California Society of Entertainment Lawyers: Non-Profit Organization Helping To Protect The Creative Community
By Steven T. Lowe, Lowe and Associates
If you are a “creative professional” (e.g., a filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, recording artist, photographer, or an artist), then you should be aware of this organization; they are advocating for your rights, even though you may not know they exist. The organization is called the “California Society of Entertainment Lawyers” (“CSEL”) and they have been around since 2013. CSEL is an organization of entertainment attorneys in California who advocate for the rights of creative professionals through litigation, legislation, education, and community outreach. CSEL is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that counts approximately 75 California entertainment attorneys as its members.
Currently, Beverly Hills entertainment attorney, Steven T. Lowe, serves as the Chief Executive Officer, who, with the Chief Financial Officer, Eli Melamed, Esq., David Pierce, Esq., and Larry Zerner, Esq. constitute the executive committee.
CSEL was co-founded by Steven T. Lowe, Esq. and Larry Zerner, Esq. The reason for forming the organization was that there were multiple organizations for the attorneys who represent the international entertainment conglomerates, but there were almost no organizations of attorneys that advocated for creative professionals. Thus, CSEL was born as the brainchild of the co-founders to organize attorneys in California to assist each other in fighting for creative professionals’ rights.
Since its formation, CSEL has achieved several high-profile accomplishments, including:
In 2014, CSEL was the only organization to file Amicus Briefs (i.e., “Friend of the Court” persuasive legal filings) on behalf of Paula Petrella, the heir of the screenwriter of the Martin Scorsese film “Raging Bull,” in both the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Petrella, finally eliminating the defense of “you waited too long” to copyright infringement claims. Since then, CSEL has filed Amicus Briefs in multiple cases (and Steven T. Lowe has even argued before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of CSEL) leading to settlements and mostly positive outcomes.
In July 2019, CSEL organized and hosted a panel presentation at The Comedy Store entitled “Comedy and the Law.” It was well attended, well received, and included multiple comedians, including Tony Hinchcliffe. Since CSEL was designated as a provider of continuing legal education in 2014, it has consistently presented exciting panels of prominent attorneys (and creative professionals) and it will continue to do so.
For 2020, CSEL has the following vision: scheduling multiple social events where CSEL attorneys intermingle with creative professionals; putting on multiple educational events geared towards creative professionals to learn how to protect themselves and their work. (See e.g., recent article in Video Age by Steven T. Lowe entitled “Yes, Reality TV Concepts Can Be Protected: An Expert View”); obtaining notable celebrities and famous entertainment lawyers to speak at the bi-monthly meetings; and providing more benefits to members.
If you are interested in joining CSEL or getting on its mailing list, email email@example.com or go to https://www.csel-la.org/.
Steven Lowe is an Attorney At Law with Lowe and Associates and Chief Executive Officer of the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers. He can be reached via email at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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