Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Michael M. Epstein

Michael M. Epstein

Professor of Law and Supervising Editor of the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law

B.A., English and History, 1983, Columbia College; J.D., Columbia University, 1987; M.A., 1992, and Ph.D., 1998, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan; Member, Michigan, New Jersey and New York State Bars

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6774
Office: BW307

An aspiring journalist in college, Michael Epstein turned to law when a research project for a PBS documentary series on the U.S. Constitution put him in contact with some of the leading lawyers in the country. While in law school, the two interests blended well, leading him to serve as Book Review editor of Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Later, he received a Public Interest Law Foundation Fellowship and served an internship at the Media Access Project in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, he joined the law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood in New York City as an associate focusing on media mergers and acquisitions, as well as bank refinancing, leveraged leasing and alternative energy projects. Later, with the firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, he expanded his areas of practice to include bankruptcy, corporate and real estate law and lobbying efforts before Congress and federal agencies on behalf of clients.

"The media has an enormous amount of power related to technology, economics and content - a fascinating interrelationship that I enjoy exploring with my students."

Professor Epstein returned to academia to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, and while a graduate student, received his first teaching assignments in the University of Michigan's Departments of Anthropology, Communication, English Language and Literature and in the Program in American Culture. He later taught courses on media law and theory, communication and society, and television industry and regulation at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Professor Epstein joined the Southwestern faculty in 1999. He serves as a faculty advisor to the Media Law Forum and the Entertainment and Sports Law Society and assists students in arranging entertainment law externships. He is the author of numerous articles and his current research interests include communications law, access to electronic media, television industry and entertainment culture. He points out, "The media has an enormous amount of power related to technology, economics and content - a fascinating interrelationship that I enjoy exploring with my students."


Books and Chapters

MASS MEDIA LAW: A SURVEY OF CONTENT AND CULTURE (Vandeplas Publishing (preliminary edition), 2013)

Quality Control: The Daily Show, the Peabody and Brand Discipline in QUALITY TELEVISION: CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN TELEVISION AND BEYOND (J. McCabe and K. Akass, eds.; with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; I.B. Tauris, 2007)

The Mouth from the South: A Cultural Assessment of Ted Turner in THE COLUMBIA HISTORY OF TELEVISION (G. Edgerton, ed.; with J. Reeves; Columbia University Press, 2007)

From Scarcity to Market Power Quid Pro Quo: Toward a Workable Right of Access in U.S. Media in MEDIA OWNERSHIP: RESEARCH AND REGULATION (R. Rice, ed.; Hampton Press, 2006)

Surviving the Hit: Will HBO Sing After The Sopranos? in READING THE SOPRANOS: HIT TV FROM HBO (D. Lavery, ed.; with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; I.B. Tauris, 2006)

From Must-See-TV to Branded Counter-Programming: Syndicating 'Seinfeld' in MASTER OF ITS DOMAIN: REVISITING SEINFELD (with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; Continuum, 2005)

From Scarcity to Market Power Quid Pro Quo: Toward a Workable Right of Access in U.S. Media in MEDIA OWNERSHIP: RESEARCH AND REGULATION (Hampton Press, 2005)

Surviving the Hit: HBO's Brand Equity after 'The Sopranos' in READING THE SOPRANOS: CAN THIS BE THE END OF TONY SOPRANO? (with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; I.B. Tauris, 2005)

"Media Consolidation: What Now?" in ANNUAL EDITIONS IN MASS MEDIA, 10TH ED. (McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2003)

Examining Ethics: Regulating the Internet in MEDIA AND CULTURE: AN INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION (St. Martin's Press, 2000; revised 2002)

Fred W. Friendly in SCRIBNER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN LIVES (Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002)

License-U.S. Broadcast Policy in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TELEVISION (1996; revised 2002)

The Midwest Video Case - U.S. Legal Decisions, Cable Television in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TELEVISION (1996; revised 2002)

'Pretty Woman,' Rap, and Copyright Law: The Case of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music in MEDIA AND CULTURE: AN INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION (St. Martin's Press, 2000; revised 2002)

The Sopranos as HBO Brand Equity: The Art of Commerce in an Age of Digital eproduction in THIS THING OF OURS: INVESTIGATING THE SOPRANOS (with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; Columbia University Press, 2002)

Rewriting Popularity: The Cult Files in DENY ALL KNOWLEDGE: READING THE X-FILES (with M. Rogers and J. Reeves; Syracuse University Press, 1996) reprinted in SIGNS OF LIFE IN THE USA (Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 2001)

Masculine Space in the Mentor-Apprentice Courtroom Dramas of the 1960s in PRIME TIME LAWYERS (Carolina Academic Press, 1998)

Television Industry in GROLIER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA (1998)

Young Lawyers in PRIME TIME LAW: FICTIONAL TELEVISION AS LEGAL NARRATIVE (Carolina Academic Press, 1998)


Mutiny on the Pirate Ship: Indigenous Infringement and the Development of a Media Asset, 21 MICHIGAN STATE INTERNATIONAL LAW REVIEW 631 (2013)


Diversity and Localism as Content-Neutral Metric: Creating a Practical Balance between Media Access and Market Power, 35 HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW (2007)

Spectrum Set-Asides as Content-Neutral Metric:  Creating a Practical Balance Between Media Access and Market Power, 35 HOFSTRA LAW REVIEW (2007)

Broadcast Technology as Diversity Opportunity: Exchanging Market Power for Multiplexed Signal Set-Asides, 59 FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS LAW JOURNAL 1 (December 2006)

Eyes Off the Prize: Copyright Clearance and the Disappearance of One of Television's Cultural Treasures, 36:3 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 12 (2006)

Has Celebrity Been Federalized?: Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act as a Substitute for the Right of Publicity, MEDAI LAW RESOURCE CENTER BULLETIN, 21 (with D. Kohler and R. Lind; 2004)

Law and the Supernatural: How One Film's Truth Compulsion Conceit Critiques and Redeems the Post-O.J. Lawyer, 26 VERMONT LAW REVIEW (2004)

Law in Film/Film in Law, 28 VERMONT LAW REVIEW 797 (2004)

Primary Video and its Secondary Effects on Digital Broadcasting: Cable Carriage of Multiplexed Signals under the 1992 Cable Act and the First Amendment, 87 MARQUETTE LAW REVIEW 525 (2004)

For and Against the People: Television's Prosecutor Image and the Cultural Power of the Legal Profession,"34 THE UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO LAW REVIEW 817 (2003)

From Willy to Perry Mason: The Hegemony of the Lawyer Statesman in 1950s Television, 53 SYRACUSE LAW REVIEW 1201 (2003)

Victorian Divorce Anxiety and the Lawyer-Statesman in Fin-de-Siecle Advertising, Literature, and Debate, 14 CARDOZO STUDIES IN LAW AND LITERATURE 207 (2002)

Media Consolidation What Now?, 32 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 42 (2002)

Judging Judy, Mablean, and Mills: How Courtroom Programs Use Law to Parade Private Lives to Mass Audiences, 8 UCLA ENTERTAINMENT LAW REVIEW 129 (2001)

TV Journalism Under Attack!, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (September 2001)

Go Westinghouse, Young Man!, 31 Television Quarterly 41 (2000)

Breaking the Celluloid Celing: Ally McBeal and the Women Attorneys Who Paved Her Way, 30 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 28 (1999)

Lawyers and Justice on CNN World Report: A Comparative Analysis Proceedings of the International Mass Communications Symposium, 78 TEXAS TECH (1999)

The Case for Trials on Television: What's the Verdict?, 28 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 60 (1997)

Spaced out: The Star Trek Literary Phenomenon: Boldly Going Where No Series Has Gone Before, 28 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 47 (1996)

The Evolving Lawyer Image on Television, 27 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 18 (1994)

Book Review of William W. Fisher III's Promises to Keep: Technology, Law and the Future of Entertainment, 46 JURIMETRICS JOURNAL 227 (2006)

Book Review of Nancy Grace and Diane Clehane's Objection! How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, and a 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Criminal Defense System, 36:1 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 75 (2005)

Book Review, American Broadcasting And The First Amendment: Another Look, 31 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 83 (Charles Tillinghast, 2001)

Review and Comment, You Say You Want A Revolution: A Story Of Information Age Politics, 31 TELEVISION QUARTERLY 83 (Reed Hundt, 2000)