William Nix is an 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. He 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.
In private practice, as 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.
He 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 Content Protection 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. He drafted the MPAA's amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the litigation that pioneered the qualified First Amendment "shield-privilege" for screenwriters' confidential sources, placing them on a par with newspaper and broadcast journalists. See: Real to Reel: The Hirsch Case and First Amendment Protection for Film-makers' Confidential Sources of Information Pepperdine Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 2 (1978) http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2150&context=plr 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.