Introduction by Professor Ben Depoorter to the Spring 2016 UC Hastings Magazine.
As anyone active in the field will tell you, entertainment law is one of the most exciting areas of legal practice.
Ask yourself: In what other law school class did you listen to the Beastie Boys, watch Hollywood movie trailers, and witness Supreme Court justices struggle to find the deeper meaning of a vulgar rap song?
But entertainment law never disappoints on another level as well: It is a rapidly evolving and fascinating area of practice. One fundamental undercurrent that makes this area of law so compelling is technological change. New technologies constantly reshape the way entertainment is created, distributed, and consumed. Every new advancement, from the printing press to cloud computing, presents opportunities, but they also pose challenges to copyright holders. How do they protect their content and enforce their rights? Each time a new development breaks barriers, scholars, lawyers, courts, and policymakers must confront novel legal questions.
While New York City and Los Angeles are the domes- tic entertainment mainstays, the Bay Area has become the third epicenter of the entertainment industry. Silicon Valley’s technology companies and intermediaries continue to transform the creation, storage, and distribution of media products. Here, right at UC Hastings’ doorsteps, are the entrepreneurial activities that are creating the issues at the forefront of entertainment law litigation.
The features in these pages showcase the talent and dedication of several alumni in the entertainment industry. Their stories vividly illustrate the range of legal issues now surfacing in the field of entertainment law.
Included in these pages are a profile of Kelley Drye & Warren, a top entertainment law firm that counts several alumni in its ranks, and a piece on three prominent alumni—Peter Martin Nelson ’79, Matthew Thompson ’91, and Harris Tulchin ’78—who work in different aspects of the film business. The interview with Thomas Mesereau ’79 illustrates how high-wired criminal defense work can be a headline-making part of representing creative artists. Features on Nestor Barrero ’84, who handles employment law issues for NBCUniversal, and Nancy Tellem ’78, who left CBS entertainment for new media, help reveal how many distinct opportunities exist for attorneys interested in entertainment law. And a profile of Kae Hope Echiverri Ranoa ’10, who is both a lawyer and a hip-hop artist, shows just how multifaceted these new career paths can be.
Although the alumni here represent wildly different facets of entertainment lawyering, they have one key thing in common: UC Hastings gave them the foundation to become leaders in this dynamic field.
- Professor Ben Depoorter