Michael D. Nilsson is a partner with the law firm of Wiltshire & Grannis LLP. He advises and represents media and communications companies before the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Copyright Office, foreign regulators, and international regulatory bodies, as well as in commercial negotiations.
Media, copyright, and video programming. Mr. Nilsson has particular expertise on legal issues associated with video programming.
- He has long represented the largest U.S. satellite television operator in connection with Congress's reauthorization of satellite television legislation, negotiating successfully with representatives of the broadcast television industry and the largest copyright owners. He has also repeatedly provided expert testimony on behalf of this satellite operator before the U.S. Copyright Office.
- He routinely represents multichannel television providers in negotiations for the rights to transmit video programming.
- He advises and represents multichannel television providers with respect to a wide range of copyright issues, including private and statutory licensing. He often advises these clients on the copyright implications of proposed new distribution models.
- He has represented clients before the FCC in most of the largest media mergers in recent years. He represents clients in the full range of rulemakings affecting the media sector, including mandatory carriage of broadcast networks, retransmission consent, equipment regulation, indecency regulation, the program access and program carriage rules, and ownership issues.
- He has represented foreign cable operators and investors in multi-jurisdictional copyright- and merger-related issues and multichannel television providers in anti-piracy matters before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Communications licensing and regulation. More generally, Mr. Nilsson advises satellite, cable, wireline, and wireless communications companies with respect to the licensing, deployment, and regulation of their networks. He has represented these companies in FCC rulemakings and ongoing compliance efforts involving licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum, spectrum auctions, consumer equipment mandates, and recurring charges such as Universal Service Fund contributions and FCC regulatory fees.
From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Nilsson served as Legislative Assistant and Counsel, and principal telecommunications and technology adviser, to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia. He advised the Senator on issues such as broadband deployment, universal service, spectrum auctions, satellite mergers, Internet privacy, digital copyright, and homeland security.
Mr. Nilsson co-chairs the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Committee. He has previously co-chaired the Legislation Committee and what is now the Video Programming and Distribution Committee.
Mr. Nilsson has engaged in a number of pro bono representations, and serves as outside pro bono counsel to the French Bulldog Rescue Network. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Sitar Arts Center, a nonprofit arts education center, where he also teaches saxophone.
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., magna cum laude
University of California, Berkeley, B.A., with high honors