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James L. Johnston is a partner in the Entertainment, Media & Sports; Digital Media, Technology & Privacy; Advertising, Marketing & Sports and Intellectual Property Practice Groups of Davis & Gilbert.  Mr. Johnston represents numerous multinational, national and local media companies, sports leagues and teams, television and motion picture producers, marketing and promotions agencies, and advertisers in connection with all aspects of the sports, motion picture, television, entertainment, advertising, promotions, and marketing industries.

Mr. Johnston has considerable experience in all aspects of sports, entertainment, new media and advertising law.  In the sports field, his practice touches on businesses and individuals of all types whose interests intersect with the sports industry.  Mr. Johnston has advised professional sports leagues and governing bodies on broadcast and other media rights, sponsorships and licensing relationships.  His work includes counseling clients on stadium naming rights, team and league sponsorships, and multiplatform sports marketing agreements.  Mr. Johnston’s practice also involves advising global ticketing services, merchandise licensees and other businesses which support the sports industry.

In the entertainment and new media fields, Mr. Johnston has advised television networks, independent producers, broadcast station groups, motion picture studios, advertising agencies and Internet companies on the development, production and distribution of television programs, motion pictures and other audiovisual content. His work has included the negotiation of acquisition, production and distribution agreements, network affiliation agreements, talent agreements and license agreements, including licenses for Internet and other interactive exploitation, and live event programming, sponsorship and other cross-promotional agreements. Mr. Johnston’s practice also involves motion picture and television rights acquisitions of literary properties, motion picture and video footage library acquisitions, as well as a variety of mergers, acquisitions and other transactions involving the transfer of intellectual property assets.

In the advertising and marketing fields, Mr. Johnston's practice extends from providing advice on the content of advertising copy and direct marketing materials, to providing advice on complex regulatory issues and negotiating complex agreements relating to the advertising, marketing and promotions industry.  On behalf of both advertisers and advertising agencies, he is regularly involved in the drafting and negotiating of a wide variety of agreements including agency/client agreements, sponsorship agreements, talent contracts, music licenses, commercial production agreements, and software license agreements.  Mr. Johnston also regularly counsels clients in a variety of fields on issues relating to all aspects of intellectual property, including copyright and rights of privacy and publicity.

Mr. Johnston has been recognized as a leading lawyer for media and entertainment law by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2014). He has also been recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. for five consecutive years (2010-2014) in the area of advertising and marketing. In addition, he was recognized as one of the top entertainment attorneys in Variety magazine’s “2014 Legal Impact Report.”

Prior to joining Davis & Gilbert, Mr. Johnston was an entertainment attorney at O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Advised a U.S. professional golf organization and Russian professional hockey league on television rights agreements.
  • Advised a beer distributor on all aspects of the development, creation, and exploitation of the inaugural Premios Deportes sports awards program, including the negotiation of network license agreements and advice regarding online and premium text message voting.
  • Negotiated production, licensing and distribution agreements for The Beat of London, a global television show broadcasting live from the 2012 London Olympics, featuring live musical performances and appearances by international Olympic athletes.
  • Negotiated production and network distribution agreements for the ABC summer series Fast Cars and Superstars, a reality competition series pairing NASCAR drivers with celebrities such as Jewel, William Shatner, and Serena Williams, in a thrilling race to be crowned the ultimate racing superstar.
  • Advised an advertising services company and co-authored comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding possible revisions to the FTC's value on disclosure of product placements in television programming.
  • Counseled a nonfiction media company on the acquisition of Franklin Media Networks, LLC and its internet properties Petfinder.com and petsincredible.com.
  • Advised a consumer products company in connection with the Screen Actors Guild audit of its professional athlete endorsement agreements.
  • Successfully secured carriage for start-up cable network throughout the United States and advised on a program acquisition.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Lights, Camera, Self-Regulation! Marketing Entertainment Content to Children," Children’s Advertising Review Unit: Children’s Advertising & Online Privacy Conference 2014, May 6-7, 2014

"Branded Entertainment, Product Placement and Viral Technology," Cardozo Law School's Semi-Annual Fashion Law Symposium: The Latest in Brand Marketing and Legal Compliance, April 24, 2014

"Legal Issues in Sports Management," Manhattan Sports Business Academy, June 20, 2012

"Branded Content on the Digital Frontier" Promotion Marketing Association Webinar: Branded Content on the Digital Frontier, February 10, 2011

"Brand Focus - Redefining Gatorade," 2009 NAB Show, Advertising Innovations Summit, April 21, 2009 

"Explore Our World-Moving Into Multiplatform Media Terrain," Digital Entertainment Media + Marketing Excellence (DEMMX) Conference, November 29-30, 2007

"Legal Challenges for the Changing Public Relations World," Pinnacle Worldwide Association of Independent Public Relations Firms Annual Meeting, September 21, 2007

"Deconstructing the Deal and Putting It Back Together - an Intensive Strategy Session on Negotiating Branded Entertainment Transactions," American Conference Institute, Maximizing Branded Entertainment Deals, March 28, 2007

"Explore Our World--Moving Into Multiplatform Media Terrain," DEMMX: Digital Entertainment Media & Marketing Excellence, November 29, 2006 

"Tackling the Unique Issues in Television Financing," American Conference Institute, Entertainment Finance conference, October 25, 2006 

"Building Brands Through Social Networks and User-Generated Content," Promotions Marketing Association, Starpower Conference, June 7, 2006 

"Implementing a Brand Integration Strategy and Forging Mutually Beneficial Relationships," American Conference Institute, Structuring and Negotiating Win-Win Brand Integration Deals Conference, January 30, 2006 

"Brand Integration:  From Frontier to Fusion," Advertising Week, September 29, 2005 

"Buying Time:  Inside the Multimillion Dollar Media Buying Business," Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association Regional Conference, September 23, 2004

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Rise of Daily Fantasy Sports Presents Opportunities and Risks to Companies," D&G Entertainment, Media & Sports Alert, October 2014

Co-Author, "Branded Entertainment, Product Placement and Viral Technology," D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, May 2014

Author, "YouTube's Royalty-Free Audio Library Sounds Good. But, Agencies Beware." D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, March 2014

Author, "Technology, Driving Changes in Audience Habits, Requires Adaptation by Advertisers and Agencies,"D&G Advertising Law: 2013 Lessons Learned & 2014 Practical Tips, Winter 2014

Co-Author, "Copyright Termination Rights Create Quandaries For Music Licensees," D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, March 2012

Author, "Branded Entertainment: The Old is New Again and More Complicated Than Ever," Journal of Sponsorship, Vol.2, No. 2, February 2009

Co-Author, "Widgets In Online Marketing Campaigns - A Balancing Act," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2009

Co-Author, "Brand Names in Entertainment," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, September 2004

PRESS

Quoted, E-CommerceTimes.com, "Networks Hammer Dish Over Ad-Skipping DVR," by Rachelle Dragani, May 25, 2012

Quoted, The Hollywood Reporter, "Advertisers Get Piece of Local News Shows,"  March 16, 2006

Quoted, The Hollywood Reporter, "WGA, SGA Branded By Silence," December 29, 2005

Quoted, Advertising Age's Madison + Vine, "Hollywood Writers, Actors Guilds Battle Brand Integration," November 23, 2005

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association, Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law section
Sports Lawyers Association

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York

EDUCATION

UCLA School of Law (Order of the Coif) and Anderson School of Management at UCLA, J.D./M.B.A., 1997
University of California at Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television, B.A., magna cum laude, 1991


    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Advised a U.S. professional golf organization and Russian professional hockey league on television rights agreements.
  • Advised a beer distributor on all aspects of the development, creation, and exploitation of the inaugural Premios Deportes sports awards program, including the negotiation of network license agreements and advice regarding online and premium text message voting.
  • Negotiated production, licensing and distribution agreements for The Beat of London, a global television show broadcasting live from the 2012 London Olympics, featuring live musical performances and appearances by international Olympic athletes.
  • Negotiated production and network distribution agreements for the ABC summer series Fast Cars and Superstars, a reality competition series pairing NASCAR drivers with celebrities such as Jewel, William Shatner, and Serena Williams, in a thrilling race to be crowned the ultimate racing superstar.
  • Advised an advertising services company and co-authored comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding possible revisions to the FTC's value on disclosure of product placements in television programming.
  • Counseled a nonfiction media company on the acquisition of Franklin Media Networks, LLC and its internet properties Petfinder.com and petsincredible.com.
  • Advised a consumer products company in connection with the Screen Actors Guild audit of its professional athlete endorsement agreements.
  • Successfully secured carriage for start-up cable network throughout the United States and advised on a program acquisition.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Lights, Camera, Self-Regulation! Marketing Entertainment Content to Children," Children’s Advertising Review Unit: Children’s Advertising & Online Privacy Conference 2014, May 6-7, 2014

"Branded Entertainment, Product Placement and Viral Technology," Cardozo Law School's Semi-Annual Fashion Law Symposium: The Latest in Brand Marketing and Legal Compliance, April 24, 2014

"Legal Issues in Sports Management," Manhattan Sports Business Academy, June 20, 2012

"Branded Content on the Digital Frontier" Promotion Marketing Association Webinar: Branded Content on the Digital Frontier, February 10, 2011

"Brand Focus - Redefining Gatorade," 2009 NAB Show, Advertising Innovations Summit, April 21, 2009 

"Explore Our World-Moving Into Multiplatform Media Terrain," Digital Entertainment Media + Marketing Excellence (DEMMX) Conference, November 29-30, 2007

"Legal Challenges for the Changing Public Relations World," Pinnacle Worldwide Association of Independent Public Relations Firms Annual Meeting, September 21, 2007

"Deconstructing the Deal and Putting It Back Together - an Intensive Strategy Session on Negotiating Branded Entertainment Transactions," American Conference Institute, Maximizing Branded Entertainment Deals, March 28, 2007

"Explore Our World--Moving Into Multiplatform Media Terrain," DEMMX: Digital Entertainment Media & Marketing Excellence, November 29, 2006 

"Tackling the Unique Issues in Television Financing," American Conference Institute, Entertainment Finance conference, October 25, 2006 

"Building Brands Through Social Networks and User-Generated Content," Promotions Marketing Association, Starpower Conference, June 7, 2006 

"Implementing a Brand Integration Strategy and Forging Mutually Beneficial Relationships," American Conference Institute, Structuring and Negotiating Win-Win Brand Integration Deals Conference, January 30, 2006 

"Brand Integration:  From Frontier to Fusion," Advertising Week, September 29, 2005 

"Buying Time:  Inside the Multimillion Dollar Media Buying Business," Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association Regional Conference, September 23, 2004

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Rise of Daily Fantasy Sports Presents Opportunities and Risks to Companies," D&G Entertainment, Media & Sports Alert, October 2014

Co-Author, "Branded Entertainment, Product Placement and Viral Technology," D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, May 2014

Author, "YouTube's Royalty-Free Audio Library Sounds Good. But, Agencies Beware." D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, March 2014

Author, "Technology, Driving Changes in Audience Habits, Requires Adaptation by Advertisers and Agencies,"D&G Advertising Law: 2013 Lessons Learned & 2014 Practical Tips, Winter 2014

Co-Author, "Copyright Termination Rights Create Quandaries For Music Licensees," D&G Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert, March 2012

Author, "Branded Entertainment: The Old is New Again and More Complicated Than Ever," Journal of Sponsorship, Vol.2, No. 2, February 2009

Co-Author, "Widgets In Online Marketing Campaigns - A Balancing Act," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2009

Co-Author, "Brand Names in Entertainment," The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, September 2004

PRESS

Quoted, E-CommerceTimes.com, "Networks Hammer Dish Over Ad-Skipping DVR," by Rachelle Dragani, May 25, 2012

Quoted, The Hollywood Reporter, "Advertisers Get Piece of Local News Shows,"  March 16, 2006

Quoted, The Hollywood Reporter, "WGA, SGA Branded By Silence," December 29, 2005

Quoted, Advertising Age's Madison + Vine, "Hollywood Writers, Actors Guilds Battle Brand Integration," November 23, 2005

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association, Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law section
Sports Lawyers Association

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York

EDUCATION

UCLA School of Law (Order of the Coif) and Anderson School of Management at UCLA, J.D./M.B.A., 1997
University of California at Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television, B.A., magna cum laude, 1991


    The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms