact your insurance company and/or attorney immediately. If you follow these simple steps, most lawsuits can be resolved quickly and easily.

9. What contracts does my business need?
Well-written contracts protect your company by clearly defining the responsibilities of both parties. They help avoid disputes, make sure you get paid, and provide a clear remedy if one side fails to fulfill their obligations. For most small businesses, I suggest preparing a form agreement that you can use repeatedly and that includes all of the important protections that your company needs. If you operate online, it is also important to make certain that your website includes written disclaimers, terms of service, and privacy policies.

10. Do you have all necessary licenses and permits?
Be certain to annually monitor all federal, state, and local licensing and permitting requirements related to your industry. One very easy way to determine your requirements is to simply visit sba.gov. This website allows you to simply enter your zip code and business type, and it will generate a list of required licenses and permits.
Following these rules can go a long way towards protecting your small business from legal snafus and lawsuits. There are many online and community resources for small business owners that can be of great assistance.

Charles Bowen to Present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” to Hinesville Rotary Club

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Charles Bowen to Present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” to Hinesville Rotary Club

(HINESVILLE, GA) Charles Bowen, founder of the Savannah Film Alliance and owner of Southern Gateway Production Services, will be the featured speaker at the Hinesville Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, July 11.

Bowen will present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” during the weekly luncheon at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Highway 84.

Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. The organization promotes the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration.

Most recently, Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services, a gateway for producers and movie executives to navigate finding the best crew, talent and location services available in Savannah.

After going through a significant vetting process, Southern Gateway Production Services became a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. IATSE is the union that represents most film and television crews. This allows Southern Gateway clients to gain access to the most favorable terms and conditions offered in the industry.

“From our work with Southern Gateway Production Services and the Savannah Film Alliance, I’m able to get a unique perspective into the inner workings of making films in our community,” said Bowen. “I hope to share this information with other area leaders to promote the growth of this promising industry.”

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SOUTHERN GATEWAY PRODUCTION SERVICES
Entertainment attorney Charles Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Southern Gateway Production Services is a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. Southern Gateway Production Services is located at 7 East Congress St, Suite 1001. For more information, contact Charles Bowen at cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com or 912-544-2050.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
Southern Gateway Production Services
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
Cecilia Russo Marketing
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Savannah Film Alliance Publishes eBook to Boost the Entertainment Industry in Savannah

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(SAVANNAH, GA) The Savannah Film Alliance is pleased to announce it will launch an eBook that will be a comprehensive guide specifically designed to boost the film and television industry in Savannah. The publication is intended to provide movie and television producers with all of the information needed when considering the Savannah area as a location for filming, and provides additional resources that address complex questions which routinely arise in the entertainment field. It will be unveiled at the group’s quarterly meeting on Wednesday, August 3.

“One of the pressing needs identified by the Alliance was the lack of a single comprehensive guide containing all of the information required by production companies that are considering Savannah as a location. This eBook was designed to fulfill that role and cover everything from the state and local tax incentives to available locations and resources as well as safety regulations, unions and even funding,” explained business and entertainment attorney Charles Bowen, who spearheaded the development of the Alliance and serves as its ex-officio attorney. “We will also be launching the Alliance’s new logo as we mark our first anniversary at the August meeting.”

Bowen led the formation of the Alliance last summer as an informal way for everyone involved in the coastal Georgia film and television industry to meet each other, communicate and coordinate. Those with a stake in the entertainment industry are invited to gather together quarterly to discuss their goals and how to improve the filmmaking experience in the Savannah area.

“The mission of the Savannah Film Alliance is to promote the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education outreach and collaboration efforts,” said Bowen. “Our goals include developing awareness and training resources, such as this eBook, as well as events to help those interested in becoming involved in the local filmmaking industry learn more about resources available to them.”

To further those goals, Bowen says the Alliance has spent a lot of time discussing the expansion of the Georgia Film Academy into Savannah. This pilot program was announced by Governor Deal last year to coordinate and support entertainment industry job training in Georgia. As of this summer, classes are now offered at Savannah Technical College with 200 students, seven classes, four sites and a waiting list.

“There is a huge potential for growth in this program,” Bowen added. “There is an intense need right here in Savannah for not only skilled industry trades such as carpenters and camera operators, but also for business owners in almost every other profession that wish to expand into the entertainment industry, such as caterers and dry cleaners.”

The Savannah Film Alliance was also a very big supporter of the Big River Film Festival, held in Savannah in early July, which offered workshops, films and presentations to participants from 44 countries.

The Alliance’s upcoming meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 3 at 3 p.m. at Savannah Tech’s main campus, located at 5717 White Bluff Rd. For more information, contact Bowen at 912-544-2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com.

ABOUT THE SAVANNAH FILM ALLIANCE: The Savannah Film Alliance promotes the film community within Savannah, Georgia, and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach, and collaboration efforts.

ABOUT CHARLES BOWEN: Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law. Bowen has his mediation certification from the Georgia Supreme Court as both a General Civil Mediator and a Domestic Relations Mediator. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 1995. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. Bowen was named “Business Advocate of the Year” in 2015 by the Savannah Morning News, and received the Helen V. Head Small Business Advocate Award in 2016 from the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Find The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR, Inc.
912.844.9990
savannahpublicrelations@gmail.com
carriagetradepr.com

The Legal Risks of Live Streaming By Charles Bowen

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Over the past year, live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat have become extremely popular. Now even Facebook has gotten into the live streaming game. These apps allow users to broadcast any event live using their smartphone. Not surprisingly, this technology has raised a host of legal issues, primarily in the areas of copyright infringement and privacy concerns.

While these apps ban users from posting content that violates others’ copyright, trademark, privacy and publicity rights in their standard Terms of Service, these warnings are often ignored. The first major legal battle erupted last year when hundreds of people who purchased the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao via Pay-Per-View live streamed the entire television broadcast. Anyone rebroadcasting a live simulcast is committing copyright infringement and can be subject to substantial fines.

The best approach in determining whether your broadcast is violating copyright law is to simply use your common sense. If you paid to view the content, that content is likely protected by copyright. If you live stream a movie in the theater, for example, you are obviously violating federal copyright law. Similarly, live streaming a concert would likely infringe on the copyrights of the artist, label, and publisher. Even broadcasting live sporting events carries significant legal risks as networks pay large sums of money for the exclusive right to broadcast games live.

Privacy concerns are a little more challenging from a legal perspective. The most important factor is location. If you are in a public place, neither you nor the people around you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone can typically take your picture or stream video of you in public legally, provided they are not trespassing or going beyond innocent recording to actually harassing, stalking or peeping.

One major exception is commercial use. You are not allowed to film others for advertising or other promotional content without first procuring a release from that individual.

If you are not in public, however, live streaming is much more likely to be violative of others’ right to privacy. Recording someone in a private place (such as their home, a restroom or a doctor’s office) without their permission is generally illegal.

As a rule of thumb, the following rules apply:

(1) Do not stream any produced content that you do not own. This includes movies, television, music, and other entertainment that is a performance of a work of authorship and is likely subject to copyright protection. To do so will not only likely result in your account being shut down, it may also subject you to a copyright infringement lawsuit.

(2) Do not use another company’s registered trademark as a hashtag for your broadcast. These are easily detectable and large corporations are typically very vigilant in monitoring for the unauthorized use of their name.

(3) Respect privacy rights. Limit your live streaming of others to public places, and procure releases if you are using the broadcast for commercial purposes. The safest approach is simply to avoid streaming for business purposes from a public location.

Finally, there are also legal implications relating to the archiving of your live stream broadcast. Although Meerkat does not currently archive its streams, Periscope saves streams for 24 hours for unlimited rebroadcast during that time period, and Facebook videos are permanently recorded to your story. That means that if the original broadcast was illegal, you could be sued for multiple counts of infringing upon a copyright holder’s reproduction rights.

Some users have tried to claim that the Digital Millennial Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions should shield them from liability, but that law only protects the live streaming service itself, not the actual broadcaster. That law, which YouTube constantly relies upon to protect itself, states that streaming services are protected if they respond promptly to rights owners’ takedown requests and don’t have “constructive” knowledge of infringement. But this will not protect you from an infringement claim if you knowingly broadcast illegal material.

Live streaming is likely here to stay, as it seems to be a perfect fit for today’s smartphone-carrying, internet-connected world. The bottom line is simply this: be smart and use common sense. Do not broadcast copyrighted material that you do not own, do not be creepy and invade people’s privacy, and procure releases if you are using your broadcast for business purposes. If you follow these simple rules, you will very likely protect yourself from any potentially expensive legal claims.

Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, manufacturing and entertainment law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group Receives the 2016 Helen V. Head Award from Savannah Chamber of Commerce

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Bo Bowen Accepts Helen V. Head Award at Business Expo 2016.jpg(SAVANNAH, GA) Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group was awarded the Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award during the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Expo & Awards Banquet.

The Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award goes to the individual following in Helen Head’s footsteps of dedication to the community, a true advocate for small business in Savannah. This award is given annually at the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Expo & Awards Banquet to one area business who demonstrates a commitment to giving back to the community, as well as a belief in and support of small business.

Helen Head was the first female board chairman with the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. She was also the first recipient of the Chamber’s Athena Award for her achievements as a woman in business.

Bowen has been practicing corporate law for over twenty years. Since he opened the doors of The Bowen Law Group in 2012 as a full-service corporate law firm, Bowen has been involved in supporting every aspect of the Savannah business community. He has provided countless hours of counseling, authored numerous free publications for business owners, resolved disputes between governmental agencies, and has frequently assisted entrepreneurs get their companies started from the ground up.

“I strive for my firm to be the one place that anyone who owns a business knows they can receive the assistance and advice they need in a professional yet comfortable atmosphere,” Bowen said. “From the beginning, I envisioned building a law practice that utilizes the skill and techniques of large metropolitan law firms while maintaining the benefits and attentiveness of a small local practice. I am very dedicated to the success of the local business community, and truly appreciate the trust and faith that so many diverse business clients have placed in me.”

Charles and his wife, Lisa, have lived in Savannah for twenty years and their two children are enrolled in the local public school system. He believes in fostering the next generation of business leaders as demonstrated through his involvement with numerous advocacy programs, speaking to local high schools and business groups, and providing many free resources for business owners.

For more information on The Bowen Law Group, visit thebowenlawgroup.com. For more information on the Helen V. Head Award, visit http://www.savannahchambernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015_Helen-V.-Head-Award.pdf

ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law since 1995. Bowen has his mediation certification by the Georgia Supreme Court as both a General Civil Mediator and a Domestic Relations Mediator. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the Georgia Bar. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Find The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com 
thebowenlawgroup.com

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