Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

January 28, 2009
Studios Turn to Southwestern Students for IP Analysis

Entertainment externs help Lionsgate and other studios review hundreds of agreements

As more entertainment content is being made available on the Internet, studios have to determine whether they have the necessary intellectual property rights to digitally deliver their products to consumers. Making this determination requires time-consuming analysis of the specific rights granted to the studio in hundreds of agreements for the use of music and literary works, as well as the names and likenesses of talent.

Local studios, including Lionsgate, have enlisted the services of a large cadre of Southwestern Law School students to analyze these agreements. In the past, entertainment conglomerates such as MGM have assigned Southwestern externs to help with the rights analysis of numerous contracts. Currently, some studios have found it necessary to engage in an analysis of the digital rights associated with their catalog of motion pictures and are finding Southwestern to be a rich source of eager and well-trained externs for the job.

Southwestern alumni Wayne Levin '88 and David Nonaka '99 from Lionsgate Entertainment were proactive in working with Southwestern's Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute and Externship Program in selecting qualified students to receive academic credit while analyzing the digital rights of their studio. Both Levin and Nonaka had served as entertainment externs while completing their law degrees at Southwestern and have utilized externs from the law school for a variety of projects over the years.

According to Levin, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Lionsgate Entertainment Corp., "We are thrilled to have an army of Southwestern students to help complete the analysis of our digital rights. In the past, Southwestern students have proved to be conscientious, diligent and extremely well trained for these sorts of tasks."

Professor Robert Lind said, "It is very gratifying that these very accomplished graduates know first-hand the quality of the training in intellectual property and entertainment law that Southwestern students receive and are taking advantage of this tremendous resource. It's truly a mutually beneficial relationship." 

The Externship Program Office notified students of opportunities at the studios in concert with faculty recruitment in classes, collected candidates, counseled students, submitted resumes to studio attorneys, and coordinated the on-campus interview process. Students were interviewed on campus by studio attorneys who selected a total of 19 students, all of whom had taken the copyright law course, and many who had also taken more advanced entertainment courses. The students receive additional specialized training from studio attorneys and are supervised under the auspices of the Biederman Institute and the Externship Program.

Information regarding Southwestern's Entertainment Externship Program is available from the Externship Office.