What is content review?

Content review is when an attorney reviews your creation for potential legal issues.

Legal content review for an author generally involves a reading of the article, story, book, etc., marking up any sensitive passages or excerpts, then discussing them with the author at length to vet the sourcing and evidence.

Content review for film and tv would similarly begin with a review of the script, assessing risks along the way. Then, an additional review of a rough cut of the film to identify potential issues.

For video games, content review can be slightly more involved, reviewing both completed content and source materials to determine authenticity, originality and other legal risks.

So, what legal risks is an attorney looking for?

The attorney will review for copyright infringement. Then, after identifying potentially troublesome issues, the attorney will talk with the creator about the sourcing of that content and the creative process. Once the attorney is able to establish that either the content is truly original or is properly licensed, he or she will greenlight the inclusion of that piece. Likewise, trademark infringement will be flagged and discussed, risks assessed, and content potentially modified as a result.

The attorney will review for potentially libelous materials and work with creators to either verify the truth of the potentially libelous statement or another adequate defense.

Finally, the attorney will look for any other potential legal issues like an invasion of privacy, right of publicity issue or other, more off the wall risk.

The process should be a collaborative one. The creator and the attorney should work together and have multiple conversations about the specific issues, where the problematic material or writing originates, and how to minimize risk. And, really, that is the goal: minimize risk. When releasing a product into the market, especially a creative product, there is no way to eliminate the risk of a lawsuit. What you can do is (1) minimize that risk and (2) maximize the ability to win the suit if it happens. You can do this by using original materials and supporting statements of fact with evidence. You can also temper language where it might be unnecessarily confrontational, avoid the use of real brands and logos, and so on. A content review attorney can help with this.