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About me

Michael C. Donaldson is an entertainment attorney who has been fighting for independent filmmakers for over thirty years.  As President of the International Documentary Association, he negotiated with the cable networks to prevent the wholesale migration of credits from the screen to the internet by organizing and leading the Documentary Credit Coalition.  He served on the Advisory Committee for the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Stanford Fair Use Project.  He negotiated with Media Professional Insurance Company, Chubb Insurance Company, and other companies to offer fair use riders on the E&O insurance policies which allowed many films to be made under the fair use doctrine.  He helped draft and lobbied strenuously for Orphan Works legislation.  Donaldson helped draft the Rome Resolution to harmonize Fair Use across the European Union.  He lectures frequently at law schools and film schools in Europe and across the United States.  In addition to representing writers, producers, and directors, he serves as General Counsel to Film Independent (home of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival) and the Writers Guild Foundation. 


In addition to this book, he wrote The E-Z Legal Guide to Trademarks & Copyrights, Negotiating for Dummies (now in its second edition and translated into ten languages), and Fearless Negotiating published in hardback in 2007 by McGraw Hill.


He is an avid skier, world hiker, and award-winning photographer.  He won a gold medal at the 1998 Senior Olympics for Parallel Bars and a silver medal on the rings.



Photos and videos

139608 1236899507

Practice areas


  1. Entertainment: 100%
    42 years

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Contact info

Law Offices of Donaldson & Callif

400 South Beverly Drive
Suite 400
Beverly Hills, CA, 90212


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Who's WhoAmerican LawN/A
Association namePosition nameDuration
Beverly Hills Bar AssociationMemberN/A
State Bar of CaliforniaMemberN/A
American Bar AssociationMemberN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1967