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.


All sessions will be held on Saturdays from 9:30am - 4:30pm (approx) via Zoom. Because the learning is cumulative, commitment to all three sessions is highly recommended.

  • November 20
  • November 27
  • December 4


Be sure to register by Wednesday November 17, 2021 (11:59pm EDT)

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 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 is not required.

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

2021 Fees

WIFT Toronto Members: $350.00 (+ HST)

Non-Members: $475.00 (+ HST)

** Our fees have remained the same since 2019.

Bursary Information

Two (2) bursaries are 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, 2 spirit or nonbinary media professional. Preference will be given to members of the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and the LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as individuals living with a disability and those that identify as a member of an underrepresented group. 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 Friday November 12, 2021 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 – Regulatory Procedures and Policies

This day will include discussion around:

  • Canadian Content overview
  • Corporate Structures (production services, co-ventures and treaty co-productions)
  • Financing of film and television production
  • 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 Professor in 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 the Canadian 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.

Day 3 – 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 and head of Entertainment Law Group, Goodmans LLP; Aaron Barrett, Associate, Entertainment Law Group, Goodmans LLP

Tara Parker is a partner in the Entertainment Group at Goodmans. Represents major US and Canadian studios, broadcasters, independent producers and a range of creative and business clients, in the development, production, financing and exploitation of film, television, and other digital media projects. Recognized by The Best Lawyers in Canada (named 2021 Toronto Entertainment Lawyer of the Year), The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, The Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (Entertainment Law), Chambers Canada, Who’s Who Legal Canada and Euromoney’s Guides to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers and Women in Business Law (media). Frequent speaker/panelist at media conferences and guest lecturer on entertainment law at the University of Toronto Law School and Ryerson University. Has appeared as a guest expert on “format/reality programming” and “copyright/street art” on BNN and CTV networks. Advisory Board Member for the BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media.  Tara  has contributed articles to various entertainment law publications. Past President and Chair of Crow’s Theatre. Member of LSUC, WIFT-Toronto, Film Ontario and ACCT and past member of OBA’s Entertainment, Media and Communications Law Section Executive.

David Zitzerman is a partner and head of the Entertainment Law Group at Goodmans. He has exclusively practiced 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.

Aaron Barrett is an associate in the Entertainment Group at Goodmans. He is developing a practice in entertainment and sports law, e-sports law, and sports gambling law.

Prior to joining Goodmans, Aaron worked as a business affairs consultant at Reisman Law Offices – a boutique entertainment law practice. There, he helped represent a wide range of clients from the entertainment industry. Aaron also interned in the legal department at the United States Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, where he worked to preserve safe and clean sport for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, Parapan American and UFC athletes.

Aaron received his law degree with distinction from Western University. Before attending law school, Aaron graduated as the winner of the Gold Medal for Politics at Acadia University.

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