logged in [ logout ]

NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Hendler, Richard


212 998 0057; 516 98

Mondays 5-8; Wednesdays 2-3;5-5:30; and by ap

MEC, 44 W St., 10-77

Always search for passion... look forward to waking up...


Course Meetings

M, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

Tisch T-UC24

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

This is a course about entertainment aspects of the mass media. Major topics include contracts, torts (defamation and privacy), and intellectual property. This course will also focus on the relationships between various parties in the entertainment field (the artist, manager, agent and so on), the protection of intellectual property interests, and various aspects of the recording industry (e.g. contracts and royalties).

At a general level, this course should prepare you to analyze a wide variety of entertainment law issues. Dealing with more narrow topics, such as constitutional concerns or union representation, will require additional, specialized independent study. This class should also help to further develop your reasoning skills.


Course Pre-Requisites



Course Outline

The schedule set forth below is subject to change as the need arises and it probably will change. All changes will be announced in class or by email. If you miss a lecture, it is your responsibility to learn of any announced changes and the material from your classmates.  Don’t forget that readings should be completed in advance of the class session for which they are indicated. I also recommend that you review those readings again after class for reinforcement.

Week 1:            Overview (getting familiar with one another and some housekeeping). The Playing Field: The State and Federal Court Systems. Project #1 will be assigned. Pepsi Assignment.


Weeks 2-5:       Contract Law Sources and Principles: Contract = Offer + Acceptance + Consideration + (no defenses); Breach; Measuring Damages; Specific Performance; Promissory Estoppel.  Project #2 will be assigned. Deal Memo Assignment.

Contract provisions in Sports, Music & Film. Actual contracts will be distributed and analyzed. (e.g., Conan O’Brien, Bachelor, and Atlanta Hawks).


Weeks 6-10:     Intellectual Property principles:

Trademarks: Ownership; Infringement; Parody, and Fair Use.

Copyright:  Authorship; Copyrightable; Infringement; Fair and Unfair Use; and Works for Hire. Bratz, Facebook, Evel Knieval, Family Guy, Barney, MasterCard, and SNL Trials.

Continuation of Intellectual Property principles:

Copyright:  Copyrightable; Authorship; Infringement; Fair and Unfair Use; Works for Hire; and Effects of Technology.Plagiarism Examined and Pirated Movie/Music Trials: Broken Flowers and Music.


Week 11:          Agency Relationship: Formation; Authority; Fiduciary; Liabilities; Regulation. Examination of Entourage.


Weeks 12-14:   Torts & Celebrity Rights: Impersonator and dot.com Trials – In re: Lindsay Lohan, Electronic Arts, Rachel Ray, Jules Jordan.

Defamation; Infliction of Emotional Distress; Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations; Privacy; Public Disclosure; False Light; and Publicity Rights. Project #3 (optional) is due.


Required Course Materials

There is no required text. All cases, notes and outlines are posted on BB or will be distributed, in class or by email, and you must read them. The cases introduce many of the legal issues affecting the entertainment industry and business transactions and practice.  Since the reading and assignments can sometimes get buried or blurred, I will make sure to keep you up to date in class and by email. Make sure that you always check and read the emails.


Assessment Components

Exams, assignments, and projects will be graded on a letter scale.  Your final grade will be based on the following factors:  participation and homework assignments (30%), merit of the projects (20% or 35%), and examination (35% or 55%). Substantial points will be deducted from your final grade for absences that are not excused in advance of class.

I grade the exam, projects, and papers "blind." So put only your NYU number, not your name, on any submission.  All submissions must be deposited in the box in front of my office door. I do not curve grades in this class; the chips fall where they may: in theory there could be all A's, or none, although reality tends to fall between these extremes.

A substantial part of the examination will be based upon the discussions raised in class and the questions appearing in your assigned cases, materials, projects, and homework assignments.


Group Projects

First Project: After listening to the Pepsi trial, prepare a judicial opinion for publication based on your knowledge of the law from the readings and the facts and arguments presented during the trial. Write your own opinion using the facts in the case and the law supplied to you in the readings and during the trial. Your opinion should be double-spaced and typed. You should state the issue(s), the applicable rules of law, and incorporate plenty of reasoning, essentially supporting and explaining your result. You may use as authority any case and statutes. Due Date: by Week 3

Second Project:  Locate a deal memo in your field of interest. Review and analyze it. For example, is it an offer? What provisions trouble you the most? Would you agree to it and why?

Pick a field of interest (for example, film) and then a sub interest (for example, product placement in films). After deciding on a topic, prepare a memo/outline involving most material points and under each point, describe the range of interests of both sides to the contract (for example, agency compensation from 10-15%). Due Date: by Week 4.

Optional Third Project: Optional Research Paper: You must conduct original research about contemporary issues centered in any area of concern to the entertainment industry. Obviously, the issues should also interest you.  The paper must be no than 10 pages in length and in a conventional writing format, or if you prefer, in another format that I approve in advance.  Topics must be chosen and cleared by the third week of class.  Papers will be due at the end of the final class period, with copies to each of your classmates.  You may work singly or in collaboration with others on your projects, but in the latter case the scope, depth or other dimensions of the project must be increased accordingly. Due Date: Week 12-14; exact date to be announced during third class

For clarification on requirements for the written deliverables (whether in regards to proper legal format of opinions and memoranda or expectations of research papers), feel free to inquire with the TA. He is also available for assistance on preparation for almost anything. Take advantage of his office hours!

Deliverables: All deliverables must be posted onto Blackboard, and you must maintain a copy of your deliverable until your final grade in the class is posted on Albert.

Examination:  One “open-book,” final examination (it is long and time consuming) will be given covering entertainment law as illuminated by the assigned readings as well as class lectures, discussions, and assignments, projects, and exercises. Open-book means the Internet, materials distributed in connection with this course, your class notes, and any other materials created substantially on your own (including any outline prepared by a group of which you were a participating member). The exam will be a combination of essays, fill-ins, and/or multiple-choice questions.  The exam may be taken individually or in groups of up to four and will be administered during final week assigned by the school. Again, the exam will be open book which means you can use anything and everything.

Class Trials; Expectations

Throughout the semester, I will hold in-classroom trials where students can either gain or lose points on their examinations. At least one class in advance, I will randomly assign students as plaintiffs, defendants, jurors, and judges for a particular trial. The number of trials each student is assigned will be evenly distributed. I expect that assigned parties thoroughly research their respective cases in the following ways:

  • Case Readings
  • Legal cases found on LexisNexis (NYU Home à Research) or Google Scholar
  • Newspaper articles and professional journals
  • Other relevant material
  • The Internet

To help your research using LexisNexis, go to the following Internet search tutorials on “how to use LexisNexis.”





Google Scholar is a newer, more streamlined search engine for cases and may serve you better depending on the assignment.

The format of the trials may vary, but generally, the plaintiffs will present their arguments first, then the defendants will present their counterarguments. After the jury or judge hears both arguments, they will (but not always) determine the winning party.

For most trials, your classmates will be jurors or a guest, a student, your TA, or I will act as the judge. Any judge and I may always ask questions to either party (i.e., plaintiff or defendant) as well as to the class. We can also randomly call up any member of the class including plaintiff or defendant party to discuss any topic at any time.  Be very prepared as any question regarding something related to the case is fair game here! More information may be e-mailed to you closer to each trial date.

Note once more that your participation in these trials is counted as part of your participation grade. As such, it is in your best interests to prepare as thoroughly as possible as the level of groundwork will be evident in your performance during the trial itself.

Remember the trials in the syllabus are subject to change.


You may form groups of at most four students for doing the projects including the research paper, examination, and other group work during class.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

  • 25-35% of students can expect to receive A’s for excellent work
  • 50-70% of students can expect to receive B’s for good or very good work
  • 5-15% of students can expect to receive C’s or less for adequate or below work 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course


  • Class attendance is essential to your success in this course and is part of your grade. An excused absence can only be granted in cases of serious illness, grave family emergencies, or religious observance and must be documented. Job interviews and incompatible travel plans are considered unexcused absences. Where possible, please notify me in advance of an excused absence.



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:

  • Providing strong evidence of having thought through the material.
  • Advancing the discussion by contributing insightful comments and questions.
  • Listening attentively in class.
  • Demonstrating interest in your peers' comments, questions, and presentations.
  • Giving constructive feedback to your peers when appropriate.



  • Late assignments will either not be accepted or will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency. Exceptions to this policy for reasons of religious observance or civic obligation will only be made available when the assignment cannot reasonably be completed prior to the due date and you make arrangements for late submission in advance.


Classroom Norms

  • Arrive to class on time and stay to the end of the class period. Chronically arriving late or leaving class early is unprofessional and disruptive to the entire class.  Repeated tardiness will have an impact on your grade.
  • Turn off all electronic devices prior to the start of class. Laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices are a distraction to everyone.


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

  • Exercise integrity in all aspects of one's academic work including, but not limited to, the preparation and completion of exams, papers and all other course requirements by not engaging in any method or means that provides an unfair advantage.
  • Clearly acknowledge the work and efforts of others when submitting written work as one’s own. Ideas, data, direct quotations (which should be designated with quotation marks), paraphrasing, creative expression, or any other incorporation of the work of others should be fully referenced. 
  • Refrain from behaving in ways that knowingly support, assist, or in any way attempt to enable another person to engage in any violation of the Code of Conduct. Our support also includes reporting any observed violations of this Code of Conduct or other School and University policies that are deemed to adversely affect the NYU Stern community.

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Printer Friendly Version