Careers in Copyright: Those Who Can, Make Art; Those Who Can’t, Become Copyright Lawyers

When: June 13, 2017 at 6:00pm - 8:00pm EDT - This event has passed


The DC Chapter of the Copyright Society invites you to our upcoming panel



Careers in Copyright:

Those Who Can, Make Art; Those Who Can’t, Become Copyright Lawyers


Artists and attorneys will discuss the role of copyright in their creative and legal work—and offer practical insights about

government, law firm, and in-house jobs.  A networking reception will follow.

With internship season starting in the city, do not miss this great opportunity to mingle with the DC copyright community.




Sandra Aistars

Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property

Clinical Professor, Senior Scholar, and Director of Copyright Research and Policy

Sandra Aistars is a Clinical Professor at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, leading the law school’s Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program. She also serves as a Senior Scholar and Director of Copyright Research and Policy at the law school’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP).

Sandra has nearly twenty years of advocacy experience on behalf of copyright and other intellectual property owners. Throughout her career she has served in positions that required mastery of intellectual property issues, federal policy process and development, and the ability to understand and manage the implications of intellectual property policies across a portfolio of businesses. In addition, Sandra has a wealth of experience working with policy makers in Washington and internationally. She has served on trade missions and been an industry advisor to the Department of Commerce on intellectual property implications for international trade negotiations; worked on legislative and regulatory matters worldwide; frequently testified before Congress and federal agencies regarding intellectual property matters; chaired cross-industry coalitions and technology standards efforts; and is regularly tapped by government agencies to lecture in U.S. government-sponsored study tours for visiting legislators, judges, prosecutors, and regulators.

Immediately prior to joining Scalia Law, Sandra was the Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Alliance – a nonprofit, public interest organization that represents the interests of artists and creators across the creative spectrum. While at Scalia Law, she continues to collaborate with the Copyright Alliance as a member of its Academic Advisory Board. Aistars has also previously served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Time Warner Inc. She began her legal career in private practice at Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP.


John Harrington

Award-winning photographer & best-selling author

For over twenty-five years, John Harrington, an award-winning photographer and best-selling author has covered the world of politics, traveled the globe, and run a successful business that relies on the value of his intellectual property, and the resulting nearly 1,000,000 images registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. He was instrumental in the establishment of copyright pre-registration, and holds the first copyright pre-registration and subsequent registration.

A 2007 recipient of the United Nations’ Leadership Award in the field of photography, his work has appeared in Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. His commercial clients have included Coca-Cola, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Lockheed Martin, and the National Geographic Society. John has also produced three commissioned books for the Smithsonian and the second edition of his book, Best Business Practices for Photographers, remains a bestseller. In 2010, a retrospective of the first 20 years in the profession: Photographs from the Edge of Reality, was released and revisits highlights of his career. In early 2014, his second book on the photography business: MORE Best Business Practices for Photographers, was released.

John has lectured and presented workshops and seminars on copyright across the United States for the American Society of Media Photographers, American Photographic Artists, Professional Photographers of America, and the National Press Photographers Association. John received the NPPA’s Morris Berman Citation in 2007 for special contributions advancing the interests of photojournalism, and in 2013 he received the J. Winton Lemen Fellowship Award for continuing outstanding service in the interests of press photography and for outstanding technical achievement in photography. John grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Washington, DC in the mid-80s.


Shabnam Humphrey

Independent Filmmaker

Shabnam Humphrey is an Afghan-American, filmmaker, and co-founder of Bossy Fox Productions. She is from Alexandria, Virginia, and is married with three children. Shabnam’s current projects include a documentary about the life and legacy of Ahmad Zahir, Afghanistan’s most influential musician (ranked by NPR as one of the ‘50 Greatest Voices‘ of all time) and furthering the movement for Afghanistan to join the Berne Convention, an international treaty designed to protect Afghan artists. Afghanistan has a rich cultural heritage, and its artists’ works are consumed worldwide without any protection. Joining the Berne Convention will allow Afghans to protect their works worldwide and preserve the Afghan heritage. Shabnam will be a guest speaker at two events to promote and support these efforts: on Saturday, July 22, at the Freer Sackler at 2 pm and then at Lapis restaurant in DC at 6 pm. 







Ryan Lehning


Director of International

Ryan Lehning is Director of International at SoundExchange, responsible for international activities on behalf of the company’s member artists and labels.  Prior to joining SoundExchange, Ryan served as counsel with SONY BMG Music Entertainment in New York where he handled copyright, trademark, e-commerce, new media, and other intellectual property matters. Prior to SONY BMG, Ryan was an associate in the law firm of Smith & Metalitz LLP in Washington DC where his practice focused on domestic and international copyright matters for a diverse portfolio of clients in the music, film, television, software, and book publishing industries. In addition, Ryan served as counsel for the Coalition on Online Accountability, a group working to ensure the enforcement of copyright protection in the online world. Ryan is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (2002) and Belmont University (1997).


Andrew Moore

U.S. Copyright Office

Barbara A. Ringer Honors Fellow (Attorney-Advisor)

Andrew Moore is a Barbara A. Ringer Honors Fellow at the U.S. Copyright Office, where he serves in both the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Policy & International Affairs. He works on a variety of matters, including U.S. Government amicus briefs advising the Supreme Court on copyright cases, congressionally-requested public policy studies such as the Section 1201 Study, and guidance for federal agencies and Congress regarding music licensing, among other issues. His international portfolio focuses on copyright and trade issues in non-EU Europe, EU Europe, and Russia.  A former Copyright Office law clerk himself, Andrew now serves as Law Clerk Coordinator for the Office of the General Counsel, responsible for the selection and supervision of such clerks.  Andrew received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was an Articles Editor on the Journal of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law and his B.S. in Business Legal Studies with a specialization in Arts and Social Service from Indiana University. 





Stephanie Moore

U.S. Copyright Office

Senior Advisor to the United States Register of Copyrights

Stephanie Y. Moore joined the U.S. Copyright office in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the United States Register of Copyrights. In her position, Moore assists the Register on a full range of policy, operational, and congressional issues relating to the United States Copyright Office and its agency responsibilities.

Prior to joining the Copyright Office, Moore was Chief Counsel for Business and Legislative Affairs at the Entertainment Software Association after serving over a decade in various senior capacities on Capitol Hill with the House Judiciary as well as the Education and Labor Committees.  Moore also practiced law with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City, taught undergraduate pre-law courses at the University of Pennsylvania, and served on the faculty at two DC area law schools.  She also held high level positions in the Clinton Administration.  Moore started her legal career as senior clerk to the late Hon. A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Moore earned her law degree from Harvard University Law School where she was an editor on the Harvard Law Review.  She graduated with High Honors in Government from Oberlin College.




Eric J. Schwartz

Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp


Eric Schwartz has over 25 years of experience as a copyright attorney providing counseling on U.S. and foreign copyright laws – focusing on rights, exceptions, ownership and licensing issues, as well as on enforcement matters. Eric also serves as a transactional attorney experienced in the production, distribution and financing of musical recordings and feature and documentary films.

Eric served as chief production counsel for the PBS series “Soundbreaking” – an eight hour documentary about the history of recorded music (the “legacy project” of legendary producer Sir George Martin). The series aired nationwide in November 2016, and has been broadcast in many territories abroad (e.g., on the BBC in the UK, etc.). In addition to serving as counsel Eric received a producer credit (“Producer for Higher Ground”) for his assistance with the production. He was primarily responsible for negotiating and drafting the talent agreements with over 200 recording industry luminaries such as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Perry, Tom Petty, Elton John, Smokey Robinson, and many others. Along with other MSK counsel, he negotiated the (over 150) archival agreements for all moving image, artwork, and still photographic material used in the series, as well as for the music used in the series.

Eric is an expert on film and recorded music archival legal (i.e., “back catalog”) and preservation issues. For over 20 years he has served on the Library of Congress’ film and recorded sound preservation boards. He helped found the National Film Preservation Foundation (in 1997). He is also an adjunct professor of copyright law and international copyright law at the Georgetown University Law Center and a visiting lecturer at other law schools. Prior to private practice, Eric served as a senior attorney and Acting General Counsel at the U.S. Copyright Office (1988 – 1994).


Stephanie Semler

George Mason University School of Law

Recent Graduate 

Stephanie Semler is a recent graduate from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  She was a student advocate for the George Mason Arts and Entertainment Advocacy Clinic during the fall of 2016 under the direction of Prof. Sandra Aistars.  During her time with the Clinic, she researched the requirements for Afghanistan to join the Berne Convention, the current state of Copyright Law in African nations, conducted DMCA enforcement, and worked on advocating for Copyright Small Claims. She was a trademark extern at the USPTO in 2016 conducting research and working on guidance for new rules for the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. 

Semler enters the law as a second career – she has taught Philosophy for the past 21 years and is the author of “A Person as Lifetime: An Aristotelian Account of Personal Identity” from Lexington Books. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, with an emphasis in Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and design, and a Doctorate in Philosophy from University of California, Santa Barbara. 

She is currently exploring opportunities to work in Intellectual Property, particularly Copyright and Trademark Law.




Rachel Fertig

U.S. Copyright Office

Barbara A. Ringer Honors Fellow (Attorney-Advisor)

Rachel E. Fertig is a Barbara A. Ringer Honors Fellow at the U.S. Copyright Office, where she serves in both the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Policy & International Affairs. She supports the Office’s advice to Congress, the Supreme Court, and federal agencies on matters including the copyrightability of designs of useful articles and licensing of jointly-owned musical works.  Rachel also contributes to public policy studies and guidance such as the Section 512 Study and the recently revised Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.  Additionally, her international portfolio focuses on copyright and trade issues related to Canada and Mexico.Prior to joining the Copyright Office, Rachel served as Counsel for Copyright & Public Policy for the Association of American Publishers. During law school, she was a summer law clerk for Judge Lawrence Block of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and worked for the Michigan Department of Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division.  Rachel earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from the George Mason University School of Law in 2012, where she was an Articles Editor for the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Economy, French, and Asian Studies from Tulane University in 2009.Rachel is co-chair of the D.C. Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA. 



Members:  $5

Non-Members:  $10

Student Members:  FREE — Use promo code 10off when registering. Must be a current full-time student member of the Society and able to present a valid student ID at check-in. 

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