Ken Ziffren Defends VOD Deal — But the Lawyer Has a Conflict (Update)

Hollywood's powerhouse lawyer backs the deal with DirectTV in an article in THR, but never mentions that the satellite company was his client

(Updated, 2:39 p.m. PST)

Talk about non-disclosure. 

Entertainment lawyer Kenneth Ziffren took to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday to tell theater owners to "stop complaining" about studios' plans to shorten release windows and offer films early on DirecTV.

Yet the Hollywood lawyer failed to mention that the satellite company was his client.

Conflict much?

"The mystery to me is why the theaters are fighting so hard to preserve a full four-month window instead of joining forces," Ziffren wrote.

He also noted that the financial impact on theater owners will be minimal, since a movie's box office run is all but over by the time studios would be making movies available. 

Potentially good advice, but what about Ziffren's relationship with the main beneficiary of the VOD deal? Shouldn't the article have mentioned that? 

Ziffren told TheWrap that he did represent DirecTV more than 10 years ago in deals in Japan, Latin America and the United States. He said that he also did work for many of the studios and theater chains impacted by the decision. 

"From my point of view, there was absolutely no connection with what I did for them and what this is about. I'm sorry if anybody thinks it was improper, but there's absolutely no connection," Ziffren told TheWrap.

THR Managing Editor Owen Phillips did not respond to request for comment. Ziffren told TheWrap that he did discuss disclosing the relationship in the op-ed, but the trade's editors felt that since the relationship was so far in the past, it wasn't relevant. 

"It was discussed. This was their decision, and I agreed," he said. 

The bio at the bottom of the article does mention Ziffren's work as a partner at  Ziffren Brittenham and an adjunct law professor at UCLA.

Ziffren's other clients also have included Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Madonna.  

There isn't so much as a peep about DirecTV.