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USC Entertainment Law & Business Conference Addresses Legal Issues for the 21st Century

Ganda Bacha | 11:24:00 PM | 0 comments




















On Saturday, hosted by the USC Gould School of Law and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Entertainment Law & Business Conference was a sold out event, and understandably so. 

The all-day session included sessions focusing on:

  • The Industry:  Trends, Fads and Transformations
  • Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Property
  • Hitting a Home Run: From YouTube to Riches
  • Independent Films: Renaissance or Retrenchment?
  • Luncheon and Keynote Presentation Interview with Jim Gianopulos
  • Client Relationships with Agents and Managers
  • Hot Topics in Production Legal
  • How to Succeed in Union Relations
  • Hurdling the State Bar:  Current Ethical Issues
  • Making the Talent Deal in Reality TV
The morning panels were linearly scheduled so attendees had the opportunity to catch every session.  In the afternoon panels were run concurrently and it was a tough choice as to which panel to pick.

The Industry:  Trends, Fads and Transformation, Professor Jeffrey Cole presented information from his multi-year, global study on how the Internet and mobile technology are changing the entertainment industry and daily life as well.  Another issue addressed was user-generated content vs. traditional media. Speaker Jeffrey Cole, is the Director of the Center for the Digital Future.

In the Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Property session, the never ending issues of copyright, trademark and the right of publicity were discussed in terms of constitutionality. Speakers were Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz and Mayer Brown.

Is it possible to be a superstar via YouTube?  Sam Tsui, a recent successful YouTube singer/songwriter is a strong indication such success is possible.  But how do you monetize millions of YouTube views?  The Hitting a Home Run:  From YouTube to Riches panel included Chris Jacquemin, Digital Packaging Agent for WME, Jonathan Stern, Producer at Abominable Pictures, and Moderator Juliette C. Youngblood, of Youngblood Group PC. 

In making the choice, all 4 panelists of the Independent Films:  Renaissance or Retrenchment chose renaissance. Financing an independent film can prove to be a highly complex process involving talent negotiations, banks, foreign entities, bonds, collection agents, and a new set of rules by the guilds. Whatever the obstacles, clearly the independent film movement is exploding and how such films will be successful in the future juxtaposed against major studio releases will remain a critical issue.  Speakers included David Shaheen III, Managing Director Group Head, Entertainment Industries at JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., Lisa Wilson, Co-Founder of the Solution Entertainment Group, Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of the United Talent Agency (UTA), and Moderator Joshua B. Grode of Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP.

The most anticipated mini-event of the conference was the Luncheon featuring Keynote speaker Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film, in a dialog with talent attorney Bruce Ramer of Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown, Inc.  Both men discussed such issues as SOPA, the future of 3D, and how a movie gets the "greenlight." 

The lunch, for those epicurean curiosity types, consisted of seasoned chicken with mixed greens containing sides of mandarin orange and cucumber, 3 layered dessert and the usual buns, tea and coffee. 

In a review by THR (The Hollywood Reporter), 650 lawyers were in attendance, but this number did not separate out Gould students and many other attendees who were not lawyers.

In the afternoon, four panels ran concurrently and were repeated once.

The Client Relationships with Agents and Managers panel included Aaron Kaplan, CEO of Kapital Entertainment, Richard Levy, General Counsel at ICM Partners, Dallas Sonnier, Manager/Founder of Caliber Media, Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, and Moderator Justin M. Goldstein of Carlsmith Ball LLP.  Labor Commissioner Rulings play a big role in disputes that often do not include contracts or signed agreements.

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to the legality of production issues.  The Hot Topics in Production Legal panel discussed such issues as how shooting in front of or near a brand, such as a store or even the famous Hollywood sign, can raise red flags in terms of how the production reflects negatively or positively on any given brand.  Child labor laws were also a hot issue, and vary state to state.  Panelists included Mario Lyons, V.P. of Business & Legal Affairs for Viacom Media Networks, Irwin M Rappaport, P.C., Jody Zucker, Senior V.P. and General Counsel of Warner Bros. TV, and Moderator Daniel D. Helberg, V.P. of Business & Legal Affairs for Shed Media US, Inc.

Panelists for How to Succeed in Union Relations included Neville L. Johnson of Johnson & Johnson LLP, Susan Lowry, National Director for Financial Assurances and Senior Financial Assurances Counsel at SAG-AFTRA, Sallie C. Weaver, President of Entertainment Labor Consulting, Inc., and Moderator Howard D. Fabrick with Barnes & Thornburg LLP.  Independent producers have their hands full when it comes to dealing with the multiple agencies of SAG, AFTRA, DGA and WGA.  The credits we all take for granted at the end of films are not to be taken lightly and often involve complex disputes.

Hurdling the State Bar:  Current Ethical Issues, lawyers in both legal and non-legal business dealings face critical issues in avoiding potential malpractice and State Bar claims resulting from conflicts of interest, disclosure and other kinds of agreements.  Clearly the legal profession is not just a practice but most certainly a business. Other issues involve liability insurance and legal issues involving joint representation of clients by multiple firms. Panelists included Wendy Wen Yun Chang of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Kevin E. Mohr, Professor of Law at Western State College of Law, David B. Parker with Parker Shumaker Mills LLP, and Moderator Judith A. Gibert, former V.P. of the State Bar of California.

The final panel was Making the Talent Deal in Reality TV.  Deal points in talent contracts start with first determining if non-professional performers are, in fact, performers.  Speakers included Michelina Gauthier, Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for Talent Discovery Communications, Hayden Meyer, Partner/Department Head for Alternative & International Television at the Agency for the Performing Arts, Lee Rierson, Chief Operating Officer for Shine America, and Moderator David Tenzer, Managing Director of the Personalities and Lifestyle Division, Generate.

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About Author Ganda Bacha :
I am a Graphic Designer, Founder of Caresofts I am Web Developer And Graphic Designer, SEO Expert, Web Designer, Programmer, Software Engineer also Expert in CSS and HTML, PHP, jQuery, SEO, Java, Photoshop, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Flash, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, CorelDRAW, Visual Basic, C++, ASP.Net, Microsoft Access, Excel, WORD, Publisher, SQL, Windows Embedded, AutoCAD, 3D Studio MAX, Game Development, Windows Movie Maker, Maya, Urdu Inpage, FreeHAND MX You Can Find me on Google+1 , Twitter and Facebook . See More..... just vist my Website Regularly!

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