Attorney at Law
Bill’s practice focuses on the representation of a wide range of clients in connection with the development, financing, production and exploitation of motion pictures, television programs and other forms of content. He has also worked as a management consultant advising major media interests, as a media executive, and as a journalist specializing in the international entertainment industry.
Film Financing Bill has represented producers, major and mini-major studios, distributors, sales agents, banks insurance companies and private equity funds and high net-worth individuals, as well as above-the-line talent (directors, writers and actors) in a wide range of deals for film and television projects with budgets ranging from “microbudget” to more than $200 million.
General Entertainment Bill has represented producers, directors, writers and actors in the full range of film and television work from development through exploitation, including the acquisition of literary properties, production legal work and distribution agreements.
Copyright Bill’s advises clients on all aspects of copyright protection, including complex chain of title analysis, acquisition and transfer of copyrights, registrations and recordations at the United States Copyright Office, and the international law of copyright.
Secured Transactions/Uniform Commercial Code Bill advises clients on all aspects of obtaining, perfecting and enforcing security in intellectual property collateral, including under the United States Copyright Act and the Uniform Commercial Code. He has conducted multiple foreclosures of motion picture and other collateral.
International Transactions In addition to working with many clients from the USA on international deals, Bill has represented companies and individuals from Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Ireland, Morocco and the UK.
Arbitration Bill has represented entertainment industry parties in concluded International Film and Television Alliance (IFTA, formerly AFMA) and American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitrations of motion-picture related disputes. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb).
Representation of producers and financiers in connection with the financing of many motion pictures, including Terminator Salvation, Dark Tide, Machine Gun Preacher, The Grey, The Tomb, Broken City, Killing Them Softly, Silent Night and Devil’s Knot.
Representation of international investor syndicate for the motion pictures Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider 2.
Representation of private equity funds on multi-picture film financings.
Numerous private placement offerings for motion picture companies.
Representation of leading German investment funds in multiple Hollywood deals.
Securitization of distribution rights to raise operating capital for international film distributor.
Negotiation and acquisition of motion picture rights in several best-selling literary properties.
Organizing Committee, Winter Olympic Games, Salt Lake City 2002: negotiation of all artist contracts for opening, closing and medal ceremonies and Special Olympics opening ceremony.
University of Sunderland, UK, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies: PhD
University of California, Berkeley, 1996: JD. Prosser Prize in the History of American Law. Moot Court Award. Moot Court Board. Member, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law. Member, High Technology Law Journal.
Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II): Visiting student, law faculty.
National Council for the Training of Journalists, UK: Certificate in Newspaper Journalism.
University of Oxford, UK: M.Phil in English Studies.
University of Liverpool, UK: B.A. in English Language and Literature (First Class Honors).
Professional Legal Career:
Greenberg Traurig, Santa Monica, California
Business Affairs Inc., Los Angeles, California
Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Brisbane Australia: visiting lecturer and affiliate of the Socio-Legal Research Centre
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Century, California
Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, Beverly Hills, California
World Intellectual Property Organisation, Arbitration Center, Switzerland: consultant
Court of International Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce; intern
Professional Non-Legal Career:
Informed Sources, New York: management consultant
Midem Organisation, Paris France: editorial director
European Media Business and Finance: editorial director
Television Business International, London: founding editor
Variety, London correspondent and Paris Bureau chief
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the District of Arizona
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
Irish American Bar Association
British American Bar Association
Professional and Civil Associations:
Irish Film and Television Academy
British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Los Angeles
Published Decisions, Speaking Engagements and Selected Publications:
Comedy III Prods., Inc. v. New Line Cinema, 200 F3d 593 (9th Cir. 2000) [upholding dismissal of unfair competition claim based on use of public domain material in motion picture].
American Dairy Queen Corp. v. New Line Prods., Inc., 35 F. Supp. 2d 727 (D. Minn. 1998) [granting injunction restraining use of registered trademark as title of motion picture].
August 2012: Speaker at Producers Guild of America seminar “European Productions – Business Trends and Legal Best Practices”.
June 2012: Speaker at Beverly Hills Bar Association panel on European entertainment law, “The Other Side of the Pond”.
July 2011: Speaker at Beverly Hills Bar Association, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Entertainment Law But Were Afraid To Ask”.
July 2007: Speaker: “European identity, cultural hegemony and the Television Without Frontiers directive,” International Association for Communication and Media Research conference, UNESCO, Paris
2004 University of California, Los Angeles Extension: co-devised and co-taught “The Business of the Film Industry”, a full-quarter for-credit class on all aspects of motion picture development, financing, production and exploitation.
July 2004: Speaker, “Saint Thurgood”, Law and Literature Society of Australia conference, Brisbane and the University of Waikato Law School, New Zealand,
July 2004: Speaker, “Mandarins and self-appointed elites: the inevitability of republican delegation in democratic public service broadcasting services” University of Waikato, New Zealand.
2003: University of California, Los Angeles Extension: devised and taught “Law in the Movies”, a full-quarter for-credit class on the representation of lawyers and legal issues in motion pictures.
2002: University of California, Los Angeles Extension: devised and taught “Protecting and Defending Content: Legal Issues for the Entertainment Professional” 12-hour for credit class covering copyright, trademark, privacy and publicity and defamation issues in the motion picture and television industries.
April 2002: Panellist, “New Approaches to Film: fit enough to survive?” Future of Content conference, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California.
1999: Panellist, “International Television Co-Production”, Sedona Conference, Sedona, Arizona
1993: Guest lecturer on the international home video industry, Fémis (French national film school), Paris.
1988: Panel member of private seminar on plans for UK’s fifth TV channel, Consumers Association, London
“Sociology and the Political Economy of the Media” [provisional title] (with Toby Miller). In Media Sociology [provisional title], edited by Silvio Waisbord (forthcoming Polity Press 2013).
“American Trade Policy and the Maintenance of Hollywood’s Global Hegemony.” In Hollywood and the Law, edited by Paul McDonald, Emily Carmen, Philip Drake and Eric Hoyt (forthcoming BFI/Palgrave 2013).
“Escalating Risk and Legal Protections in Contemporary Film Production,” In Film and Risk, edited by Mette Hjort, Wayne State UP (forthcoming 2012)
“Europe’s highest court delivers blow to rights holders,” Daily Journal (Los Angeles), October 19, 2011.
“Cultural ‘patronage’ versus cultural ‘defence’: alternatives to national film policies.” In Law’s Moving Image, edited by Leslie J Moran, Emma Sandon, Elena Loizidou, and Ian Christie. London: Glasshouse Press, 2004: 187-92
“International law and TV Formats: perspective and synthesis.” In Audiovisual Works, TV Formats and Multiple Markets, edited by Michael Keane, Albert Moran, and Mark Ryan. Australian UNESCO Orbicom Working Papers in Communications. Brisbane: Griffith University, 2003: 42-51.
“Legislative Changes to the Copyright Laws of the United States,” International Media Law, 17, No. 1 (January 1999): 1.
“The Arbitrability of International Intellectual Property Disputes,” Berkeley Journal of International Law 14 (1996): 173-221, reprinted in Intellectual Property Law Review, edited by Karen B. Tripp. New York: Clark Boardman Callaghan/Thomson Legal Publishing, 1997 [as William Grantham].