Venable is pleased to announce that Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam has joined the firm as a partner in the eCommerce, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Practice in its Los Angeles office. Mr. Nigam has nearly 25 years of experience in solving online security, privacy, and safety challenges facing celebrities, pro athletes, high-net-worth individuals, corporations, and start-ups, as well as government and law enforcement. He has extensive experience conducting end-to-end cyber assessments and protection and often provides counsel on cutting-edge online privacy and security issues. Mr. Nigam seeks justice for entertainment and sports professionals who are cyberstalked, hacked, or harassed, or who have fallen victim to other forms of online attacks.

Continue Reading Venable Expands Service Offerings for the Entertainment and Media Industry with the addition of Privacy and Cybersecurity Veteran Hemanshu Nigam

On May 10, 2021, Shane Nix and Sam Djahanbani published “Taxing Termination Rights” in Los Angeles Lawyer and were featured on the cover of the magazine’s 37th annual Entertainment Law Issue.

The following is an excerpt from the article:

As the music touring industry faced an almost overnight collapse with the pandemic entirely shutting down touring in 2020, music streaming revenues surged by more than $1 billion as fans streamed more music while under quarantine. Ultimately, however, global music revenue declined by 25% as a whole. And with musicians losing two-thirds of their income in 2020, music artists may continue to pursue alternative monetization, including in the form of catalogue sales. Meanwhile, as older generations increase music consumption through streaming platforms, the demand for older catalogues has dramatically increased. These factors, among others, may partially contribute to the increase in catalogue sales at massive multiples.  It is conceivable that some musicians may exercise their copyright termination rights in order to renegotiate their original deals under current favorable market conditions. 

Click here to access the article.


Continue Reading Shane Nix and Sam Djahanbani Publish “Taxing Termination Rights” in Los Angeles Lawyer, Featured on the Cover of the 37th Annual Entertainment Law Issue

On April 12, 2021, Alex Weingarten was featured on WealthManagement.com’s podcast, Celebrity Estates: Wills of the Rich and Famous, where he discussed the tumultuous estate of R&B singer Aretha Franklin and the need for good communication when developing an estate plan.

According to the podcast, it was believed at the time of her passing that Franklin left no will, therefore leaving her estate to be divided equally among her children. Since then, new developments have surfaced. Four separate wills were found in Franklin’s home, three handwritten and one typed but not signed, leading to a litigious estate battle.


Continue Reading Celebrity Estates Features Alex Weingarten on the Tumultuous Estate of Aretha Franklin

On April 8, 2021, Variety released its annual Legal Impact Report, featuring the top in-house attorneys, litigators, and transactional attorneys in the entertainment industry. Venable partner and chair of the firm’s West Coast Tax and Wealth Planning Practice Michele Mulrooney made her eighth consecutive appearance in the report. She was joined by partner Alex Weingarten, included for the fifth consecutive year, as well as partner and vice chair of the Entertainment and Media Group Paul Bernstein, and partner and chair of the Entertainment and Media Litigation Group Lee Brenner.

Continue Reading Michele Mulrooney, Alex Weingarten, Paul Bernstein, and Lee Brenner Recognized in Variety’s 2021 Legal Impact Report

On April 5, 2021, William Briggs and Alex Weingarten were recognized by Billboard among its 2021 Top Music Lawyers. This prestigious list spotlights attorneys throughout the music industry who have supported a land rush of negotiations, new business models from livestreaming to nonfungible token (NFTs), and the ongoing need to advocate for their clients and social justice.

William Briggs is a trial lawyer and civil litigator with broad experience in the entertainment industry. William represents some of the top talent in film, television, music, and sports. He has experience in state, federal, and appellate courts, and with arbitrations, involving intellectual property disputes, complex entertainment contract disputes, partnership disputes, rights of publicity and First Amendment issues, and employment matters.


Continue Reading William Briggs and Alex Weingarten Recognized Among Billboard’s 2021 Top Music Lawyers

On March 11, 2021, a piece of digital art sold for $69,000,000.00 (yes, sixty-nine million United States dollars) at Christie’s Auction House (online, of course). That happened roughly five months after its original sale, meaning that the piece created by the artist known as Beeple sold for over 100,000% of its original price ($66,666.66), pushing Beeple to become one of “the top three most valuable living artists” according to Christie’s. Other than the price, what makes the Beeple sale noteworthy is the fact that the work was in the form of an NFT.

What Is an NFT?

NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” or a bit of digital code written onto a blockchain (also called distributed ledger technology). Through an NFT, a digital asset like a piece of art, a video clip, or the very first Tweet can be permanently registered on a blockchain forever. Ownership and provenance can be verified instantly. For the first time, digital scarcity can be achieved for digital items and, with it, the promise of higher prices for digital assets, outside of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. You might pay a small fortune for an authentic Ted Williams rookie year baseball card, but not for a reproduction made today that is physically identical in every respect. The same idea is fueling a boom in NFTs sold by artists, athletes, and others, because the digital item is registered and its quantity limited. As a result, the owner has “the one” (or one of 100 limited edition items, for example) and can prove it. In this context, ”digital” may now mean scarce, and therefore valuable.


Continue Reading NFTs Promise Digital Scarcity Through the Blockchain for Artists, Athletes, and Celebrities – and an Abundance of New Legal Issues

Venable’s elite Trademark Prosecution and Counseling Group recently announced the launch of its Wellbrand service, an innovative naming solution that leverages the firm’s trademark-law intelligence to accelerate the process of finding effective brand names. Currently available only to established clients of the Trademark practice, the Wellbrand service bridges the gap between marketing needs and legal

Venable partner William Briggs was recently nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. In this Q & A, Briggs discusses his journey from public high school to a prestigious law school, the legal accomplishments he’s most proud of, including his previous advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged children, and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role.

You were raised in a single-parent household in Los Angeles, where you attended a public high school. How did you get from there to one of the country’s top law schools?

I was lucky to have had some very good role models and teachers. One of whom was a biology teacher who I guess recognized that I had some potential and then helped me at an early age to get a job in a laboratory at UCLA. While there I worked for a doctor of Armenian descent who not only exposed me to a completely different culture, but also to a different way of thinking. Basically, he taught me that you don’t have to let the circumstances of your life inhibit your ambition. Like-minded friends of my mother told me the same thing, and my aunt, Dr. Dorothy Height, a civil rights activist, also strongly encouraged me to pursue an education. She had a connection with Bethune-Cookman College, a historically black college in Florida, so that’s where I ended up going.


Continue Reading Entertainment Attorney William Briggs Discusses his Journey to a Successful Legal Career

On November 17, 2020,  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated William Briggs to serve on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.

“Our city is leading the movement to reimagine public safety, revitalize our commitment to racial justice and support our courageous police officers who keep our city safe. And I’m confident that William Briggs will bring an extraordinary record of leadership and commitment to the fight for fairness, equity, and a safer Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti.

Mr. Briggs is a leading trial lawyer and civil litigator with extensive experience providing counsel to some of the most recognizable names in the film, television, music, and sports industries. He has received numerous accolades for his work in the entertainment industry, including being named a Most Influential Minority Attorney and Top Litigator & Trial Lawyer by the Los Angeles Business Journal. He was also recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as a Power Lawyer and by Billboard as a Top Music Lawyer.
Continue Reading Venable Entertainment Attorney William Briggs Nominated to Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners

In a now famous Oscar speech from 2018, Frances McDormand encouraged more diverse hiring in the film industry. “I have two words to leave you with tonight,” she told the audience as she accepted her Best Actress trophy,—“Inclusion Rider.” Most viewers had no idea what she meant, prompting immediate online searches of the term.

Prior to this, April Reign had created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite in response to the lack of diversity at the 2015 Oscars, when all twenty acting nominations were awarded to white actors. This criticism of an awards season that failed to reflect the actual makeup of those working in the industry and of movie-goers nationwide seemed to take the Academy by surprise. The issue persisted, however, when the miniseries Hollywood, about a diverse group of aspiring actors and filmmakers trying to make their dreams come true during the post-World War II era, hit our screens this spring. While some criticized the tone, writing, and artistic license taken, many viewed the show as illustrative of what Hollywood could have been if it had allowed for more diversity, both in front of and behind the camera.


Continue Reading The Academy’s New Standards For Best Picture—A Bold Chapter In The Name of Inclusivity