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Counseling Clients in the Entertainment Industry 2019 —TV, Video, and UGC; Media’s Transformation; Book Publishing; Ethics

Speaker(s): Eric Rayman, Gail Ross, Jack P. Sahl, Jennifer Saba, Kenneth M. Kaufman, Melanie Jones, Sim Blaustein, T. Hale Boggs, Vernon G. Chu, Yoel Flohr
Recorded on: Feb. 25, 2019
PLI Program #: 250420

Eric Rayman is a partner at the firm, where his practice focuses on media and publishing, employment and copyright.

Mr. Rayman joined the firm in 2008 after serving as an in-house attorney at three major media companies, followed by several senior executive roles at three media businesses, one of which he co-founded. Mr. Rayman was General Counsel to The New Yorker magazine from 1997 to 2000, and Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Simon & Schuster from 1984-1997. Between 1980 and 1984, he was Vice President and Chief Counsel, Studio and Network Operations at Home Box Office.

From 2002 until 2007, Eric Rayman served as President of Budget Living, a national women’s lifestyle magazine that he co-founded. Budget Living earned a number of accolades including the American Society of Magazine Editors’ award for General Excellence and its nomination for Personal Service Journalism. In 2007, the Hearst Corporation purchased Budget Living. After selling the magazine, Eric Rayman was Senior Vice President for QuePasa Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed social networking company catering to Latino audiences. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Rayman was the Executive Vice President for Publishing of the Digital Convergence Corporation.

Eric Rayman began his career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he practiced law from 1977 to 1980. Mr. Rayman was an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo School of Law, where he taught media and entertainment law for over 20 years.

Eric Rayman is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler and other publications, and a producer of the feature film FireDancer and the documentary film Return to Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Harvard College, a member of the Entertainment Law Committee and the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and longtime director of several non-profit organizations including The Harvard Lampoon, No Strings Productions and the Academy of American Poets.

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 a Joseph G. Miller Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Miller-Becker Center for Professional Responsibility at the University of Akron School of Law where he teaches professional responsibility, evidence, and entertainment and sports law among other subjects.  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 he has taught a contracts and commercial law seminar at the CEIDA Institute in Rome, Italy. 

Professor Sahl has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters concerning professional responsibility and entertainment law.  He has also co-authored three textbooks, Evidence Problems and Materials (6th ed. 2020); Sports Law Cases and Materials (4th ed. 2019); and Professional Responsibility in Focus (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.  His also provided legal services in both the entertainment and sports law fields.

On the national level, Professor Sahl was a member of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct (2011-15, Chair 2012).  He serves on the Publications Board of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (2000-present, Chair since 2006); the Coordinating Council of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (2006-present); and the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award Selection Committee of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (2006-present).  He was also a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline (presidential appointment, 3-year term, 2008-11) and appointed to the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Inbound Foreign Lawyer Working Group (2009-11) and its Uniformity, Choice of Law and Conflicts of Interest Working Group (2010-11).  Professor Sahl also served on the Executive Committee of the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Association of Law Schools (2009-13, Chair 2103).

In Ohio, Professor Sahl served on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Commission (Ohio Supreme Court appointment, 3-year term, 2008-11), the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee (1994-2012), and the OSBA Future of the Legal Profession Advisory Committee (2005-2008).  He is currently a member of the OSBA Ethics Committee (2012-present) and a longstanding member of the Cleveland Bar Association Ethics & Professionalism Committee (1991-present, Chair 2012).  In 2019, the OSBA awarded him the Eugene R. Weir Award for Ethics and Professionalism.

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. 

Sim Blaustein joined BDMI in 2012 from High Line Venture Partners, where he co-founded the seed fund, and has been in venture capital since 2002.  In addition to spearheading BDMI's seed fund, he led or co-led BDMI’s investments in StyleHaul (acquired by RTL), Dramafever (acquired by Softbank), Food52, Frank & Oak, Jukin Media and Nativo.  He is actively focused on new investments in online video and next-generation content-driven companies.  He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan, an engineering degree from the Cooper Union and is a graduate of Stuyvesant High 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. 

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.

Additionally, 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, and experts in a variety of fields are among her clients.  In the last year alone, close dozen of her books have been New York Times bestsellers.

Gail writes and lectures frequently on publishing issues. She teaches CLE courses on publishing law for the D.C. Bar and the Practicing Law Institute.  She is an contributor to The Essential Guide to Entertainment Law: Dealmaking (Juris Publishing, 2018), 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).

Yoel is the Senior Vice President of Franchise Development for AMC Studios, AMC TV & Sundance TV. He is responsible for the strategy and planning related to maximizing the value of AMC owned assets and intellectual property, promoting the development of global franchises and serving growing fan communities. He is overlooking franchises like “The Walking Dead”, “Fear the Walking Dead”, “Talking Dead” as well as “Into the Badlands” and “The Terror”, where he acts as a custodian of the franchise. Based in NYC he is reporting to the president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios.

As an experienced executive in digital, video and mobile, Yoel has held several positions in this space before joining AMC Networks.  He most recently served as the co-founder of Thirty Labs Inc., a New York-based start-up studio focused on the emerging digital video space. Flohr also founded Ventuation, a strategic consulting and digital incubation firm with offices in London and New York. In addition, he was the vice president for digital at Shine Group, the Chairman of the board for Shine Gaming and Bossa Studios, the global head of mobile for, and in New Business Development for T-Mobile International. Flohr is an active Mentor and investor in a variety of start-ups.

Ken Kaufman is Senior Counsel at Springut Law PC.  Previously, he was a Partner and Senior Counsel at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; a Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and General Counsel of Showtime Networks, PolyGram Records, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  In addition, he was recently an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University and has been a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School.  Ken has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for many years in the fields of copyright law, IP litigation and entertainment law, and was named the Washington, DC "Copyright Lawyer of the Year" in 2014.  His clients have included digital media and technology companies, television networks, music publishers, photographers, private equity firms, international media companies, Broadway theatre producers, authors, composers and recording artists.

Jennifer Saba is a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews based in New York.  Her focus is on media, technology, advertising and retail. Prior to joining Breakingviews in 2015, she was a reporter with Reuters news. Jennifer has covered media for almost 18 years. She began her career in advertising.