areas of expertise
Melissa Georges is a partner in our Entertainment Group and Chair of our Content Review & Clearance Group. For more than 20 years, she has helped award-winning film and television producers, directors, actors, writers, animators, and comedians resolve complex legal issues to get their projects cleared and distributed.
Ms. Georges assesses all forms of entertainment content for legal risk. She regularly studies film footage, television shows, podcasts, Internet content, webisodes, scripts, screenplays, manuscripts, live performances, animated programs and other executions for potential claims, and suggests revisions and edits with an eye to reducing or eliminating risk. Ms. Georges’ legal expertise is in a variety of areas of entertainment law, including copyright and trademark, right of publicity and privacy, defamation, parody and satire, trespass, contracts, and labor and union issues. In addition to her work with US clients, she also regularly advises foreign production companies on the impact of US laws on their projects.
Ms. Georges advises clients on the purchase of errors and omission (E&O) and other insurance policies for entertainment projects. Her experience working with insurance company attorneys gives her a window into carriers’ standards and thinking and informs her risk assessments for clients. Ms. Georges also handles transactional entertainment matters. She negotiates and drafts production and co-production agreements, reality television show agreements, licensing and merchandising agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and all forms of releases.
In addition to content review and transactional matters, Ms. Georges advises on day-to-day intellectual property issues. She has helped clients conduct trademark and copyright searches; protect and enforce trademarks, domain names, and copyrighted material; and determine the availability of names, logos, and titles for a wide variety of projects. She has handled trademark prosecution proceedings within the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and has litigated intellectual property, libel, privacy, and other media law disputes.
Ms. Georges is an Adjunct Professor at NYU's School of Continuing Education, where she teaches journalists about legal issues affecting the media. She has also taught courses on clearing creative content for filmmakers and production companies. Ms. Georges is admitted to practice in New York.
awards & recognition
Variety's Legal Impact Report 2023
New York University School of Law (J.D., 1992)
Emory University (B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1988)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Past Speaking Engagements
The EASLS Fall 2023 Symposium: Corporations & Creativity
November 30 2023
DOC NYC | Fair Use Post-Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith
Caren Decter and Melissa Georges present, “Fair Use Post-Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith,” during DOC NYC’s the Business of Documentary. The panel is moderated by filmmaker and producer Tracie Holder. Filmmakers Byron Hurt and Melanie Vi Levy are also part of the panel. Details here.
November 15 2023
What the Supreme Court’s Decision in Warhol Means for Copyright Law
In this webinar moderated by Edward H. Rosenthal, our panel of experts including Nicole Bergstrom, Caren Decter, Melissa Georges, Jeremy Goldman, and Craig Whitney discuss the Warhol decision and its impact on various creative endeavors. Read more.
June 7 2023
DOC NYC | Warhol Foundation vs. Goldsmith: A New Test for “Fair Use” By Filmmakers?
November 10 2022
2021 DOC NYC Pro Conference
November 18 2021
2019 DOC NYC Pro Conference
Victoria Cook and Melissa Georges present "Documentary Filmmaking in a Global World" during the DOC NYC pro conference. In addition, Melissa Georges leads a round-table discussion during the Only in New York - 40 Under 40 Filmmakers session.
November 14 2019
2019 Austin Film Festival & Conference
October 25 2019
IFC Center Boot Camp September 4
Melissa Georges speaks about archival rights, licensing and fair use during an IFC Center boot camp panel discussion.
September 4 2019
IFC Center Boot Camp Aug 26
Melissa Georges speaks about legal issues to be aware of on set during an IFC Center boot camp panel discussion.
August 26 2019
Stranger Than Fiction 2.0: A Roundtable on True-Crime Legal Issues
Melissa Georges, Julie Murray and Ben Moskowitz present "Stranger Than Fiction 2.0: A Roundtable on True-Crime Legal Issues" during a recorded presentation for the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education (NACLE).
July 31 2019
Melissa Georges at the Austin Film Festival
Melissa Georges speaks at the Austin Film Festival on the panel, "Is Your Production in Jeopardy?".
October 15 2016
Entertainment Law for CUNY MFA Students
Thomas Selz and Melissa Georges teach a class on entertainment law to CCNY MFA students at Frankfurt Kurnit.
November 6 2014
2014 MLRC/NAA/NAB Media Law Conference
Melissa Georges and Terri Seligman participate, respectively, on panels about "Publication Torts" and "Advertising & Commercial Speech: Native Advertising" at the 2014 MLRC/NAA/NAB Media Law Conference in Reston VA. Edward Rosenthal will also attend. Frankfurt Kurnit sponsors the event.
September 17 2014
All’s Not Fair: Copyright and Fair Use - What Constitutes Protected Parody
February 5 2013
City College of New York
Melissa Georges teaches a class on fair use to documentary filmmakers at the City College of New York.
April 19 2012
City University of New York
Melissa Georges guest lectures at the City University of New York in a class for graduate students in film production, speaking about legal issues affecting filmmakers.
March 3 2011