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Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2017 - Sound Recordings; Music Publishing


Speaker(s): Julie Swidler, Kenneth J. Abdo, Linda A. Newmark, Madhavi Tandon Batliboi, Michael Abitbol, Nicholas C. Ferrara
Recorded on: Feb. 28, 2017
PLI Program #: 185816

Julie Swidler is Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and General Counsel for Sony Music Entertainment, where she oversees business, legal and governmental affairs for the company globally.

Julie has been a multiple recipient of Billboard’s Top Women in Music honor, Billboard’s Power 100 in Music list, and honored by the ELI Grammy Foundation and at the T.J. Martell Foundation’s New York Honors.  She serves on the board of the T.J. Martell Foundation, Board of Trustees of Union College, and is a frequent speaker on Entertainment Industry issues. 

Julie started her career in the music business in 1988 at PolyGram Records as Senior Attorney, rising to Assistant General Counsel and Vice President-Assistant General Counsel, North America, and Head of Business Affairs for Mercury Records before leaving to join Clive Davis at Arista and later J Records. 

Julie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Union College and a J.D. from Cardozo Law School, where she was a member of the Cardozo Law review.  She is married with three children and resides in New York City.        


Linda A. Newmark is Executive Vice President – Head of Acquisitions and Strategic Projects for Universal Music Publishing Group.  Linda obtains opportunities for Universal Music Publishing Group to acquire rights to musical compositions and music publishing catalogues, evaluates and negotiates acquisition, administration and subpublishing agreements, and promotes the general business development of the company.  Linda is based in Universal Music Publishing Group’s Los Angeles offices.

Before joining Universal, Linda was Vice President, Business Affairs for PolyGram Music Publishing and handled the drafting and negotiation of songwriter and co-publishing agreements, as well as other legal and business affairs matters for PolyGram.  Previously, Linda was a music attorney with the law firm of Cooper, Epstein & Hurewitz in Beverly Hills.  She received her law degree from Stanford Law School.

Linda serves on the Music and Entertainment Industry Executive Committee for the City of Hope Medical Center, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).  Linda is also a member of the Board of Managers of Associated Production Music LLC (APM), and the Board of Managers of The Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company, LLC, and was a member of the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School (2007 - 2010).  Linda has been recognized in Billboard’s Women in Music feature as one of the top 25 female executives in the music industry (2009 – 2013).


Michael Abitbol is currently Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Digital for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. In this role, Michael is involved in all aspects of Sony/ATV Music Publishing's digital business, which includes drafting and negotiating license agreements with digital services for the exploitation of Sony/ATV's catalog of compositions in various digital formats and investigating and initiating legal actions against infringing digital services. Michael is also involved in various current issues related to Section 115 rate setting and public performance rights.

Prior to joining Sony/ATV, Michael worked at EMI Music Publishing for five years overseeing digital matters.  Prior to working at EMI, Michael was an associate at Davis & Gilbert LLP for seven years, where he drafted and negotiated various entertainment and advertising-related agreements.

Prior to practicing law, Michael worked for 21st Century Artists, a music management company based in New York City, where he handled the day-to-day management of various music groups including Maxi Priest, Third World and Big Mountain, and where he oversaw all aspects of the production of various live tours. Michael has also been a drummer in several bands, and he was a DJ for the George Washington University student-run radio station for 4 years during college.


A partner at the national law firm of Fox Rothschild, Ken Abdo has more than 30 years of experience serving as legal counsel to artists, creators and businesses in music, film, TV, theater, media and publishing. His clients include prominent individuals, collaborators and businesses in the creative and commercial arts, including multiple GRAMMY® award recipients, gold and platinum recording artists, Emmy® and other industry award winners. Ken has extensive experience working with developing, established and legacy artists and their estates.

Ken’s commitment to artist advocacy and the legal profession have led him to national leadership positions with The Recording Academy (presenter of the GRAMMY® Awards), American Bar Association, SXSW CLE, among others. Ken is a published author, frequent lecturer and a regular local and national media commentator on entertainment law issues.   He was selected as one of Billboard’s Top Music Lawyers for 2018.


Maddy heads up the North America (and India) commercial music legal team at Facebook.  In this role, she and her team work on music deals for Facebook, including with labels, publishers, collection societies and distribution partners. 

Maddy has a JD from Columbia Law School and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brandeis University. Prior to Facebook, Maddy was a commercial counsel on the music legal team at Google.  Maddy started her career as an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP, specializing in technology and content deals.


Since his undergraduate days at New York University in the early 1980's, Nicholas Ferrara has been actively involved in the music industry.  Nick cites fellow NYU classmate Jason Flom (founder of Lava Records and former CEO of Atlantic Records} as being instrumental in Nick's initial entree into the business.

After earning his Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School in 1986, Nick practiced entertainment law and corporate litigation for three years. On the strength of relationships dating back to his college days, in 1989, Nick joined Atlantic Record's A&R staff. In 1992, Nick partnered with Joseph Lloyd Serling and Wayne Rooks in the new firm of Serling Rooks & Ferrara LLP. Over the next two decades, the firm grew in both size and stature becoming one of the industry's most prominent full service music business law firms.

In 2014, Nick relocated his practice to Nashville, Tennessee. Eager to embrace new challenges, in 2015 Nick and Robert "Riff' Pisarek founded Nicholas C. Ferrara & Associates PPLC.