Introduction to Entertainment Law

A 3-day workshop designed to demystify legal issues in media content production. Learn your rights, protect your IP, negotiate the best deal for YOU!

  • Learn the basics of contractual terms and industry best practices, the basics of personal service contracts, and tips on working with guilds and unions.
  • Learn the basic elements of working with intellectual properties, including registration and protection.
  • Get to know more about corporate structures, basic regulatory procedures and policies regarding Canadian content, and so much more!

Entertainment Law is multi-faceted and unusual in that it overlaps with so many other legal areas: intellectual property law, employment law, contract law, tax law, insurance law, and sometimes international law. This three-day course is designed to provide an introduction/overview of key legal considerations - Contracts and Negotiations, Intellectual Property and Regulations and Policies - in the screen-based media industry.


Dates for 2021 TBA.

Dates from 2020:

All sessions will be held on Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM (approx) via Zoom. Because the learning is cumulative, commitment to all three sessions is highly recommended.

  • November 14
  • Noember 21
  • November 28


EXTENDED DEADLINE! Sign up online by noon TBA. Questions? Email Laurie Januska, Director of Programming.

Who Should Apply

The WIFT Toronto Introduction to Entertainment Law workshop is recommended for anyone who has an interest in learning the basics of the legal landscape in the screen-based industry. This is an introductory course designed to demystify topics for those who work in the screen-based industry. Previous experience in working in or around entertainment law (or any of the three main topics of Contracts and Negotiations, Intellectual Property or Regulatory Procedures and Policies) will be beneficial, but not required.

This workshop is open to ALL, WIFT Toronto members and non-members.

2021 Fees TBA

2020 fees:

WIFT Toronto Members: $350.00 (+ HST)

Non-Members: $475.00 (+ HST)

Bursary Information

Two (2) bursaries were available to cover the fees for two individual registrants. These bursaries are made possible through the Foundation for Women In Film & Television – Toronto.

Bursaries—open to WIFT Toronto members and non-members—are made available through the Foundation for WIFT Toronto for the purposes of providing financial assistance as well as opportunities for advancement to underrepresented groups.

To be eligible for a bursary, you must identify as a woman, female, trans, genderqueer or nonbinary media professional. Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, those living with a disablity or that identify as a visual minority are encouraged to apply. Please self-identify in your Letter of Intent. Applicants should clearly demonstrate why they wish to be considered for a bursary in their Letter of Intent.

Bursaries cannot be used for any other purpose.

Click here to apply for a bursary.

The bursary application deadline is TBA at 11:59 PM, ET.

Sessions & Instructor Bios

Day 1 – Contracts and Negotiations

This day will include discussions around:

  • Contractual customs and practices
  • Drafting and negotiating key terms of agreements (talent, writer, production, etc.)
  • Personal service contracts (basic terms, miscellaneous provisions and types of agreements)
  • Standard form agreements (appearance releases, location releases, license agreements)
  • Working with unions and guilds
  • Working with broadcasters and distributors
  • Favoured Nations clauses (scope re: terms, scope re: comparables)
  • Royalties and residuals
  • Completion guarantors

Instructor: Terry E. Markus, lawyer, executive producer

Terry Markus is an independent consultant and lawyer providing business and legal affairs services to the entertainment, broadcasting and media industries. In addition, she is the co-producer of the dramatic short, DNA, which premiered at TIFF in 2003, and her executive producer credits include the feature length theatrical film, SUCK, which premiered at TIFF in 2009 and won several awards including the Silver Medal Best Canadian Feature at Fantasia 2010 and the Audience Choice Award at the Whistler Film Festival 2009; the documentary short, Chasing the Lion (2016), about Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders; the dramatic short, Fearfully & Wonderfully MADE (2019); the feature length theatrical film Happy F’K’IN Sunshine (2020); and the feature length documentary Connecting the Dots (2020).  Terry is also faculty at the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts, Humber College, and she is on the Boards of Women in Film and Television – Toronto, the Foundation for Women in Film and Television – Toronto (Chair) and the Reelworld Film Festival.

A graduate of the University of Toronto and Queen’s University Law School, Terry started her legal career at a boutique entertainment law firm in Toronto, Ontario. She then worked in-house at the following companies holding various senior legal, business and regulatory affairs positions: Astral Media Inc. (now Bell Media Inc.); Alliance Communications Corporation’s broadcasting division (now Corus Entertainment Inc.); and, the Catalyst Entertainment Inc. (now CCI Entertainment Limited) and Gullane Entertainment PLC (now HIT Entertainment Limited) group of companies. In addition, while continuing her independent legal practice, Terry worked at the S-VOX Group of Companies (now ZoomerMedia Limited) in the role of Executive Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.

Day 2 – Intellectual Property

This day will include discussions around:

  • Identifying, registering and protecting intellectual property
  • Copyright Act (including fair dealing), Trade-Marks Act, and clearances
  • Acquisition and licensing of rights, Life rights
  • Errors and Omissions insurance and clearance procedures
  • Chain of Title
  • Rights of privacy and personality

Instructors: Tara Parker, Partner, Goodmans LLP; David Zitzerman, Partner, Goodmans LLP; Yonca Osborne, Goodmans LLP

Tara Parker is a partner in the Entertainment Group at Goodmans. Tara was recently named the Best Lawyers’ 2015 Toronto Entertainment Law “Lawyer of the Year” and is also recognized as a leading entertainment lawyer by The Best Lawyers in Canada, The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada and Who's Who Legal: Sports & Entertainment. She is also recognized for media by Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers and the Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business. Her practice focuses on representing major American and Canadian studios, broadcasters, independent producers, literary, artistic and business clients, in all aspects of the development, production, financing, licensing and distribution of film, television, book publishing, theatrical, music, video game and digital media projects.

Tara has appeared as a guest expert on the subject of “Reality Television” on the Business News Network (BNN). Tara is a contributing editor to Canadian Forms and Precedents: Commercial Transactions – Information Technology and Entertainment published by LexisNexis and has contributed articles to various entertainment law publications relating to her area of practice. READ MORE

David Zitzerman is a partner and head of the Entertainment Law Group at Goodmans. He has exclusively practised entertainment law for over 25 years. His practice focuses on film, TV and online media in Canada and the United States. Clients include independent producers, Canadian networks, Hollywood studios, US networks, cable and OTT services, European broadcasters, distributors, publishers, private equity investors, talent guilds/agencies, authors, writers, directors and actors.

David is recognized as a leading entertainment lawyer by Lexpert, Who’s Who Legal, The Best Lawyers in Canada (2010 Toronto Entertainment Lawyer of the Year), Euromoney’s Best of the Best (one of top 30 media lawyers in the world) and Guide to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers.

David is an Adjunct Professor of entertainment law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and is a frequent commentator on entertainment industry issues for Business News Network. He is the co-author of Entertainment Law in Canada published by LexisNexis. He is a director and serves on the Executive and Investment Committees of the Canadian Film Centre, is a director of the Canadian Screenwriters Collection Society, is on the Program Advisory Committee of the Ryerson School of Radio & Television Arts, is a Gold Patron of the Toronto International Film Festival and is a member of Film Ontario, the Canadian Media Production Association, Women in Film and Television-Toronto, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and the Canadian Association of Recording Artists.

Day 3 – Regulatory Procedures and Policies

This day will include discussion around:

  • Canadian Content overview
  • Corporate Structures (production services, co-ventures and treaty co-productions)
  • Tax Credit and funding implications
  • Broadcast licensing and regulatory issues

Instructors: Hatty Reisman, Founding Partner of Reisman Law Offices and Corporate Director; Douglas Barrett, Adjunct Professor, Arts, Media & Entertainment MBA Program; Strategic/Governance Adviser; Media Industry Veteran

Hatty Reisman, founder and senior lawyer at Reisman Law Offices is a seasoned corporate lawyer with business and operations experience. Prior to establishing this firm, Hatty spent 20 years in the trenches getting to know her clients' business.  She was a founding partner of the Toronto office of Heenan Blaikie and went on to serve as General Counsel of two leading Canadian entertainment public companies — Atlantis Communications and Nelvana Limited.

Hatty offers legal and business expertise specializing in the cultural industries sector including advising on all aspects of the film and television industry, interim financing, corporate transactions and day to day corporate matters, intellectual property, employment and immigration issues arising in these and other industries, small claims court matters, as well as on issues faced by technology startups, and on music, publishing and new media matters.

She is also a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and is recognized by Lexpert as a leading entertainment lawyer, and by Cambridge's World Wide Who's Who.

Doug Barrett is a veteran of over 30 years in the Canadian media and entertainment industries.  Since 2008, he has been a Professorin Media Management at Schulich School of Business of York University — first as the Bell Media Professor and now as Adjunct Professor.  He is also the Principal of Barcode SDG, a strategic advisory firm.

From 2006 until its sale in May, 2013, he was the President and CEO of PS Production Services Ltd., one of the country’s leading suppliers of professional motion picture production equipment.  For 20 years prior, Barrett ran one of Canada’s most successful entertainment law practices, serving as senior partner at McMillan LLP, and was repeatedly listed by the legal directory, Lexpert, as one of Canada’s 500 Leading Lawyers.

From 2004 to 2008, Doug served as Chair of the Board of Directors of theCanadian Television Fund during which he reformed the Fund’s complex governance and funding practices while leading strategic responses to examinations by the CRTC, the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Canadian Heritage and the Auditor General of Canada.

Throughout his career, Doug has provided legal advice and strategic guidance to the Canadian film and television industry, and volunteered both time and expertise to build a stronger landscape.  He has served on several boards for periods exceeding 10 years, including the Banff Television Festival, the Feature Film Project of the Canadian Film Centre and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.  He was also a key founder of the Alliance Atlantis Banff Television Executive Program.

The Entertainment Law workshop helped me become more familiar with the legal vocabulary and procedures most relevant to my work, and will help me make stronger contributions and ask better questions around legal issues moving forward in my career. The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and had many real world examples to share from their work in film and media. The training also helped clarify which documents and procedures may be appropriate to complete without a lawyer, and when more expertise is required.
Alison Zimmer, producer
Broaden Your Knowledge Base
Broaden Your Knowledge Base