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>>Entertainment Law Seminar

 28th Annual


October 15 – 17, 2020

New Orleans


Central Daylight Time [CDT]

“Songs – Publishing – Trademark – Films – Transactional Issues”

Covering Recording Contracts, Publishing Contracts, Termination of Transfer, Copyrights, Neighboring Rights, Entrepreneur Crowdfunding (JOBS Act), Filmmakers Agreements, VR/Interactive laws,

This course is approved for a total of 13.5 hour(s) of credit, including 1.00 hour(s) of ethics, 1.00 hour(s) of professionalism, and 1.00 hour(s) of law office practice by the MCLE Committee of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

10:00 – 11:00 AM  [CDT]       Professionalism – The Ornery Adversary [Legal/ CLE 1.0 cr. hr.]

What do you do when the attorney on the other side is unprofessional, nasty, or simply impossible? What do you do when you have an adversary who stalls, doesn’t return calls, or delays matters? How do you get the most out of your negotiation? How do you save a deal from going south?


  • Judith DeFraites, Esq., New Orleans, LA
  • David Dalia, Esq., New Orleans, LA

11:15 – 12:30 PM   [CDT]      Negotiating Recording Agreements [Legal/ CLE 1.25 cr. hr.]

This panel will cover legal issues that arise when an artist and recording company negotiates to make or release a sound recording, including the ownership structure, income streams, standard agreements, and potential contractual enhancements.


  • Marc D. Stollman, Esq., Stollman Law PA, Boca Raton, FL (Moderator)      
  • Edgar “Dino” Gankendoff, Esq., Provosty & Gankendoff, LLC, NOLA 
  • Michael Olsen, Esq., President, eOne Records Nashville
  • Wallace Collins, Esq., New York, NY

12:45 – 2:00 PM     [CDT]            LIVE Entertainment in a less live world [Legal/ CLE 1.25 cr. hr.]

Navigating Force Majeure and other pandemic issues


  • Marc D. Stollman, Esq., Stollman Law PA, Boca Raton, FL
  • James Sammataro, Esq., Pryor Cashman LLP, Miami 
  • Frank Nicotera, Esq., Summerfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Edgar “Dino” Gankendoff, Esq., Provosty & Gankendoff, LLC, NOLA

2:15 – 3:30 PM    [CDT]              A Practical Look at Recent Court Decisions in Film and TV Production [Legal/CLE 1.0 cr. hr.]


Stan Soocher, Esq. Educator, Author, Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment Law & Finance, Denver, CO

3:45 – 5:00 PM     [CDT]             “The Music Modernization Act: Mechanicals and Performances”

Title 1 of the Music Modernization Act of 2008 made significant changes in the areas of interactive streaming and limited and permanent download collections and distributions as well as the rate setting process of the performing rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI. This panel will discuss the creation of the Music Licensing Collective (the MLC), its governance and committees, the newly created blanket compulsory license for digital music providers and the importance of the Data Quality Initiative (DQI) in the creation of a definitive public database of musical works. In addition, the Copyright Royalty Board interactive streaming rates for the period 2018-2022 as well as the appeal of those rates by the DSPs will be reviewed. Finally, the  major changes of the MMA as to how ASCAP and BMI license fees are arrived at in the future as well as a review of what those rates mean in dollars to writers and publishers will be addressed.


  • Jeff Brabec, Esq., Senior Vice President Legal and Business Affairs BMG/ Co-author of “Music, Money and Success”/ Board member of the MLC
  • Todd Brabec, Esq., former ASCAP Executive Vice President/ Co-author “Music, Money and Success”

Friday, October 16, 2020

[The Vernon P. Thomas Ethics Panel – Dedicated to the Memory of the Cutting Edge CE Conferences and Events Co-Founder]

10:00 – 11:00 AM  [CDT]       Ethics This panel will cover rules of professional conduct and Social Justice areas. [Legal/CLE 1.0 cr. hr.] 


  • Judith DeFraites, Esq., New Orleans, LA
  • Nadine Ramsey, Esq., New Orleans, LA
  • Tim Kappel, Esq., Pierson Wells, New Orleans, LA
  • Vernon W. Thomas, Esq. New Orleans, LA

11:15 – 12:30 PM   [CDT]      Registering cannabis trademarks. If cannabis is federally illegal why are we even talking about this? [Legal/ CLE 1.25 cr. hr.]

Trademarks are source identifiers. Cannabis is a controlled substance. Controlled substances cannot lawfully be introduced into interstate commerce. Panelists will address cannabis trademark issues including controlled substances, “plant-touching,” the 2018 Farm Bill, FDA obstacles, best practices, and strategies for registering cannabis trademarks “around the edges.” 


  • Suzette Toledano, Esq., Toledano Entertainment & Arts Law, New Orleans, LA
  • Stephanie Adwar, Esq., Furgang Adwar, LLP, New York, NY
  • Mary Shapiro, Esq. Evoke Law, PC, San Francisco, CA


12:45 – 1:45 PM  [CDT]      Royalties in the Streaming Era: The ever-expanding income sources for music creatives – and where to find them [Legal/ CLE 1.5 cr. hr.]

In today’s digital music economy, the creator is king, and the streaming world is the ever-expanding kingdom. The RIAA reports that the U.S. recorded music industry grew by 13% in 2019, to $11.1 billion, with streaming accounting for 80% of total revenue. And yet, many music creatives are unsure about how to fully optimize their earning potential. With the Music Modernization Act taking effect in 2021, what do artists, managers and attorneys need to know to identify these revenue streams and get paid. DISCUSSION TOPICS:

§         How streaming has changed the income model for artists

§          The impact of the Music Modernization Act and Mechanical Licensing Collective

§          Top royalty stream categories – where to find and how to register

§          Revenue streams that are often neglected – best options to supplement artist income

§          Evolution of streaming and royalty tracking/payment over the next five years

§          Potential impact on record label, publishing and distribution deals

§          Raising capital: Song royalty/catalog sales versus royalty-based financing


  • Alex Heiche, Founder and CEO, Sound Royalties
  • Serona Elton, Head of Education Partnerships, The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)

2:00 – 3:15 PM    [CDT]               “Music Licensing in Today’s World: A Changing Landscape” [Legal/ CLE 1.25 cr. hr.]

With the use of music across all platforms at an all-time high, the contracts, licenses, negotiations, considerations, fees, and “backend royalties” reflecting these uses have entered a new realm of complexity and long-term significance. This panel will discuss how these music deals are structured and how the “economics” has, in many cases, changed dramatically for writers and publishers.

Areas covered include, among others,  the multiple types of traditional television and film licenses, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney audio-visual streaming services, Spotify and Pandora audio streams, ASCAP, BMI, GMR and SESAC agreements, distribution formulas and royalties, mechanicals in multiple configurations, movies being made into Broadway musicals, dramatizing songs for feature films and television series, holograms, video games and more.


  • Jeff Brabec, Esq., Senior Vice President Legal and Business Affairs BMG and co-author “Music, Money and Success”
  • Todd Brabec, Esq., former ASCAP EVP and co-author “Music, Money and Success”
  • Richard Perna, Music Entrepreneur, former VP/COO Hamstein Music, founder and CEO Evergreen Copyrights

3:30 – 5:00 PM    [CDT]              Film Agreements and the Making of the Buddy Holly Biography Film [Legal/ CLE 1.5 cr. hr.]

Covering the agreements and negotiations of a music legend biography film.


  • Darryl Cohen, Esq. Cohen, Cooper Estep & Allen, Atlanta, GA (Moderator)
  • Richard “Rick” French, CEO, French/West/Vaughan, Filmmaker, Board Member, Buddy Holly Foundation
  • Christoper Szapary, Esq, Provosty & Gankendoff, LLC, New Orleans, LA   
  • Stephen J. Easley, Esq., Law Office of Stephen J. Easley, Esq.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

10:00 – 11:00 AM  [CDT]       Legal Practice Management: Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Successful Entertainment Law Practice [Legal/ CLE 1.0 cr. hr.]

New Orleans has become a hub for music, film and TV industries, but what does it mean for an attorney and independent music and filmmaking clients. This panel will walk you through maintaining communication with clients, client funds management, and making sure the filmmaker/client engagement letters are correct. Review user-generated content rights and procedures with filmmaker clients. Establishing a disbursement system for staff fees payment. Review intellectual property agreements, tax credit financing incentives, and distribution.


  • David Dalia, Esq., New Orleans, LA (Moderator)
  • Vernon W. Thomas, Esq. Law Offices of Vernon P. Thomas, New Orleans, LA
  • Tim Kappel, Esq. Pierson Wells, New Orleans, LA

11:15 – 12:45 PM   [CST]      Rock and Roll Estates: Death Doesn’t End a Career [Legal/ CLE 1.50 cr. hr.]

The job of an entertainment lawyer does not end at a rock and roll client’s death, it just becomes a whole lot more complex.  Probate, Intestacy, Taxes, Contested Wills, Biopics, and Endless Litigation, are just a few of the new areas of the law to learn.  For years we have known that death doesn’t end a recording career, as record companies continue to mine the vaults, while the music lives on in ads, movies and television, but with Hologram technology, we now even have touring careers.  Our experts break down some of the after life challenges faced by counsel to Estates and family and friends are left when a star joins the heavenly choir.


  • Stephen J. Easley, Esq., Law Office of Stephen J. Easley, Esq.,
  • Richard Perna, Music Entrepreneur, former VP/COO Hamstein Music, founder and CEO Evergreen Copyrights
  • Kenneth J Abdo, Esq., Fox Rothschild, Minneapolis, MN
  • Neville L. Johnson, Esq., Beverly Hills, CA

Join us at 28th Cutting Edge Conference | COMING SOON!