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Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2018 – Overview of Entertainment Law Issues; Television, Video & User-Generated Content; Media's Transformation - Over-the-Top Content (OTT), Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs) & Mobile-Driven Video; Game & App Development Deals; Ethics

Speaker(s): Elgin Thompson, Gil Fuchsberg, Jack P. Sahl, Jim Charne, Kenneth M. Kaufman, Melanie Jones, T. Hale Boggs, Vernon G. Chu
Recorded on: Feb. 26, 2018
PLI Program #: 220471

Elgin Thompson is a Managing Director with Digital Capital Advisors leveraging 20 years of investment banking, corporate development and M&A legal experience. He advises companies at the intersection of marketing and technology across all digital channels including mobile, video, email, social and display.

Elgin has advised on transactions in excess of $40 billion involving leading companies in the internet and technology space including Google, Facebook, Groupon, Nielsen, AOL, Neustar, Catalina Marketing, Level3 and EMC.

Prior to joining Digital Capital Advisors, Elgin was a Managing Director at Cronus Partners where he led internet technology coverage after years at Williams Capital, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. Elgin has also served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Grid Networks, a venture-backed video infrastructure provider. He began his career as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer.

Elgin holds a B.A. from Northern Illinois University, J.D. from Temple University and M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Hale Boggs is a leading legal and business advisor to entrepreneurs and investors in emerging companies, with a particular focus on digital media. From Los Angeles to Silicon Valley and beyond, he works with innovative technology companies across the spectrum of their business cycles, from start-up through late-stage. Hale focuses on venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, and joint ventures.

Hale represents numerous venture capital funds in Southern and Northern California, advising funds and their portfolio companies in a wide range of corporate transactions as they raise and deploy capital across the entertainment, media and technology industries.

Hale regularly acts as outside general counsel to his clients, drawing on more than thirty years of experience to provide strategic corporate counseling on issues including equity compensation matters, SEC reporting and disclosure, complex corporate partnering transactions, intellectual property licensing, and corporate governance.

Hale has been recognized as a top lawyer in multiple consecutive years by Best Lawyers in America, the Daily Journal, and Lawdragon 500, and he has been named several times to Variety’s Legal Impact Report—one of the most prestigious accolades in the media and entertainment industry. 

Prior to joining O’Melveny, Hale was chair of the media, technology, and advertising division and venture capital/emerging companies practice of a prominent national legal and professional services firm.

Jack Sahl is the Inaugural Joseph G. Miller of Professor of Law and the Director of the Miller-Becker Center for Professional Responsibility at the University of Akron School of Law where he regularly teaches professional responsibility, evidence, and sports law.  He also teaches a film and legal ethics seminar and a U.S. Legal System course to international lawyers and students each summer at Yale University and a contracts and commercial law seminar at the CEIDA Institute in Rome, Italy.  Professor Sahl has authored numerous articles and book chapters concerning professional responsibility and two textbooks, Sports Law Cases & Materials (with Professor Russ VerSteeg) (3rd ed.  2014) and Evidence Problems and Materials (with Professor Steven I. Friedland) (5th ed. 2015).  He is currently working with co-authors on a Professional Responsibility textbook slated for publication by Wolters Kluwer in 2017.  Professor Sahl is a frequent international and national speaker concerning professional responsibility and he has served as a national consultant and expert witness in the field.  He clerked for Chief Judge William Holloway Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and was senior counsel to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Professor Sahl also worked in the music industry and has counseled a variety of persons in the entertainment and sport industries.  

On the national level, Professor Sahl is member of the: Publications Board of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility ( Chair, since 2006); Coordinating Council of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (2006-present); and Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award Selection Committee of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (2006-present).  He also served on the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct (Chair 2012-14); the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline (a presidential 3-year term appointment, 2008-11) and the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Inbound Foreign Lawyer Working Group (2009-2011) and its Uniformity, Choice of Law and Conflicts of Interest Working Group (2010-2011).  Professor Sahl served as Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Professional Responsibility Section (2013), as a member of its Executive Committee (2009-12), and a member of the Selection Committee for the Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility (2011-12, 2014-15).

In Ohio, Professor Sahl served on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Commission (Ohio Supreme Court 3-year term appointment, 2008-2011); the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee (1994-2012); the OSBA Membership Services Advisory Panel (2008-09); and the OSBA Future of the Legal Profession Advisory Committee (2005-2008).  He is currently a member of the OSBA Professionalism Committee (2012) and a member and former chair of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Ethics & Professionalism Committee (1991-present).

Melanie S. Jones is Senior Director, Business & Legal Affairs at Discovery Inc., the global media company that owns and operates a variety of cable networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV and the Food Network. 

At Discovery, Melanie currently handles business and legal affairs matters for the company’s largest television network, Discovery Channel, as well as the Science Channel.  As a business and legal affairs executive, Melanie advises, consults and counsels the development, production, talent and programming teams for the networks she serves.  Her practice area includes deal negotiations and transactional work and she advises internal clients on content liability matters related to defamation, publicity, privacy and copyright issues. 

Prior to joining Discovery, Melanie was most recently Senior Business Affairs Counsel at HarperCollins Publishers.  She is a graduate of Spelman College, where she received a degree in Political Science, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Vernon G. Chu is the General Counsel for BBC Worldwide - Americas (BBCWA), with responsibility for all legal matters affecting BBCWA in the United States, Canada and Latin America.  He oversees policy and compliance issues in the territory including fair-trading, editorial standards, advertising guidelines, trademark and copyright policy.  He is involved with oversight of BBCWA’s joint venture SVOD service, BritBox, and its joint venture cable channels, BBC America, BBC Canada, BBC Earth and BBC Kids, and all legal aspects of BBCWA’s television licensing business, theatric film and consumer products business, which includes DVD, digital entertainment, live events, the BBC Direct marketing and catalogue business and merchandising.  He also oversees BBCWA’s content and production business in Los Angeles which produces US network shows such as Dancing With The Stars, Top Gear and Life Below Zero.  BBCWA is the wholly owned subsidiary of BBC Worldwide Limited, the commercial consumer arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  

He was graduated from the Wharton School in Philadelphia in 1982 with a degree in accounting and economics.  In 1985 he received his MBA from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  A year later, he graduated Cum Laude from Cornell Law School. 

Gil Fuchsberg has been a successful business builder, innovator and senior executive in media, technology and education for more than 20 years.  

Gil is currently Head of Corporate Development and Strategic Planning at Roku, Inc., the leading streaming video platform company. Gil is also an active adviser to and investor in several emerging technology companies, as well as a member of the New York Angels (one of the foremost organizations dedicated to early-stage investing).

Previously Gil was Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Development for Amplify, News Corporation’s digital education business (acquired in late 2015 by Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective). Before Amplify, Gil served as an Executive Vice President at News Corp/21st Century Fox, collaborating with the media company’s publishing, television and film businesses across the world on their digital strategies, products and partnerships. Among other responsibilities, he managed relationships with key partners including Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Roku, Samsung, YouTube and Verizon.

Gil joined News Corp through its acquisition in 2010 of Skiff, an e-reading business that he founded and led at the Hearst Corporation. Previously Gil was a Principal at JPMorgan Partners, a large private equity firm, driving a range of venture capital investments in internet and software companies; Corporate Vice President for New Media and Technology at the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG), leading digital strategy, building and acquiring businesses, and creating a successful strategic-investment portfolio for one of the world’s biggest organizations of advertising and marketing-services companies; and Editorial and Project Director at NBC and NBC News, partnering closely with Microsoft on the products and transactions that gestated MSNBC.

Gil has served as a director or observer on numerous company boards.

Gil began his career as a Staff Reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an AB from Harvard College, where he was Executive Editor of The Harvard Crimson.

Jim Charne is a Wisconsin, California, New York, and New Jersey lawyer, whose practice is at the intersection of intellectual property, entertainment, technology, music, and commerce.  His experience in software, video games, and other technology-based entertainment extends back to the earliest days of the category.  He began his career in the 1970’s, in those pre-computer days of dial telephones, tabulators, and AM top 40 radio, at CBS Records and Arista Records, both in New York.

Jim was the first President of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (  He has been recognized as a "Most Valuable Player" by the International Game Developers Association (, is the recipient of three awards from the Game Audio Network Guild ( for work on behalf of games industry composers; organized and led all-day legal and business tutorial programs 15 times at the annual Game Developers Conference (; and served as liaison between the Interactive Academy and IDGA, and Washington counsel, in drafting an amicus brief filed on behalf of games industry talent in Brown v ESA (564 U.S. 786 (2011)).  In Brown, the Court, in a 7-2 decision written by Justice Scalia, recognized video games for the first time to be fully protected First Amendment expression on equal footing with literature, dramatic productions, motion pictures, and other creative works.

Jim is a regular speaker on interactive entertainment topics at Practicing Law Institute's ( March entertainment law program in New York, and is a professional responsibility co-presenter at the Videogame Bar Association's ( annual May summit in Los Angeles at UCLA Law School.

In late 2015, Jim joined Gerard Fox Law, with offices in Los Angeles and New York City as Of Counsel.  He maintains his solo practice in Madison, WI and can always be reached at, or by Skype at jimcharne.

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

Ken is a recognized authority in the fields of copyright and entertainment law.  He was named the Washington, D.C. Copyright Law “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014 by The Best Lawyers in America (where he is currently listed in the practice areas of copyright law, intellectual property litigation, entertainment law-music, and entertainment law-motion pictures and television).  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 Legal Times.  For several years he was a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School, teaching a course on copyright, entertainment and Internet law, and has taught a course on copyright law at George Washington University Law School.  In 2016 and 2017 he was an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University, where he has spoken on coalition building in education for gender equality.

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.  Previously, he served as Assistant Counsel of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee.

Ken co-chairs the annual PLI conference on Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry and serves on the Governing Committee of the ABA’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries and on the Planning Committee for the annual Stanford Digital Economy Best Practices Conference.  He 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.