Entertainment Headline Sports Law

University of Miami’s 15th Annual Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium Co-Hosted by the Miami Marlins

What: University of Miami School of Law 15th Annual Entertainment & Sports Law Symposium Co-Hosted by the Miami Marlins

When: Saturday, April 14, 2012

Where: Marlins Park, 501 Marlins Way, Miami, Florida 33125


Breakfast, registration, and opening remarks will occur before the start of the symposium.

PANEL I: 8:40AM – 9:40AM (this is the panel that I will be speaking on)

Protecting Your Client’s Image: The Use of Intellectual Property Law to Represent a Client’s Business and Personal Interests

High profile athletes, musicians, actors, teams, and other entities in the entertainment and sports fields often require the effective use of intellectual property law to protect their business and personal interests. Whether a song is taken unlawfully for a commercial or movie, an athlete’s likeness is used in an advertisement without permission, or a team logo is printed illegally on merchandise, an attorney plays an important role in making sure that his client’s property remains in its control.

This panel will explore the issues that attorneys practicing intellectual property law face in their work in the entertainment and sports industries. Panelists will discuss copyright and trademark protection as well as rights of publicity among other topics. How do we deal with copyright terminations? What can be done to protect the likeness of a celebrity? What are the best methods to avoid litigation? The goal of the panel will be to give the audience an understanding of the laws that can be used to protect the many types of clients in the entertainment and sports industries.

PANEL II: 9:50AM – 10:50AM

Leveraging Social Media: Best Social Media Practices for the Entertainment and Sports Industries

Web 2.0 and the emergence of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare have changed the way that producers of entertainment and sports interact with consumers of entertainment and sports. From athletes and actors to studios and sports leagues, there is an increasing importance to engage the fan outside of the main product. What are the effective ways to do this? How should an entertainment and sports entity structure their business in the new social media age? What should fans expect in the future?

The goal of this panel is to examine the different ways that social media is being used by entertainers, athletes, teams, leagues, film studios, and other entities in the entertainment and sports industries. Engaging with fans is easy and effective, and creative strategies can produce a positive connection with the entertainment and sports entity. It will also be important to examine the legal pitfalls arising from social media.

PANELS III: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

The Year of Copyright Recapture: Analyzing the Music Industry’s Response to a Change of Control in Ownership Rights 

In 2013, sections 203 and 304 of Title 17 of the United States Code will go into effect after years of being inactive. This body of code contains our copyright laws, and the new provisions will allow for what is commonly referred to as “copyright recapture” or “termination of transfer.” The new sections will allow musicians to regain rights to sound recordings that they had transferred to record labels, and it effects transfers that occurred at least thirty-five years after 1978 – thus, the importance of 2013.

This panel will analyze the effect that “copyright recapture” will have on the music industry. There is the potential for legal battles over the ownership of very lucrative recordings, and musicians such as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty have already filed papers to regain the rights to their music. The goal of the panel will be to explain the process that musicians must take under these new sections, the effects on the record labels, and the further change that this new law will create in the music industry.

PANELS IV: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Professional and International Sports: The Role of Mediation, Arbitration, and Negotiation in Labor Issues

Quite frequently, the best method for resolving a legal dispute is not costly and time-consuming litigation, and alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) is used precisely when the parties desire to avoid litigation. Through common methods such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation, athletes, teams, leagues, and international organizations have settled many labor issues. Often, collective bargaining is the labor issue garnering the most attention, but ADR is used for many other situations from determining an athlete’s salary to disciplining him or her for league violations.

This panel will examine ADR and its role in the labor issues that face professional and international sports. Panelists will discuss their experiences in mediation, arbitration, and negotiation and give the audience an understanding of positives and negatives of ADR. The recent labor negotiations in MLB, the NFL, and the NBA will be analyzed to compare and contrast the effective use of ADR. The goal of the panel will be to analyze the various ADR methods and their efficacy in the many scenarios that they are used.


The Stadium as a Center for Entertainment and Sports: An Overview of the Business and Legal Issues That Arise in Event Planning at the Modern Stadium

For as long as they have existed, stadiums have been used for multiple purposes from hosting our favorite sports teams to displaying our favorite musicians and artists. The modern day stadium is no different, and there are many business and legal issues that arise in planning events at the modern stadium. Effective ticket sales, fan security, and the event-day experience are just some of the relevant issues facing stadium operators.

This panel will give an overview of the most relevant business and legal issues that arise when a stadium hosts events. Panelists will discuss their experiences in planning and executing games and concerts while highlighting successes and failures. The goal of the panel is to give the audience an understanding of the most important issues that are faced in successfully utilizing the modern stadium for the benefit of fans, businesses, and the stadium owners.

PANEL V: 2:00PM – 3:00PM

From the Television Screen to the Computer Screen: Distributing Entertainment and Sports Content in Today’s Digital Age

Today, we consume our content differently than ever before, and the methods seem to be changing rapidly. Shows, movies, and sporting events can all be enjoyed on our televisions, computer screens, and phones, and this leads to new legal and business issues regarding the distribution of this content. How much should it cost? Who owns it? Should it be shared? These are among the many questions that face production studios, leagues, and other entities.

This panel will analyze the different ways that our entertainment and sports content is being provided and the business and legal ramifications of these strategies. Panelists will examine the present and the future states of these distribution channels by highlighting issues such as rising costs of content ownership, increased piracy, and protection of ownership rights. The goal of the panel is to give the audience a sampling of the different approaches that can be taken to share an entity’s content with its audience and the positive and negative effects of these approaches.



The Following Speakers Are Confirmed 

Jeff Gewirtz: Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment – Brooklyn, New York

Michael Yormark: President and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Panthers – South Florida

Derek Jackson: Vice President and General Counsel, Miami Marlins

Kathleen Carignan: Executive Director, LegalArt

Brad Rose: Partner, Pryor Cashman LLP

Steven Olenick: Associate, Davis & Gilbert LLP

Jaime Vining: Partner, Friedland Vining P.A.

Darren Heitner: Associate, Wolfe Law Miami, P.A.

Alan Fertel: Partner, Boyd & Jenerette

David Canter: President and Chief Executive Officer, DEC Management

Billy Corben: Director, Producer, and Founder of rakontur

Andrew Fine: Managing Director of Sports Media Consulting, RLR Associates

David Bercuson: Law Offices of David Bercuson, P.A.

Leslie Zigel: Partner, ZIGLAW

Stephen Carlisle: Stephen M. Carlisle, P.A.

Serona Elton: Assistant Professor of Music Business & Entertainment Industries, University of Miami

Dennis Curran: Senior Vice President & General Counsel, National Football League

Stephen Starks: Legal Affairs Director, United States Anti-Doping Agency

Scott Shapiro: Praver Shapiro Sports Management, Founder

Mike Santos: Assistant General Manager, Florida Panthers

Tony Agnone: Owner, Eastern Athletic Services

Jan Paulsson: Professor, University of Miami School of Law

Yaphett Powell: Director, Business & Legal Affairs, International & Emerging TV Networks, FOX – Los Angeles, California

David Schwartz: Vice President & Counsel, The Walt Disney Company

Karyn Smith-Forge: Vice President of Programming, FOX Television Studios

Fred Goldring: Founder, Goldring Strategies

Jose Sariego: Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, HBO Latin America Group

A brochure, which includes registration for the event, is embedded below.

ESLS Symposium brochure

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.