Written by Kenya Zandrowicz
It is no secret that we now live in a technologically driven society. Just about every sector of society has new advances in technology daily. We see advances in health care, construction, education, agriculture, you name it, and it is now driven by technology. Social media has changed how we connect with others on a personal level and within the workforce. The corporate sector has evolved by leaps and bounds with technology leading the way.
Social platforms have become the new normal in how we operate and communicate within today’s society. LinkedIn pathed the way when it comes to connecting on a professional level and finding key persons for key positions within companies. What about the art and entertainment community and our creatives? Here we have someone who just may have the answer. We would like to introduce you to Jean-Que, the creator of tap, a LinkedIn-style marketplace designed specifically to connect individuals from every facet of the entertainment industry.
Steller: What made you decide to create a platform such as this one?
After law school, my work hours demanded an aggressive 12+ hour workday. At the time, a close colleague referred me to a Patent Attorney who propositioned me to leave my current firm in Miami to join her Biotech and BioPharma Patent practice group at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles. Her practice required a seasoned Patent Prosecution Specialist to steer the heavy workload which included managing a complex robust active patent docket in thirty-three countries. I flew to Los Angeles and interviewed with the group, which required a start date of six days. The firm presented an irresistible package which included a relocation offer – it was the most money I have ever seen on paper. I said yes, made the move, steered her practice, and she became a Partner in two years. I then noticed my expertise in a niche-specific Intellectual Property legal subject matter. After becoming a Partner, myself, a few attorneys and I started IP Precise in Marina Del Rey, a boutique intellectual property firm that manages the overflow of Patent and Trademark prosecution files for major law firms. The firm grew within two years, and we evolved into prosecuting Intellectual Property applications for general consumers. The practice was incredibly successful as we catered the practice towards a niche crowd of Fortune 100 executives that wanted to create or join a start-up while maintaining their current positions. Once opened to the public, one of our entertainment-based clients referred us to a few Hollywood elites, which in turn also made referrals that landed 67 clients in three weeks. We relocated offices to the Water Garden in Santa Monica and started servicing the IP needs of people and technical Founders that worked at Def Jam, Miramax, Lionsgate, Hulu, HBO, Viacom, and Universal. These six companies were within walking distance of our office, and we were the only firm in town offering this unique service. Our success took off, and we opened another office in Brentwood. As a Founding Senior Partner of the firm, I noticed the bulk of hours spent tracking people and entertainment production companies.
Steller: You have been a talented and skilled musician since childhood. What made you decide to pivot and attend Law School?
I was raised by immigrant parents from Haiti who wanted me to live the best life possible. Sadly, my mom emphatically opposed my aspirations because she wanted her children to have stable, respectable careers, and didn’t think music would lead me to reach those objectives.
Steller: Can you give us an example of how two entities can connect and benefit from tap?
Disney is an American diversified multinational mass media corporation with a presence in over 75 countries. Productions need distribution around the world to reach consumers. This includes marketing, legal, agency, and talent distribution. However, owing to the archaic nature of the industry, it’s difficult to hire a local Brazilian film marketing distribution company with limited resources or reviews. As such, Disney, for example, creates a Latin American Distribution company to service anyone seeking a reputable distribution company in that region. As such, an Australian independent film producer seeking distribution in the region will not have access or exposure to local distribution and use Disney’s Latin American distribution company owing to ease of access and reliability. This competes and ultimately shuts down local distribution companies.
tap. provides a global network of the entertainment workforce. This allows local distribution companies to be found by anyone.
Steller: We understand that you are also a keynote speaker. You recently had the opportunity to speak during the NFT NYC. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience? Are NFT’s here to stay?
Yes. SEC v. Ripple Labs, Friel v. Dapper Labs, U.S. v. Nguyen, Miramax v. Tarantino, Hermès v. Rothschild, Nike v. Stockx, Roc-A-Fella Records v. Damon Dash, and U.S. v. Chastain are groundbreaking NFT lawsuits that will set precedent for the NFT industry. The fact that the courts have entered the chat is a clear indicator that we are addressing the NFT gray lines of copyright infringement and ownership. That means they are here to stay.
Steller: From your perspective how can one protect their digital works?
The best way to protect digital works is to enforce your IP rights. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams Blurred Lines infringed and stole from Marvin Gaye’s iconic Got to Give It Up. Initially, the Gaye Estate filed a claim for $100M after Blurred Lines profited about $80M. However, the judge awarded the Estate a $7M judgment because they did not enforce their IP rights sooner, among other reasons. The Estate squatted on the claim until the track soared the charts with the hopes for a large settlement, but the courts aren’t having it.
Register your work and enforce your rights. Owners lose value once they have knowledge of the infringement and do not act.
Steller: You hail from a Haitian background; you are clearly opening doors and paving the way for people of color within the tech community. Is there any advice you could give to others within the black community that may be looking to pursue a career in tech?
Find experienced mentors that will support your mission. Have separate mentors in each phase of the business such as Product, Fundraising, Marketing, Sales, and Technology. Stay up to date on trends and your marketplace network. Follow shifts and always be in a position to change all aspects of the business if required. Lastly, never stop fundraising.