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Curriculum - Entertainment Law & Industry Certificate

USC Gould School of Law

Earning the online Entertainment Law and Industry certificate requires successful completion of 12 credit units, including the following courses:

Mandatory Courses (6 units)

Entertainment Law and Industry (2 units)

Entertainment Law and Industry provides a detailed survey of entertainment law from a practical perspective, including legal issues in litigation and transactional contexts in the entertainment industry. Students will also learn about the structure of the entertainment industry, including distribution and financing structures and changes to those structures in digital environments. This course covers legal issues not covered in the Intellectual Property: Copyright and Intellectual Property: Trademark modules, including idea contracts, the right of publicity, and fundamentals of collective bargaining agreements.

Intellectual Property: Copyright (2 units)

Intellectual Property: Copyright provides a detailed survey of copyright law from a practical perspective, including the application of copyright laws in litigation and transactional contexts, with a focus on the entertainment and media industries.

Intellectual Property: Trademark (2 units)

Intellectual Property: Trademark provides a detailed survey of federal trademark law form a practical perspective, including the federal trademark registration process and the application of trademark laws in litigation and transactional contexts. Students will also learn about the "ICANN" system and laws relating to internet domain names.

Electives (Select at least 6 units)

Business Organizations (4 units)

Business Organizations examines the legal organizations most often used by businesses in the United States, and discusses the specific laws governing business organizations, the policies and theories underlying these laws, and best practices for complying with them. The primary focus is on corporations as these are the predominant form of business organization by every measure except number of firms. The course also covers unincorporated entities, such as partnerships and limited liability companies. After taking this course, students will have a solid foundation in the law of business organizations, a general understanding of the business contexts in which the law operates, and an appreciation for the practical issues transactional lawyers confront when advising business organizations. The subject matter will be taught using a "problem method" in order to promote a practical understanding of business organizational law.

Contract Drafting and Strategy (2 units)

In this course, students will examine the strategies, objectives, and challenges that will affect how they draft contracts. They will consider the lawyer's role in drafting contracts and the factors that influence drafting style, technique, and content. The course will begin by analyzing the standard structure and terms of a typical contract, including the purposes behind them. Students will learn to draft precisely. Students then will dissect and examine a range of contracts used in business relationships (e.g., business formations, employment, real estate transactions, mergers/acquisitions) to evaluate drafting techniques and decisions in specific transactions. Finally, the students will use the knowledge they've gained to ink a deal.

Dealmaking in the Entertainment Industry (2 units)

This course will explore the legal and business issues that arise in connection with the development, production and exploitation of theatrical motion pictures and television/streaming programs. This includes the negotiation of the terms of literary purchase agreements and above-the-line talent agreements; the challenges of the changing landscape of media companies and exploitation platforms; and the impact of copyright issues.

Digital Media Transactions (2 units)

The course will focus on the business, legal, and financial issues that relate to the creation, financing, and exploitation of digital media, including TV, shorts, mobile, virtual reality, influencers, and merchandising. In addition, the business, corporate, structuring, and tax issues (as opposed to intellectual property issues) will be explored.

Music Law in Practice Law (2 units)

This course will provide students with the necessary skills to practice music law. They will learn the unique challenges of talent representation including client acquisition and keeping clients satisfied. Students will develop the ability to read, analyze and advise these clients through the use of real world contracts. Topics covered will range from the basics of an artist's team to record deals and publishing agreements to how royalty streams flow from services like Spotify to the artist. We will make these issues concrete with discussions of real world events.

Negotiation Skills (2 units)

This course is designed to: (1) develop your understanding of negotiation, and your awareness of yourself as a negotiator; (2) give you some tools and concepts for preparing for and analyzing negotiations; (3) enhance your negotiating skills through frequent role plays, reflection and feedback; and (4) teach you how to keep learning from your own negotiating experience.

Courses used toward a degree completed at another university may not be applied toward this certificate.

If you are a degree-seeking student, your certificate credits also count toward the 21 units required for the online MSL degree or online LLM degree.

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