Students Exposed to Business and Legal Side of Entertainment Law in Interdisciplinary Course on Content Distribution


While the majority of Miami Law students spent the first week of January gearing up for the start of Spring 2016 classes, about a dozen students got a head start on the new semester in an innovative new course.
“Media Distribution” was a one-week intersession collaboration course between the School of Communication and the School of Law. Media Distribution is one of several compressed courses offered as part of the School of Law’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M. (EASL) Program.
Focusing on the distribution of video content in the digital age, the course addressed exclusivity, holdbacks, changing requirements for distribution, and means of content delivery. Students learned about the basic elements of the entertainment industry and how different variables can affect media distribution from the perspective of studios, networks, and independents.
Justin Gelzayd, a 3L student enrolled in the joint J.D./LL.M program, said this course provided him a unique opportunity to learn video distribution—a subject he did not know anything about prior to the course. “This class opened me up to think about the various issues that can arise when movie or television show goes from a being an idea to a completed project. It was a nice to have a professor from the School of Communication teach us the business side of entertainment,” he said.
Through a series of mock contract negotiations, students honed their practical lawyering skills.

Harold Flegelman, the Director of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law program was pleased to collaborate with the School of Communication.
“We are delighted that Ana Francois, a Lecturer in the UM School of Communications, taught this course,” said Flegelman. “The subject matter is a key component of our curriculum for the Graduate Program in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law. Not surprisingly, the students' response was overwhelmingly positive.  We continue to see the myriad, mutual benefits to be derived from such collaboration, and we remain committed to working as well with other Schools in the University in pursuit of such opportunities.”
Francois has had an extensive career in television distribution, having worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Universal Studios, and as an independent consultant prior to joining the university faculty.
When asked about the opportunity to teach the Media Distribution course at Miami Law, Francois said, “It’s been a wonderful experience collaborating with the Law School and getting to know a sophisticated group of students with such varied backgrounds and interests.”
“The class experience has been awesome,” said Lionel Yarmon, an LL.M. student in the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law program. “It was great to learn about the industry from someone who has lived it—a professional.  Peeking behind the curtain to see how we get the content we’ve been consuming our entire lives, and how we’ll consume it in the future, is fascinating.  This course made me want to learn more outside of the classroom on my own and potentially explore career opportunities in the media distribution field.”