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Entertainment and Sports Law Law Firm Associates Law Firm Partners

Players On the Move

A look at moves among attorneys, law firms, companies and other players in entertainment law.


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United Kingdom-based movie theater giant Cineworld Group — which operates more than 9,000 movie screens and is under new leadership following its emergence from bankruptcy — has cast John Henrich as general counsel. Henrich comes to Cineworld from Denton, TX-based Sally Beauty Holdings, a publicly traded beauty products distributor and retailer with more than 3,000 stores and $3.9 billion in annual revenue. He’s been there 12 years, the last four as legal chief. His appointment to Cineworld comes amid wider shakeup in Cineworld’s executive ranks following its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last July. Founded in 1995, Cineworld is the second-largest movie theater chain in the world behind AMC with nearly 10,000 screens in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel and the United States. In 2017 it acquired Regal Entertainment Group for $3.6 billion in a deal that gave it access to the North American market but saddled it with debt. In 2020, Cineworld backed out of a $1.6 billion deal to acquire Canadian theater chain Cineplex, sparking a legal dispute that resulted in a $900 million judgment against Cineworld. It had struck the deal in December 2019, months before the pandemic forced the extended closure of movie theaters, decimating the industry. Cineworld landed in bankruptcy in 2022. As part of its restructuring, the company reduced debt by $4.5 billion and raised $800 in equity capital and secured debt financing of $1.7 billion. Attorneys Nicole Gates and Mike Lancaster have new roles at San Diego, CA-based Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which controls the film, publishing, TV, stage productions, exhibitions, digital media, licensed merchandise and other works of author and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel died in 1991 and his widow Audrey established the company shortly thereafter. Gates, who has been with the company for five years and most recently was senior corporate counsel, has been promoted to vice president of legal. She is former corporate counsel at Aya Healthcare in San Diego, and before that was a law associate at DLA Piper and Bryan Cave. Lancaster, who serves as corporate counsel, came to Dr. Suess Enterprises from Collins Aerospace in San Diego, where he worked in commercial contracts for five years. Before that, he spent a year as staff counsel for Alliant Insurance Services in San Diego. Gates established the company’s legal department and covered the gamut from licensing deals to promotional partnerships to litigation matters. That means she’s played Grinch on many occasions when photographers and other media entities have attempted to use imagery and IP without permission. Gates reports to Seuss Enterprises CEO Susan Brandt, a former 20th Century Fox marketing executive who’s been credited with helping keep the Seuss brand relevant to today’s generation of children by striking partnerships with entertainment companies including Netflix, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. The Digital Media Association (DiMA) — which represents the interests of Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and — has appointed Colin Rushing to the newly created role of executive vice president and general counsel. Rushing has more than two decades of experience as a copyright lawyer. He joins the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit DiMA from another D.C.-based nonprofit SoundExchange, the organization designated by the U.S. Library of Congress to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for sound recordings. Rushing spent almost 14 years at SoundExchange, rising to chief legal officer. Before that, he was a litigator at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Rushing said in a statement: “DiMA is a unique and powerful voice for music streaming and, together with the Digital Licensing Coordinator, poised to modernize the infrastructure of the music business for everyone’s benefit.” The D.C.-based Digital Licensing Coordinator is a nonprofit that is a product of the music-streaming boom. It is designated by the U.S. Copyright Office represent digital music providers in connection with the administration of the blanket songs license provided under Section 115 of the Copyright Act. In a statement, DiMA CEO Graham Davies, who assumed his role in January, said Rushing is joining the company as it embarks on its new strategy: the rebranding of DiMA as a global organization. In an interview with Billboard, Davies said his vision is to educate the public about the value of streaming services to the music business. He also wants to be a global voice on issues affecting members, including that AI will use artists’ name, image, likeness and voice in unauthorized ways. Rushing — who has appeared on Billboard’s “Top Music Lawyers” list — also serves as an adjunct instructor at Belmont University and as a director of the Copyright Society of the South.

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