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Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2014 - Book Publishing; Current Developments in Entertainment and Sports Litigation; Film

Speaker(s): Ahmad E. Nassar, Alison Cohen, Ben Sheffner, Elizabeth A. McNamara, Emerson E. Bruns, Gail Ross, Howard Siegel, Ian C. Ballon, John Schline, Joseph J. Dapello, Kenneth M. Kaufman, Lateef Mtima, Ronald Katz
Recorded on: Mar. 5, 2014
PLI Program #: 50916

Kenneth M. Kaufman is a Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.  His practice focuses on entertainment and media law, copyright, content and music licensing, digital media, and sports law.  He represents a wide range of clients including television networks and distributors, international media and publishing companies, video producers, music publishers, digital media and technology companies, telecommunications companies, photographers, visual artists, copyright licensing companies, Broadway theatre producers, private equity firms, foundations, composers, recording artists and authors.

Ken is a recognized authority in the fields of entertainment law and copyright.  He was named the 2014 Washington, D.C. Copyright Law “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America, where he is also listed in the practice areas of entertainment law-motion pictures and television, entertainment law-music, and intellectual property litigation.  He has also been recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, Washingtonian Magazine’s Best Lawyers, and The Legal500 United States.

Ken has extensive experience as both in-house and outside counsel in the entertainment and communications industries.  Immediately prior to joining Manatt, he was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Showtime Networks Inc. in New York; as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel of PolyGram Records, Inc. in New York; and as General Counsel of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.  In two of those positions, he was the first in-house attorney and organized the in-house legal department.  In addition, he served as Assistant Counsel of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee.

In addition to his law practice, Ken is a 2016 Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University.  He has also served as a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School, teaching a course on entertainment law, copyright and Internet law, and as a Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University Law School, where he taught a course on copyright law.

Ken serves on the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries and on the Planning Committee for the annual Stanford E-Commerce Best Practices Conference.  He speaks on copyright and content licensing at the annual PLI Advanced Licensing Agreements conference, teaches an annual course on copyright law and litigation for the D.C. Bar, is a member of the Board of Directors of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and has served as a Trustee and Chair of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.  He is a graduate of Harvard College (magna cum laude) and Yale Law School (where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal), and is admitted to practice in New York, California and the District of Columbia.

Ben Sheffner is Vice President, Legal Affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, where he supervises litigation and advises the MPAA and its member studios on copyright and other intellectual property matters. Ben has previously held in-house legal positions at NBCUniversal and Twentieth Century Fox, and worked as an associate in the Century City office of O'Melveny & Myers LLP.  In 2008, Ben served as Special Counsel on Senator John McCain's presidential campaign where, among other responsibilities, he handled the campaign's copyright, trademark, and other IP issues. Ben received his J.D. in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and his A.B. in 1993 from Harvard College.

Elizabeth McNamara has more than 25 years of litigation and counseling experience in media and intellectual property law, representing publishers (books, magazines, newspapers and websites), television and radio broadcasters, cable companies and motion picture producers and distributors. Her litigation practice includes all areas of sophisticated IP, media and entertainment litigation at the trial and appellate level of federal and state courts, in such areas as libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, prior restraint and reporter's shield laws.

Liz's clients include: Associated Press, Bauer Publishing, Cablevision, CBS, CNN, Conde Nast, Financial Times, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, MTV Networks, NBC, Random House, Sesame Workshop, Showtime, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc. and Wenner Media.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Former Chair, Committee on Communications and Media Law, New York City Bar Association
  • Former East Coast Representative, Forum on Communications Law
  • Communications and Entertainment Committee, New York State Bar Association
  • The Copyright Society of the USA
  • Lawyers Committee, Association of American Publishers

Professional Recognition

  • Named as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" by Chambers USA in Media & Entertainment: First Amendment Litigation (New York); Media & Entertainment: Copyright & Contract Disputes (New York), 2007-2014; First Amendment Litigation (Nationwide), 2011-2014; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2014  
  • Selected by Best Lawyers as New York City's "Lawyer of the Year" in Media Law, 2013  
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Communications and Advertising Law by Best Lawyers, 2006-2009; named in First Amendment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law, 2006-present; named in Entertainment Law, 2010-present
  • Selected to "New York's Top 50 Women Super Lawyers and First Amendment/Media Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2007-2008
  • Selected to "New York Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2006-2014
  • Named as one of Lawdragon's "500 Lawyers in America," 2007
  • Sharing the Power Award, InsideCounsel Magazine, 2010


J.D., University of North Carolina School of Law, 1981

  • Order of the Coif
  • Law Review

B.A., University of Wisconsin, 1975

  • Phi Beta Kappa


Related Practices

Appellate Litigation

Class Action Defense

Media & First Amendment

Defamation & Privacy

Commercial Speech & Advertising

Government Regulation of Content

Right of Publicity

Access to Public Records & Proceedings

Subpoenas & Reporters' Privilege

Trademark Litigation

Intellectual Property Litigation

Copyright Litigation

Intellectual Property


Pre-Publication & Pre-Broadcast Review

Prior Restraints

Theft of Ideas


Communications, Media, IP & Technology


Digital Media




SLAPP Litigation


Admitted to Practice

New York, 1982

U.S. Supreme Court, 1998

U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2000

U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1996

U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1983

U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 1983

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 2004

U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2008

U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 2010

Joseph J. Dapello is a founding partner of Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams LLP, a boutique entertainment law firm based in New York and Los Angeles that is dedicated to serving the creative community throughout the world.  The firm represents a variety of clients in all areas of the entertainment business, including film, television, theater, publishing, music and interactive media.  Currently, Mr. Dapello's practice focuses on the representation  of actors, directors and writers and the financing, production and distribution of motion pictures and television programs. Recent projects in which clients have been involved include the film "Life of Pi" and the Netflix series "House of Cards."

Mr. Dapello has served as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Entertainment, Media and Technology program at the Stem School of Business at New York University, and has been a member of entertainment law panels at Harvard Law School and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.  He is also a frequent lecturer on entertainment law at organizations such as the Practising Law Institute, Independent Feature Project (IFP) and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and has been recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Entertainment Law.

Mr. Dapello received his Juris Doctor degree in 1988 from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985 from Columbia College.  He is admitted to the New York State Bar and is a member of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Lateef Mtima is a Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law. After graduating with honors from Amherst College, Professor Mtima received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, where he was the co-founder and later editor-in-chief of the Harvard BlackLetter Journal. He is admitted to the New York and Pennsylvania bars and has practiced intellectual property, bankruptcy, and commercial law, including a decade in private practice with the international law firm of Coudert Brothers. Currently a member of the Advisory Council for the United States Court of Federal Claims and the BNA Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal Advisory Board, Professor Mtima has held the post of Distinguished Libra Visiting Scholar in Residence at the University of Maine School of Law, is a past President of the Giles S. Rich Inn of Court for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and was a member of the founding Editorial Board for the American Bar Association intellectual property periodical Landslide. Professor Mtima is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, an accredited Non-governmental Organization Member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Professor Mtima is the editor/contributing author of Intellectual Property, Social Justice, and Entrepreneurship: From Swords to Ploughshares (Edward Elgar 2015) and the co-author of Transnational Intellectual Property Law (Xuan-Thao Nguyen and Danielle Conway, co-authors; West Academic 2015). Some of his other publications include The Promise of Information Justice, in Censoring Cyberspace: Regulating Communication on the Internet (Hannibal Travis, Editor, Routledge Publishing 2013); A Social Justice Perspective on IP, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Evolving Economies: The Role of Law (Megan Carpenter, Editor, Edward Elgar 2012); What’s Mine is Mine but What’s Yours is Ours: IP Imperialism, the Right of Publicity, and Intellectual Property Social Justice in the Digital Information Age, 15 S.M.U. Sci. &Tech. L. Rev. 323 (2012); Fulfilling the Copyright Social Justice Promise: Digitizing Textual Information, 55 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 77 (2010) (quoted in The Authors Guild v. Google Inc., 770 F. Supp. 2d 666, 679, n. 15, (S.D.N.Y. 2011); Copyright Social Utility and Social Justice Interdependence: A Paradigm for Intellectual Property Empowerment and Digital Entrepreneurship, 112 W. Va. L. Rev. 98 (2009); Whom the Gods Would Destroy; Why Congress Prioritized Copyright Protection Over Internet Free Speech and Privacy in Passing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 61 Rutgers L. Rev. 627 (2009); So Dark the CON(TU) of Man: The Quest for a Software Derivative Work Right in Section 117,  70 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 1 (2008); and “Tasini and Its Progeny: The New Exclusive Right or Fair Use on the Electronic Publishing Frontier?” 14 Ford. Intell. Prop., Media & Ent. L. J. 369 (2004) (quoted in Greenberg v. National Geographic Society, 533 F.3d 1244, 1264, 1266 (11th Cir. 2008) (dissenting opinion)).

Primary Areas of Practice:    Intellectual Property

Law School/Graduate School:  Georgetown

Gail is a partner in the law firm of Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold, PLLC where she focuses on the legal aspects of publishing and media law. In addition, she advises clients on copyright, libel, trademark, electronic publishing and licensing issues.

As the President of the Ross Yoon Agency, Gail represents important commercial nonfiction in a variety of areas and counts top doctors, CEO's, prize-winning journalists, and historians among her clients.  She and her team work closely with first-time authors and have earned a reputation in the industry for providing rigorous, enthusiastic editorial guidance at all stages of the publishing process.

Gail writes and lectures frequently on publishing issues. She has taught various DC Bar CLE courses.  She is the author of The Writer’s Lawyer (Times Books, 1989) and has also been named numerous times as one of the Best Lawyers in America and Washingtonian’s Best Lawyers (for entertainment law).

Primary Areas of Practice:  Corporate, litigation, intellectual property

Law School/Graduate School:  University of Chicago

Ahmad Nassar serves as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NFL Players Incorporated, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association, in Washington, D.C.  In that role, Mr. Nassar manages various legal and business initiatives, including negotiating with the NFL and licensees such as Electronic Arts, NIKE, Panini, Topps, and others.  Mr. Nassar works with the players associations from the MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS on legal issues of mutual importance, such as right of publicity cases nationwide.  Prior to joining the NFLPA, Mr. Nassar worked at Patton Boggs and Latham & Watkins, where he counseled clients in a variety of practice areas, including white-collar criminal defense, intellectual property issues, internal corporate investigations, antitrust issues, and a wide variety of matters affecting labor unions.

Mr. Nassar received his JD from the University of Chicago School of Law, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan. He was a winner of the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize, the Angell Scholar Award and was the Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Scholar at the University of Chicago. Immediately following his graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Denise Page Hood, United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Michigan.

Ian C. Ballon
Internet, Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation

Admitted: California, District of Columbia and Maryland
Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth and Federal Circuits
U.S. Supreme Court
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+: Ian Ballon

Ian Ballon represents Internet, technology, mobile and other companies in intellectual property, privacy and security litigation, including the defense of data privacy, security breach, behavioral advertising and TCPA class action suits.  He is also the author of the leading treatise on Internet law, E-Commerce and Internet Law: Treatise with Forms 2d edition, the 4-volume set published by West (  In addition, he is the author of The Complete CAN-SPAM Act Handbook (West 2008) and The Complete State Security Breach Notification Compliance Handbook (West 2009). He also serves as Executive Director of Stanford University Law School’s Center for E-Commerce, which hosts the annual Best Practices Conference where lawyers, scholars and judges are regularly featured and interact.

Mr. Ballon has brought or defended significant and often cutting edge suits involving computer software, the Internet and mobile technology. A list of recent cases may be found at

Mr. Ballon was named the Lawyer of the Year for Information Technology Law in the 2013 and 2016 editions of Best Lawyers in America. In addition, he was the 2010 recipient of the State Bar of California IP Section’s Vanguard Award for significant contributions to the development of intellectual property law (  He is listed in Legal 500 U.S., The Best Lawyers in America (in the areas of information technology and intellectual property) and Chambers and Partners USA Guide in the areas of privacy and data security and information technology.   He also has been recognized by The Daily Journal as one of the Top 75 IP litigators in California in every year that the list has been published, from 2009 through 2015, and has been listed as a Northern California Super Lawyer every year from 2004 through 2015 and as one of the Top 100 lawyers in California. Mr. Ballon also holds the CIPP/US certificate for the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Howard Siegel is a senior partner in Pryor Cashman's Entertainment Group. He has more than 40 years experience in representing clients in all aspects of the entertainment business, with a particular emphasis on the music industry, during which time he has served as counsel to many of the industry’s most prominent recording artists, songwriters, producers, managers, and executives.

Mr. Siegel has also been involved in a number of music publishing company sales and acquisitions, as well as having advised on a variety of transactions involving the sale and purchase of master recordings and other entertainment-related assets.

Mr. Siegel is the former Chair of the Section on Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law of the New York State Bar Association, former Chair of the New York State Bar Association Committee on the Music and Recording Industry, and an Associate Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Siegel is a frequent lecturer for the Practicing Law Institute and serves as Co-Chair of PLI’s Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry. He is also a speaker for the New York Law Journal Seminar Press and the Continuing Legal Education Seminars of the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Siegel served as judicial clerk at the New York State Court of Appeals from 1970 to 1972. He is an adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School and a member of the Editorial Board of Entertainment Law and Finance and of Multimedia Web Strategist, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the nationally distributed book Entertainment Law, currently in its fourth edition, and author of several articles dealing with the entertainment, music and copyright practice.

Every year since 2007, Mr. Siegel has been designated as one of the “Super Lawyers” – a ranking of the top 5% of all attorneys in the New York Metropolitan area. He also has been recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 100 “Power Lawyers” in the entertainment industry as well as being named one of the "Top Media and Entertainment Lawyers" by Chambers USA for several years.

Mr. Siegel is a member of the New York, Nevada and California Bars and a summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University College of Law where he was Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review (1970) and a member of the Moot Court Board (1969-70).

Alison Cohen is Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for FilmNation Entertainment, a leading independent production, finance and distribution company.  Prior to joining FilmNation, Mrs. Cohen was a partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, P.C. and Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinstein, LLP, two pre-eminent entertainment law firms based in New York.  Mrs. Cohen received her JD as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar from Columbia University of Law.

Emerson Bruns is a founding partner of Bruns Brennan & Berry, an entertainment law firm with offices in New York.  Mr. Bruns' practice involves all aspects of entertainment law and he specializes in the formation of investment vehicles for the production of independent films.  He serves as counsel to numerous award-winning motion picture, television and video producers and regularly lectures on the motion picture and television industries at seminars and law schools throughout the metropolitan area. He has served as counsel on numerous motion picture productions, including, Arbitrage, Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Mother and Child, happythankyoumoreplease, 10 Items or Less, The Hottest State, The Station Agent, Transamerica, Thirteen, Laurel Canyon, Nine Lives, Empire, The Believer, Big Eden, L.I.E., On The Ropes, Sling Blade, Star Maps, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Mr.  Bruns has written articles for and contributed to numerous publications on the subject of independent film and has served as resource consultant and panel speaker for the Independent Feature Project, as well as a panelist for numerous seminars. Mr. Bruns has been practicing law in the entertainment field for 16 years and prior to establishing Bruns, Brennan & Berry, Mr. Bruns headed his eponymous firm, served as Of Counsel to Schreck, Rose, Dapello, Adams & Hurwitz.  Mr. Bruns was a partner at Rudolph & Beer, an entertainment law firm with offices in New York, an associate with Warren Alpert & Beigelman, an entertainment law firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles and an associate with Williams, Mullen, Christian & Dobbins in Richmond, Virginia where he practiced securities and corporate law.  Mr. Bruns received his law degree from William and Mary School of Law in 1991 and his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1987.

John Schline is Senior Vice president, Corporate Director of Business Affairs for Penguin Random House and has worked in book publishing since 1985.  In addition to supervising the contracts departments he has been a rights director, edited books, supervised an online marketing group, and done new business development.

Ronald S. Katz is a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, where he heads the Sports Law Practice Group. A Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Katz is a 1972 graduate of the Harvard Law School. In 2008 he won a $28.1 million verdict on behalf of 2062 retired NFL players from their union for, among other things, the misappropriation of their images. He represented NFL Hall-of-Famer, Jim Brown, in his appeal of a right of publicity case against videogame maker, Electronic Arts. He teaches a Sports Law seminar at Santa Clara University School of Law, where he is also the Chairman of the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, which is unique in its sole focus on the ethical aspects of sports.