Charles H. Rivkin
Charles H. Rivkin is Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association (MPA). He leads the MPA’s global mission to advance and support the film, television, and streaming content industry. The MPA’s members currently include: Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros.
Drawing on almost 30 years of experience as a media executive and a leading U.S. diplomat, Rivkin advocates for policies that drive investment in film and television production, protect creative content, and open markets. He champions the economic and cultural power of film and television to communities around the world.
As chief executive, Rivkin is also responsible for the MPA’s iconic movie ratings system, which has served parents and moviegoers for more than 50 years.
Prior to joining the MPA, Rivkin served for more than seven years at the highest levels of the U.S. government’s diplomatic corps. He was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from February 2014 to January 2017. He led the State Department Bureau responsible for managing international trade negotiations, intellectual property rights protection, and global internet policy, among other major policy issues. While conducting economic diplomacy for the United States, he visited more than 40 countries and 70 cities around the world.
From 2009 to 2013, Rivkin was the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco. In this role, he guided America’s oldest and one of its largest diplomatic missions, with six constituent posts throughout France and representing more than 50 U.S. government agencies. During his posting, Rivkin was personally awarded the Légion d’honneur with the rank of Commander by the President of France. He also received the city of Paris’ highest honor, la Grande Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris, and was presented with the U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
Before his government service, Rivkin worked in the media and entertainment sector for more than 20 years. During that period, he served as President and CEO of Jim Henson Company, home to The Muppets and other award-winning film and television franchises and beloved characters. He also was CEO of WildBrain, where he won a BAFTA Award as an Executive Producer of the hit children’s television series Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.
Rivkin is a Board member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the American Film Institute, and Via Transportation Inc. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the U.S. Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1984, graduating with distinction in political science and international relations. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988.
David England is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Motion Picture Association. With more than 25 years of experience in financial planning and reporting, information systems, and facilities management, David is responsible for the day-to-day management of the MPA’s finances, as well as its facilities.
Prior to joining MPA in 2010, David spent six years as CFO at Simon and Schuster, responsible for the company’s divisional and world-wide consolidated financial planning and reporting, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, treasury, information systems & technology, acquisitions, and budgeting and planning. Before Simon and Schuster he served as CFO of United Paramount Network and Initiative Media.
David received a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the University of Southern California.
Patrick Kilcur is Executive Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at the Motion Picture Association, where he oversees all government relations functions and the policy agenda for the association and its member companies for the United States.
Prior to joining the Motion Picture Association, Patrick served in the United States Senate as the Republican Floor Assistant for the Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell. In this role, Patrick worked on behalf of the Senate Republican caucus in negotiating legislative and executive matters with Democratic leadership, and providing floor strategy and Senate procedure counsel to Republican Senators. Patrick started his professional career working in the office of United States Senator Arlen Specter as a member of his legislative staff in Washington, D.C.
Patrick has been named by The Hill as a “Top Lobbyist” in 2018 and 2019. He is an Honorary Kentucky Colonel and is a member of the DeSales University President’s Council. Patrick is an alumni of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee on Taxation, and is on the board of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). Patrick received his bachelor of arts from DeSales University, and served as Student Body President his senior year.
Emily A. Lenzner
Emily A. Lenzner is the Executive Vice President for Global Communications and Public Affairs at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) where she leads the association’s communications team in the U.S. and internationally.
Emily is one of the leading communications strategists in the media industry and is an expert in managing global, highly visible brands, non-profit organizations, corporations, and individuals. Previously, she served as the Senior Vice President, Global Communications and External Relations at Atlantic Media, where she oversaw communications strategy for all divisions of the media company, including The Atlantic, City Lab, National Journal Group, and Government Executive Media Group and its subsidiaries.
Since 2014, Emily has also been serving as spokesperson and media advisor to families of American hostages currently and previously held in the Middle East (detailed in the 2015 New Yorker article “Five Hostages”).
Prior to joining Atlantic Media in 2013, Emily was a managing director for public affairs and political consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker, where she strategized and managed a variety of national media campaigns for various corporations, non-profit organizations, and advocacy initiatives including Planned Parenthood, HBO, Highstar Capital, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, The New Republic, among others. She spent six years as the executive director of communications for ABC News in Washington, managing PR for programs This Week with George Stephanopoulos and Nightline and the network’s political coverage.
Prior to her return to Washington in 2003, Emily served as the press secretary for New York state gubernatorial candidate, Tom Golisano (2002) and ran communications for an instant messaging software company in New York (2000-2002).
She worked in film production for Diane Keaton’s production company in Hollywood, was a producer for a local news program in Seattle and began her career in the White House as an assistant to George Stephanopoulos when he was senior advisor to President Bill Clinton.
Emily was named in-house PR Professional of the Year by PR Week in 2016 and is a 2016 PR WEEK Top Woman in PR. She is a graduate of Vassar College, where she earned a BA in English. She serves on the board of trustees for the Shakespeare Theatre Company and is a board member for Running Start and City Dance. She lives in Washington, DC with her son.
Belinda Lui is President and Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association, Asia Pacific. Ms. Lui leads the association’s Asia-Pacific team to promote and protect the commercial and creative interests of the region’s screen communities in the digital age.
Prior to this role, and following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner (now Warner Media), Ms. Lui managed the Asia-Pacific government affairs office for all business units of AT&T, including AT&T Communications and Warner Media (and its divisions Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner Broadcasting including CNN).
Ms. Lui was also Deputy Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Hong Kong where she handled Microsoft’s government-relations issues and spoke to the press regularly about IP policy.
Ms. Lui is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New South Wales, Australia. She was a solicitor with international law firm Baker & McKenzie in Sydney and Hong Kong.
Over the years, Ms. Lui has served on a number of boards. She was Chairperson of the Business Software Alliance in Hong Kong and Macau. She served on the boards of the US-ASEAN Business Council, National Center for APEC, American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong, AVIA Asia Video Industry Association, and the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. Currently, she is President of the International Women’s Forum-Hong Kong and sits on its board.
Gail MacKinnon joined the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in November 2017 and is the current Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy & Government Affairs. A skilled senior executive with experience in public policy advocacy, issues management, and strategy development, Gail oversees the MPA’s government relations portfolio and policy agenda, as well as its international advocacy and policy, including in the APAC and EMEA regions.
Previously, Gail served as Executive Vice President, Government Relations for Time Warner Cable, where she led all aspects of federal, state, and local government relations for the telecommunications company. She positioned the company as a trusted advisor to government leaders on a range of public policy issues; including video reform, cybersecurity, tax, and privacy.
Prior to her role at Time Warner Cable, Gail was Senior Vice President of Government Relations at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. She has held senior positions at Viacom, CBS Inc., Telecommunications Inc., and Turner Broadcasting. She began her career on Capitol Hill, serving as Legislative Director for Congressman Jack Fields (R-TX).
In 2016, Gail helped co-found WE Capital, a consortium of women in the Washington, D.C. business community investing in female-led startups focused on social impact work. She was named one of Washingtonian’s Most Powerful Women in 2019. Gail received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
Stan McCoy is the President and Managing Director of the region encompassing Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for the Motion Picture Association, responsible for policy, operations, advocacy, and personnel across the territory. As a specialist in intellectual property and innovation policy, Stan’s key responsibility is to work with partners across the region to promote policies and enforcement practices that help the region to enjoy the jobs, growth, and cultural dividends of a vibrant creative sector.
Stan joined the MPA in April 2014 as Senior Vice President & Regional Policy Director, following over a decade of government service. Prior to joining the MPA, Stan served as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Before joining USTR, he worked at the law firm Covington & Burling in both Brussels and Washington D.C.
Stan received a Bachelor’s degree from DePauw University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Wendy Noss is the President of the Motion Picture Association-Canada and leads government relations, policy development, and advocacy on behalf of the MPA studios and their domestic affiliates. Wendy has been with the association since 2006, creating strategic alliances to further the health of the film and television industry and foster an environment of respect for the creative industries in Canada.
Wendy is a respected government and public affairs executive with more than two decades of experience representing creative industries and intellectual property owners. Prior to joining the MPA, she was a practicing lawyer focusing on intellectual property law and policy, and in advancing the rights of international rights holders in the digital environment. She previously acted as Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for the national copyright collective, representing authors and publishers.
Wendy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western University and her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian American Business Council, works as an effective partner with film and television stakeholders across the country, and has been selected as a trusted advisor to serve on various government boards, councils, advisory groups and organizations.
Carla Sanchez Armas
Carla Sanchez Armas is the Managing Director of Latin America for the Motion Picture Association. Based in Mexico City, she leads and executes the Association’s policy development and advocacy on the industry’s core priorities, including copyright, content protection, market access and production issues throughout the Latin America region, focusing on Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
Having served in various roles in the Mexican government, Sanchez Armas joined the MPA from the office of the Presidency of Mexico, where she most recently served as the Country Brand and International Media Coordinator. She also served as the General Director of International Media, rising from the Deputy General Director role during which she founded the International Media Monitoring Center and liaised between federal government agencies and the international media corps. Her additional roles in the Mexican government include running communications for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she designed and implemented the communications strategy for Mexico’s G20 Summit.
In 2008, as a local congresswoman in the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City, Sanchez Armas focused on issues of equity, domestic partnerships and women’s access to a life free of violence. During that time, she founded the Parliamentary Alliance to Fight Hunger in Latin America with FAO/UN and created and approved the first Food Safety bill ever approved in Mexico.
Sanchez Armas began her career with various roles in the Social Democratic Party of Mexico and worked on behalf of Iniciativa XXI (Initiative XXI) as the Gender Equity Secretary.
A well-respected speaker and writer on topics and issues affecting the region, she holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, where she was a Fellow in the Edward S. Mason Program of Public Policy and Management and was recognized with the Eric Yankah Award for distinguished contributions. She completed her undergraduate studies at Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations.
Karyn A. Temple
Karyn A. Temple is Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the Motion Picture Association. One of the world’s leading authorities on copyright, Ms. Temple will oversee all of the Association’s legal affairs and content protection efforts around the world.
Prior to joining the Motion Picture Association, Ms. Temple served more than eight years in the U.S. Copyright Office, most recently as the Register of Copyrights, where she led the 400-person agency and its eight divisions representing law, policy, international affairs, financial operations, registration practice, public records, and outreach and education. In this role, she testified multiple times before both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and oversaw the Office’s policy and legal activities among others.
Prior to leading the U.S. Copyright Office, Ms. Temple headed its Office of Policy and International Affairs, which includes a staff of attorneys focusing on domestic and international copyright law matters. Ms. Temple served on both U.S. delegations for the most recently adopted WIPO treaties (the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Public Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled). Ms. Temple also served in policy and litigation roles at the U.S. Department of Justice, most recently serving in the Obama Administration as Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General of the United States.
Ms. Temple also has extensive private-sector experience. She previously served as Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where she managed a wide variety of anti-piracy litigation matters on behalf of RIAA member companies. She also spent several years as a litigation associate at the prominent D.C.-based law firm Williams and Connolly LLP. Immediately after law school, Ms. Temple served as a law clerk for The Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Ms. Temple has served in several prominent volunteer positions in the copyright community, including as an elected Trustee for the Copyright Society of the USA, co-chair of the International Chapter of the Copyright Society of the USA, steering committee member of the D.C. Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section, and Chair of the Copyright Committee of the D.C. Bar’s IP Law Section.
Ms. Temple received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review, and Chairperson of the Columbia Black Law Students’ Association. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan.
Jan van Voorn
Jan van Voorn is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association (MPA). With more than a decade of intellectual property enforcement experience, Jan currently heads up the MPA’s global content protection team, working directly with the MPA’s members to define their global enforcement strategy, as well as liaising with the MPA’s branch/partner programs and law enforcement agencies around the world to deploy that strategy. Jan is credited with building the MPA’s global enforcement hub with offices in Asia-Pacific, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the United States.
Prior to joining the MPA, Jan had a career in Law Enforcement and led teams specialized in investigating and prosecuting organized and computer crimes.
Urmila Venugopalan is the Executive Vice President of Strategy & Global Operations of the MPA. With her diverse background in foreign policy and economic affairs, Urmila oversees key strategic initiatives and business operations.
Before joining the MPA in September 2017, Urmila served the Obama Administration as a Senior Advisor and Member of Secretary Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff, leading on all economic and business affairs. In this role, she worked on enhancing bilateral and regional trade, investment and development priorities.
Urmila previously worked as a senior consultant at the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she assisted U.S. and multinational companies, and international foundations, on understanding the impact of political and regulatory environments in overseas growth markets mainly in the South Asian and MENA regions. Prior to that she spent several years working for IHS Jane’s as a senior associate and consultant. Urmila has lived and worked in the UK, Middle East and South Asia. She received a Bachelor’s degree at McGill University and a Master’s degree at the London School of Economics & Political Science.
Anissa Brennan is Senior Vice President of International Affairs and Trade Policy for the Motion Picture Association (MPA). Ms. Brennan works with federal government agencies and Congress to reduce foreign trade barriers and improve the protection of intellectual property in foreign markets for the U.S. motion picture, television programming and home entertainment industries. Ms. Brennan previously served on the International Trade Advisory Committee for Intellectual Property and is MPA’s representative to numerous industry associations including the U.S. Chamber’s Global IP Center, the International Intellectual Property Alliance and the Alliance for Fair Trade with India. She currently serves on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Services.
Prior to joining MPA, she worked in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs as the Department’s expert on trade in services, representing the State Department at World Trade Organization and various free trade agreement negotiations. Her other policy portfolios included government procurement, trade capacity building, cultural diversity, and temporary entry. Brennan entered the State Department as a Presidential Management Fellow from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB). While with ILAB, Brennan focused on the NAFTA’s labor side agreement. She earned her M.A. in International Development with a concentration in Human Rights from the University of Denver and her B.A. from James Madison University.
Marilyn Gordon began at the Motion Picture Association 33 years ago in 1985. Marilyn is the Senior Vice President and head of the Advertising Administration, and is responsible for the review of all advertising and publicity materials created for motion pictures submitted for a rating, prior to their use and distribution to the general public. As SVP, she enforces the advertising standards and is held accountable for a fair review of all materials submitted by member companies and independent distributors. Marilyn’s role necessitates the constant monitoring of current events, trends, and sensitivities, and must be in touch with how consumers will react to advertising in the marketplace, especially as directed to children. As appropriate, she formulates new guidelines, in order to protect both the organization’s constituency and the general public. Marilyn reports directly to the Chairman and CEO, Ambassador Charles Rivkin.
Marilyn joined the MPA as Assistant to the Director of Advertising Administration, and has been promoted many times throughout her MPA tenure. Prior to joining the MPA, Marilyn was Circulation Manager for an educational magazine The American School Board Journal in Chicago, Illinois.
Marilyn attended David Myers University in Ohio and majored in marketing; she currently holds Academy of Motion Picture membership, in the Public Relations Branch.
Kelly McMahon is Senior Vice President and Chair of the Classification and Rating Administration for the Motion Picture Association, a role in which she oversees the industry’s voluntary movie rating system.
She joined the MPA in 2007, and advised the association on a variety of legal matters, both domestically and globally, including corporate governance, privacy, employment law, and contract negotiation. In 2017, she became counsel to CARA and the Advertising Administration, in which she provided guidance about the rating and advertising rules, advised the CARA leadership, and oversaw the Appeals Board process. She was named Deputy Chair of CARA on November 15, 2018, and assumed her current role as Chair of CARA on May 6, 2019.
John Mercurio is Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, at the Motion Picture Association, where he jointly oversees the global communications, media relations and rapid response, digital media and events practices.
John is a veteran communications strategist and national reporter with a deep background in technology, politics and public affairs. Most recently, he was a leading voice in the global blockchain and AI community, serving as the Chief Communications Officer for the Bitfury Group, a blockchain and AI software company, and the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA). Before joining Bitfury, John served in senior strategic roles at Purple Strategies and Burson-Marsteller, where he led public affairs campaigns and provided senior counsel on crisis communications.
John was Executive Editor of National Journal’s Hotline, where he also wrote a weekly column on U.S. politics. During his time at National Journal, he was a political commentator who appeared frequently on all major TV networks and cable news channels. He also participated in the U.S. State Department’s Public Diplomacy program, through which he spoke to groups about U.S. politics and policy around the world.
John also served as CNN’s political editor, where he managed the network’s reporting on U.S. politics and government and provided on-air analysis for CNN. Earlier in his career, John was a politics reporter with Roll Call, the Washington Times and the Journal Newspapers.
John graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. He lives in Washington, DC.
Suzanne Nall is Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration for the Motion Picture Association. Suzanne is responsible for worldwide financial reporting for the MPA, and has more than 25 years of experience in financial auditing, planning and reporting, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring companies and improving operations. . Prior to joining MPA, Suzanne was financial controller for Guarda, responsible for the day-to-day worldwide financial operations and reporting.
Suzanne received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from California State University, Northridge. Suzanne is also a CPA.
Edward B. Neubronner is the Senior Vice President, Regional Operations, Communications, Corporate Affairs & Administration of the Asia-Pacific Region for the Motion Picture Association International. In this role, his primary responsibility is to oversee the efficient allocation of financial and staffing resources to run effective operations that promote and protect the creative and commercial interests of the MPA Studios across the region. He also has overall supervision of country programs, strategic alliance building initiatives, communications and outreach, research, finance, corporate compliance, human resource and capacity building.
Edward has previously served as the Regional Legal Counsel for the association, during which time he leveraged his extensive background in intellectual property management and law enforcement by directing civil and criminal enforcement initiatives while working with government bodies to amend copyright laws in various countries.
He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Recording Industry Association (Singapore), positioning that group as the pre-eminent industry organization on copyright matters and launching an educational curriculum that is still taught in every secondary and junior college in the country today. He began his career in government service, first as a police officer and then as an assistant registrar in the Intellectual Property Office.
A graduate of the National University of Singapore, Edward is a qualified Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore.
Dan Robbins serves as Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel. He is responsible for MPA’s content security working group, global competition and anti-corruption compliance, and legal technology issues. Dan also serves as the regional general counsel for Latin America and is deeply involved in MPA’s work in China.
Dan is a widely recognized antitrust expert. He helped the MPA studios create the joint venture that launched the DVD in 1996 and helped form MovieLabs, an MPA member company R&D joint venture, where he has served as general counsel since 2005.
Since 2007, Dan has been a California gubernatorial appointee to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), a non-partisan law reform entity that has drafted some of the nation’s most successful laws, such as the Uniform Commercial Code. He has served on the ULC’s board since 2015. In 2016 he was elected to the American Law Institute, a highly respected private law reform entity.
Before joining MPA, Dan worked at the law firms of Graham & James and Pepper Hamilton, where he specialized in antitrust and intellectual property. He earned an economics degree from Vanderbilt University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from UCLA.
Greg Saphier is senior vice president of external affairs at the Motion Picture Association, where he oversees the association’s outreach to third party stakeholders. In this role, he educates diverse communities about the creative industries and policy frameworks that support storytellers. Greg also serves on the board of directors of the Copyright Alliance and is a American Council of Young Political Leaders alumnus.
Prior to joining MPA, Greg served as senior director of state government affairs for NCTA – the internet & television association, representing the cable industry before state intergovernmental organizations. He was also manager of government affairs for the Maryland & DC Credit Union Association, and started his career in Washington as a legislative assistant for Congressman Nick Rahall.
Greg received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire and his master’s of public policy from George Mason University. He resides in Falls Church, VA with his wife and three children.
Jane Saunders is the Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Rights Management Policy, for the Motion Picture Association. She is an expert in collective and compulsory licensing systems worldwide as well as the functioning and procedures of collective management organizations, with over 23 years of experience in this area. Jane leads the MPA’s Rights Management department and has responsibility for the U.S. and Canadian compulsory retransmission royalty programs of MPA and the Copyright Collective of Canada, as well as for engagement with and outreach to collective management organizations worldwide. She provides policy and tactical advice to the Association’s policy and legal operations around the world on strategies for limiting statutory collective and compulsory licensing regimes. At the same time, she supports MPA Members’ claims to a fair share of the remuneration collected in respect of their works where such regimes are imposed by law.
Prior to joining MPA in 1995, Jane was an attorney in private practice in Washington DC and Atlanta, GA, representing clients in copyright royalty litigation, bankruptcy litigation, and commercial transactional matters.
Jane received a J.D. at Emory University School of Law and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College. She is fluent in French and Spanish and has working proficiency in German and Italian.
Ben Sheffner is Senior Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Copyright & Legal Affairs, at the Motion Picture Association, Inc., where he specializes in copyright and other intellectual property policy and runs the MPA’s amicus brief program. Ben also serves as counsel to the MPA Title Registration Bureau and manages the association’s trademark portfolio. Prior to joining the MPA in 2011, Ben held in-house legal positions at NBCUniversal and Twentieth Century Fox, and worked as an associate in the Century City office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he litigated copyright and other cases for major movie studios, television networks, and record labels. In 2008, Ben served as Special Counsel on Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, where, among other responsibilities, he handled the campaign’s copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property issues. Ben served as a law clerk for the Hon. M. Margaret McKeown on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2000-2001.
Ben is a Trustee of the Copyright Society of the USA as well as the Los Angeles Copyright Society, and serves as an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Copyright project, and as a participant on the Uniform Law Commission committee drafting a uniform anti-SLAPP statute.
Prior to attending law school, Ben worked as a political reporter in Washington, DC for the Cook Political Report and Roll Call newspaper, where he covered congressional elections, the term limits movement, campaign finance reform, and various other issues related to Congress’ internal politics and administration. Ben received an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).
Vans Stevenson is responsible for the MPA’s state and local government affairs department, which represents member companies before state and local government legislative, executive and regulatory offices. He also manages the member companies’ interests on all production, facilities and labor issues. Stevenson is responsible for issues and matters that include proposed legislation, rules and regulations that affect motion picture, television and home entertainment distribution, production and business practices of MPA member companies, including all tax issues, and the MPA-administered Motion Picture Rating System in all 50 states, four U.S. territories and at the local level. He joined MPA in 1989.
Since 1978, he has been a public relations, marketing, business, and government affairs executive in the media business. Prior to joining MPA, he was vice president of corporate affairs for Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, responsible for financial and stock market relations as well as federal and state government affairs. Prior to Blockbuster, he was director of public affairs and corporate projects for Erol’s, a 200 video store chain that was acquired by Blockbuster.
He holds a B.S. degree, cum laude, in journalism from Ohio University and has completed post-graduate studies at New York University and the University of Cincinnati, in public affairs, marketing, business finance and strategic planning.
In her role as Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at the Motion Picture Association, Karen Thorland manages domestic content protection civil litigation and oversees the Association’s global voluntary initiatives and civil litigation efforts. Thorland managed successful litigations against the peer-to-peer website isoHunt, the cyberlocker Hotfile, and two rings of unauthorized streaming sites (MovieTube and Pubfilm), as well as the ongoing litigation against Megaupload and its operator Kim Dotcom. She also is engaged in the development of the Association’s global policies and strategies related to content protection and provides legal support for the content protection department, including for criminal referrals.
Thorland came to the MPA from her partnership at Loeb & Loeb, LLP, which she joined in 2001. She has deep experience in a broad range of litigation and intellectual property matters, including copyright and trademark, rights of publicity and privacy, First Amendment, entertainment contractual disputes, and appeals. While at Loeb & Loeb, Thorland was the co-lead counsel for the MPA member companies in a national litigation campaign related to peer-to-peer file-sharing. Prior to joining Loeb & Loeb LLP, Thorland was an associate at Jones Day from 1994 to 2001, where she worked on large-scale commercial litigation and intellectual property matters.
She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she graduated with Highest Honors, College Honors, and Distinction in Major. Thorland currently serves on the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors.