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Heels of Justice

Mar 19, 2021

Welcome to Heels of Justice; these are the stories of women lawyers who are trailblazers in their field and paved the way for the rest of us.


Karyn A. Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the Motion Picture Association joins the Heels of Justice to share her steadfast journey into copyright law.


Tune in for a fascinating discussion about the journey in and out of governmental and private law practice as well as the evolution of work conditions for a woman of color in a largely white-male-dominated profession.


Key Takeaways

[:47] Katherine welcomes Karyn A. Temple and asks her to share the story of how she found her way into law school as well as how she found out the practice of law was her calling.


[4:00] Karyn shares how enjoyable law school was for her in both the differences and similarities to her expectations as well as seeing a path to copyright law.


[8:35] From clerking on the Sixth Circuit to working at the Department of Justice (for a short time, alongside her mother!) and joining Williams & Connolly, Karyn shares her formidable private and government experience.


[14:53] Karyn speaks to her first in-house role at the Recording Industry Association, and how her proactive interest in entertainment cases at Williams & Connolly helped her in that role. She shares one particular case she had to tackle there.


[18:59] Looping back into the DoJ! Karyn shares what brought her back on the policy side — hint, it was a specific administration. She shares her roles and responsibilities as the Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General of the United-States.


[21:55] Joining the Copyright Office was a full-circle experience and Karyn takes a moment to explain how copyright operates and how it affects so many aspects of our lives.


[26:21] Karyn shares two wonderful experiences where she was asked to go to Beijing and Marrakesh and negotiate treaties on the behalf of the United-States and explains what a copyright treaty is.


[28:47] So beyond being very cool, what does the title of United States Register of Copyrights, Karyn breaks down what the position entails and the teams that rely on its leadership.


[30:27] Reaching the pinnacle of copyright law was a huge pride point for someone as steadfastly focused on copyright law for her entire career! Karyn shares her most memorable achievement in the role.


[31:19] General Counsel of the Motion Picture Association is Karyn’s current role; she touches on what it is they do — you know those ratings? It’s them!


[30:32] Being a black woman in a notoriously undiverse profession, Karyn shares her daily experience of discrimination in its various forms, as well as her hope for the future and the conversation we need to have as a society. She also touches on how the current trend to speak openly about these issues is affecting the way she chooses to lead.


[34:39] Failure is part of how we learn; Karyn shares her perspective on what that means for lawyers and how you can move forward from your mistakes. She shares a moment when she advocated for herself in her career.


[49:31] Katherine thanks Karyn A. Temple for all of her insight and openness to share her experience and signs off until next time.


That’s it for this episode of Heels of Justice; if you like the stories we’re telling, please visit our website. You can join our mailing list, learn more about our guests, and see what we have planned for the future.


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Disclaimer: The opinions you have heard are ours or our guests’ alone. They’re not the opinions of our employers, or our clients, or our bosses, and not our husbands, kids, or pets, or anyone else’s.


More about the Heels of Justice hosts Sarita Venkat, and Katherine Minarik

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Sarita Venkat on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on LinkedIn

Katherine Minarik on Twitter

Katherine Minarik at cleverbridge


More about our guest

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.


Find out more about Karyn A. Temple at the Motion Picture Association


Mentioned in this episode

Williams & Connolly LLP

Recording Industry Association

U.S. Copyright Office


Personal stories (edited)

“The fact that we're all copyright owners and copyright creators and generators is something that we often don't realize, but every time we take a picture, that’s a copyright that we own. Every time we decide to write a poem or create a new song to sing to our children to go to sleep, that’s another copyright. Often in the press, you see a lot just about big companies being copyright owners, but the fact that is that all of us as individuals are also creators in almost every aspect of our lives and have ownership of our work and rights under copyright law to be able to decide how that work should be distributed. We can also make money off that work if we so choose and I think it’s great to emphasize: all of us are creators in our own right.”


“I’m very proud that we got rid of our backlog of registration claims. We get hundreds of thousands of individual claims every year, and we have limited resources. We were able to secure some additional funds to hire more staff and work really closely with the head of the registration program — and all of the wonderful staff that we have in registration on developing ideas — to try to address our backlog so we can more quickly get those registration certificates out to people.”