On February 18, Fordham Law School’s Media and Entertainment Law Society (MELS) hosted its sixth annual symposium. The event provides an opportunity for Fordham students to network with media and entertainment legal professionals and gain insights from alumni working in the industry. “The key goal of the symposium is to bridge the gap between academia and practice by inviting renowned practitioners to campus to speak on current issues in the media and entertainment industries,” said Benjamin Reiser ’20, director of this year’s symposium.
Planning for the daylong event began at the start of the school year, when Reiser, along with coordinators Meagan Lemley ’21 and Gabriele Forbes-Bennett ’21, asked current MELS members to suggest panel topics they considered the most relevant. From there, the organizers began to identify and contact legal practitioners capable of providing pertinent insights on the chosen topics.
Panels this year covered timely subjects. The first panel, entitled “Welcome to the Streaming Age: Acquisitions, Competition, and the Digital Future,” discussed the arms race between streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBOGo, and Disney+. Next, panelists discussed the challenges to intellectual property and copyright law posed by paparazzi in “Follow You Until You Love Me: Paparazzi and the Law.”
The rise of fake news was the topic of “Enemy of the People? Fake News and the Media’s Legal Challenges,” a panel that covered the prevalence of disinformation on social media channels and the growing tensions between President Trump and mainstream news media outlets. To eliminate any potential partisan bias, the panel was co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and Fordham Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.
Drew Cohen ’93, president and CEO of Music Theatre International, the world’s leading licenser of Broadway musicals, gave the keynote address. “It is always a thrilling opportunity to be able to bring alumni back to campus and hear from fellow Rams what their legal career paths have looked like,” said Reiser.
The symposium was sponsored by Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP; Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP; Latham & Watkins, LLP; and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.