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On Demand Audio

Reality Television: Copyright Issues and Participant Contracts

(993 reviews)

Produced on November 24, 2014

$ 59 Contract, Intellectual Property, and Sports & Entertainment In Stock

Course Information

Time 65 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Join attorneys Amy Goldsmith and Ethan Bordman for this timely and entertaining program on the legalities of reality television.


In this course, Ms. Goldsmith focuses on the copyrightable elements of reality television, from scripts to the finished product, and explains what parts are copyrightable and which are not.  She also presents several well-known cases where “copycat” shows were litigated and their outcomes (“Survivor,” “The Apprentice”), including current unresolved matters, such as the allegations of copyright infringement involving feature film Elysium and Univision’s Q’Viva! The Chosen. 


Additionally, entertainment attorney Ethan Bordman presents contractual and other issues that have arisen in popular shows (“The Bachelor,” “Storage Wars,” and“Duck Dynasty") and considerations for individuals who participate in these programs.  He also explains why “unscripted” television does not always mean “unwritten.” 


Learning Objectives: 

I.   Know your rights: understand content ownership, what is copyrightable and what isn’t protectable 

II.  Understand how production companies work and implement standard content transfer policies 

III. Grasp the unique clauses in Reality Television Contracts 

IV. Recognize aspects that affect programming  




Ethan Bordman

Ethan Y. Bordman PLLC

Ethan Bordman represents authors, screenwriters, producers, directors, and actors, guiding them through the legal and business matters they face in bringing their dreams to the screen. He also assists investors and filmmakers in financing motion pictures. Mr. Bordman earned a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law, a master’s degree in Entertainment Law from the University of Westminster in London, England and a master’s degree in International Sports Law from Anglia University in Cambridge, England. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Prentis School of Business at Wayne State University. 

Before starting his law practice, Mr. Bordman worked for the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a national performers’ union. While at AFTRA, he coordinated television and radio projects for networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, CTV (Canadian Television), TNT, and Lifetime Networks. Mr. Bordman is the former Chair of the Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law section of the Michigan State Bar. He is currently a member of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law committee of the New York State Bar. He practices entertainment law in New York, Michigan, and Illinois.

Amy Goldsmith

Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP

Successful, profitable businesses share certain characteristics: immediately recognizable brands, desirable products or services, and a strategic plan which minimizes legal risks. As co-chair of the Intellectual Property Group at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, Amy B. Goldsmith partners with clients to provide practical legal advice and connections to grow their businesses. A strategic advisor, she guides clients in all stages of their development from idea conception and protection, to funding, manufacturing and enforcement.

She will advise you whether your trademark is available in the United States and globally, if patents should be a part of your strategy, and if your design team’s new product shares too many features of the competition’s copyrighted bestseller. She will design contracts that make sense. Amy will also guide you through the clearance process, whether the subject matter is books, movies or live action. If a dispute is on the horizon, she will be by your side until a fair resolution is reached. If knock-offs are all over social media platforms, Amy will help you take them down.

Amy protects the global interests of national and international clients in a wide variety of industries, including fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, food and nutraceuticals, pet products, publishing, medical devices, exercise equipment, web-based business applications and telecommunications platforms, and consumer and designer goods. Amy will help you design privacy policies and terms of use that make sense in the global world in which you operate.

She has been a Vice President of the New York Women's Bar Association and currently is Co-Chair of the CLE Committee. She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the International Trademark Association (INTA) and is on the Board of Directors of Savvy Ladies, a non-profit whose mission is to educate women to be financially savvy. Amy also was a speaker at and served on the Advisory Board for TedxTimesSquare.

Before joining Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, Amy was a partner at Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C.


Larry S.

Well done. Very interesting.

Breyuna W.

Great program!

John H.

Great first half, good second half - overall very useful info.

Henry G.

Ethan and Amy were both very informative and effective speakers.

David M.

Informative and very good overall.

Peggy C.


Erica R.

Great course.

Erika J.

Excellent course!

Kelvin B.

Good integration of the two subject matters--reality tv and intellectual property.

Patrice V.

Great overview!

Lewis S.

Super fascinating!

Paul G.

Very interesting topic!

Tali S.

Very interesting.

Marlon S.

Materials were excellent.

Ronald D.

Speakers did a nice job

Marie Q.

Great program.

Jeffrey V.

Interesting and informative, one of the beste

Richard R.

Very good - and I loved the topical Johnny Fairplay reference.

Lena V.

This course was very interesting.

Suzanne R.

interesting and timely.

Valerie W.

Very well done.

Rodrick W.

the dual instructor concept was a first-I thought that Ethan Bordman's presentation was good and Amy Goldsmith's presentation very informative. I will look up the 9th Circuit case outcome

Ayisha R.

very interesting subject area, should have been longer.

Andrew W.

Interesting to hear how things are moving away from reality shows and more to scripted due to syndication/repeats, did not know of the trend

julie y.


Eric C.

Entertaining and interesting.

Jamilee K.

I really enjoyed the contract segment of this course. But both speakers did a good job.

Melissa H.

Very engaging.

Harold H.

Both instructors were thoroughgoing and clear. Good information was given.

Lauren K.

Fun program.

David M.

Both instructors were good in my opinion. I liked them each.

Stephen K.

Excellent coverage of the subject for first introduction.

Lisa A.


Sharon C.

This was so interesting!

Hwesu M.

Interesting and informative.

Charles L W.

I believe more introductory material by both presenters would have enhanced understanding of this field of law.

Andrew S.

good job

Wendy Y.

interesting topic and great presenters

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