Your Rights When You Write

(638 Ratings)

Produced on: February 15, 2018

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Many people are writers, to one extent or another – but few are fortunate enough to be paid to do it.  Writing (or “IP”, or “content” as some like to call it) is at the root of much of entertainment these days. Writers write not only in a variety of genres, but in a variety of media, which means that their rights may be exploited (and potentially infringed) in a variety of ways. Consequently, it’s important for writers and their attorneys to have a solid understanding of their legal rights, in order to protect their content and themselves. 

In this program, Authors Guild General Counsel Cheryl Davis explains some of the basics of copyright law and how it impacts writers in books, theater, film, and television.  Davis covers recent developments in case law and discusses the myriad of factors writers and their attorneys should keep in mind when both writing and licensing their work.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain an overview of how the copyright law affects writers
  2. Discuss how writers’ rights differ in:
    • Publishing
    • Theater
    • Film/TV
  3. Become familiar with recent court decisions affecting writers
  4. Explore some of the key concerns writers should consider when entering into agreements


Cheryl Davis

The Authors Guild

Cheryl L. Davis is the General Counsel of the Authors Guild. She is a former partner at the firm of Menaker & Herrmann LLP, a general commercial practice firm in New York City. She is a litigator who concentrates in intellectual property matters (particularly copyright and trademark cases), employment, and real estate/construction related matters. She has counseled architects and design professionals on how to protect their intellectual property, and has made multiple industry presentations on the topic. She is also a co-author of Law for Architects: What You Need to Know.

Professional & Community Involvement:

  • Diversity Co-Liaison of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries and Vice Chair of the Arts and Museums Committee of that Forum
  • Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section for the New York State Bar Association
  • General Counsel for the League of Professional Theatre Women
  • Vice President of Theater Resources Unlimited, and a former member of the Theater Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts
  • New York City Committee of the Law Firm Access to Justice Campaign Committee of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Inc.
  • Participated in a NEA panel on Musical Theater

Representative Speaking Engagements:

  • Panel Member in a program entitled “Architecture Law: Contract Negotiation, Intellectual Property and Claims” presented by Hudson Valley Bank
  • Presentation on “Copyright and Intellectual Property Law” to National Academy of Neuropsychology
  • Presentation on “Intellectual Property and Architects” (both live and webinar)
  • Presentations on “Contracts, Options and Underlying Rights” and “Differences between Commercial and Not-for-Profit Theater” to theatrical producers, for which she was interviewed by NY1 (Theater Producers Strategize To Ensure Their Shows Go On)
  • Presentations on employment issues, such as Social Media Concerns in 2015, Sexual Harassment and the “Employee Who Complains”



Courtney M.

I really enjoyed this course - great instructor!

Thomas B.

As a first time user of LawLine, I was very pleased with content and quality.

John F.

I really enjoyed that presentation. The presenter did an excellent job!

J. Donald H.

Very well prepared and interesting presentation.

Sean P.

Usually these are boring, this one was actually very interesting.

Jennifer L.

got better as she delved further into the subject, which she clearly knows quite well.

Marc A.

Thank you for the information.

William C.

clear and lucid; well informed and highly qualified lecturer

Chartrisse A.


Retha M.

Excellent overview.

judy i.

Very well organized and coherent. Very informative!

Peter R.

excellent presentation

Salvatore M.

very good seminar

Robert S.


Katina D.

The speaker is well educated and well versed in her field

James K.

Extremely informative presentation. Practical and explained the subject matter in an easily understood manner.

Gerard M.

one of the best teachers you have get more of her programs very pleasing modulated delivery

Lorenzo L.

Ms. Davis' presentation was excellent as was the content of the course materials.

Sharon M.

The presenter was excellent

tom m.

very good!

Mary B J.

A helpful overview, especially the discussion of the differences between theater and film/TV rights.

Marcia C.

Well-timed and thoughtful presentation with great information.

Henry G.

Good course.

Patricia F.

very articulate, substantive presentation

Chris R.

Great seminar. Cheryl is really insightful

Joshua G.

Absolutely great lecture. Ms. Davis is both charming and an expert knowledgeable in the field of copyright law.

John K.

Good presentation skills

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