Based on a True Story: Demystifying Life Rights and Copyright in the Golden Age of Content

When: September 20, 2018 at 12:00pm - 2:00pm EDT - This event has passed


Some of the best movies, television shows and video games are “based on a true story.”  But when producers feature actual people and real life events on screen, must they — or should they — acquire so-called “life rights”?  What about rights to an existing biographical work?  Does the analysis change when digital avatars are used instead of live actors?  

Join the booming Los Angeles chapter of The Copyright Society of the USA for our first meeting of the new season, where our expert panel will untangle the fascinating topic of life rights, including a deep dive into copyright, the right of publicity, and the First Amendment; the recent decision in De Havilland v. FX Networks; and the practicalities of financing, insuring, producing and distributing content featuring real people and events. 

As always, we will have a special guest (to be announced) who is directly impacted by the issues, great networking, fantastic lunch, 1.5 hours of CLE credit, and a lively discussion with friends and colleagues.  



Jeremy S. Goldman  (Moderator)

Jeremy S. Goldman is a partner in the Litigation Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC and Co-Chair of the LA Chapter of the CUSA. Jeremy represents companies, brands and individuals in the media, film, television, gaming, advertising and technology spaces.He frequently counsels clients, litigates claims and resolves complex disputes involving copyright, breach of contract, the First Amendment, right of publicity, chain of title, trademark and intermediary liability. Jeremy has written and spoken extensively on these and other topics.  In 2015, after spending eight years with the firm in New York, Jeremy moved across the country with his wife and two children to help launch Frankfurt Kurnit’s LA office. He is admitted to practice in New York and California.



Mark Lee

Working at the intersection of intellectual property and entertainment, Mark Lee advises celebrities and celebrity estates, studios, and high-tech companies in copyright, trademark, and right of publicity matters.  He has litigated or counseled regarding copyrights and related rights in the music of Elvis Presley, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Steve Perry Jackson Browne, and John Lee Hooker; in the literary works of authors John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Raymond Chandler, William Saroyan, Louis L’Amour, Helen Fielding, and Philip K. Dick; in the fictional characters Betty Boop, Barney, Rocky, Zorro, Dennis the Menace, and Emily the Strange; and in the photography of Richard Avedon and Jim Marshall.


Lisa Callif

As a Founding Partner of Donaldson + Callif, Lisa Callif is the go-to attorney for all things legal-related to creating independent content. Lisa’s practice focuses on representing independent producers in all aspects of producing their projects, including financing, production and distribution. Lisa’s extensive experience in clearance, personal rights, fair use and copyright issues makes her a leader in overcoming legal hurdles. She cuts through red tape for her clients, enabling films to be made and distributed, and works tirelessly to preserve artists’ voices so that they can shine a light on stories that otherwise might not be told. Lisa is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including recognition as a Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyer and a Daily Journal Top Entertainment Lawyer, as well as her ranking by Variety on the Dealmakers Impact Report. 


Clark Peterson is an American film producer and entertainment executive.  He produced the Academy Award-winning film Monster, starring Charlize Theron, and has created and produced a wide variety of award-winning films, documentaries, and television movies. In features, Peterson recently produced the animated film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, featuring the voice talents of Liam Neeson and Salma Hayek and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King).  He also produced the 2018 comedy release, Ideal Home, starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan, and executive produced the upcoming Replicas, a sci-fi thriller starring Keanu Reeves. Other feature films include Rampart starring Woody Harrelson, Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot with Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon, festival darling My Date with DrewDecoding Annie Parker starring Helen Hunt, Samantha Morton, and Aaron Paul, and East of Havana, a documentary about the Cuban hip-hop scene. In television, he is currently developing a series based on Scanners, David Cronenberg’s classic film, as well as a series based on James Ellroy’s latest Vanity Fair article, and has produced pilots at the CBS network.  He has also developed series at HBO, Showtime, FX, the CW, Lifetime, and HBO Canada, and has produced television movies for CBS. A graduate of Stanford University, Peterson began his career working in development and production for producer Roger Corman before joining the Walt Disney Studios as an executive.



Members: $25

Non-Members: $45

Students: $19  |  Must present valid student ID at the door


Program will satisfy 1.5 CA CLE credits pending approval by the State Bar of California.

Please park at the Century City mall across the street. The first 3 hours are free.

CLE Credit Details

Program will satisfy 1.5 CA CLE credits pending approval by the State Bar of California.