Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over nine years of legal experience assisting clients with transactional and intellectual property matters. She regularly counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing. Ms. Thomas is an adjunct instructor at UCLA, where she teaches a course titled, “Copyright Law in the Entertainment Industries.” The course provides students with an overview of copyright protection and how it affects the television, film, fashion and new media industries. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Ms. Thomas was an adjunct instructor at American University, where she taught graduate producing students about production company formation. She provided students with the tools necessary to launch and sustain their own television and film production companies. Ms. Thomas is a regular legal contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine, where she regularly writes about the intersection of entrepreneurship, entertainment and intellectual property law. Jaia Thomas is a graduate of Colgate University (BA) and The George Washington University Law School (JD). She also holds a Certificate in Television, Film and New Media Production from University of California, Los Angeles Full Bio »
Learn how to protect your content online directly from Jaia Thomas, an Entertainment Attorney who specializes in federal copyright registration and licensing as well as film financing, production and distribution!
Content creators are increasingly relying on digital and social media platforms to build their brand. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jaia Thomas will equip attendees with the tools necessary to protect their work in an increasingly online world. In the first part of this webinar, Jaia will outline the copyright registration process. Are YouTube videos protected under U.S. Copyright Act? Are Vimeo videos protected under the U.S. Copyright Act? Jaia will answer these questions and more. She will also provide attendees with a step-by-step guide for registering digital works with the U.S. Copyright Office.
In the second part of this webinar, Jaia will discuss best practices for sharing your ideas and videos on social media platforms. Who owns your tweet or snap? Jaia will discuss legal issues surrounding the ownership of social media posts. She will also highlight recent infringement lawsuits in the entertainment industry surrounding content being shared on social media platforms. Lastly, Jaia will discuss the requisite steps necessary to remove infringing material from the web.
Plus, get any burning questions answered in Jaia's Q&A session!
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A in about 48 hours after the live session. Your purchases are located in your My Education folder on the left-hand panel.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
In an industry built on storytelling there’s nothing more valuable than ideas. A good idea or good story can take you far in Hollywood, but it also makes you vulnerable. From Avatar to Empire, hundreds of films and television shows have been faced with infringement and idea theft lawsuits over the years. While the film and television industry can be an exciting and supportive place, this is not always the case and it’s more common than it should be for writers’ ideas or stories to be stolen. Without the proper protection and forethought, this can leave creatives at risk. As the saying goes, it’s a jungle out there, and the risk of having your ideas stolen is unfortunately always a possibility, as is the possibility of being accused of doing this yourself. It’s important to always be vigilant and aware of these dangers. Yet this does not mean it’s open season on creators. Whether you’re concerned about having your idea stolen or facing lawsuits of your own, there are important steps you must take to ensure you and your intellectual property remain protected. There will always be a risk of being taken advantage of, but better understanding the dangers as well as how to protect and copyright your work will put you in a much safer and more secure position. Jaia Thomas is an entertainment attorney with over ten years of legal experience who has brokered deals with companies like ABC, NBC, HBO, and Bravo and has been quoted as a legal expert in such publications as The New York Times, USA Today and ESPN. Jaia regularly assists clients with transactional and intellectual property matters and counsels filmmakers and producers on all aspects of film financing, production and distribution. She also regularly assists content creators with federal copyright registration and licensing and has had several works published in the American Bar Association, National Bar Association and multiple law journals. Through her many years specializing in federal copyright registration and licensing, Jaia has become an expert on how creators can keep their projects safe, and is ready to share what she knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Drawing from her many years of legal experience successfully assisting filmmakers with transactional and intellectual property matters Jaia will provide you with all the legal tools necessary to protect any and every type of script and screenplay. She will begin by discussing copyright registration. She’ll explain how to register a script with the US copyright office and explain the legal advantages of doing this. She’ll also debunk common misconceptions such as the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. Next she will explain what goes into Writers Guild registration. She’ll outline how to register a script, idea or outline with the Guild and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of doing so. She’ll also delve into the key distinctions between registering with the US Copyright Office and Writers Guild. Jaia will then go over idea protection and theft. She’ll teach you how to protect a television show or reality show in its idea form and will outline the legal requirements for filing an idea theft claim in New York and California. She’ll even go through a case study of the seminal idea theft court case Desny V. Wilder from 1956. Finally Jaia will provide you with additional precautionary measures you can take in protecting yourself, including mobile apps, digital watermarks, confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Expect to leave knowing exactly how to protect your current and future ideas, scripts and projects. Praise for Jaia's Stage 32 Webinar "Highly informative. Thank you Jaia Thomas!" -Patrick D. "Great webinar with invaluable tips and advice. Great presentation and presenter. Very pleased and satisfied." -Robert F
As the world becomes flatter and technology brings us closer together, opportunities for international cooperation continue to abound. For producers or creatives looking to find or bolster their next indie project, there’s a huge amount of potential in joining forces with companies or teams from other countries and pooling your resources together, creating something larger than the sum of its parts. Forming an international co-production can give you access to more funding and financing opportunities, more access to locations, actors and crew, and more sales and distribution opportunities after the film is finished. But while international co-productions can reap great rewards, they also present unique challenges. After all, each country has its own set of rules and regulations, its own red tape, and its own processes for getting things done. Navigating this transnational world requires a set of skills and wherewithal that can be hard earned but is hugely valuable. International co-productions are becoming more common in both mainstream cinema and the indie space. But while it yields results, it’s not a science. Collaboration never is. If you have your sights set outwards and are interested in working across country lines to create your next film, be prepared for some unique hurdles. For one, how do you even get started? How do you find international talent or partners in the first place? And once you find them, how do you woo them into working with you? How do you manage financing and how do you make compromises that make all parties happy? After all, collaboration is challenging no matter what, but working with people in another country, people who might not even share the same first language as you, amps that challenge up to another level. Birgit Kemner is a French-German producer who has headed up successful co-productions for nearly a decade. All her productions have been selected and awarded in renowned festivals such as the Cannes or Venice Film Festival. Birgit was previously Head of Marketing and Festivals at the MK2 group and has worked on international releases of over 50 films directed by filmmakers such as Gus van Sant (ELEPHANT, LAST DAYS, PARANOID PARK), Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS) and Gela Babluani (13 TZAMETI - Lion of the Future at Venice, Jury Prize at Sundance and European Discovery at the European Film Awards) as well as numerous international film retrospectives of directors such as Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. Birgit is bringing her years of successful co-production experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Birgit will use her extensive background to walk you through every step of creating a successful international co-production. She will begin by discussing tips on how to choose good projects in the first place and how to identify the right partners for you and your vision. She’ll teach you how to network and attract partners, especially in international markets when you often have ten minutes or less to make an impression. Birgit will then go over the challenges of funding and the resources available, especially in European markets. She will then talk about strategies and tips for your transnational partnership to survive and thrive, including tools to communicate, effective contracts, cash flow schedule, and how to determine who does what when. Finally, Birgit will delve into steps to take after the film is complete to bring it to the international market, get it into festivals, and optimize both marketing and sales. Simply put, you will be learning from one of the best. Birgit will illustrate all of these points by using two of her own films as case studies, HUMAN CAPITAL, which played in competition at Tribeca Film Festival, and EL ARDOR, which was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival. Praise for Birgit's webinar: "Birgit gave me more information about international co-productions than I even knew existed. I now feel totally prepared and energized to tackle my next project" -James R. "Great slides and great information!" - Marisé S. "Awesome! Birgit covered the bases and inspired me to look outside the box." -Clint A. "Very informative, helpful information and guidance to take our next step into making our film. Thank you!" -Anastasia C.
It's an undeniable fact that we're in a gold rush of television content. Last year, over 500 television shows were produced and a thousand more were shot either as pilots or proof of concept. This means the need for accountants and those who can work with television budgets, incentives, payroll and other facets associated with the accounting of a television project is higher than ever. This also means that many backroom people who have worked for years on feature films are making the jump to the television side. But, between the two mediums, the work is varied and seemingly changing by the day. Being an accountant for television requires a knowhow of the entire landscape. Between networks, premium cable and the streaming platforms, every deal has its own parameters and variables that need to be fully absorbed and understood. Whether it's working with a variety of different unions and dealing with fringes or simply deciphering and interpreting the every growing and wide ranging array of incentives available globally, you must be on top of everything happening at the moment to assure that the back end of the project runs smoothly, efficiently, and with no fiscal catastrophes. Jonathan Siebel is the Director of Budgeting & Estimation for Paramount Network. Prior to joining Paramount Network and working on their slate of television projects, he also worked in budgeting and accounting on Berlin Station, produced by Anonymous Content on Epix, and on The Unknown starring Dominic Monaghan for Crackle. He began his career working in accounting on major studio films such as Bridesmaids, Django Unchained, Thor and more. In addition to working on the studio level, Jonathan also works in the independent space, having written, directed and crowdfunded his own independent film BREAK THE WILL. He's worked on all types of projects small and large and is bringing his extensive knowledge to the Stage 32 community. With his vast and varied experience, we're thrilled to have Jonathan teaching this extremely important subject exclusively for Stage 32. While inside Movie Magic Budgeting software Jonathan will detail all the differences between a P&A and an AIO budget and show you which would be best for your project. He will teach you everything you need to know about globals, including setting up the schedule, rates, and pay hours to be used on all globals. He will define and explain fringes including state, federal and union fringes including IATSE, WGA, SAG and DGA. He will simplify and take away the anxiety of dealing with the wide world of incentives to make sure your paperwork is in line and that you're getting the best bang for your buck. Jonathan will make the complex easy and get you on the path to working consistently in television accounting and budgeting setup.
If there's one subject that seems to confound and confuse filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, financiers and even set designers more than any other, it's the world of product placement. Can you raise meaningful money through product placement? What products can I put in my film or screenplay and which should be avoided? What are the legalities when dealing with product placement? These are all very valid and important questions. Those who understand the way the product placement industry (and it is an industry unto itself) works use this aspect of the production process to raise significant funds and stay on the north side of any potential legal issues. Those who fail to understand often have difficulties with clearances (and by virtue, issues securing sales and distribution) and may find themselves on the south side of some major lawsuits that include claims copyright infringement, misuse, and other serious charges. While the world of product placement was once considered to be an unregulated wild west of backroom deals and shady characters, it is now developed into an extremely controlled and accessible industry. Choosing a partner in this arena can lead to monetary deals that can help you close the rest of your financing. It can also help you fund parts of your pre-production phase. But most of all, it can lead to creative flexibility for your screenwriter, your director, your producer, your set designer, and even your crew. Over a 20+ year career in the film industry, David Patterson has worked as a writer, director and producer on dozens of projects. His films have played at Sundance and other prestigious film festivals which have garnered him sales to distribution outlets and various networks including Sundance Channel, Starz Channel and Warner Bros. David's work attracted the attention of Disney and his Bridge To Terabithia, was a huge studio release and box office success for the studio. More recently, David’s film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Kathy Bates and Julia Stiles opened theatrically to rave reviews. Throughout this journey he has always used product placement to help with the success of each of his films. David will demystify and clearly explain the world of product placement and how you can best utilize a product placement strategy for your project. He will start by defining product placement - it may surprise you to know there are over 12 answers! He will then dive into how you can use just about everything to help you with product placement from your script, to your cast and crew to your producers to locations to utilizing your actors. He will teach you how to secure product placement - where to look, how to approach, how to close a deal. He will show you how the legalities of product placement for film festivals and commercial release differ and what you need to have buttoned up. He will explain E & O insurance and if you truly need it at all. He will also go into all the mistakes filmmakers make along the way and share some horror stories from filmmaker/producer friends and how you can avoid making the same mistakes - mistakes that can cost you money, time, endorsements and put you into legal peril. Additionally, David will teach you all the tips and tricks he's learned along the way to get the most out of your product placement strategies and build relationships with the right companies and brands so you can go back to the well time and time again! "Brilliant." - Jonathan C. "I was so unfamiliar with this world. Incredible breakdown of what and what not to do. This one truly opened my eyes. Can't recommend it enough." - Heather P. "David, where have you been my entire producing life?" - Priya R. "I don't throw this word around often, but this webinar was genius." - Alan L.
When putting together a deal as a writer or producer there are many things to think about when it comes to your contracts - between option agreements, purchase agreements and negative pickups it's important you understand what deal you're getting yourself into before you start development. We will cover three different types of contracts: purchase agreement, option agreement, and negative pickup. We will discuss terms in both a legal and practical matter so that you get the information needed to be prepared to negotiate your next agreement. Such things will include material and boilerplate terms, what can or can't be negotiated, and how lawyers themselves will be reading and reviewing your agreement. This will be an in-depth, but accessible, legal discussion walking you through each part of a standard purchase and option agreement. Plus! You'll get 5 contract templates to download! Your Stage 32 Educator is entertainment attorney Jordan Barel, who's a California attorney that has worked with AMC, New Line Cinema, Generate and Alloy. He is also a producer who develops projects based off IP and started out as the television coordinator at Verve Talent & Literary Agency. Whether you're a producer, filmmaker or writer learn the overview of contracts to give you a competitive advantage in your next negotiation! **All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about certain types of contracts within the entertainment industry. The information presented is not legal advice and is not to be acted on as such, please consult your lawyer for issues specific to your contract.
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.