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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Television and Digital Media: Business and Production Issues (Fall 2017)

  • Course Number: LAW-654
  • Class Number: 03285
  • Instructor: Adam Hime

Course Description

This course examines the legal and business considerations that regularly arise in the context of television and digital media production and exhibition.  Students will design and implement best practices through practical “hands on” application of legal principles in the context of real projects, case studies, drafting workshops, and dispute resolution scenarios. We will examine the issues that typically arise across multiple genres, including dramatic scripted, non-scripted, live events and sketch comedy.

Students evaluate and draft appearance releases, location agreements, production services agreements, and third-party intellectual property licenses, to constructively minimize legal risk without materially compromising the creative vision of the project. To supplement drafting exercises, the students will study cases arising from the production and/or exhibition of television and audio/visual material to identify risk and develop potential prospective remedial action, including best practices.   

The legal issues we examine will draw upon principles the students should be familiar with from their first year curriculum (including contracts and torts) but will also require a fundamental understanding of intellectual property (either as a pre-requisite or co-requisite).  We will focus on several issues that often impact production and exhibition of television and digital media content including:

  • Rights of Privacy (including intrusion, public disclosure of private facts, hidden camera, news gathering, and surreptitious voice recording);
  • Rights of Publicity (including a substantive evaluation of commercial and editorial speech);
  • Defamation (including libel in fiction and first amendment considerations)
  • Copyright (including third party licensing, fair use, and de minimis use);
  • Trademark (including clearance, licensing, and nominative use);
  • Safety, security, Illegal, hazardous, or nefarious subject matter; and
  • Indemnification and Insurance.

Regular attendance and participation is critical to success in this course.  

The instructor is a graduate of the Gould School of Law at USC, a veteran entertainment attorney and Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at Viacom Media Networks (parent company to MTV, Comedy Central, BET, and Nickelodeon).    

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 2
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: T 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm
  • Room Number: Room 103
  • Exam: In-class exam
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: no
  • Participation: Required
  • Pre-requisites: A fundamental understanding of intellectual property (either as a pre-requisite or co-requisite).