Jonathan L. Handel

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Jonathan L. Handel

8033 W. Sunset Blvd. # 234

Los Angeles, CA 90046 USA

Tel.: +1 (323) 650-0060

Facebook: jhandel Linkedin: jonathanhandel Twitter: @jhandel


  • Practicing entertainment / new media / technology / IP transactional attorney since 1993, plus prior litigation and arbitration experience, and appellate clerkship. Bar admission 1990.

  • Concurrently, since 2008, entertainment journalist covering entertainment labor and other issues.

  • Adjunct faculty member at USC and Southwestern Law Schools.

  • About 20 years’ experience in the entertainment industry in legal and some non-legal functions. Former computer scientist with experience over a ten-year period. Significant publication list, extensive media appearances, and varied teaching and presentation experience.

  • Personal: academic family background; raised in New York suburbs, lived in Cambridge, Mass. for 12 years, and have lived in LA since 1991.


  • J.D. cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1990. Member of editorial Board, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

  • A.B. magna cum laude in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science, Harvard College, 1982.


  • Hon. Irving Goldberg, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Cir., 1990-91.

Legal Areas of Interest

  • New media

  • Entertainment unions and guilds

  • Entertainment and technology contracts and deals

  • Entertainment business matters

  • Law and linguistics

  • Interface of, and gaps between, copyright and trademark


(Current primary employments are in boldface – TroyGould and Hollywood Reporter)

  • Adjunct Professor, Southwestern Law School, January 2015 (scheduled), 2014, 2013, 2012. Teaching Writers Guild – Agreements and Negotiation (1 unit).

  • Adjunct Professor (Lecturer in Law), USC Gould School of Law, Fall 2013, Fall 2012. Taught The Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology (1 unit).

  • Contributing Editor, The Hollywood Reporter, 2010–pres. Cover entertainment labor and other matters for daily/weekly trade magazine.

  • Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Law, Spring 2010. Taught Entertainment Industry Unions and Guilds (2 units).

  • Instructor, UCLA Extension, April 1997 – December 1999 (1 qtr./year). Taught Sneak Preview film appreciation/screening class (400 students).

  • Of Counsel, TroyGould, 1996–pres. Member of Entertainment and Corporate Depts. Negotiate and document transactions relating to digital media, software, film, and mobile technology, as well as some transactions relating to toys, video games, publishing, and live stage.

  • Independent producer, Jonathan Handel Productions, 1996–1999.

  • Public relations consultant, Rogers & Cowan, January 1996. Represented clients at Sundance Film Festival.

  • Entertainment transactional attorney, solo practice, 1995–1996.

  • Associate, Behr and Robinson (now Behr and Abramson), 1994–1995. Transactional associate in firm with motion picture talent practice.

  • Associate counsel, Writers Guild of America, West, 1993–1994. Represented film and TV writers and Guild in arbitrations. Advised Policy Review Board (appellate body) in credit arbitrations.

  • Associate, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, 1991–1993. Practiced appellate and general commercial litigation.

  • Federal Associate Independent Counsel (special prosecutor), appointed by DC Circuit Court of Appeals, 1992–1993 (concurrent with employment at Manatt). Assisted in prosecution/investigation relating to allegedly improper search of Presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files by officials of administration of President George H. W. Bush.

  • Student prosecutor, Essex County (Mass.) District Attorney, spring 1990. As part of clinical course, prosecuted cases in state district court.

  • Summer associate. Tuttle & Taylor, summer 1989. Summer associate at mid-size litigation firm.

  • Law clerk, Silverglate, Gertner, Fine & Good, summer and fall 1988. Law clerk for criminal defense/civil liberties firm.

  • Research assistant, Professors Kathleen Sullivan and Martha Field (Harvard Law School), 1987–1989.

  • Various computer companies, for about a dozen years during high school, college, and approx. 5 years between college and law school. Manager, writer/editor, programmer and researcher at computer companies in areas including the Internet, computational linguistics, interactive graphics and electronic publishing, for companies including MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab spinoffs, BBN Labs (key developer of predecessor to the Internet), Symbolics (owner of the first dot-com domain,, Hewlett-Packard Labs, IBM Systems Research Institute and others. More detail available at

Journal/Professional Articles

  • Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Why Content’s Kingdom is Slipping Away, 11 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law 597 (2009)

  • Hollywood Under Siege, 26 ABA Ent. & Sports Lawyer no. 3, at 10 (Fall 2008)

  • Mark My Words: While Single-Work Titles May Not Be Federally Registered, Other Legal Strategies are Available to Protect a Movie Title, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine 22 (April 2008) (cover article)

  • AFMA International Censorship Rider: Some Suggested Revisions, The AFMA Model International Licensing Agreements 2nd (February 1994) (co-author)

  • Recent Publication (book note), 24 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 611-19 (Spring 1989) (reviewing Richard Mohr, Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society, and Law)


  • On the Record: 101 Tips for Working with the Media (forthcoming)

  • Entertainment Residuals: A Full-Color Guide (Hollywood Analytics, forthcoming)

  • Entertainment Labor: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (Hollywood Analytics, 2013)

  • The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis (Hollywood Analytics, 2012)

  • Hollywood on Strike! (Hollywood Analytics, 2011)

  • How to Write LOI’s and Term Sheets (Createspace, 2009) (short book)

Book Chapter

  • Attorneys, chapter of Ask the Pros: Screenwriting (2004) (primary author of chapter)

Popular Articles and Op-Ed Pieces

  • See also portfolios of selected popular articles at Pressfolios and MuckRack.

  • Several hundred articles for The Hollywood Reporter (July 2010 to present) on entertainment labor, entertainment law and other subjects

  • Making for the Exit: Poli-Tech Firms are Waiting on a Lucrative, Silicon Valley-Style Exit that could Change the Industry Forever, Campaigns & Elections (July 2014)

  • Book Review, Los Angeles Times (October 23, 2009) (review of William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars)

  • There’s a Lot of Residual Pain Ahead if Current System Isn’t Remedied, Hollywood Reporter (July 23, 2009)

  • Copyright Enforcers Must Overcome Internet’s Free Content Culture, Daily Journal (July 21, 2009) (available in slightly different form on the Huffington Post as Culture Clash on the Internet)

  • SAG Contract is Ratified, but Drama is Likely to Return Quickly, Daily Journal (June 30, 2009)

  • SAG Contract Ratified; Now What?, 15 Century City Lawyer no. 15 (June 2009)

  • New-Media Distribution Giving Hollywood a Makeover, Los Angeles Business Journal (June 15, 2009)

  • Why the Film Biz Still has Far to Go, (June 11, 2009)

  • The Struggle Over Content and Technology Will Define Hollywood’s Future, Daily Journal (June 9, 2009)

  • Why Content’s Kingdom is Slipping Away, (June 9, 2009)

  • SAG’s Strange Voyage, 15 Century City Lawyer no. 14 (May 2009)

  • Actors Strike a Deal, but is a New Compensation System on the Horizon?, Daily Journal (April 7, 2009)

  • Economy, New Media Are Conspiring to Make Things Tough on Actors, Daily Journal (March 24, 2009)

  • Hollywood Under Siege, Daily Journal (October 22, 2008)

  • Actors’ Labor Plan in Need of a Rewrite, Los Angeles Business Journal (September 15, 2008)

  • Curtain Call, Daily Journal (June 20, 2008)

  • With One Union Already Done, SAG Auditions for an Actors Deal, Daily Journal (June 4, 2008)

  • No Time for Drama in Contract Talks for Studios, Actors, Los Angeles Business Journal (May 26, 2008)

  • Entertainment Industry Could Be Headed for a Scary Sequel, Daily Journal (May 15, 2008)

  • To Look and Sound Great On Air, Lawyers Should Be Prepared, Daily Journal (April 8, 2008)

  • Fete the Press: Lawyers, Make the Most of Media Interactions, Daily Journal (April 1, 2008)

  • Write On, Daily Journal (March 10, 2008)

  • DGA as Peacemaker: If the Directors Cut the Right Deal, It Could Save Hollywood From Civil War, Los Angeles Times (January 16, 2008)

  • Ask Super Lawyers, Los Angeles Magazine (February 2007) (short squib)

  • Ask the Experts, Script Magazine (January/February 2007–July/August 2008) (legal column)

  • How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets, (February 2003)

  • When Worlds Collide—‘Take Me to Your Lawyer’?, UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies (Fall 2002)

Older Computer-Related Articles and Technical Documents

  • Machine Readable Passports, Nexus: The Journal for Computer Users in the Public Interest Community (review) (September/October 1984)

  • The MSG Frame System, BBN Labs report (April 1984)

  • Zmail Concepts and Techniques, Symbolics reference manual 990096 (January 1983) (co-author)

  • The New Literacy: Programming Languages as Language, BYTE (March 1981)

  • Short review of Godel, Escher, Bach, in The Knight Letter (March 1981)

  • An English Parser, IBM Systems Research Institute Technical Report TR-73-005 (January 1980)


  • Huffington Post – over 100 articles


  • AlwaysOn – several dozen articles, including cross-posts from Huffington Post

  • – approximately 250 articles, including cross-posts from Huffington Post

  • IMDb – automatic feed of articles from

Expert Witness Engagement

  • Willis v. City of Los Angeles, LA Superior Court Case No. BC388076 (jury trial) (March 2009) – engaged by City of Los Angeles as a consulting and testifying expert on damages regarding an actor’s alleged lost wages (plaintiff dismissed case prior to my testifying)

Classes Taught

  • LAW-656: The Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology, USC Gould School of Law (Fall 2013) (1 unit)

  • LAW-468: Topics in Entertainment Law: The Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology, USC Gould School of Law (Fall 2012) (1 unit)

  • Master Class on Guilds and Unions, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (April 20, 2012) (single session)

  • LAW-843-AX: Writers Guild: Agreements and Negotiation, Southwestern Law School (January 2012, January 2013) (1 unit)

  • Law 357: Entertainment Industry Unions and Guilds, UCLA School of Law (Spring 2010) (2 units)

  • One-week Masterclass on entertainment industry business, law, finance and technology, Taipei National University of the Arts (March 2007)

  • Sneak Preview film appreciation/screening class, UCLA Extension (1997 – 1999) (one academic quarter per year, about 8 sessions each) (approximately 400 students)

  • Individual class sessions on entertainment legal and business issues at USC Gould School of Law, UCLA Anderson School of Management, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA Extension and Los Angeles Film School

Profiled In

  • Jonathan Handel, The Accidental Journalist, Muck Rack (September 16, 2014) (invited autobiographical essay on journalism website).

  • Jayne Navarre, social.lawyers: Transforming Business Development 113-115 (2010).

  • Susannah Snider, Labor Pays Off with Teaching Gig for Local Attorney: Featured Newsmaker, LA Bus. J. (October 26, 2009).

  • TroyGould Attorney Handel to Teach at UCLA Law School, Metropolitan News-Enterprise (October 2, 2009).

  • Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Strike's Winners, (January 28, 2008).


  • Entertainment Labor: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography was reviewed on the American Association of Law Libraries’ Spectrum Blog (Ingrid Mattson, July 23, 2014) and will be reviewed in the Labor Studies Journal (Sheree Gregory, 2014 forthcoming).

  • The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis was cited in Carol Jess, ‘The Hobbit Dispute’: Organizing Through Transnational Alliances, 5(2) Global Labour J. 196, 206 and discussed in Book Slams NZ Over Hobbit Union Crisis (11/26/2012).

  • Handel’s Hollywood Reporter coverage of the New Zealand Hobbit unionization dispute was cited during debate in the New Zealand Parliament. See 668 Hansard 14954 & 14993 (Oct. 28, 2010).

  • Hollywood on Strike! was listed as suggested reading in Writers and Organized Labor in Robert E. Weir, Workers in America: A Historical Encyclopedia (2013).

  • No More Sounds of Silence on the Musical Composition Front was cited in Robert Alan Brookey, Hollywood Gamers: Digital Convergence in the Film and Video Game Industries 16, 143 n. 51-52 (2010).

  • Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Why Content’s Kingdom is Slipping Away was cited in:

    • Jennifer Holt, Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation, 1980-1996 at 6 n.15 (2011).

    • Catherine L. Fisk, The Role of Private Intellectual Property Rights in Markets for Labor and Ideas: Screen Credit and the Writers Guild of America, 1938-2000, 32 Berk. J. Employ. & Lab. L. 215, 277 n.241 (2011).

    • Jessica Wang, A Brave New Step: Why the Music Industry Should Follow the Hulu Model, 51 Idea 511, 533 n.118 (2011)

    • Priti Trivedi, Writing the Wrong: What the E-Book Industry Can Learn from Digital Music's Mistakes with DRM, 18 J.L. & Pol'y 925, 940 n.98, 955 n.197, 956 nn. 200, 201 (2010).

    • Lauren A. Rieders, Old Principles, New Technology, and the Future of Notice in Newspapers, 38 Hofstra L. Rev. 1009, 1029 n.144 (2010).

    • Zahr Said, Embedded Advertising and the Venture Consumer, 89 N.C. L. Rev. 99 (2010),, at 114 n. 62.

    • Jon M. Garon, Content, Control and the Socially Networked Film, The University of Louisville 2nd Ann. Conf. on Innovation and Communication Law (August 21-22, 2009),, at 13n.108; 48 U. Louisville L. Rev. 771 (2010).

  • Hollywood Under Siege and the author’s blog were cited in Lisa Lapan, Network Television and the Digital Threat, 16 UCLA Entert. L. Rev. 343, 346, 359, 389-90 (2009).

  • Hollywood Under Siege was cited in:

    • Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section, State Bar of Cal., Cal. State Antitrust & Unfair Compet. L. § 10.02(C) n.19 (Cheryl Lee Johnson, ed.) (2010).

    • Kevin C. Hormann, Comment, The Death of the DMCA? How Viacom v. Youtube May Define the Future of Digital Content, 46 Houston L. Rev. 1345, 1346 nn. 4, 6, 1374 nn. 189, 190 (2009).

  • Is Content Worthless? was:

    • Discussed in Malin Ekman, Tidningskrisen i USA ”Where are we going?” (Stockholms Universitet, 2011).

    • Discussed in Federico Telmo, Modelos de negocios para la prensa digital (Universidad de San Andres, 2012).

    • Discussed in the book Free: The Future of a Radical Price 140-142 (2009), by Chris Anderson, the then-editor of Wired.

    • Cited in Michael S. Sawyer, Filters, Fair Use, and Feedback: User-Generated Content Principles and the DMCA, 24 Berk. Tech. L. J. 363, 364 n. 3 (2009).

    • Cited in Seth A. Metsch, Setting the Stage: New Technologies and New Entertainment Challenges, 943 PLI/Pat 11 (Practising Law Institute, Sept. 2008).

  • Reflections on Residuals: Go Forth and Multiply, The Huffington Post (11/23/07) was cited in Miranda Banks and Ellen Seiter, Spoilers at the Digital Utopia Party: The WGA and Students Now, 7.04 FlowTV (12/7/2007).

  • Memo to a client regarding a film library acquisition was cited favorably in Santa Monica Pictures, LLC v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2005-104 (United States Tax Court 2005), at 67-69.

  • Howard M. Frumes and Jonathan Handel, Commentary on the IFTA International Censorship Rider was reprinted in Donald E. Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute and Beverly Hills Bar Ass'n, Entertainment Without Borders: Practicing Entertainment Law in a Global Environment, 30, 31- 32 (Nov. 1, 2005) (program materials) and cited in Robert Lind, et al., 1 Entertainment Law 3d: Legal Concepts and Business Practices § 3:44 and in Thomas D. Selz, Entertainment Law 3d at 3-110.

Media Appearances

  • About 800 appearances (excluding self-written material) as an expert in media outlets including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, The Economist, Entertainment Weekly, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, Bloomberg News cable, Fox Business News, KNBC, local television, NPR, KCRW, KNX, KFWB, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, CTV and CBC (Canadian national television), BBC radio, and elsewhere. List of appearances available on request or here.

Presentations (all in Los Angeles unless otherwise noted)

  • Startups Legal Advice To Help Avoid ‘Soul-Crushing’ Mistakes, Silicon Beach @ USC (October 29, 2014) (panelist)

  • Entertainment Law for Short Filmmakers, HollyShorts Film Conference (August 19, 2014) (moderator)

  • Presentation on entertainment unions and guilds, Columbia College Chicago (May 8, 2014)

  • Aereo, investor conference call for DeMatteo Monness (April 17, 2014)

  • Aereo, FilmOn, Aereokiller . . . A Copyright Thriller!: a tale of 2 countries, 3 companies and 13 cases, Pannone Legal Group (international association of law firms) (October 11, 2013)

  • Aereo, investor conference call for DeMatteo Monness (May 28, 2013)

  • Presentation on entertainment journalism, Columbia College Chicago (February 14, 2013)

  • Loyola Law School Entertainment Law and Litigation Symposium (December 6, 2012) (panelist)

  • Presentation on unions and guilds, Columbia College Chicago (September 25, 2012)

  • Master Class on Guilds and Unions, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (April 20, 2012)

  • Residuals Management: A Challenging Opportunity, Hollywood IT Summit (March 2, 2012) (panelist)

  • Residuals Management: Past Present and Future, Hollywood IT Society (HITS) breakfast meeting (January 25, 2012)

  • PR Summit Chat-Up (November 12, 2011) (panelist)

  • Over the Top and Through the Woods: Navigating the New Television Thicket, USC Institute on Entertainment Law and Business (October 22, 2011) (moderator)

  • Art of the Deal, Digital Hollywood (October 18, 2011) (panelist)

  • Social Networking, Social Media and Video for Results, Legal Marketing Technology Conference/West (San Francisco, September 15, 2011) (panelist)

  • SAG/AFTRA Merger, presentation to The Actors’ Network (June 2011)

  • A Conversation with . . . Jonathan Handel,” Southwestern Law School (April 12, 2011)

  • Compensation & Creative Labor roundtable, Net Worth: Media Distribution in the Digital Era conference, UC Santa Barbara (February 18, 2011) (panelist)

  • Legal panel, Screen Actors Guild Diversity Day (October 16, 2010) (moderator)

  • Art of the Deal, Digital Hollywood (May 6, 2010) (panelist)

  • Southeast European Film Festival Business Conference (May 3, 2010) (panelist)

  • Presentation at Chapman University School of Law Distinguished Entertainment and Sports Law Speaker Series (September 30, 2009)

  • Meltdown to Ramp Up: Entertainment Law Year in Review, Beverly Hills Bar Association (April 2009) (panelist)

  • Like Scorpions in a Silicon Cage: How Hollywood Management and Labor Fought While Content's Kingdom Was Slipping Away, Lights, Labor, Action: Labor Controversy in the Sports and Entertainment Industries conference, Vanderbilt Law School (March 2009) (keynote speaker)

  • Labor Discord in Hollywood, Zocalo Public Square (March 2009) (panelist)

  • Will SAG Strike?, investor conference call for RBC Capital Markets (December 18, 2008)

  • Union: Contract Negotiations, presentation to the Actors' Network (July 2008)

  • No SAG Resolution Yet—Stay Tuned, investor conference call for Wachovia Capital Markets (July 2, 2008)

  • New Ways of Storytelling, MediaXchange conference (June 2008) (moderator)

  • Spinning the Web, Writers Guild of America (June 2008) (panelist)

  • Understanding the Issues in the WGA Strike, investor conference call for RBC Capital Markets (February 1, 2008)

  • Legal Issues for Screenwriters, Screenwriting Expo and Script Writers Showcase (2003–2006) (panelist)

  • Technology in the Entertainment Industry, presentation in Havana, Cuba to ICAIC, the Cuban Institute of Motion Picture Arts and Industry (December 2003)

  • Technology and the Entertainment Industry, presentation to 30 CEOs of Korean video game and animation companies (December 2003) (UCLA Extension)

  • Technology and the Television Busi­ness, Presentation for Fuji Television Network (November 2003)

  • The Film Industry: Business, Law and Technology, Presen­tation to Warner Bros. Global Trainee Program (September 2003)

  • Entertainment law and intellectual property presentations to Los Angeles Film School producing class (2002, 2004, 2008)

  • Filmmaking and Technology, presentation to Masterclass Los Angeles: Three-Week Custom Program for Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg (August 2002) (UCLA Extension)

  • Doing Deals in a Digital World, panel at ShowBiz Expo (June 2002) (moderator)

  • Internet and Entertainment Technology, presenta­tions at Beverly Hills Bar Association and Disney, Dreamworks, Sony, and William Morris Agency (1998–1999)

  • Cybercrime, Copyright and Free Speech on the Internet (October 1995) (panelist)

  • Appellate Advocacy in the Fifth Circuit, presentation to Dallas Bar Association entertainment law group (August 1991)


  • Listed as a 2013 Power Player in Technology Business Media by AlwaysOn.

  • Listed as one of the top 100 lawyers in California in 2008 by the Daily Journal legal newspaper.

  • Listed as a Southern California Super Lawyer in 2014, 2013, 2007 and 2006 by Law & Politics / Super Lawyers magazine.

  • AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 rated.


  • Advisory Board, Los Angeles Film School, 2009–pres.

  • Television Academy (formerly Academy of Television Arts & Sciences), 2004–pres.

  • California State Bar, 1990–pres.

Film Festival Attendance

  • Sundance: 1996 – 2008

  • Cannes: 2007, 2008

  • Toronto: 2006, 2007

  • Tribeca: 2007

Community Service

  • Board member, West Hollywood Community Housing Corp., 1992–1994.

  • Founding member, Cambridge (Mass.) AIDS Task Force, 1987–1989.

  • Chair (1987), Vice-Chair (1985–1986), and member (1988), Cambridge Human Rights Commission.

  • Member, City Councilor Wolf's Human Rights Task Force, 1984. Drafted Cambridge Human Rights Ordinance (local civil rights law). Lobbied and helped organize passage of ordinance.

Political Experience

  • Delegate, California Democratic State Convention, 1993, 1994, 1995.

  • Appointed alternate member, LA County Democratic Central Committee, 1992–1995.

  • Elected member, Cambridge Democratic City Committee, 1984–1990.

  • Elected delegate, Massachusetts Democratic State Convention, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990.

  • Founder/coordinator, Cambridge Lesbian and Gay Alliance, 1983 – c. 1986.

  • Founder, Gay and Lesbian Issues Caucus at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention, 1983 – c. 1986.

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