TroyGould Attorneys


Jonathan Handel practices in the areas of entertainment, new media, technology and intellectual property transactions. He brings to his practice a broad range of experience in the entertainment and technology industries, and blogs on these subjects and entertainment labor at Digital Media Law and on the Huffington Post. He also covers entertainment labor and other matters as a Contributing Editor for The Hollywood Reporter.

Mr. Handel was named by the Daily Journal in 2008 as one of the top 100 lawyers in California, and by Law & Politics magazine as a Southern California Super Lawyer in 2013, 2007 and 2006. He has appeared in the international, national and local media several hundred times.

Mr. Handel is rated AV® PreeminentTM 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell.

Representative Clients

  • Entertainment Technology. Providers of technology and technological services to the entertainment industry, including providers in the areas of DVD technology, computer software, special effects and post-production
  • Entertainment. Writers, producers, managers, directors, actors and low-budget motion picture productions
  • Internet and Digital Media. Internet-based businesses, and creators and users of digital media
  • Technology. Software developers (licensing, joint ventures, marketing agreements and piracy matters) and users of custom software (disputes with vendors)
  • Outside General Counsel. Small enterprises (general legal advice and business counsel on matters such as strategy, employment, and vendor relations)
  • Intellectual Property. Various enterprises and individuals (advice on copyright, trademark and licensing; coordination of consultations with outside patent counsel; intellectual property counsel in mergers and acquisitions)

Teaching Experience

Mr. Handel is an adjunct professor / lecturer in law teaching substantive courses at USC and Southwestern Law Schools, and was previously an adjunct professor at UCLA Law School.He also taught a film appreciation and screening class for several years for UCLA Extension's Entertainment Department.

Previous Experience

Mr. Handel clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and was later Associate Counsel of the Writers Guild of America, West. He also served as a federal Associate Independent Counsel in a federal prosecution/ investigation relating to the search of Presidential candidate Bill Clinton's passport files. Early in his career, Mr. Handel practiced appellate and commercial litigation.


Harvard College (A.B., Applied Mathematics/Computer Science, magna cum laude, 1982-83). Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1990); Editorial Board, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review; board member, Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law.

Business Experience

Prior to law school, Mr. Handel worked in the computer industry in research, programming and market support functions in areas including the Internet/ARPAnet, artificial intelligence and graphic user interface.


Mr. Handel is a member of the Television Academy, the professional association which awards the primetime Emmys.


Entertainment Labor: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography (book; published by Hollywood Analytics, 2013).

The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis (book; published by Hollywood Analytics, 2012).

Hollywood on Strike! (book; published by Hollywood Analytics, 2011).

Hollywood Reporter: numerous articles (July 2010 to present).

Book Review, Los Angeles Times (October 23, 2009) (review of William Patry, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars);"There's a Lot of Residual Pain Ahead if Current System Isn't Remedied," Hollywood Reporter (July 23, 2009); "SAG Contract is Ratified, but Drama is Likely to Return Quickly," Daily Journal (June 30, 2009); "New-Media Distribution Giving Hollywood a Makeover," Los Angeles Business Journal (June 15, 2009); "Why the Film Biz Still has Far to Go," (June 11, 2009); "SAG Contract Ratified; Now What?," 15 Century City Lawyer no. 15 (June 2009); "The Struggle Over Content and Technology Will Define Hollywood's Future," Daily Journal (June 9, 2009); "Why Content's Kingdom is Slipping Away," (June 9, 2009); "SAG's Strange Voyage," 15 Century City Lawyer no. 14 (May 2009); How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets, CreateSpace (2009); “Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Why Content’s Kingdom is Slipping Away,” Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law (Spring 2009, v. 11, no. 3, p. 597); “Actors Strike a Deal, but Is a New Compensation System on the Horizon?,” Daily Journal (April 7, 2009); “Economy, New Media Are Conspiring to Make Things Tough on Actors,” Daily Journal (March 24, 2009).

"Hollywood Under Siege," American Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, vol. 24, no. 3 (Fall 2008) (excerpted in "Hollywood Under Siege," Daily Journal (October 22, 2008)); "Actors' Labor Plan in Need of a Rewrite," Los Angeles Business Journal (September 15, 2008); “Curtain Call,” Daily Journal (June 20, 2008); “With One Union Already Done, SAG Auditions for an Actors Deal,” Daily Journal (June 4, 2008); “No Time for Drama In Contract Talks For Studios, Actors,” Los Angeles Business Journal (May 26, 2008); “Entertainment Industry Could Be Headed for a Scary Sequel,” Daily Journal (May 15, 2008); “To Look and Sound Great On Air, Lawyers Should Be Prepared,” Daily Journal (April 8, 2008); “Fete the Press: Lawyers, Make the Most of Media Interactions,” Daily Journal (April 1, 2008); “Mark My Words,” Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine (April 2008); “Write On,” Daily Journal (March 10, 2008); "DGA as peacemaker: If the directors cut the right deal, it could save Hollywood from civil war," Los Angeles Times (January 16, 2008) (Op-Ed piece).

Blogger, Huffington Post (November 2007–present); author, Digital Media Law blog (August 2007-present); author, Script Magazine column, Ask the Lawyer (January 2007-October 2008); Ask Super Lawyers, Los Angeles Magazine (February 2007); "Attorneys," chapter of Final Draft Presents Ask the Pros: Screenwriting (May 2004) (primary author); When Worlds Collide—"Take Me to Your Lawyer"? (in UCLA Extension Entertainment Studies, Fall 2002); AFMA International Censorship Rider: Some Suggested Revisions, American Film Marketing Association (February 1994) (co-author) (in The AFMA Model International Licensing Agreements, 2d ed.).


Handel was referenced in a book titled Free (2009) (pp. 140-42), by Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired. The source of the reference was an article by Handel titled Is Content Worthless? A memo by Handel was cited by the U.S. Tax Court in Santa Monica Pictures, LLC v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2005-104, at 67-69 (2005).


"Aereo, FilmOn, Aereokiller . . . A Copyright Thriller!: a tale of 2 countries, 3 companies and 13 cases," PLG Intgernational Lawyers (October 11, 2013); "Aereo," investor conference call for DeMatteo Monness (May 28, 2013); presentation on entertainment journalism, Columbia College Chicago (February 14, 2013).

Loyola Law School Entertainment Law and Litigation Symposium (December 6, 2012) (panelist); “Showing Up,” SAG Foundation (May 7, 2012) (moderator of Q&A at film screening); Master Class on Guilds and Unions, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (April 20, 2012); “Residuals Management: A Challenging Opportunity,” Hollywood IT Summit (March 2, 2012) (panelist); “Residuals Management: Past Present and Future,” Hollywood IT Society (HITS) breakfast meeting (January 25, 2012) (presenter).

PR Summit Chat-Up (November 12, 2011) (panelist); “Over the Top and Through the Woods: Navigating the New Television Thicket,” USC Institute on Entertainment Law and Business (October 22, 2011) (moderator); “Art of the Deal,” Digital Hollywood (October 18, 2011) (panelist); Social Networking, Social Media and Video for Results, Legal Marketing Technology Conference/West (San Francisco, September 15, 2011) (panelist); “A Conversation with Jonathan Handel,” Southwestern Law School (April 12, 2011); Compensation and Creative Labor roundtable, Net Worth: Media Distribution in the Digital Era conference, UC Santa Barbara (February 18, 2011) (panelist). Legal panel, Screen Actors Guild Diversity Day (October 16, 2010) (moderator); “Art of the Deal,” Digital Hollywood (May 6, 2010) (panelist); Southeast European Film Festival Business Conference (May 3, 2010) (panelist).

Chapman University School of Law Distinguished Entertainment and Sports Law Speaker Series (September 30, 2009) (presenter); “Meltdown to Ramp Up: Entertainment Law Year in Review,” Beverly Hills Bar Association (April 2009) (panelist); “Like Scorpions in a Silicon Cage: How Hollywood Management and Labor Fought While Content's Kingdom Was Slipping Away,” keynote address at Vanderbilt Law School conference; “Lights, Labor, Action: Labor Controversy in the Sports and Entertainment Industries” (March 2009); “Labor Discord in Hollywood,” Zocalo Public Square (March 2009) (panelist).

"Will SAG Strike?," investor conference call for RBC Capital Markets (December 18, 2008); "Union: Contract Negotiations," presentation to the Actors' Network (July 2008); "No SAG Resolution Yet—Stay Tuned," investor conference call for Wachovia Capital Markets (July 2, 2008); "New Ways of Storytelling," MediaXchange conference (June 2008) (moderator); "Spinning the Web," Writers Guild of America (June 2008) (panelist); "Understanding the Issues in the WGA Strike," investor conference call for RBC Capital Markets (February 1, 2008).

Presentation of masterclass in Taiwan to Taipei National University of the Arts on U.S. entertainment business, law and technology (March 2007); panelist on Legal Issues for Screenwriters at Screenwriting Expo and Script­writers Showcase (2003-pres.); presentation in Havana to ICAIC, the Cuban Institute of Motion Picture Arts and Industry, on Technology in the Entertainment Industry (December 2003); presentation to 30 CEOs of Korean video game and animation companies on Technology and the Entertainment Industry (December 2003); presentation for Fuji Television Network on Technology and the Television Busi­ness (November 2003); presen­tation to Warner Bros. Global Trainee Program on The Film Industry: Business, Law and Technology (September 2003).

Entertainment law and intellectual property presentation to Los Angeles Film School (December 2002); Filmmaking and Technology presentation to Masterclass Los Angeles: Three-Week Custom Program for Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg (August 2002); Doing Deals in a Digital World panel at ShowBiz Expo (June 2002) (moderator).

Internet and Entertainment Technology presenta­tions at Beverly Hills Bar Association and Disney, Dreamworks, Sony and William Morris (1998-99); Cybercrime, Copyright and Free Speech on the Internet (October 1995) (panelist); Appellate Advocacy in the Fifth Circuit (August 1991).