James L. Johnston of Davis & Gilbert LLP

James L. Johnston of Davis & Gilbert LLP

James L. Johnston is a partner in the Entertainment, Media & Sports; Digital Media, Technology & Privacy; Advertising, Marketing & Promotions 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 for four consecutive years (2012-2015). 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.”

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California Clears the Way for College Athletes to Get Their “Fair” Share of Licensing Pie

Sending shockwaves across the collegiate landscape, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 206, the Fair Pay to Play Act (the Act) on September 30, 2019. The Act takes aim squarely at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) amateurism rules which prohibit student athletes from profiting from their athletic skill while in college and threatens to … Continue Reading


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