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Remarks from the Chair

By Judith B. Prowda

There have been several exciting new developments this spring. One of EASL's most pressing themes is diversity. In response to President Vincent Doyle's initiative, EASL was among the first Sections to form a Diversity Challenge Team, initially comprised of Anne Atkinson, Rakhi Bahadkar, Elissa Hecker, Jessica Thaler, Rosemarie Tully and myself. As a member of the House of Delegates, I was thrilled to hear our Section lauded for our commitment to diversity at the House of Delegates meeting on June 25th.

We were already focusing our attention to diversity, creating a Diversity Committee in early spring, chaired by Anne Atkinson. Anne was recently appointed as Co-Chair of the Membership & Diversity Committee, which has been split into two Committees, with Rosemarie Tully and Jessica Thaler as Co-Chairs of the Membership Committee and Anne as Chair of the Diversity Committee. Anne will be building on her experience on the Executive Committee of the NYSBA Corporate Counsel Section, where she has been involved in diversity initiatives. Rosemarie and Jessica will continue in their roles building membership, which continues to grow as attorneys recognize the enormous value of EASL in their practices. In the coming year, we will be developing a comprehensive diversity plan, including expanding diversity of Section membership through CLE programs and other events such as networking opportunities. We are committed to participating fully in President Doyle's Diversity Challenge and welcome your ideas of how we can achieve our goals. Throughout the spring, the Section has held numerous programs of importance. An excellent double-feature on entertainment law was held in May. Professor Stan Soocher of the University of Colorado, Denver, presented two informative and lively programs. On May 16th he discussed legal developments in the film and television industries in a program organized by the Motion Pictures Committee (Steve Rodner and Mary Ann Zimmer, Co-Chairs) and the Television & Radio Committee (Pamela Jones and Barry Skidelsky, Co-Chairs). The following week, Professor Soocher delivered his essential lecture, "Entertainment Law - Year in Review", at our Spring Meeting on May 24th, which was organized by EASL Program Co-Chair Tracey Greco Meyer.
Our Theatre and Performing Arts Committee (Diane Krausz and Jason Baruch, Co-Chairs) hosted a program on June 20th, entitled "Revisiting Form D - Theatrical Offerings and What You Need to know," featuring attorneys Gary Emmanuel and Mark Beigelman. This event was held at UBS.

In April, our Fine Arts Committee, which I chair, organized a behind the scenes tour of Sotheby's, Inc., where we met with auction house specialists and toured the American Art and Photography exhibits. The following month, we held a panel, entitled "Fair Use and Visual Art: Recent Developments," which I moderated. This was a lively and engaging discussion on two recent cases focusing on copyright infringement and fair use involving photographers and visual artists: Patrick Cariou v. Richard Prince, Gagosian Gallery, Inc., Lawrence Gagosian, and Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29070 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2011); and Shepard Fairey and Obey Giant Art v. The Associated Press, Civil Action No.: 09-01234, filed 2/9/09 (S.D.N.Y.). Panelists included Judith B. Bass (Law Office of Judith B. Bass), Daniel Brooks (Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP), Meir Feder (Jones Day), and Claudia Ray (Kirkland & Ellis LLP).

The following month, the EASL Lawyers in Transition Committee (Leila Amineddoleh, Stephanie Khalifa, Co-Chairs) joined forces with the Fine Arts Committee to offer an informative program on cultural heritage property, entitled "A Snapshot of Cultural Heritage Property Law." This popular event featured Evan Barr (Steptoe & Johnson), Darlene Fairman (Herrick Feinstein) James McAndrew (former Senior Special Agent with U.S. Department of Homeland Security and currently Forensic Specialist at the law firm of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP); and Jane Levine (Senior Vice President and Worldwide Director of Compliance for Sotheby's).
In late spring we participated in a full day joint CLE program co-sponsored by EASL, the Intellectual Property Section and the NYSBA Committee on Continuing Legal Education. This program, entitled "Putting it Together: An Introduction to Entertainment Law Practice," was co-chaired by Diane Krausz and Kimberly Ayers Shariff (Chair, EASL's In-House Counsel Committee). Among the featured participants in this program were Howard Siegel (Former Chair), Stephen B. Rodner (Co-Chair, EASL's Motion Picture Committee), Marc Jacobson (Founding Chairman), Carla Miller (Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, Universal Music Group), Tom Ostertag (Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Major League Baseball), Stanley Pierre-Louis (Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property & Content Protection, Viacom Inc. and Co-Chair, EASL Litigation Committee), Lesley Rosenthal (Vice President and General Counsel, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.), Mark Merriman (Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz, P.C.), Carter Ann McGowan (Sendroff and Baruch, LLP), and Hal Lieberman (Hinshaw and Culbertson, LP). The panels were expertly moderated by Rosemarie Tully (Vice Chair), Kimberly Ayers Shariff, Diane Krausz and Jason Baruch.

Our partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) continues to blossom. On June 25th, the Pro Bono Committee provided speakers from the EASL Section for NYFA's Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp on copyright, contract, and trademark law, and organized breakout groups for various arts disciplines. Future collaborations between EASL and NYFA will include a program on Insurance Law Issues for NYFA's BUILD Program recipients (grant to help dance companies increase their administrative capacities) and pro bono litigations. EASL is also running a Pro Bono Clinic on August 10th for qualifying NYFA members. (Please see the Pro Bono Update for details).

On a more social note, Jessica Thaler, Co-Chair of our Membership & Diversity Committee, organized a splendid wine tasting at Villa Berulia in Manhattan in June. The restaurant paired a different wine with each of five courses. It was such a success that we will be holding similar events in the future.

It's an ongoing pleasure to welcome new liaisons from the Young Lawyers Section for the 2011-2012 term - Ethan Boardman, Jaimie Glover and Rakhi Bahadkar. This makes a grand total of five YLS liaisons, including Jason Aylesworth and Ezgi Kaya for the 2010-2011 term. Our enthusiastic Young Lawyers Liaison Committee organized a first ever Bowl and Mingle event on May 16th, which almost instantaneously sold out and was a rousing success. It was great fun, but please don't ask me my score!

Looking forward to the fall, we have a number of terrific events already in the works. A fabulous CLE program on financing in the sports and entertainment industries will be held during the week of September 19th. Speakers include a sports banker and an entertainment banker, a lender's counsel and a borrower's counsel. Jessica Thaler, who organized the outstanding panel, will also serve as Moderator.

Of course, the fall would not be complete without our Fall Program. Stay tuned for details about our events

In closing, I note several transitions in the Executive Committee. Bennett Liebman will be leaving his position as Co-Chair of the Legislation Committee in order to accept a position in State government. Bennett has been a steady and reliable EASL resource in Albany for many years, with extraordinary insight into legislative matters. Bennett has also served on the House of Delegates with distinction. Hopefully, Bennett will continue in his role as District Representative from the Third Judicial District. Tracey Greco Meyer stepped down as Program Co-Chair after five years of excellent service. We wish her well in her new position as Corporate Counsel and Director, Product Compliance at Ross Stores, Inc. I also acknowledge our outgoing Program Co-Chair Rachel DeLetto, who did such a fabulous job on the 2010 CMJ-EASL Fall Program. Our new Program Co-Chairs are Diane Krausz and our Liaison from the Young Lawyers Section, Ethan Boardman. Another wonderful addition to our Executive Committee is Judith B. Bass as Co-Chair of EASL's Literary Works Committee with Ken Swezey. In addition, our energetic and resourceful Law Student Liaison from Cardozo, Irina Tarsis, has been appointed as Litigation Coordinator for EASL's Pro Bono Committee, replacing Monica Pa, who stepped down early this year to accept a position at Disney in Los Angeles.

Finally, I thank our trusted liaisons in Albany, Dan McMahon and Leslie Scully, who have worked alongside many of us for the past year and a half. Although they are sadly leaving us as liaisons, they will fortunately continue to work with us on publications. We look forward to a productive relationship with Tiffany Bardwell, our new Section Liaison. Warm welcome to Ethan, Irina, Judy and Tiffany!

I hope to see many of you at our events in the fall! Please continue to e-mail me your ideas at judithprowda@aol.com.

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