Annual Conference Information

MLRC 2019 Annual Conference Main Graphic

For 17 years, the Media Law Resource Center and Southwestern Law School have hosted an annual forum at which renowned experts discuss the most timely, important and controversial topics in entertainment and media law.

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Southwestern Law School
1 P.M. - 8 P.M.
Register here

Panel Topics

  1. Hollywood and the Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court has received massive media coverage recently due to pending cases involving civil rights, the Court’s potential role in impeachment proceedings, and questions about the politicization of the Court itself. But there have also been several cases before the Supreme Court that could have a significant impact on the entertainment industry.

    In this marquee session, we will explore a number of recent and upcoming cases that could affect the production and distribution of entertainment content, including Allen v. Cooper (whether state governments have sovereign immunity to copyright claims), Comcast Corp. v. Nat’l Assn. of African American-Owned Media (racial discrimination claim against Comcast over channel selection), Iancu v. Brunetti (prohibition on federal registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks), and more.

    Moderator: Professor RonNell Andersen Jones, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

    • J. Mira Hashmall, Miller Barondess LLP, counsel for the National Association of African American-Owned Media in Comcast v. NAAAOM
    • Max Rosen, Munger Tolles & Olsen LLP, counsel for the RIAA in Allen v Cooper
    • John R. Sommer, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Stussy Inc., counsel for Erik Brunetti in Iancu v. Brunetti
    • Jessica Stebbins Bina, Latham & Watkins LLP, counsel for former government officials and staff in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc
  2. Life Rights in the U.S. and Abroad

    Are clearances from the subject of biopics and docudramas legally required, or a matter of practicality? Do non-disclosure agreements and arbitration clauses executed by relevant parties affect production, and how do those affect a filmmaker’s own free speech rights?  How do these considerations change when dealing with foreign citizens or international distribution? This session will discuss recent cases involving these questions and provide practical guidance on navigating life rights.

    Moderator: Jean-Paul Jassy, Jassy Vick Carolan LLP

    • Pat Duncan, SVP, Legal Affairs, West Coast Programming, Home Box Office
    • Lisa Kohn, Senior Counsel, Content & Production Risk, NBCUniversal
    • Aaron J. Moss, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, counsel for Univision in Jenni Rivera Enterprises v. Univision Communications
    • Natalie Rodriguez, VP & Associate General Counsel, Warner Bros. Pictures
    • Mark Roesler, CEO, CMG Worldwide, expert in celebrity marketing, licensing, and clearances
  3. Social Media in Crisis

    Online platforms are a powerful tool for studios and creatives to share and promote their work, and to connect with their audiences and one another. But social media companies are facing greater public and governmental pressure than ever before, whipsawed between those who argue that their free speech rights are being violated by biased or capricious moderation systems and those who are concerned about platforms’ apparent inability to shut down hate and incitement to violence on their sites.

    How would modification of key laws like Section 230 affect the utility of social media for the entertainment industry? What side, if any, is the industry taking in this battle? How do the eagerness of the California government to regulate online activity, the special contours of California free speech law, and the Ninth  Circuit’s unique role in judging internet-related disputes affect these issues?

    Moderator:  Jeffrey P. Hermes, Deputy Director, Media Law Resource Center

    • Rick Lane, CEO of IGGY Ventures LLC , formerly SVP of Government Affairs, 21st Century Fox
    • Gloria Franke Shaw, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, counsel for entertainment clients in litigation over IP on digital platforms
    • Rochelle L. Wilcox, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, counsel for DoubleVerify in v. DoubleVerify
    • Brian M. Willen, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, counsel for Google in Prager University v. Google LLC
  4. Shifting Media Landscape

    In recent years we have seen massive structural changes in how content is developed and distributed, with the proliferation of streaming services (and the concomitant division of content into a multitude of branded silos), significant media consolidation deals (including Viacom/CBS, Gannett/Gatehouse, AT&T/ Time Warner, and more), and the fracturing of long-standing norms and relationships (such as the eruption of lawsuits between the Writers Guild of America and the major talent agencies). This session will sort out the major developments and discuss the intellectual property, contractual, and other legal issues affecting those attempting to keep their footing on shifting ground.

    Moderator:  David Aronoff, Fox Rothschild LLP

    • Ken Basin, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Affairs, Paramount Television
    • Bill Bromiley, President, Saban Films
    • Jonathan L. Handel, TroyGould, Contributing editor for The Hollywood Reporter
    • Peter Martin Nelson, Nelson Davis LLP, transactional attorney for celebrity clients
    • Lisa Schwartz, VP, Distribution and Music Counsel, A+E Networks

Since 2003, The Entertainment and Media Law Conference has served as a cutting edge career resource and networking event for entertainment, media and intellectual property attorneys, executives, agents, paralegals, contract administrators and law school students in the service of motion picture and television studios, media outlets, talent agencies, advertising agencies, and PR firms. The Conference offers four hours of CLE credit. Seating is limited, and so early registration is advised!

Image - Bullocks Wilshire Building

We are extremely excited to present this year’s edition of the Conference at Southwestern Law School. In the heart of Los Angeles, Southwestern has created an oasis for students and scholars that encourages contemplation and study as well as collaboration and community. Encompassing nearly two city blocks, the law school’s campus includes the extraordinary Bullocks Wilshire landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This 1929 Art Deco structure has been transformed into a unique, multi-faceted facility that enhances the study of law with its beauty and exquisite detail.

Directions to Campus

Address: 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Southwestern is located only three blocks east of Vermont Avenue on Wilshire Boulevard. The campus is situated between the cross streets Westmoreland Avenue and Wilshire Place. The parking entrance is on Wilshire Place at 7th Street. 

If you are taking the subway, take the Red Line or the Purple Line to the Wilshire/Vermont Station. Walk approximately one block east along Wilshire Boulevard. Turn right on Westmoreland to access the pedestrian gate.

Campus Map

Image - MLRC Logo

The Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) is a non-profit membership association for content providers in all media, and for their defense lawyers, providing a wide range of resources on media and content law and policy issues. These include news and analysis of legal, legislative and regulatory developments; litigation resources and practice guides; and national and international media law conferences and meetings. MLRC also works with its membership to respond to legislative and policy proposals and speaks to the press and public on media law and First Amendment issues. MLRC was founded in 1980 by leading American publishers and broadcasters to assist in defending and protecting free press rights under the First Amendment. Today MLRC is supported by over one hundred and forty members, including leading publishers, broadcasters, and cable programmers, internet operations, media, and professional trade associations, and media insurance professionals in America and around the world. The MLRC’s Defense Counsel Section includes more than 215 law firms worldwide that specialize in media defense representation.

Image - Southwestern Brand Identity

Through the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute (BEMLI), Southwestern Law School offers the most comprehensive entertainment and media law curriculum in the United States.  Ranked 6th on Hollywood Reporter’s “America’s Top Ten Entertainment Law Schools,” Southwestern’s extensive course offerings, international programs, externships, practicums, and other co-curricular activities prepare graduates for the practice of entertainment law across both traditional and digital media such as film, television, music, theater, advertising, sports and journalism. Southwestern has an outstanding entertainment and media law faculty, and its graduates occupy important positions across a broad range of entertainment and media industry organizations.

Planning Committee

  • David Aronoff, Fox Rothschild LLP
  • George Freeman, Media Law Resource Center
  • Tamerlin Godley, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
  • Jeffrey Hermes, Media Law Resource Center
  • Tamara Moore, Southwestern Law School
  • Orly Ravid, Southwestern Law School
  • Andrew “AJ” Thomas, Jenner & Block LLP
  • Joel R. Weiner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  1. Speakers
    Image - David Aronoff

     David Aronoff

    Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP 

    Image - Ken Basin

     Ken Basin

    Executive Vice President &

    Head of Business Affairs, Paramount Television

    Image - Bill Bromiley

    Bill Bromiley

    President, Saban Films

    Image - Pat Duncan

    Pat Duncan

    SVP, Legal Affairs, West Coast Programming, Home Box Office

    Image - Jonathan Handel

    Jonathan L. Handel

    Attorney, TroyGould

    Contributing editor, The Hollywood Reporter

    Image - J. Mira Hashmall

    J. Mira Hashmall

    Partner, Miller Barondess LLP


    Deputy Director, Media Law Resource Center

    Image - Jean-Paul Jassy

     Jean-Paul Jassy

    Partner, Jassy Vick Carolan LLP

    Image- Professor RonNell Andersen Jones

    RonNell Andersen Jones

    Professor, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

    Image - Lisa Kohn

    Lisa Kohn

    Senior Counsel, Content & Production Risk, NBCUniversal

    Image - Rick LaneRick Lane

    CEO, IGGY Ventures LLC

     Former SVP of Government Affairs, 21st Century Fox


    Image - Aaron MossAaron J. Moss

    Partner, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP


    Image - Peter Nelson

    Peter Martin Nelson

     Nelson Davis LLP

    Image - BlankNatalie Rodriguez

     VP & Associate General Counsel, Warner Bros. Pictures

    Image - Mark RoeslerMark Roesler

     CEO, CMG Worldwide


    Image - Max RosenMax Rosen

    Associate, Munger Tolles & Olsen LLP

    Image - Blank

    Lisa Schwartz

    VP, Distribution and Music Counsel, A+E Networks

    Image - Gloria Shaw

    Gloria Franke Shaw

    Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

    Image - John SommerJohn R. Sommer

     Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Stussy, Inc.

    Image - Jessica Bina

    Jessica Stebbins Bina

    Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP

    Image - Rochelle Wilcox

     Rochelle L. Wilcox

    Partner, Vice-Chair, Appellate Litigation Practice

    Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

    Image - Brian WillenBrian M. Willen

    Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

  2. Schedule
    1:00 - 1:45 p.m.   Check-In
    1:45 - 1:55 p.m.   Welcome and Introductions
    1:55 - 3:15 p.m.   Hollywood and the Supreme Court
    3:15 - 3:30 p.m.   Break
    3:30 - 4:30 p.m.   Life Rights in the U.S. and Abroad
    4:30 - 4:45 p.m.   Break
    4:45 - 5:45 p.m.   Social Media in Crisis
    5:45 - 6:00 p.m.   Break
    6:00 - 7:00 p.m.   Making Sense of a Shifting Media Landscape
    7:00 - 8:00 p.m.   Catered Reception
  3. Materials


    Hollywood and the Supreme Court

    Life Rights in the U.S. and Abroad

    1. Jenni Rivera's Life Story At Issue In Lawsuit (May 31, 2019), Forbes
    2. Jenni Rivera Enterprises, LLC v. Latin World Entertainment Holdings, Inc., 36 Cal. App. 5th 766 (2019)
    3. Eriq Gardner, Netflix Finally Beats Journalist's Copyright Suit Over 'Narcos' (Nov. 8, 2019), Hollywood Reporter
    4. Order on Motion to Dismiss, Vallejo v. Narcos Productions, No. 1:18-cv-23462 (S.D. Fla. May 24, 2019)
    5. Order Granting Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, Vallejo v. Narcos Productions, No. 1:18-cv-23462 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 8, 2019)
    6. Ashley Cullins, FX Wins Appellate Court 'Feud' With Olivia de Havilland (Mar. 26, 2018), Hollywood Reporter
    7. De Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC, 21 Cal. App. 5th 845 (2018)
    8. Scott Alan Burroughs, Injunction’s Gone: Lynyrd Skynyrd Film Gets Second Circuit Greenlight Despite Blood Oath (Oct. 17, 2018), Above The Law
    9. Ronnie Van Zant, Inc. v. Cleopatra Records, Inc., 906 F.3d 253 (2nd Cir. 2018)
    10. Nathan Solis, Judge Overturns $128 Million Award in ‘Bones’herme Dispute (May 3, 2019), Courthouse News Service
    11. Jacob Shamsian, Netflix is paying for the rights to fake heiress Anna Delvey's life story (Apr. 16, 2019), Insider
    12. Mark Litwak, Purchasing Life Story Rights, Entertainment Law Resources
    13. Diane Krausz, Whose Life is it Anyway? Clearance of Life Story Rights in Film (Sep. 8, 2010), The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog
    14. Richard B. Jefferson, Do Documentary Producers Need To Acquire Life Story Rights? (Aug. 13, 2019), Lawyers Rock
    15. Eric Goldman, The True Story About Life Story Rights, UpCounsel Blog
    16. Melissa Fish, Life Story Rights in the United Kingdom (Sep. 9, 2013), Fieldfisher
    17. Eduardo Soares, Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Authorizes Unauthorized Biographies (June 17, 2015), Library of Congress
    18. Brazil overturns 'ban' on unauthorised biographies (June 11, 2015), BBC News

    Social Media in Crisis

    1. Ted Johnson, MPAA Chairman Charles Rivkin: Internet Platforms ‘Must Bear Responsibility’ (Aug. 20, 2018), Variety
    2. Comments of the Motion Picture Association of America, In re International Internet Policy Priorities, Docket No. 180124068-8068-01 (July 17, 2018), National Telecommunications and Information Administration
    3. Ted Johnson, 21st Century Fox Backs Sex Trafficking Bill Opposed by Major Internet Firms (Sept. 13, 2017), Variety
    4. Letter from Richard M. Bates, SVP Government Relations, Walt Disney Company, to Senators Rob Portman and Richard Blumenthal in Support of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (Sept. 18, 2017)
    5. Joe Mullin, How FOSTA Could Give Hollywood the Filters It's Long Wanted (Mar. 16, 2018), Electronic Frontier Foundation
    6. Prager University v. Google LLC, No. 17-CV-06064 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 26, 2018)
    7. Video Recording of Oral Argument, Prager University v. Google LLC, 18-15712 (9th Cir. Aug. 27, 2019)
    8. Eriq Gardner, PragerU Headed to New Legal Defeat Over "Censorship" of Conservatives on YouTube (Oct. 25, 2019), Hollywood Reporter
    9. Prager University v. Google LLC, No. 19-cv-340667 (Cal. Super. Oct. 25, 2019)
    10. Jeff Hermes, Platforms as Public Forums (Sept. 2018), Media Law Resource Center
    11. Jeff Hermes, Supreme Court Holds Public Access Channel Operator Not a State Actor (June 2019), MLRC MediaLawLetter
    12. Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, 139 S.Ct. 1921 (2019)
    13. Jeff Hermes, Let’s Get Metaphysical: Second Circuit Defines Public Fora in Digital Space (July 2019), MLRC MediaLawLetter
    14. Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump, 928 F.3d 226 (2nd Cir. 2019)
    15. John Samples, Why the Government Should Not Regulate Content Moderation of Social Media (Apr. 9, 2019), Cato Institute
    16. Jameel Jaffer, Facebook and Free Speech Are Different Things (Oct. 24, 2019), Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University
    17. David L. Hudson, Jr., Free speech or censorship? Social media litigation is a hot legal battleground (Apr. 1, 2019), ABA Journal
    18. Inc. v. DoubleVerify Inc., No. S244157 (Cal. 2019)
    19. v. DoubleVerify, Inc., 13 Cal. App. 5th 707 (2017)
    20. Sara Fischer, Digital ad industry commits to major overhaul (June 18, 2019), Axios
    21. Suzanne Vranica, ‘Shooting,’ ‘Bomb,’ ‘Trump’: Advertisers Blacklist News Stories Online (Aug. 15, 2019)
    22. Megan Graham, Facebook launches new safety tools for advertisers as criticism continues over false political ads (Nov. 20, 2019), CNBC
    23. Greg Starling, Survey: 90% of consumers tell brands to stay away from extreme, offensive content (Aug. 13, 2019), Marketing Land
    24. Jessica Goodfellow, Twitter calls for 'collective effort' to tackle brand safety (June 4, 2019), Campaign
    25. Ashley Cullins, Has This Man Sued You? A "Copyright Troll" Takes on Hollywood (Apr. 6, 2018), Hollywood Reporter
    26. Justin Peters, Why Every Media Company Fears Richard Liebowitz (May 24, 2018), Slate
    27. Eric Goldman, “Copyright Troll” Lawyer Gets Sanctioned (Again) (Oct. 2, 2019), Technology & Marketing Law Blog
    28. Thomas R. Burke, Kelli L. Sager, Rochelle L. Wilcox, and Nicolette Vairo, California Supreme Court Limits Anti-SLAPP Protection for Speech in a Commercial Setting; Courts Must Consider a Challenged Statement’s Context Under Section 425.16, subdivision (e)(4) (May 8, 2019), Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
    29. Thomas R. Burke, Rochelle L. Wilcox, and Ambika Kumar Doran, California Supreme Court Affirms Broad Section 230 Immunity (Jul. 3, 2018), Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
    30. K.C. Halm, Ambika Kumar Doran, Jonathan Segal, and Caesar Kalinowski IV, Two New California Laws Tackle Deepfake Videos in Politics and Porn (Oct. 14, 2019), Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
    31. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC v. Malwarebytes, Inc. Amicus Brief of Internet Association
    32. Enigma Software Group USA v. Malwarebytes, No. 17-17351 (9th Cir. Dec. 31, 2019)
    33. Prager University v. Google LLC Order After Hearing
    34. Gregory Mango v. Democracy Now! Productions, Inc. 
    35. Shoshana Roberts v. Rob Bliss, Rob Bliss Creative, LLC, and TGI Friday's Inc., Order & Opinion

    Shifting Media Landscape

    1. Ken Basin, The Business of Television – Excerpts (Intro, Chapter 1, Conclusion) (Routledge 2018)
    2. Rani Molla and Peter Kafka, Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today (June 18, 2019), Vox
    3. Jon Lafayette, Streaming War Joined as Disney+ Officially Launches (Nov. 12, 2019), Broadcasting & Cable
    4. Lucas Shaw, What the Streaming Wars Mean for the Future of TV (Dec. 2, 2019), Washington Post
    5. Jonathan Handel, Streaming TV's Ratings "Black Box" Could Lead to Hollywood Guild War (Nov. 13, 2019), Hollywood Reporter
    6. David Sims, Trump’s Justice Department Wants to Change the Movie Industry (Nov. 20, 2019), The Atlantic
    7. Complaint, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5465 (C.D. Cal. Jun. 24, 2019)
    8. Answer and Counterclaims, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5465 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2019)
    9. Complaint, United Talent Agency, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5585 (C.D. Cal. Jun. 27, 2019)
    10. Answer and Counterclaims, United Talent Agency, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5585 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2019)
    11. Complaint, Creative Artists Agency, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5701 (C.D. Cal. Jul. 1, 2019)
    12. Answer and Counterclaims, Creative Artists Agency, LLC v. Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., No. 2:19-cv-5701 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2019)
    13. Jonathan Handel, Where the Writers Guild Stands in Its Legal War With Agencies (Oct. 30, 2019), Hollywood Reporter
    14. Eriq Gardner, Trump's DOJ Picks Side in Hollywood's Writers-Agents War (Nov. 26, 2019), Hollywood Reporter
    15. Jon Lafayette, CBS-Viacom Merger Set to Close Dec. 4 (Nov. 25, 2019), Broadcasting & Cable
    16. Jon Lafayette, Launch Streamers or ‘Sell Arms’? ViacomCBS Answer Is: Do Both (Nov. 25, 2019), Broadcasting & Cable

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