School of Law

Professor Jon Festinger, Q.C., LL.B., B.C.L. (McGill), Called to the Bar of British Columbia 1982, Q.C. designation 2009


Honorary Industry Professor



Jon Festinger, Q.C. is a Vancouver, British Columbia based counsel and educator. He is Honourary Industry Professor in Centre for Commercial Law Studies working collaboratively with Professor Gaetano Dimita on a series of teaching, research, conference and journal projects. He is also a Professor of Professional Practice at Simon Fraser University and a faculty member of the Centre for Digital Media. Professor Festinger has taught a wide variety of law courses relating to intellectual property, communications, journalism, sports and business over almost 25 years at the law school at UBC, now known as the Allard School of Law, as well as teaching at various times at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. He is the author of the first edition of Video Game Law published by LexisNexis in 2005, co-author of the second edition published in 2012, and is Co-editor and Chief (with Professors Gaetano Dimita and Marc Mimler) of the newly launched Interactive Entertainment Law Journal (Edward Elgar Publishing). Professor Festinger is a graduate of McGill University's Faculty of Law. While at McGill, Professor Festinger received a Scarlet Key (awarded to outstanding students who have demonstrated distinction and leadership) and also was a Director of the McGill Legal Aid Clinic.

Professor Festinger began his legal career in private practice with an emphasis on matters relating to freedom of expression. In turn, he became a partner in the Vancouver firm of Owen Bird, General Counsel of WIC (Western International Communications) Ltd., Senior Vice President of the CTV Television Network and Executive Vice President, Business & General Counsel of the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL and the arena in which they played, General Motors Place. While at CTV he helped launch VTV (Vancouver Television) and was the station's first General Manager.

Professor Festinger was National Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's Media and Communications Law Section between 1993 and 1995. From 1990 to 1995, he was an Advisory Board Member of the Media and Communications Law Review published by Carswell. Professor Festinger was also a member of the "Working Group on Canadian Programming and Private Television" convened by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Working Group authored The Future of Canadian Programming and the Role of Private Television: Keeping Canada on the Information Highway in 1995.He was also a Director of the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters between 1997 and 2000. At various times, Professor Festinger has also been appointed to mandatory independent positions required of licensees by Canada's broadcast regulator (the C.R.T.C.). These have included Independent Member of the Programming Committee for Telus TV (2003/04 and 2006/07) and as a Member of the CTV Inc. Independent Monitoring Committee to review complaints regarding the independence of CTV's journalism (2002 – 2004).

Professor Festinger practices law and consults through Festinger Law & Strategy and is Media & Copyright Counsel to Broadband TV. He is Past Chair of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia, a Director of viasport B.C., and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee. Jon has been a Trustee of the Simon Fraser University Foundation, a Director of City Opera Vancouver, a Director of the eatART Foundation, a Trustee of the Jack Webster Foundation, a Director of the CKNW Orphans Fund, a Director of the Vancouver Board of Trade, a Director of Canadian Women in Communications (national), and Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Media & Communications Law Section (national).

Undergraduate Teaching

Professor of Professional Practice (SFU): “Surviving as a Creative Entrepreneur” spring 2015 (with Professor Howard Jang), Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Communications, Arts & Technology (FCAT)

Postgraduate Teaching

University of British Columbia

  • Communications Law
  • Video Game Law
  • Legal Constraints on (Digital) Creativity
  • Media, Entertainment and Communications Law
  • Sports Law
  • Entertainment & Sports Law
  • Media Law
  • Ethics and the Law

The Centre for Digital Media

  • Foundations of Digital Media

Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University

  • Sports Law 2
  • Communications Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • Business Associations

University of Victoria Faculty of Law

  • Media, Entertainment and Communications Law


Professor Festinger’s current research interests relate to the relationship between concepts of justice and evolving technologies. In particular the impact of law and regulation on creative endeavours; intersections of copyright fair dealing with freedom of expression particularly regarding video game “mods”; the right to freedom of thought in virtually real environments; and digital ethics. He is also actively committed to open and distance education through the web.




Committee Member (with Professor Joost Blom, Q.C. & Professor Graham Reynolds) for a PhD candidate (copyright law), commenced summer 2015.


Public Engagement

Academic Talks & Panels

  • Presentation on "Legal Contradictions in Video Game Worlds: Copyright through the Post-Structuralist Looking Glass" at "More Than Just A Game: Interactive Entertainment & Intellectual Property Law, 2nd Edition" at The Centre for Commercial Law Studies, The School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, April 8, 2016 . Video below of draft iteration presented at a Faculty Seminar at the Allard School of Law, UBC on March 16, 2016.
  • Presentation on Legal Contradictions Manifest in the Digital World as well as member of panel “Is This Property In 2015?” with Allison Fenske (Legal Aid Manitoba, Public Interest Law Centre), Dr. Mary Shariff (University of Manitoba Faculty of Law) and moderator Professor Lisa Fainstein(University of Manitoba Faculty of Law) at “The Pitblado Lectures” (55th edition) organized by the Law Society of Manitoba, The Manitoba Bar Association, and The University of Manitoba Faculty of Law (, “From Blackacre to Blackberry: Redefining Property and Ownership”, November 6 & 7, 2015.
  • Presentation on “Legal, Normative & Cultural Perspectives on Mods and Modding of Japanese Video Games” at “Press Start: Culture, Industry, and Innovation in Japanese Gaming” conference at UBC February 27, 2015.
  • “Relevance for Creative Digitization & the Internet” at the “Roundtable on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – Impacts and Implications of the UNESCO Convention Ten Years After and Ten Years Ahead: The View From BC”, Simon Fraser University, February 25, 2014
  • Presentation on “Social Media Memes & Legal Realities” at the Law Society of Upper Canada 17th Biennial National Conference “New Developments in Communications Law and Policy” May 1 & 2, 2014
  • “Brown Bag Seminar” at Georgia Tech University on “Legal Constraints on Digital Creativity; Digital Media Demands on Legal Creativity”, September 19,2013
  • Presentation and panel on “Game Development & Modification” with Prof. Greg Lastowka (Rutgers Law) & Mark Methenitis Penn Law IP Symposium 2013 “Creation Nation: IP & The Rise of Prosumerism” March 29, 2013, Philadelphia Pa.

Industry Talks & Panel

  • ”Press Start:Culture, Industry, and Innovation in Japanese Gaming” conference at UBC February 28, 2015; Panel on “Working with Japanese Game Companies: Best Practices” (audio) at Press Start: Culture, Industry, and Innovation in Japanese Gaming” conference at UBC February 28, 2015;
  • Vancouver International Film Festival panel discussion on the film “Bye Bye Blues” and orphan rights in copyright law, with Professor Joel Bakan and Professor Colin Browne, November 12, 2014
  • Presentation on “Law-ification” at Full Indie Summit 2014, August 10, 2014
  • Presentation of “Candy Crushing on Flappy Birds: Originality in Video Games” at Full Indie Summit 2014, April 29, 2014
  • “The Battle of the Living Room: Video Game Consoles as Media Centers” with Kraig Marini-Baker (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP), Alan Bruggeman (Microsoft), Anoop Desai (Electronic Arts). Part of Law Seminars International 3rd Annual Seattle Conference on Gamer Technology Law, October 4, 2012.
  • Tools of Change for Publishing Conference: Talk on “Rights of Creation: Legal conundrums & Ethical Paradoxes” October 20, 2012, Vancouver B.C.


  • CTLT Institute presentation on “Increasing Student Engagement Through Open Educational Resouces” with Christina Hendricks (UBC Philosophy) & Will Engle (UBC CTLT) May 26, 2015, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Open UBC Week panel on “Reclaiming the Open Learning Environment” with Will Engle & Brian Lamb,October 23, 2013
  • UBC CTLT Institute, Panel on “Open Courses, Open Pedagogies” with Professor Christina Hendricks & Professor Jon Beasley-Murray, May 27, 2013