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Stranger Than Fiction 2.0: True Crime Legal Issues

SKU: IP5200
Total Credits
1 - 1.3
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The popular demand for true-crime content continues to be a sustained force in the entertainment industry. But as production companies and networks push the boundaries to distinguish themselves from the crowd, clients need advice to ensure that they don’t take on unnecessary risk while chasing the next big hit.

Topics include:

  • Tips for negotiating law enforcement access agreements
  • What to know when obtaining materials from law enforcement
  • Managing the risk of defamation and right of publicity claims
  • Best practices for fictionalization
  • How to deal with production in high-risk environments, such as protests or border crossings
  • How to handle criminal subpoenas

Lecturer Bios

Melissa Georges, Esq.

Melissa Georges is counsel to FKKS Entertainment Group and Chair of Content Review & Clearance group. For more than 15 years, she has helped award-winning film and television producers, directors, actors, writers, animators, and comedians resolve complex legal issues to get their projects cleared and distributed.

Ms. Georges assesses all forms of entertainment content for legal risk. She regularly studies film footage, television shows, Internet content, webisodes, scripts, screenplays, manuscripts, live performances, animated programs and other executions for potential claims, and suggests revisions and edits with an eye to reducing or eliminating risk. Ms. Georges’ legal expertise is in a variety of areas of entertainment law, including copyright and trademark, right of publicity and privacy, defamation, parody and satire, trespass, contracts, and labor and union issues. In addition to her work with US clients, she also regularly advises foreign production companies on the impact of US laws on their projects.

Ms. Georges advises clients on the purchase of errors and omission and other insurance policies for entertainment projects. Her experience working with insurance company attorneys gives her a window into carriers’ standards and thinking and informs her risk assessments for clients. Ms. Georges also handles transactional entertainment matters. She negotiates and drafts production and co-production agreements, reality television show agreements, licensing and merchandising agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and all forms of releases.

In addition to content review and transactional matters, Ms. Georges advises on day-to-day intellectual property issues. She has helped clients conduct trademark and copyright searches; protect and enforce trademarks, domain names, and copyrighted material; and determine the availability of names, logos, and titles for a wide variety of projects. She has handled trademark prosecution proceedings within the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and has litigated intellectual property, libel, privacy, and other media law disputes.

Ms. Georges is an Adjunct Professor at NYU's School of Continuing Education, where she teaches journalists about legal issues affecting the media. She has also taught courses on clearing creative content for filmmakers and production companies. Ms. Georges is admitted to practice in New York.

Benjamin Moskowitz, Esq.

Ben Moskowitz is an associate in the Entertainment Group of Frankfurt Kurnit,

Prior to joining Frankfurt Kurnit, Mr. Moskowitz served as in-house counsel for Vox Media, Inc. At Vox Media, Mr. Moskowitz performed legal review of written content for brands including Eater and The Verge, oversaw contests and sweepstakes, and advised on freelancer and production-related issues. Mr. Moskowitz also acted as counsel for Group Nine Media, Inc., helping build the company's digital production studio, which produced content for clients including Facebook, YouTube, and Discovery, Inc. He also helped shepherd Group Nine’s first television program, "Dodo Heroes" to air. Mr. Moskowitz started his career as an NBC Page and in Business and Legal Affairs for NBC Universal’s cable properties, where he worked for the Bravo, Oxygen, and Style Networks.

Mr. Moskowitz graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts University. He received his law degree from Fordham University where he was a staff member of the Intellectual Property, Media, and Entertainment Law Journal. He was awarded Oralist Honors at the 2011 Willem C. Vis International Arbitration competition in Hong Kong.

He is admitted to practice in New York.

Julie Murray, Esq.

Julie M. Murray is counsel to the Entertainment Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, who specializes in representing clients in the television, documentary, digital, comedy, and branded content industries.

She offers clients full service legal representation, handling all transactions from the development of a concept through delivery of the final cut, including the negotiation of network and financing agreements, distribution agreements, content licensing deals (domestic and international), development attachment agreements, talent agreements, employment and executive agreements, clearances, and advising clients on complex legal issues along the way. Ms. Murray was recently honored by Variety as one of Hollywood’s ‘New Leaders in Law and Finance.’

Prior to joining Frankfurt Kurnit, Ms. Murray worked for twelve years in the television industry, starting her career as an NBC Page and then working at several networks and production companies producing various productions for MTV, Food Network, Nickelodeon, Discovery, CMT, and Comedy Central. Ms. Murray has extensive knowledge of television development, production and post production in both the creative and production management realms and is, therefore, well acquainted with the day-to-day needs of her clients.

She is admitted to practice in New York state.

Andrew Ungberg, Esq.

Andrew J. Ungberg is an associate in the Litigation, Entertainment, and Interactive Entertainment practice groups at Frankfurt Kurnit. His practice focuses on intellectual property and media law.

Mr. Ungberg represents individual and corporate clients in the entertainment, video game, print media, television, film, and toy industries. He counsels on complex commercial disputes involving breach of contract, copyright, trademark, defamation, and right of publicity. Among other matters, Mr. Ungberg has defended digital news and content companies from copyright claims stemming from the use of photos in social media posts, news articles and viral videos, and defended an award-winning documentary film producer against publicity and copyright infringement claims. He was also a member of the trial team representing Hasbro, Inc. in a dispute over the motion picture rights to Dungeons & Dragons.

A life-long gamer, Mr. Ungberg has a particular focus on representing clients in the video game industry, where he has worked with companies ranging from the smallest start-ups to the largest developers and publishers. In addition to representing these clients in litigation, his work includes advising on the implementation of virtual currency systems in the United States and abroad, and counseling clients in the drafting of end-user license agreements, terms of service and privacy policies.

Beyond his litigation practice, Mr. Ungberg focuses on assessing all forms of media and entertainment for legal risk. His work includes reviewing scripts, screenplays, documentaries and unscripted television productions, film, games, and web content to counsel clients on strategies for reducing or eliminating the risk of legal claims. In addition to pre-release vetting, Mr. Ungberg advises clients seeking errors and omission insurance coverage for entertainment projects, and negotiates and drafts licenses, non-disclosure agreements and all forms of releases.

Prior to joining Frankfurt Kurnit, Mr. Ungberg worked as a litigation associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where his practice focused on commercial litigation, securities law, and government enforcement matters. Mr. Ungberg is a member of the Communications & Media Law Committee of the New York City Bar , the Media Law Resource Center and the Video Game Bar Association. Mr. Ungberg is admitted to practice in New York State and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

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