Will is an executive and attorney with extensive experience in corporate formation, operations and business affairs, as well as being an experienced litigator and ADR practitioner with substantial expertise in the entertainment, media, sports, intellectual property and creativity fields. Will has served as Co-Chair of Baker Botts LLP’s Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice Group, as VP of Legal and Business Affairs for NBA Properties and as COO of the network of nearly 2,000 employees and representatives of the Motion Picture Association of America's global Intellectual Property Group. He has worked closely with Internet/Software businesses as a strategist and operational advisor for many years.
Will has a Masters degree in History/Teaching and has taught in the public schools of Washington, D.C. as well as graduate level law school and other domestic and international courses as a regular professional panelist. He has published, lectured and been widely interviewed on television, radio and in print. He is a lifetime voting Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and a Member of the Academy of Television Arts and Science (ATAS), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS), the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) and a documentary and feature film producer who actively serves on Award Nominating Screening Juries for both the International Documentary Association (IDA) and AMPAS.
WILLIAM NIX is the Chairman of the Creative Projects Group, LLC (CPG) and also serves as on the Board of Directors of the Creative Projects Foundation (CPF). These two entities work actively to promote the development of individual and organizational creative capacities, to resolve creative differences and to manage and directly produce motion picture, television, music, interactive videogames, live entertainment and multimedia installations and events.
Will was the Executive Producer of Firedancer, a film about the Afghan Diaspora in the U.S. and the first Afghan feature film to be submitted for Oscar consideration, that had its world premiere in Kabul and its U.S. premiere at the Tribecca Film Festival in New York and served in the same capacity on the companion documentary, Return to Afghanistan, that premiered at the U.N. Film Festival in New York in October 2007. He also served as both production counsel and Executive Producer for the Spanish language documentary feature, !Ya Basta! that premiered at SXSW in March 2007, which focused on the abduction phenomenon in Mexico. He is currently involved with the-production of two theatrical feature films, one a "global collaborative" feature entitled The Prophet that is currently in production with Oscar and other award-winning animators, narrators, composers and musicians from around the world led by Roger Allers, the Oscar-nominated animation director (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) , where he is serving as Executive Producer, with Salma Hayek, Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski serving as the Producers for the project. He is also the Producer for a biographical picture, entitled Gibran, based on the life and work of Kahlil Gibran and which is currently in pre-production development as well as a multi-city art exhibition tour of Kahlil Gibran's works and an accompanying art book of his collected works, which is slated to be curated and released by the prestigious Skira Rizzoli publishing house. He is developing a feature film currently-entitled Voice of the Child that is focused on capturing children's individual and collective voices, on film and in song, to show their perspective, wisdom and power to heal the world and also in development to write, produce and direct a documentary, currently entitled Paparazzi making a 360-examination of the historical and current role and practices of celebrity and public figure coverage and on several multimedia installation and event projects as well as a television sit com series and an educationally-related "reality" genre show. He is serving as Executive Producer of a PBS documentary program entitled This is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music with Ragtime virtuoso Terry Waldo, and acting in the same capacity for a television series entitled Road to Houston, both of which are actively in development.
Prior to CPG, he served as Chairman of Lone Star Entertainment Ventures, a company with offices in Austin and Los Angeles. Lone Star worked to raise capital and serve as executive producer and to license and distribute in all major entertainment media. Lone Star and he were instrumental in obtaining the 2007 enactment of tax credit and rebate incentive legislation for Texas to foster the production of film, television and interactive digital media and they worked actively with other states and on the federal and international levels in support of such measures as well.
In private practice before founding Lone Star, he was Co-Chair of the BakerBotts, LLP Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Practice Group. Among the clients whom he represented were NASCAR, Liberty Media, Verizon Wireless, OnCommand, SFX/ClearChannel, Emerging Cinemas/Pictures, the PGA Tour, Fila-USA, MasterCard, the Women's Health and Fitness Network, Soundview Press, Landmark Education, Talbots and Reliant Energy. His work covered intellectual property, entertainment, sports, and Internet/new media matters. He represented Internet software production and delivery companies, handled licensing, merchandising, sponsorship, franchising, and other intellectual property matters, including litigation in the federal courts and administrative proceedings with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Prior to joining BakerBotts, he was a Partner in the law firm of Frankfurt, Kurnit, [Garbus], Klein & Selz, P.C., specializing in the same areas as his practice at BakerBotts including Internet companies such as About.com (formerly The Mining Company), Uproar.com, Athlete.com, Pseudo.com and nearly a dozen other Internet and software start-up entities as well as representing individual clients such as Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way.
Will was Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for NBA Properties, Inc., where he had worldwide legal and business responsibilities for commercial development and marketing including the sponsorship and consumer product areas of licensed merchandise, publishing, trading cards, and new media such as CD-ROM/interactive games, edumedia, and online programming, and other services. Mr. Nix was also involved with NBA Entertainment's global marketing of its video, broadcast, satellite, and cable television programming. He was the lead executive of the Internet group that created and launched the NBA.com web site for the league and its teams, as well as its predecessor venture with Microsoft, "Complete NBA Basketball" and worked on the digital conversion of NBA Entertainment's still photo and video library, and a global dissemination program for public relations and other release purposes as well as the NBA's project with IBM to develop the league's courtside real time collection and dissemination statistics systems. He was also a member of the Technology Committee that oversaw the development and implementation of the NBA's internal computer network and systems. He also worked closely, as a leader in the Coalition to Protect Sports Logos (CAPS) with the General Counsel and other representatives of the NFLP, MLBP, NHLE and NBA licensees, sponsors and international NBA Offices. Individually and collectively they collaborated to register and protect their respective trademarks and copyrights globally, including pioneering the development and implementation of their worldwide security hang-tag, field-auditing and enforcement programs. In 1995, he received a Certificate of Merit citation from Commissioner, David J. Stern, for his many contributions to the NBA during his tenure.
Before joining NBA Properties, he was with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for sixteen years. In his most recent position, he served as Senior Vice-President and the Chief Operating Officer of its Worldwide Anti-Piracy Division. This group guards the copyrights and trademarks against counterfeiting, illegal duplication, broadcast/cable/satellite signal theft and unauthorized performances, in all media, for the major motion picture and television studios (Disney, Paramount, Sony/Columbia-TriStar, Orion Pictures, Fox, MGM, NBC Universal and Time Warner) in the courts, the national legislatures and before global multilateral groups in Geneva such as the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Trade Organization(WTO), which administers the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade's (GATT) Uruguay Round Intellectual Property provisions, as well as the European Commission in Brussels. In Washington, D.C. he actively worked with MPAA President, Jack Valenti, to obtain new legislation from the Congress, federal enforcement assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Commerce Department and with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the active monitoring and compliance of other nations with the provisions of the Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Omnibus Trade Reform Act as Intellectual Property, broadcast, cable and satellite provisions to cross-border and national infringements of rights. Will frequently testified before Congressional committees such as the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Competitiveness as well as the International Trade Commission (ITC). He also managed a global civil/criminal investigation/ litigation docket of thousands of cases on behalf of the studios. During his tenure, he engineered the expansion of this industry enterprise to one that is currently active in over 65 countries, with a network of nearly 2,000 employees and representatives, and which had a $25 million annual operating budget during his tenure.
Prior to being named division COO, he served as the MPAA's Deputy General Counsel, handling general litigation matters in the antitrust, trade practice, constitutional law, and general corporate areas and he worked closely with legal giants such as Louis Nizer, Edward Bennett Williams U.S. Solicitor General, Erwin N. Griswold and Alan M. Dershowitz on many federal trade practice and Constitutional court litigations, including ones such as the Sony Betamax case, a series of First Amendment challenges to state court movie "advance-bidding" prohibition statutes and the first screenwriter's "shield privilege" before U.S. Supreme Court. He was Counsel to the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) and its Advertising Code and, as such, oversaw ratings and advertising administrative appeal proceedings. As Counsel to the MPAA Title Registration Bureau, he drafted the comprehensive overhaul of the movie industry's title rules, regulations and dispute resolution procedures and oversaw their application in title dispute arbitration proceedings. He was the Chairman of its Committee on Copyright and Literary Property and was a member of the MPAA's Executive Management Committee for General Corporate Affairs. In 1991, President, Jack Valenti, gave him a citation of excellence for his many contributions to the motion picture and television industry during his years at the MPAA.
NON-PROFIT AND BOARD EXPERIENCE:
Chairperson, Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel (AMEC) Law School Advisory Board [2013-Present] For further information on the AMEC and its work, please see: http://www.theamec.com/about.asp.
Board, Executive and Development Committee Member [and former outside General Counsel] of Project Grad USA, a national organization operating in K-12 feeder systems of public school systems in nearly a dozen cities across the country. Funding underwritten by Ford Foundation, federal and private foundation/individual grants. [2005- 2013] www.projectgradusa.org
Board of Directors Member, Peter Pan Children's Fund, a children's hospital oriented organization designed to teach philanthropy to children [2001-Present] www.peterpanchildrensfund.org
Board of Directors Member, Austin Film Festival, a writer-oriented festival [2005-Present] www.austinfilmfestival.com
Board of Advisors for Paramount Business Jets [2006-present] www.paramountbusinessjets.com
Member of International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Feature Nominating Committee (2008-2010) www.documentary.org
Member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Foreign Language Film Award Screening Committee (2010) and Grants Committee (2012) www.oscars.org
Board of Advisors Member, Mobile Film School, Austin, TX [2008- Present] www.mobilefilmschool.org
Adjunct Professor, Straus Institute, Pepperdine Law School, Malibu , CA [Entertainment & Media ADR Course 2010-present] and Managing Director, Straus Institute's Entertainment, Media & Sports Dispute Resolution Project [2011-present] www.law.pepperdine.edu/straus
Board of Advisors Member, 4 Empowerment Educational [2007-Present] www.4empowerment.com
Board of Directors and Executive Committee Member, International Anti-Counterfeiting Committee www.iacc.org
Chairman, Greenwich Film Festival, Greenwich, CT [2000-2001]
Adjunct Professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University , New York, NY [Sports Law Course 1999] www.cardozo.yu.edu
Law Clerk, National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, Washington, D.C. [1971-1972] www.aclu.org
Teacher/Member of English and Social Studies Urban Teacher Corps, Washington, D.C. Public Schools [1970-1971] www.eric.ed.gov
Classroom Aid, Urban Studies Program, Washington High School, Washington, D.C. [Summer 1969]
Volunteer, Operation Crossroads Africa, Upper Volta [Burkina Faso], building school study hall as part of multi-national team composed of Canadians, Americans and students/workers from Upper Volta; Traveled in Ghana and Ivory Coast as part of cultural experience [Summer 1968] www.operationcrossroadsafrica.org
Volunteer, CIDESA organization, Barcelona, Spain [Summer 1967], working on public housing construction in the City; traveled extensively in southern and eastern Europe for a month following completion of that work.
GENERAL AND PERSONAL BACKGROUND:
Lifetime voting-member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and served on its Documentary Feature Film Award Nominating Committee for several years as well as on its 2010 Oscar Nomination Screening Committee for Best Foreign Language Film , the International Documentary Association, serving on its 2008 and 2009 Feature Film and 2010 Documentary Short Nominating Juries, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, serving as a Judge on its 2009 College Television Awards Panel, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, the New York New Media Association (NYNMA), American Film Institute and New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT). Non-profit and other membership in Council on Foreign Relations, English Speaking Union, American Civil Liberties Union, International Rescue Committee and Human Rights Watch. Conversant in Spanish and French.
Member of the American Bar Association and admitted to practice law in New York, Connecticut, Texas as well as various U.S. District Courts and the United States Supreme Court and actively serves as a professional Mediator, nationally as well as in his home State of California.
UCLA School of Entertainment Studies, Graduate Program in Film, Television and Digital Production and Marketing, Entertainment Studies Program; Columbia University School of Law, Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law Advanced Practice Institute; Harvard/MIT Advanced Negotiation Training Institute; LL.M., Trade Regulation, New York University School of Law; J.D., Hofstra University School of Law; Dean's Distinguished Service Award; Senior Editor, Moot Court Board of Editors; M.A., History/Teaching, Antioch College; and A.B., English and American literature, Georgetown University. Certified as a Film Commission Professional by the Association of Film Commissioner's International (AFCI).
PUBLISHING AND SPEAKING BACKGROUND:
Published and lectured widely, and been interviewed extensively by the television, radio, and print press in the United States and internationally:
In Print: Contributing Editor and International Consultant to The Annenberg Washington Program in Communication Policies Studies Report of the International Piracy Project entitled Curbing International Piracy; 1989; The E-Commerce Arsenal: Practitioner Agreements and Checklists; American Bar Association Publications, 2003, Contributing Author and Editor; Martindale-Hubbell Annual United States Copyright Law Digest; Senior Editor, 2002, 2003 and 2004 Editions; Is Extension of Copyright's Term Constitutional, or Will Mickey Mouse Get a new Lease on Life?; co-authored and published in The Licensing Journal, June/July 2002); Internet Privacy: Security is the Next Wave for Oil and Gas Industry; Oil and Gas Journal, July 2001 (Evan R. Berlack, and Stephen P. Matthews, co-authors); Book Review Trademark Counterfeiting: Product Piracy and the Billion Dollar Threat to the U.S. Economy; American Bar Association's Entertainment and Sports Lawyer Journal, Summer 2000; Electronic Media Break Down Borders; FGKS New Media Newsletter, Summer 1997; Policing the Internet; FGKS New Media Newsletter, Winter 1997; Rooney v. Columbia: The Performer's Right of Publicity, with a Touch of Class; Cardozo Law School Arts and Entertainment Law Journal, 1984 (editor for article); Compulsory Licensing for Cable Television: A Report; Columbia Law School Journal of Arts Management, Winter 1983, co-authored with NBA Commissioner, David J. Stern.
On the Podium: Women in Hollywood: 100 Years of Negotiating the System Conference Production and Presentation at the Straus Institute, Pepperdine University, Malibu (Fall 2013); 4th Annual Anti-Piracy Summit Presentation and Panel Moderation on Piracy vs. Privacy: How to Balance Rights in an Era of Online Copyright Infringement (June 26, 2013); Rio de Janeiro Film Commission/Latin American Training Center, Brasilia Delegation, Presentation on Production of Creative Content under New Transmedia Production and Business Models (April 10, 2013).