Courses

Friday
Jun 18 2010

Copyright Law (3 units)

Copyright law forms the foundation of the entertainment and other industries.

This course is an in-depth study of United States copyright law and its protection of the intangible property rights of authors. Among the topics covered are subject matter, ownership, duration, economic rights of copyright owners, moral rights of artists, licensing, infringement, fair use and protection of digital materials. Basic concepts and statutory rules will be examined and applied to various issues that arise in the entertainment, art, communication, and information industries, particularly those issues affected by digital technology. The course will analyze the transfers of rights, the international role of United States copyrights and conflict of laws.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Copyright Law course, the student will:
  • be able to determine whether a work is protected by federal copyright by analyzing whether the work has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression, whether it is the result of independent creation and whether the work contains a sufficient degree of creativity;
  • be able to utilize Learned Hand’s “Abstraction Test” as a tool to discern the difference between an unprotected idea and protected expression;
  • know how to apply the merger doctrine and what arguments to make concerning copyrightability according to the majority of jurisdictions that apply the broader “jeweled bee” approach, as opposed to the minority of jurisdictions that provide for no copyright protection;
  • be able to identify works that fall within the “literary works” category of copyrightable subject matter;
  • be able to determine the scope of protection afforded the contents of conversations, as well as to distinguish between unprotected facts or research, and nonfacts that may be deserving of copyright protection;
  • be able to utilize Learned Hand’s “Abstraction Test” as a tool to predict whether nonliteral elements of a protected work copied by a defendant will be held to be protectable elements of the protected work, or unprotected plot points, stock situations, stock characters and stereotypes;
  • know the three basic applications of the concept known as “scene a faire” and how to structure an argument that will influence a court to apply the concept or dismiss the applicability of the concept;
  • know how to tell the difference between a graphic character and a literary character and the types of arguments that may be successful in persuading a court to grant or deny copyright protection to the character;
  • be able to distinguish between the literal and nonliteral elements of a computer program and the impact such a determination has on the copyright protection offered to the computer program;
  • be able to dissect the copyrightable aspects of a computer program’s graphic user interface, both in terms of individual elements and as a compilation;
  • know the process of reverse engineering a computer program and whether the steps of that process constitute copyright infringement;
  • be able to identify a “useful article” and whether the utilitarian functions contained in a sculptural work can be separated from the work’s ornamental aspects, utilizing a variety of tests used by different jurisdictions;
  • be able to distinguish between a musical work and a sound recording, apply the proper type of license for each to be used in an audiovisual work and know the limited copyright protections offered to pre-1972 sound recordings;
  • be able to identify the different copyright protection offered to pantomimes and choreographic works under the 1976 Copyright Act, from the protection available under the 1909 Copyright Act.
  • be able to differentiate the copyright protection available to structures prior to December 1, 1990, and the increased protection provided to structures built after that date;
  • be able to determine the existence of new elements in a derivative work and whether those elements meet the creativity standards that apply to such works;
  • be able to advise various levels of government as to the existence and scope of copyright protection for works created by officers, employees and independent contractors – and be able to determine whether a work constitutes an “edict of government;”
  • be able to determine whether a work created by a foreign author can be protected by United States copyright law and will be able to apply the process by which the work of a foreign author that lost its United States copyright due to the enforcement of copyright formalities can be restored.  As part of that process, the student will be able to identify viable reliance parties and counsel them as to how to avoid copyright infringement;
  • know how to determine whether the creator of a work was an employee acting within the scope of her employment or an independent contractor and whether the hiring party or the creator is deemed the author of the work;
  • know the arguments that can make a sound recording, photograph, musical composition or computer program a work made for hire;
  • be able to draft a personal service contract in such a way that insures that the hiring party owns the resulting copyright;
  • be able to counsel clients who are co-owners of the copyright in a work as to their rights to use the work, their ability to license or assign the copyright and their obligations to account to co-owners for any profits;
  • be able to draft a grant of rights clause that addresses the scope of geographic use, temporal duration, the specific rights being granted and, if warranted, a new technology clause;
  • be able to counsel clients regarding the termination of grants of copyright, the specific dates of the termination window, the mechanics of drafting the termination notice, the practical results of terminating the grant and the opportunities to exploit the copyright post-termination;
  • be able to determine whether a particular use of a work constitutes a publication of that work and the ramifications of such a finding;
  • know how to register a copyright with the Copyright Office, including considerations concerning the description of the work, identification of ownership, date of publication and whether the work is a derivative work;
  • know how the reproduction right can be infringed and the types of licenses used to prevent a claim of infringement, including synchronization, master use and mechanical licenses;
  • be able estimate whether a client would be held liable for the unauthorized creation of a derivative work in a given jurisdiction;
  • be able to apply the first sale doctrine to a given redistribution of a work;
  • be able to determine whether a given use of a work constitutes a performance of that work;
  • know how the public display and digital transmission rights can be infringed and the exceptions or compulsory licenses contained in the Copyright Act that excuse what would otherwise constitute an infringement;
  • know whether a client’s work is a work of visual art protected by the Visual Artists Rights Act;
  • know what it takes to successfully sue for copyright infringement and be able to determine whether her client is a copyright owner who has standing to bring a copyright infringement action;
  • be able to apply liability theories of direct infringement and secondary infringement to the unauthorized uses of copyrighted works on the Internet;
  • know the four factor approach to the fair use defense, analyze the facts of a given situation pursuant to those factors and provide an estimate as to how a court would determine each factor’s analysis;
  • be able to assess the four factors that determine the availability of injunctive relief in a copyright infringement lawsuit, taking into account the special considerations of timing, marketing and concern for such an injunction constituting an unconstitutional prior restraint; and
  • be able to analyze various state causes of action under the two element statutory preemption test that is set forth in the Copyright Act and thus be able to advise clients as to whether a particular legal claim should be filed in state court or federal court.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of your course grade), non-graded “hands-on problems” in preparation of each live class, and an open-book final exam (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In preparation for each live class, students are required to submit a memo to the professor containing the analysis of each assigned problem in advance.  Although these problems are not graded, they are required.  Failure to provide a timely memo, prepared in good faith, will result in a deduction of one grade increment from the student’s final grade for the course.
  • The final examination is open-book.  “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials.  The final examination consists of an essay question which is weighted as follows: 30% on knowledge of the applicable law; 60% on the application of the law to the new facts that the student had not yet encountered; and 10% on the student’s ability to communicate his/her analysis under time constraints.

Tuesday
Jul 06 2010

CyberLaw (2 units)

The Internet and e-commerce industries are among the fastest growing segments of the global economy.

This course prepares attorneys to deal with the complex and rapidly developing body of laws applicable to these industries, including the protection of software, websites and databases, electronic contracting, consumer protection and privacy. This course also analyzes the key federal statutes applicable to the Internet, including the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, the Communications Decency Act, the E-Sign Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the CyberLaw course, the student will be able to:
  • determine the availability of trademarks and service marks as well as domain names (URLs) by conducting trademark and domain name availability searches;
  • analyze the relative strength and enforceability of those trademarks/domain names;
  • analyze the terms of online contracts and critique their clarity and enforceability under contract and privacy laws; and
  • apply U.S. copyright law and U.S. privacy law to real-world fact situations that are likely to arise with Internet clients.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of the overall course grade), non-graded “hands-on hypothetical” problems given at regular intervals throughout the course, and an open-book final exam that consists of both multiple choice questions and an essay question (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In evaluating the non-graded hands-on hypotheticals, the professor is looking to ensure that the student: displays the practical skills necessary to respond to a client-specific fact situation; can apply the applicable statutory and case law; and can apply the law to the client-specific fact situation. The “Hands-on hypotheticals” are not specifically graded, but they must be completed satisfactorily before the student will be allowed to proceed to the next module in the course.
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination consists of 20 multiple choice questions (which are worth 50% of the final exam grade) and an essay (which is worth 50% of the final exam grade). The final exam essay question is weighted 40% on determining all of the applicable statutory and case law for the given fact situation; 40% on accurately applying the law to the given fact situation; and 20% on the clarity and organization of the essay answer.
Friday
Jun 18 2010

Entertainment Law (3 units)

This course examines the impact of legal concepts and business practices on motion pictures, television, music, radio, literary publishing, theater, and digital media.

Such concepts as First Amendment protections, artist representation, credit, compensation, defamation, privacy and right of publicity, idea disclosure, trademark law, and artistic control will be studied with an eye toward enabling attorneys to effectively address these and other legal issues arising in the entertainment industry. The course focuses on the practical application of these concepts and practices. Students will be assigned various negotiation and drafting problems throughout the course.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Entertainment Law course, the student will:
  • be able to apply strict scrutiny analysis to various forms of governmental regulation and evaluate the success of a constitutional challenge to such regulation;
  • be able to analyze the viability of time, place and manner regulations that are applied to entertainment activities;
  • be able to discern the distinction between the role of a personal manager and the role of an agent, as well as the application of the talent agency regulations to various scenarios;
  • be able to draft provisions of a personal manager agreement;
  • be able to determine when a written conflict waiver is required when representing multiple clients;
  • understand the structure of a deal involving a loanout corporation and the necessary contractual provisions;
  • be able to draft an agreement for the personal services of a minor, pursuant to which the parent of the child is made responsible for the obligations in that agreement;
  • know the parameters of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and under what circumstances a court will invoke the covenant;
  • understand the basic operation of a force majeure clause and how it operates among the different branches of the entertainment industry;
  • know how to establish remedies for the breach of an entertainment contract and how to avoid a finding that the claimed damages are speculative;
  • understand the need for errors and omissions insurance, the requirements that such insurance places on an attorney involved in the clearance process for an entertainment project, and how to provide the analysis needed to identify and evaluate risk of legal claims as part of that process;
  • know the process of obtaining a person’s life story rights, the professional responsibility concerns of representing multiple clients, and be able to draft a life story rights agreement that contains a release from liability;
  • know the requirements for obtaining a state common law trademark and federal trademark protection and be able to utilize that knowledge to evaluate a trademark search report and advise a client as to the risks involved in selecting a particular term as a trademark;
  • know the special rules that apply to the protection of titles, characters, and trade dress and be able to advise clients regarding their use;
  • will be able to analyze the multi-factor test for determining likelihood of confusion as the basis for trademark infringement and be able to analyze the four-factor test for injunctive relief – allowing the student to draft a disclaimer that sufficiently reduces the likelihood of confusion;
  • be able to differentiate between an action for trademark infringement and an action for state or federal dilution and know how to bring a dilution action under the theory of blurring or tarnishment;
  • know how to draft an idea submission agreement that will protect a production company or studio from liability when it has received a disclosed idea;
  • know how the various branches of the entertainment industry utilize credit and the content of credit clauses in artist’s contracts; and the approach taken by the SAG, DGA, and WGA basic agreements with regard to credit;
  • know the available forms of compensation and which forms are traditionally used by which branches of the entertainment industry;
  • know how to draft a pay or play clause and under what circumstances the artist is required to mitigate damages;
  • know the options available for contingent compensation, the distinctions between gross profit participation, adjusted gross profit participation and net profit participate and be able to compute the compensation in a variety of scenarios; and
  • be able to apply common law and statutory causes of action to protect the artistic control of artists.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of the final course grade), non-graded “hands-on problems” in preparation of each live class, and an open-book final exam (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In preparation for each live class, students are required to submit a memo to the professor containing the analysis of each assigned problem in advance.  Although these problems are not graded, they are required.  Failure to provide a timely memo, prepared in good faith, will result in a deduction of one grade increment from the student’s final grade for the course.
  • The final examination is open-book.  “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials.  The final examination consists of an essay question which is weighted as follows: 30% on knowledge of the applicable law; 60% on the application of the law to the new facts that the student had not yet encountered; and 10% on the student’s ability to communicate his/her analysis under time constraints.

Sunday
Sep 05 2010

Financing & Distributing Independent Films Law (2 units)

The financing and distribution of independent films has become an increasingly popular sub-specialty of entertainment law practice as more and more films are produced and exploited outside of the studio system.

Starting with a discussion of what constitutes an “independent film,” the course will briefly survey the rights and production contractual issues particularly relevant to the financing of independent films, followed by an analysis of the more traditional methods of independent financing such as equity investments, foreign presales, and bank loans.  This will be followed by an exploration of alternative methods of raising production funding, including various foreign and domestic tax schemes and online “crowd-source” financing.  The second half of the course will cover the various business and legal issues which arise in the distribution of independent films, including sales agency and distribution agreements.  In addition, this component of the course will examine the increased importance of film festivals as a means of obtaining financing and distribution deals, as well as the ascension of digital distribution and “DIY” (do-it-yourself) marketing.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Financing & Distributing Independent Films Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft and negotiate option, shopping, and development agreements as well as advise clients with respect to the various issues that arise with each;
  • advise clients on which business entity best suits their circumstances, draft an LLC Operating Agreement for a film production, draft a Private Placement Memorandum for equity financing in an independent film and advise clients on which securities law exemptions might be used to raise such financing as well as prepare any resulting documentation which would need to be filed with the SEC or equivalent state agencies;
  • advise clients on the steps which must be taken to prepare a proposed film project for pre-sale financing, as well as draft, review and negotiate pre-sale, co-production or negative pick-up agreements and related documentation;
  • advise clients on the types of bank loans which might be utilized to finance an independent film, including pre-sales loans, gap and bridge lending, and on how such loans require the coordination of various third parties, including the bank, buyers, and sales agent;
  • review and negotiate loan documentation, including security interests, and review and negotiate interparty agreements;
  • advise clients on the terms and conditions standard in completion guaranties (between the lending bank and the completion bond company) and the completion agreements (between the completion bond company and the producer), and review and negotiate such agreements;
  • advise clients on the different types of production incentives available n different states and foreign countries, including rebates, refundable and non-refundable, and transferable and non-transferable tax credits, as well as the issues which arise when selecting an incentive plan, including liquidity of the incentive, and crew and stage availability;
  • advise clients on whether alternative sources of financing such as grants, fiscal sponsorship, or crowdfunding may be appropriate for their project;
  • create both a traditional crowdfunding plan and one which takes advantage or the new exemptions to the securities laws passed as part of the Jobs Act which would allow producers to raise up to $1million per year online, as set forth in 15 USC 77d and 15 USC 77d-1;
  • advise clients on setting up a distribution plan for their independent films and on the quantitative and qualitative distinctions between independent film distribution and studio distribution;
  • assist the producer’s representative and sales agent in devising a film festival plan for an independent film with an eye towards maximizing distribution revenue;
  • advise clients on whether they should engage a producer representative, and help clients choose producer representatives as well as draft, review, and negotiate producer representative agreements;
  • advise clients on how sales agents are integral to certain types of independent file financing, whether and if so, at what stage of production, should they engage a sales agent, help clients choose producer representatives and draft, review and negotiate sales agency agreements;
  • draft, review, and negotiate the basic terms of distribution agreements;
  • draft, review, and negotiate a long form distribution agreement including the specific provisions for territorial and media licensing of an independent film;
  • advise clients on alternatives to “all-right deals” including a fragmented approach of licensing of VOD  (Video on Demand) and EST (Electronic Sell Through) rights as well as advise clients on the terms and requirements of some of the main platforms for such distribution, including Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix, and review and negotiate related license agreements; and
  • advise clients on how the current trends in independent film might affect the future financing or distribution of their independent film projects and incorporate the impact of those trends into financing and distribution plans for their clients.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • This course includes three ten question multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 5% -- for a total of 15% of the final course grade), three writing assignments which will each account for 5% of the overall grade, (collectively totaling 15%); and the final examination, which will account for 70% of the overall grade.
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • All of the writing assignments require the student to write a memorandum advising the client on the finance and distribution issues raised in the assignments. Each writing assignment will be weighted as follows: 25% on understanding the issues; 25% on knowledge of the legal and business options discussed in the course lectures and materials which are relevant to said issues; and 25% on the practical application of such knowledge to the fact pattern presented.
  • The final examination is open-book.  “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials.  The final examination is graded as follows: 1/3 on identifying the issues raised in the essay questions; 1/3 on the knowledge of the legal and business options discussed in the course lectures and materials which are relevant to said lectures; and 1/3 on the practical application of such knowledge to the fact pattern presented.
Thursday
Jan 13 2011

Information Privacy Law (2 units)

This course focuses on the impact of new information technologies and services on personal privacy.

It examines a range of information privacy issues, particularly those involved in the use of the Internet and on-line services. Topics include the right of access to information, the free flow of use of information, the creation and protection of an individual’s “digital persona,” and the role of governments and the private sector in safeguarding personal information.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Information Privacy Law course, the student will be able to:
  • analyze a client’s current or proposed course of conduct;
  • apply U.S. privacy law (4th and 5th Amendments, federal and state laws and regulations, and common law privacy torts) and advise their client on the legality of such conduct; and
  • analyze and advise clients on the proper language to be use in online and printed privacy policies.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of the overall course grade), non-graded “hands-on hypothetical” problems given at regular intervals throughout the course, and an open-book final exam that consists of both multiple choice questions and an essay question (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In evaluating the non-graded hands-on hypotheticals, the professor is looking to ensure that the student: displays the practical skills necessary to respond to a client-specific fact situation; can apply the applicable statutory and case law; and can apply the law to the client-specific fact situation. The “Hands-on hypotheticals” are not specifically graded, but they must be completed satisfactorily before the student will be allowed to proceed to the next module in the course.
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination consists of 20 multiple choice questions (which are worth 50% of the final exam grade) and an essay (which is worth 50% of the final exam grade). The final exam essay question is weighted 40% on determining all of the applicable statutory and case law for the given fact situation; 40% on accurately applying the law to the given fact situation; and 20% on the clarity and organization of the essay answer.
Tuesday
Aug 30 2011

International and Comparative Media Law (3 units)

Global considerations increasingly affect and govern the news and entertainment media, especially in connection with Internet communication.

This course will survey legal issues that lawyers are likely to confront in any broad-based media law practice, including: cross-border approaches to content regulation, especially the European Convention on Human Rights, the American Convention Human Rights, and other international instruments; regulatory systems applicable to the international media business, such as the Television Without Frontiers and Database Protection Directives of the European Community; the emerging conflict surrounding assertions of jurisdiction over international media interests; protection of journalistic sources and other confidential information; considerations that may apply in attempting to enforce foreign judgments against the media; and the effect of different approaches to copyright protection.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the International & Comparative Media Law course, the student will be able to:
  • represent a client before international bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights;
  • advise media companies on speech restrictions applicable to content in different jurisdictions;
  • file a complaint on an advertising or film ratings issue in Britain or other major media jurisdictions;
  • confer and advise a journalist client on overseas law relating to speech censorship law, report’s privilege, or an intellectual property issue;
  • draft a memorandum of law on an international media regulatory issue, and
  • review internationally distributed content for compliance with EU directives, U.S. law, Canadian law, U.K. law, and international treaty.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of your course grade), non-graded “hands-on problems” in preparation of each live class, and an open-book final exam (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In preparation for each live class, students are required to submit a memo to the professor containing the analysis of each assigned problem in advance. Although these problems are not graded, they are required. Failure to provide a timely memo, prepared in good faith, will result in a deduction of one grade increment from the student’s final grade for the course.
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination is comprise of one or more essays which are weighted as follows: 10% for identification of the factual and legal issues; 30% for the accurate description of law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; 40% on correct application of the law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; and 20% on clarity of the written argument.
Sunday
Sep 05 2010

Mass Media Law (3 units)

This course exposes you to the most relevant and important aspects of mass media law in the United States - stretching from the First Amendment to the most recent judicial opinions, statutory enactments, and regulatory controversies affecting speech.

This course surveys the law of mass communications with reference to print, radio, television, internet, and other forms of distribution.  The subject matter addressed in this course includes the First Amendment, defamation, invasion of privacy and the right of publicity, Federal Communications Commision regulation, advertising and commercial speech, obscenity, fair use, newsgathering, and other relevant subjects.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Mass Media Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft a federal or state law appellate brief on a First Amendment speech issue;
  • create an outline of a complaint and response motions in a speech tort case;
  • draft a memorandum of law on the structural and content regulations of media industries;
  • confer and advise a journalist client on a speech censorship law, reporter’s privilege, or fair use issue;
  • manage a complaint at a federal agency such as the Federal Communications Commission; and
  • review broadcast content for compliance with federal election statutes, advertising regulations indecency regulations, and children’s programming rules.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of your course grade), non-graded “hands-on problems” in preparation of each live class, and an open-book final exam (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In preparation for each live class, students are required to submit a memo to the professor containing the analysis of each assigned problem in advance. Although these problems are not graded, they are required. Failure to provide a timely memo, prepared in good faith, will result in a deduction of one grade increment from the student’s final grade for the course.
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination is comprise of one or more essays which are weighted as follows: 10% for identification of the factual and legal issues; 30% for the accurate description of law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; 40% on correct application of the law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; and 20% on clarity of the written argument.
Thursday
Sep 02 2010

Motion Picture Production Law (2 units)

Motion Picture Production Law will arm the practioner with the tools necessary to negotiate in this unique and complex environment

The development and production of a theatrical motion picture is effected through the application of a rich, colorful and highly-evolved palette of laws, collective bargaining agreements and business practices, the various eleme nts and aspects of which can at once be described as theoretical and concrete, precise and ambiguous, linear and multidimensional.  This course is designed to provide a detailed examination of the gauntlet of challenges confronting the development and production of a theatrical motion picture, and to equip the legal practitioner with a complement of tools with which to negotiate the often highly complex terrain.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Motion Picture Production Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft contracts from either side of the negotiating table and will understand the competing issues which arise between the parties;
  • incorporate drafting and negotiation techniques in connection with a variety of motion picture industry contracts, including option/purchase agreements, writer agreements, producer agreements, director agreements, and performer agreements; and
  • utilize the “practice tips” provided throughout the course in the student’s day-to-day operations at a motion picture production company.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • This course includes four open book drafting assignments throughout the course (each assignment counting for 10% -- for a total of 40% of the overall course grade) and one open book final drafting assignment (that counts for 60% of the overall course grade) that simulate the drafting typically rendered by in-house counsel at a motion picture production company. “Open book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials.
  • If the student receives less than 70% on a regular drafting assignment, the student must take a back up drafting assignment; in such case, the final score given for that assignment will be the weighted average of the original and backup drafting assignment.
  • All of the drafting assignments (the four that are scheduled throughout the course as well as the final drafting assignment at the end of the course) will be graded based on criteria applicable to “real world” work product. This includes, but is not limited to: general organization; ability to clearly identify and address the appropriate legal and factual issues; spelling; grammar; punctuation; and choice of wording and emphasis on the importance of the issues addressed by the student. Each drafting assignment will be weighted as follows: 70% for the application of the deal order instructions to the initial draft, and 30% for drafting organization, clarity, style, and overall impact.
Thursday
Jan 13 2011

Music Publishing Industry Law (2 units)

The music publishing industry supplies a basic component of several other entertainment industries (films, television, commercials, live performances).

This course focuses on four main areas: first, acquiring rights in musical compositions via agreements such as co-publishing, administration, sub-publishing, and purchase; second, Copyright law provisions that limit a publisher’s acquisition of rights in musical compositions; third, exploiting rights in musical compositions via licenses such as mechanical, synchronization, and public performance and the revenue streams generated from such licenses; and finally, protecting musical compositions via offensive and defensive claims/litigation and settling disputes.

The goal of this course is to provide attorneys - whether in-house working for a music publisher or private practice representing the interest of songwriters - with the tools to navigate and understand the music publishing industry’s various agreements, rights, revenue streams, business practices, and Copyright law essentials.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Music Publishing Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft an offer letter for a co-publishing agreement;
  • make comments on a long-form co-publishing agreement;
  • draft a “Termination of Transfer” notice as dictated by the U.S. Copyright Law Statute and related regulations;
  • research and report back song-writer and song information at the websites of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and the Harry Fox Agency; and
  • draft a cease and desist letter on behalf of a writer/music publisher.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • This course includes four open-book drafting assignments (10% for assignments 1, 3, and 4 and 20% for assignment 2 – for a total of 50% of the overall course grade) that simulate drafting typical of in-house counsel at a music publisher or by private practice entertainment attorneys that work in music publishing and an open-book final examination (that counts for 50% of the overall course grade).
  • All of the drafting assignments and the final examination will be graded based on criteria applicable to “real world” work product. This includes, but is not limited to: general organization; ability to clearly identify and address the appropriate legal and factual issues; application of relevant statutes; spelling; grammar; punctuation; and the quality of the advice to your client. Each drafting assignment (including the final examination) will be weighted as follows: 75% for the application of the assignment instructions based on the exhibits, the reading, and the lecture, and 25% for drafting organization, clarity, style, and overall impact.
  • In addition, students will be required to search various websites (e.g., ASCAP and BMI, The Copyright Office, and The Harry Fox Agency) for specific information about musical compositions or songwriters, and submit such information as an assignment. Although these Internet research assignments will not be graded, students are expected to make a good faith effort to locate the required information and submit such information in order to be allowed to move into the next module.
Tuesday
Aug 09 2011

Navigating Recording Artists Through The Entertainment Industry (2 units)

In order to find success, or at least to be able to quit her "day job", the 21st century recording artist needs to be part creator, part promoter, and part business person.

Sailing through the shark-infested waters of the entertainment industry is a daunting task for singers, songwriters and recording artists, most of whom cannot arrive safely at their destination without the assistance of a lawyer who "knows the ropes." Your cruise director, Bernard M. Resnick, Esq., is an entertainment lawyer with 25 years' experience as a music attorney and private practitioner. You will be instructed on the details of many of the typical contracts that every entertainment attorney needs to understand in order to represent recording artists. These contracts include: recording studio; music publishing; record production; live concert; management; agency; multiple rights; digital distribution; synchronization; branding; and more.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Navigating Recording Artists Through The Entertainment Industry Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft contracts from either side of the negotiating table and will understand the competing positions each party to the contract may take;
  • incorporate drafting and negotiation techniques in connection with a variety of music industry contracts, including recording studio, music publishing, record production, live concert, management, agency, multiple rights, digital distribution, synchronization, branding, and more; and
  • utilize the “practice tips” provided throughout the course in the student’s day-to-day operations in their entertainment law practice.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • This course includes 1 ten question multiple choice quiz which will account for 10% of the overall grade; 2 drafting assignments which will each account for 20% of the overall grade, (collectively totaling 40%); and the final examination, which will account for 50% of the overall grade.
  • Drafting assignments (both stand-alone assignments and within the final examination) will be graded based on “real world” usefulness to a typical supervising attorney or client. This includes, but is not limited to: general organization (20%); ability to identify and address the appropriate legal and factual issues (50%); spelling, grammar, punctuation (15%); and choice of wording and emphasis on importance of the issues addressed by the student (15%).
  • The final examination will be an open-book examination, consisting of multiple choice questions and a drafting assignments “Open-book" means that students may use any of the assigned materials, as well as their own notes and outlines created throughout the course.
Tuesday
Apr 10 2012

Television Production Law (2 units)

Television production law is a fast paced area of the law with multi-faceted dimensions.

The television production lawyer is a jack-of-all-trades:  part lawyer, part business person, part problem solver, part expectation manager; a drafter, a responder, a defender, a mediator – you name it – the production attorney may be called upon to do it.  This course is designed to take a one-hour drama from development through production to the final product ready for distribution, giving an overview of the production attorney’s role during all of these phases, including the basic understanding of the network v. the studio, studio parts and components, as well as a basic understanding of the issues most commonly addressed by a production attorney with respect to certain aspects of rights, drafting, responding to comments, understanding contract provisions, clearance, claims, how unions and guilds affect the process, and the marketing and advertising of the series.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Television Production Law course, students will be able to:
  • identify the different roles of a studio and network play in the development and production of a TV series and analyze the monetary structure of a studio vs. the network;
  • conduct a chain-of-title review for underlying materials;
  • identify the components of a rights option/acquisition agreement in order to be able to draft such agreement;
  • become skilled with the meaning of provisions of blind script agreements and the standard terms and conditions for such agreement in order to draft the agreements and respond to comments from opposing counsel;
  • analyze terms of a  back-end definitions and be able to converse about how calculations are done;
  • analyze a test-option deal,  guest star agreement, guest star rider and identify the major components of each agreement and how they fit into the business structure and production structure for hiring actors, and learn the components of support letter when hiring a foreign actor and how to draft this support letter and guest star rider;
  • identify the major provisions of  above-the-line talent agreements such as a staff writer, director, and technical consultant;
  • analyze the use of intellectual property on a set and  in a script and be able to identify when permission is needed for the use of such materials and be able to communicate with production as to the legal and monetary risks associated with respect to copyright and trademark issues for set decorations, props, location filming, costumes and other clearance issues faced on a day to day basis;
  • analyze a copyright claim, name claim and damage claim and be able to determine a response that fits the need of the client and gets best results for your position;
  • evaluate the need for marketing, publicity and research of television programs and how a production attorney will be involved in these areas; and
  • communicate with production and business affairs regarding guild provisions of the WGA, SAG and DGA, and the roles of these guilds and their provisions in the development and production of a television series.
Friday
Jun 18 2010

Theater Law (2 units)

The theater is one of America's earliest entertainment industries and its legal and business structures differ significantly from those of the film, television, and music fields.

This comprehensive survey examines the unique customs and practices of this industry and the framework of laws governing it. After completing this course, practitioners will be equipped to identify and address the needs of the producers, authors, artists, craftspeople, and designers whose work is presented on the living stage.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Theater Law course, students will be able to:
  • draft an effective collaboration agreement between bookwriter, composer, and lyricist for a musical play;
  • prepare comments and revision requests to a typical play production agreement;
  • outline, draft, and negotiate employment agreements for creative personnel, such as Director, choreographer, dramaturg, musical director, and others;
  • identify and analyze common underlying rights situations, and advise clients accordingly;
  • evaluate the financial structures and business implications of traditional theatrical limited partnerships, and to cogently advise clients (whether investors, producers, authors, or otherwise), concerning the same; and
  • identify, contact and interview theatre professionals to gain insights into the customs, practices and challenges of the industry.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 5% -- for a total of 15% of your course grade), two research assignments and memos (each worth 5% -- for a total of 10% of your course grade); an industry interview and report/memo worth 15% of your course grade; an open-book final exam (for a total of 60% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • The Module 2 research assignment and memo is evaluated on and graded as follows: identification and selection of relevant cases (20%); demonstration of understanding of legal issues implicated (30%); demonstration of understanding of the holdings/rule of law (30%); and writing: organization, clarity, style, and overall impact (20%).
  • The Module 5 research assignment and memo is evaluated on and graded as follows: application of the assignment instructions (20%); demonstration of understanding of the issues and concerns of the clients (30%); demonstration of understanding of the applicable rules of law (30%); and writing: organization, clarity, style, and overall impact (20%).
  • The Module 9 industry interview and report/memo is evaluated on and graded as follows: application of the assignment instructions [section of interviewee(s)] (20%); substance of the interview: cogency and relevance of questions asked; demonstration of understanding of issues, context, etc.; interpretation, conclusions drawn, etc. (60%); and writing: organization, clarity, style, and overall impact (20%).
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination is comprise of one or more essays which are weighted as follows: 25% for identification of the factual and legal issues; 25% for correct statement(s) of rule of law; 25% on analysis, conclusion, and/or recommendation; and 25% on writing: organization, clarity, style and over impact.
Thursday
Jan 13 2011

Video Game Law (3 units)

The video game business is the fastest-growing segment of the entertainment industry, and -- from a legal point of view -- one of the most complicated.

This course will cover the full range of legal questions that must be answered by lawyers whose clients are in this business, including issues involving intellectual property, employment, content regulation and marketing. Among other things, the course will study: employment and work-for-hire agreements between game developers and talent (creative and technical), including talent guild collective bargaining agreements; content licensing agreements between developers and movie production companies; distribution agreements between developers and game publishing companies; technology licensing agreements for game engines and game console compatibility; First Amendment censorship and FTC marketing issues, including potential tort and criminal liability triggered by violent or sexy game content; piracy; and issues raised by the creation and sale of "virtual property" by game players. Although, today, most video games are published and sold to entertain those who play them, a growing number of games are being developed to train and educate players, so this course may be of interest to students who are interested business and technology law, as well as those interested in entertainment law.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Video Game course, students will be able to:
  • identify the major business implications of video game publishing, employment and licensing agreements;
  • identify and advise clients on the application of copyright, trademark, and trade secret and right of publicity law to the protection of and clearance of fights for video games;
  • draft, advise clients, and communicate with third parties on the main provisions in video game publishing, employment and confidentiality agreements;
  • draft and advise clients on the major provisions of video games Terms of Service/End User Licensing Agreements; and
  • Identify and advise clients on main issues of date protection and privacy.