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Overview

Carol Kaplan is an entertainment lawyer with extensive experience advising clients on the licensing, acquisition, disposition, financing and exploitation of intellectual property assets within and across multiple platforms, including in connection with live theater, immersive events, film, television and new media exploitations.

Carol’s former experience in the theater field as a writer, director and producer prior to entering the legal sector has helped her create long-standing, excellent relationships in the live-stage industry. Her hands-on experience makes her uniquely qualified to work with both experienced and first-time theater producers. Clients turn to her to provide general and deal-specific legal and strategic advice that is essential to the development, production and exploitation of traditional and non-traditional live stage properties.

Carol provides up-to-date business and legal advice to major media companies, such as film and TV studios and content streaming companies, and individual owners of iconic intellectual property on licensing their content for exploitation on stage as self-produced—or third-party produced—works. Her current and former clients in this capacity include: Viacom (including Nickelodeon, BET Network and Comedy Central), Netflix, Fox Broadcasting, Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Universal and Paramount.

Carol counsels creators and creative producers on acquiring rights; engaging creative, management and key production personnel; creating joint ventures; and handling cross-border rights and production issues. She advises producers and individual investors on all aspects of financing and fundraising, from seed money to private placement offerings for initial and subsequent commercial productions. She represents both U.S. and cross-border production and general management companies and authors, directors, designers and innovators in connection with creative services and rights agreements.

In addition, Carol advises U.S. nonprofit theaters—both major flagship theaters and smaller, emerging theatres—on a wide array of production matters, including joint ventures, enhancement arrangements and conflicts of interest policies, among others. She works closely with general managers, managing directors and artistic directors of nonprofit theaters on day-to-day legal issues and concerns, as well as unique and unexpected matters impacting season planning and implementation. As a thought-leader in this area, Carol also provides sophisticated counsel to institutional theaters, commercial producers, theater boards and other stakeholders.

Outside of her theater practice, Carol handles a variety of film, television and new media transactions, working closely with independent film, documentary film and television producers. She also counsels owners of high-profile film, print, music and other creative works, including overseeing negotiations for licensing rights and handling the disposition of rights in literary catalogues, iconic films and iconic songs.

Carol frequently presents continuing legal education seminars and participates on panels hosted by the New York Bar Association, the Commercial Theatre Institute and others on legal aspects of live stage producing.

Prior to entering private practice, Carol was an in-house production lawyer in the business and legal affairs department at Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom, where she handled rights acquisitions, creative services agreements and turnkey production agreements for serial and long form television. Before attending law school, she worked as a playwright, director and producer in live theater in the U.S. and South Africa. Carol was also previously a screenwriter and television writer, and she has received numerous nominations, awards and citations for her film and live stage work.
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Education

  • New York University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, Member of the Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief, NYU Law Review
  • Yale School of Drama, Playwriting, M.F.A.
  • Universities of Natal and Cape Town, B.A., cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Recognition

  • Named "Best Lawyer" in Entertainment Law: Theater, The Best Lawyers in America, published by Woodward White, Inc. (2021 and 2022)
  • Named in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, in New York Media & Entertainment: Theatre (2018-2021)
  • Named "Top Dealmaker" in Variety's "Dealmakers Impact Report" (2017)
  • Named "New York Metro Super Lawyer" in Entertainment and Sports by Thomson Reuters (2017-2019, 2021)
  • Named in The Legal 500 US in Media & Entertainment, published by Legalease Limited and John Pritchard (2019-2021)

Affiliations

  • Member, New York City Bar Association