Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law

D.C. Bar Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law Section Annual Report 2013–2014


The Arts, Entertainment, Media & Sports Law (AEMS) Section has completed another year of successful programming and networking. The section’s membership draws from a wide variety of practice areas; consequently, its activities are widely varied. The Steering Committee is comprised of eight members, Deneen Howell, Rand Sacks, Don Fishman, Jennifer Harper, Gregg Leslie, Danielle M. Aguirre Craig Sperling and John Simson. This year John Simson served as Chair, Gregg Leslie as Vice-Chair and Danielle Aguirre as Finance Officer. Former Steering Committee Chairs, Kenneth M. Kaufman and Lita Rosario remained active and chaired the Music subcommittee. John Davis Malloy and Janet Fries worked on cultural arts. Activities are generally organized under four practice areas: music and entertainment, media, art & culture, and sports. Each of these focus areas is represented by a committee.


Music and Entertainment Committee
The Music and Entertainment Committee was led by Chair Kenneth M. Kaufman and Vice Chair Lita Rosario. This year the Committee produced a timely panel discussion entitled Protection of Pre-72 Recordings. The brown bag lunch was held on April 29th at SoundExchange, who currently has their own pre-72 lawsuit vs. Sirius/XM and a great panel of copyright attorneys and experts discussed the current status of recordings that were created prior to Federal Copyright Protection which did not exist in the U.S. until 2/15/72.

The panel examined several current lawsuits, prior case law on the protection of pre-72 recordings under state or common law and whether or not Congress could “fix” the problem by amending Copyright law or under the Commerce clause. Former Section Chair of the AEMS Section, Lita Rosario, moderated the panel which included Kenneth M. Kaufman, Esq., Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, Gary Greenstein, Wilson/Sonsini, and current Chair, John L. Simson, Lommen Abdo.
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Media Law Committee
The Media Law Committee, chaired by Jim McLaughlin, continued their terrific Media Law Brown Bag Lunch Series at the Washington Post which featured presentations from over 25 speakers this past year. The Media Law Committee Brown Bag Lunch Series meets monthly in an informal lunch atmosphere at the Washington Post to discuss recent media and communications law developments. The group particularly discussed efforts by a large media coalition, headed by media lawyers (many who are involved with the committee), to work with the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder in amending the guidelines governing subpoenas of journalists, as well as a spate of recent libel suits before the D.C. courts and the federal district court in D.C. that interpret the D.C. anti-SLAPP act (which protects the news media and other parties from unnecessary libel suits over matters of public concern).  Most of the discussions involved the litigators who defended those cases."
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Sports Law Committee
The Sports Law Committee, under the direction ofSteering Committee member Don Fishman produced a great panel on February 25th, DC's Pro Sports Teams Talk: Law, Salary Cap, Salary Arbitration, Contract Negotiations and More. Fishman, Assistant General Manager/Director of Legal Affairs for the Washington Capital moderated and was joined by Damon Jones, Vice President and Club Counsel, Washington Nationals, Eric Schaffer, Vice President of Football Administration/General Counsel, Washington Redskins and Tommy Sheppard, Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, Washington Wizards. The discussion covered salary cap, arbitrations, player negotiations, "CBA's" and other current topics in player-team relations. The program was held at the Verizon Center immediately preceding a Wizards game and all attendees were able to purchase reduced price tickets to the ensuing game.
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Arts and Cultural Law Committee
The Arts and Cultural Law Committee was led by Co-Chairs Janet Fries and John David Malloy. The Arts and Cultural Law Committee made its annual contribution to the District of Columbia Practice Manual. Several panels are currently in development relating to the Cariou case, the Arizona Human Rights Action vs. photographers who refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s wedding and whether or not a compulsory license for the use of photographs, akin to SoundExchange’s collection on behalf of recordings online, could be a viable option for photographers seeking payment for the use and reuse of their photographs online.
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