The Legal 500

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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Copyright
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

The ‘very good’ team at Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, PC in New York is particularly recommended for its advisory work in the music, book publishing and fashion industries, and remains active in significant litigation. Jonathan King leads the group, which also includes Richard Mandel and Eric Shimanoff, who are especially noted for their expertise in the music and recording industry, while Richard Dannay and counsel Thomas Kjellberg are strong in the book publishing area. The team continues to represent Capitol Records in a prominent case against ReDigi, which operates an online marketplace for secondhand digital music. In the fashion industry, it represented Varsity Brands against competitor Star Athletica, and achieved a victory before the Sixth Circuit, which reversed the lower court’s decision regarding the copyrightability of the client’s cheerleading uniforms. In the publishing industry, the firm successfully defended Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch against authorship claims by Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos regarding the publication of collected talks by Rebbe Schneerson.

Jenner & Block LLP has ‘outstanding expertise’ in the music and motion picture industries, and frequently represents content owners in litigation at the forefront of copyright and new online technologies. After its earlier Supreme Court victory against online TV streaming service Aereo, it continues to represent Fox in cases against similar services, such as Aereokiller, FilmOn and Dish Network. In the music industry, the team successfully represented the Universal Music Group in a long-running copyright infringement case against Escape Media, which resulted in the shutting down of Escape Media’s streaming service Grooveshark. It also successfully defended music artist Jay Z in a copyright infringement case related to an Egyptian song sampled in his song Big Pimpin’. Other clients include the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America, the Entertainment Software Association, Electronic Arts, NBCUniversal, and Warner Music. Practice co-chair Andrew Bart in New York has a large number of recording companies as clients, while co-chair Richard Stone in Los Angeles acts for many motion picture studios and TV broadcasters.

Loeb & Loeb LLP provides ‘great service’, especially for clients from the music, motion picture and television industries. New York-based practice chair Barry Slotnick and ‘copyright guruJonathan Zavin are recommended. David Grossman in Los Angeles is praised as a ‘smart and aggressive litigator’ for the entertainment industry. The team successfully defended Sony against copyright infringement claims brought by Mayimba Music regarding the Shakira song Loca, Loca, Loca. It also has been defending NBCUniversal and Time Warner against copyright infringement claims by We 3 Kings Music regarding alleged use without authority of numerous music cues. On the plaintiff side, it is representing Sony/ATV, Warner Chappell Music and others in a copyright infringement case against online music archive Wolfgang’s Vault. It also continued to represent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 20th Century Fox as defendants against copyright infringement claims by Paula Petrella concerning the film Raging Bull.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York has particular expertise in music licensing and frequently represents distributors in first impression copyright litigation. It recently obtained favorable sound recording royalty rates for the internet radio site, Pandora Media, before the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). It also achieved a major victory for several local television broadcasters as plaintiffs in their class action against the copyright licensing practices of the performing rights organization, SESAC. In the book publishing sector, the firm successfully represented HarperCollins in its copyright infringement action against e-book publisher Open Road Integrated Media. On the defense side, it successfully represented eBay in a copyright infringement suit filed by a photographer who sought to hold eBay liable for allegedly infringing photos offered by third-party sellers. Other clients include Facebook, Sirius XM, Disney and Marvel Entertainment. Practice head Bruce Rich is praised as a ‘brilliant legal mind’ and recommended along with Randi Singer and Benjamin Marks.

New York-based boutique Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C. is particularly recommended for advisory work in the areas of author-publisher agreements, music licensing and online infringements. It has also represented clients in several dispute resolution matters. Highlights included the successful representation of DC Comics, publisher and owner of the Batman comic book series, before the Ninth Circuit, in a copyright infringement case against Mark Towle, who converted cars to replica ‘Batmobiles’ and offered kits for self-conversion. James Weinberger, Roger Zissu and David Donahue are recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘outstandingDale Cendali has ‘a solid record of winning cases’, in particular with regard to copyrightability and fair use issues. Other recommended partners are Johanna Schmitt and Claudia Ray, who are also based in New York, as well as Diana Torres in Los Angeles. The team successfully represented Fox News before the Southern District of New York in its lawsuit against the media monitoring company, TVEyes, which defended its provision of news broadcasts as fair use; the case is currently on appeal. In a copyrightability case, the team successfully defended Nike against claims by photographer Jacobus Rentmeester that the ‘Jumpman’ logo used on Air Jordan shoes infringes his 1984 photo of Michael Jordon. Other clients include Oracle, the National Football League and McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP.

Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp provides ‘excellent service’ for clients in the motion picture, television, music, video game and publishing industries. Highlights included the successful representation of Capitol Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music in disputes with Pandora Media and Sirius XM regarding the question of whether there is a public performance right for pre-1972 sound recordings. In the video game industry, the team has been representing Blizzard Entertainment and Valve Corporation in a copyright infringement case against mobile games developers Lilith and uCool. Other clients include Fox Television Studios, Lionsgate, the RIAA, and the Entertainment Software Association. Russell Frackman is recommended, as are Robert Rotstein, Karin Pagnanelli and Marc Mayer, who are all based in Los Angeles. Christine Lepera in New York is praised as an ‘excellent litigator’.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s team of litigators has been handling several high-profile copyright disputes and is best known for representing service providers in new media issues. New York-based practice head Robert Raskopf is recommended, as are Todd Anten, also in New York, and Rachel Herrick Kassabian in Silicon Valley. Work highlight included the defense of the video-sharing website Vimeo against copyright claims brought by Capitol Records and EMI Blackwood Music, as well as defending media monitoring company TVEyes against copyright claims by Fox News. The team also continues to defend the Richard Avedon Foundation in a matter brought by a former employee who is seeking a declaratory judgment that he owns the copyright to photographs he took while working for Avedon.

Arnold & Porter LLP is especially noted for advising sports leagues, motion picture studios and TV broadcasters, and has been involved in major copyright disputes. Washington DC-based Robert Garrett and his team have been representing Joint Sports Claimants, a consortium including Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, in proceedings before the CRB for many years. They are also advising Major League Baseball on various copyright issues involving the telecasting of games over traditional and new media. In addition, the firm continues to represent several TV broadcasters, including ABC, Disney and NBCUniversal, in disputes against the online streaming service FilmOn. Other clients include Nexstar Broadcasting, Barnes & Noble, and Saul Zaentz Company.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is underpinned by its wider commercial litigation capabilities. It has been involved in several high-profile copyright cases, most notably representing several broadcast television companies before the US Supreme Court in a case against Aereo in 2014. More recently, it has been representing Rimini Street in seeking a declaratory judgment that the software maintenance services it provides do not infringe Oracle’s copyrights. Washington DC-based practice chair Jeffrey Cunard and recently promoted partner Jim Pastore in New York are recommended. Former practice chair Bruce Keller became an assistant US attorney in New Jersey.

San Francisco-based boutique Durie Tangri LLP has gained a significant profile for representing users and distributers in high-profile copyright disputes regarding new technologies. Daralyn Durie and Joseph Gratz won praise from peers for their successful fair use defense of Google Books against copyright infringement claims by the Authors Guild. The team was also retained by Google and its navigation subsidiary Waze to defend copyright infringement claims brought by PhantomALERT regarding user-generated data on speed traps and other safety locations. The firm continues to defend CoreLogic, a technology provider for real estate websites, in a class action suit regarding the removal of copyright management metadata from photographs originally taken by professional photographers for real estate agents and brokers.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious copyright issues. Silicon Valley-based practice head Joseph Petersen is recommended along with Larry McFarland in Los Angeles, Marc Lieberstein in New York and senior counsel Joseph Beck in Atlanta. Work highlights included the representation of CBS in an unprecedented anticipatory copyright infringement suit that preemptively shut down pirate streaming sites for the duration of the championship boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. The team has also been representing Viacom against the website operator of NickReboot.com regarding the defendant’s streaming of copyrighted television shows from the plaintiff’s Nickelodeon channel. Another highlight was the successful defense of the HathiTrust, a collaborative digital library that includes more than 60 colleges, against the Authors Guild.

Proskauer Rose LLP is particularly noted for its strength in the music industry. Practice head Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks and recently promoted partner Alexander Kaplan have been defending Madonna and WB Music against a copyright infringement claim by VMG, which alleges that a co-author and producer of Madonna’s song Vogue included an unauthorized sample of the plaintiff’s composition Chicago Bus Stop; this case is currently on appeal. Charles Sims has expertise in fair use issues and matters at the intersection of copyright and First Amendment law. He continues to act for Reed Elsevier on the implementation of the class action suit following the US Supreme Court’s decision in Reed Elsevier v Muchnick regarding the republication of freelance periodical articles on electronic databases. All mentioned attorney are based in New York.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Winston & Strawn LLP is especially recommended for representing service providers in high-profile disputes at the intersection of copyright and new technologies. In New York, Michael Elkin and Thomas Lane are recommended litigators. Jennifer Golinveaux in San Francisco and Erin Ranahan in Los Angeles are further names to note. Work highlights included the representation of Bill Graham Archives as defendant in several copyright suits regarding its online music archive, Wolfgang’s Vault, including a successful defense against copyright infringement claims by the sons of concert promoter Bill Graham. The team has also been representing Megaupload.com and its founder Kim Dotcom in an appeal involving a prominent copyright case in which the US government is seeking to confiscate allegedly illegal proceeds of third-party copyright infringement.

Covington & Burling LLP’s extensive experience in online piracy and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) liability issues underpins its litigation practice and its advisory work on general anti-piracy programs and targeted copyright enforcement. The practice is co-chaired by Simon Frankel in San Francisco and of counsel Ronald Dove in Washington DC. Clara Shin, also in San Francisco, focuses on technology-related disputes. Recent work highlights include the successful defense of Samsung against copyright infringement claims by CCP Systems concerning printer software, assisting the NFL in combatting the unauthorized re-transmission of game telecasts over the internet, and acting for PBS and its member stations in matters before the CRB regarding the distribution of statutory copyright royalties.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s team is noted for litigation at the intersection of copyright and First Amendment issues. It also provides day-to-day copyright counseling for news organizations, entertainment companies, advertisers and publishers. Bruce Johnson in Seattle and Edward Davis in New York successfully defended playwright David Adjmi against copyright infringement claims by the producers of Three’s Company regarding his play 3C, which is a parody of the 1970s television series. New York-based Elizabeth McNamara has been defending the book publisher Simon & Schuster against copyright infringement claims by Ashleigh Erwin regarding her contribution to the book Disaster Artist.

Fenwick & West LLP is praised for its ‘very commercial approach’ and ‘excellent technology sector knowledge’. ‘Very good’ litigator Andrew Bridges is particularly strong in secondary liability disputes. He is defending the internet service provider Cox Communications against claims brought by BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music that the defendant is liable for file sharing activity by its subscribers. It also continues to represent service provider Giganews against copyright infringement claims brought by Perfect 10. Jennifer Stanley chairs the non-contentious side of the copyright practice, which advises clients such as Expedia, Airbnb, King.com, Depict and Meerkat. All mentioned attorneys are based in San Francisco.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC in New York advises various clients in the publishing, entertainment and advertising business and represents them in disputes. Practice chair Edward Rosenthal and litigator Maura Wogan are praised as ‘very personable, responsive, smart, and excellent in court’. Work highlights included the representation of the Authors Guild as plaintiff in the prominent Google Books case and the representation of Hasbro in a suit against Sweetpea Entertainment regarding copyright infringements as a result of the defendant’s production of the Dungeons & Dragons movie. On the defense side, the team has been representing John Wiley & Sons against copyright infringement claims brought by Senisi arising from disputes over the scope of photo licenses.

Hogan Lovells US LLP handles a variety of arts, media and entertainment sector-related copyright matters, with particular expertise regarding fair use and First Amendment issues. Practice head Dori Ann Hanswirth in New York continues to defend Fox News in two suits filed by North Jersey Media Group regarding claims of copyright infringement based on photos posted on Facebook. Washington DC-based Neal Katyal and Dominic Perella successfully defended Google in the prominent Garcia v Google case regarding a request to take down the controversial anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims from the defendant’s video-sharing site YouTube based on the copyright claims of one of the actors appearing in the video. Perella later became deputy general counsel at Snapchat.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘highly capable trial counsel’ Kenneth Steinthal in San Francisco is recommended as an ‘acknowledged expert’ for matters where new technologies meet music copyright, and has been acting for content distributers in contentious and non-contentious matters. Highlights included the representation of Pandora Media in a dispute with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) over the scope, structure and rates of license fees. He also continues to act for Pandora in a license fee dispute with BMI. In addition, he has been representing Amazon, Microsoft, eMusic, and The Orchard in a putative class action alleging copyright infringement regarding the sale of digital music downloads.

The ‘very good’ practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP is best known for litigation in the technology sector. Los Angeles-based Benjamin Fox successfully represented the internet service providers Verizon Communications, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks in an appeal regarding the downloading of copyrighted material by their customers. San Francisco-based Michael Jacobs acted for VMware in a software copyright and breach of license dispute with Phoenix Technologies. Jacobs also represented Autodesk in a software copyright dispute. Besides litigation, the practice regularly advises on a variety of copyright issues, not only for technology companies but also for many clients in the entertainment and arts business.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s copyright work is most prominent in the entertainment and media sector, but the practice extends beyond that to areas such as retail products and computer software. Work highlights included the successful defense of Warner Bros., New Line Productions and Katja Motion Picture against copyright infringement claims by novelist Tess Gerritsen regarding the movie Gravity, as well as the representation of Sirius XM in appeal proceedings against four separate court decisions concerning copyright infringement claims relating to pre-1972 sound recordings. Matthew Kline in Los Angeles and David Eberhart in San Francisco are recommended. Robert Schwartz went to Irell & Manella LLP in 2015.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is praised for its successes in high-profile copyright disputes in the technology sector, particularly involving issues of copyrightability and fair use. The team continues to represent Oracle as plaintiff in a long-running dispute with Google over the defendant’s use of parts of Oracle’s Java software in its Android operating system. On the defense side, it continues to act for Dish in the dispute with several TV broadcasters regarding its ad-skipping digital video recording service. Other clients include Microsoft and ZestFinance. San Francisco-based Annette Hurst and Gabriel Ramsey are recommended, as are New York-based Joshua Rosenkranz and Lisa Simpson.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is noted for its litigation work for various copyright owners, especially from the media and entertainment sector. ‘Excellent’ litigators Jay Cohen and Lynn Bayard in New York are highly recommended. ASCAP is a key client, which the firm represented in several proceedings and negotiations over royalty rates. For example, the firm represented ASCAP in a trial in the Southern District of New York to determine license fees to be paid by the internet radio service, Pandora Media. Other clients include Viacom, Huffington Post, and the National Music Publishers Association.

Pryor Cashman LLP’s practice has a steady flow of work from its many clients in the music industry, including EMI, Sony, BMG, and Universal Music Group, and is also frequently retained by motion picture studios such as Lionsgate, Nu Image, and The Weinstein Company. Work highlights included bringing claims on behalf of EMI against MP3Tunes founder Michael Robertson for willful copyright infringement. On the defense side, the firm successfully represented the artists Kanye West, Shawn Carter and Mike Dean and several music companies against copyright claims regarding the song Made in America. New York-based litigators Donald Zakarin, Frank Scibilia, Tom Ferber and Brad Rose are recommended.

Wiley Rein LLP in Washington DC has remarkable expertise in music licensing, acting for many broadcasting and new media clients. Bruce Joseph, Thomas Kirby and Karyn Ablin are recommended for litigation and contract negotiation. The team is acting for the National Association of Broadcasters in litigation before the CRB to establish license fees for the online streaming of sound recordings, and is also representing a group of non-commercial radio broadcasters in its pending litigation before the CRB. Beyond music licensing, the firm advised numerous online service providers on questions of secondary liability and frequently represents publishers of professional newsletters and periodicals, including Grant’s Financial Publishing and Warren Communication News, and has obtained several million dollars in copyright infringement settlements for them.

Arent Fox LLP is praised for ‘excellent industry knowledge’, particularly in the music industry, but it also acts for a variety of clients in the entertainment, technology and fashion industries. Work highlights included the representation of Sirius XM in webcasting rate proceedings before the CRB, acting for Music Choice in matters before the Copyright Office, and advising HBO on numerous copyright matters. Other clients include Discovery Channel and Diesel. Paul Fakler in New York and Anthony Lupo in Washington DC are recommended. The practice lost Ross Charap to Akerman LLP, but gained Michelle Mancino Marsh from Kenyon & Kenyon LLP.

Baker & Hostetler LLP is best known for its work in the music industry, but the copyright practice also works with clients from the wider media and entertainment industry, as well as the technology sector. Practice head Oren Warshavsky in New York has been representing Freeplay Music as plaintiff in disputes with several multi-channel networks. Katrina Quicker in Atlanta continued to act as co-counsel to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in a dispute with several academic publishers regarding the practice of distributing book excerpts to students without paying licensing fees. Other clients include Blackheart Records, NJJ Music and TuneSat.

Davis & Gilbert LLP’s practice in New York is praised for its ‘outstanding industry knowledge’ in the advertising and marketing sector, but it also increasingly acts for clients in the wider media and entertainment industry. ‘Practical and efficient problem-solverAshima Dayal is recommended for counseling work regarding assessments of copyrightability, license-free fair use and free speech. Guy Cohen has been defending Defy Media in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by competitor Jukin Media. Marc Rachman has been representing the heirs of the comedy duo ‘Bud’ Abbott and Lou Costello in a copyright dispute with the producers of the Broadway play, Hand to God.

Fish & Richardson P.C. is best known for representing technology companies in disputes with content owners, especially regarding fair use issues, and Boston-based David Hosp and Mark Puzella have extensive experience in such litigation. For example, they represented Microsoft as defendant in a dispute with Getty Images regarding the display of image previews by widgets of the Bing search engine. Besides litigation, the team regularly advises various clients on the protection of copyrighted works and infringement matters.

At Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Ian Ballon, who splits his time between the firm’s Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices, is recommended for technology and internet-related copyright litigation. Atlanta-based Robert Rosenbloum is recommended for copyright counseling work for recording artists, record companies and motion picture companies, as well as digital media companies and service providers in the online space.

Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles is particularly noted for its work in the media and entertainment sector. Recent work includes the defense of Spike Lee and 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks against copyright infringement claims by Juan Luis Garcia regarding the motion picture, Oldboy. Of counsel David Nimmer has a long-standing reputation as thought leader in the copyright space; his legal treatise Nimmer on Copyright has frequently been cited by courts and he has given congressional testimony multiple times. Robert Schwartz joined the practice from O’Melveny & Myers LLP in 2015.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provides ‘high-quality legal services’, particularly for clients from the media and entertainment industry. Chicago-based Floyd Mandell and Los Angeles-based David Halberstadter have been representing radio station operator Cumulus Media in a copyright infringement suit brought by ABS Entertainment regarding pre-1972 music royalties. Joel Weiner in Los Angeles successfully defended Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and others against allegations that the teddy bear featured in the motion picture Ted was copied from a character in the plaintiff’s YouTube series Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear. Other clients include HBO, Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios.

Kenyon & Kenyon LLP handles the full spectrum of copyright matters, including the registration of works, licensing, enforcement and litigation. Jonathan Reichman in New York has a particular focus on the entertainment industry and longstanding experience regarding fictional characters, including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Barbie. Michelle Mancino Marsh went to Arent Fox LLP in September 2015.

At Mayer Brown, New York-based John Mancini and his team have particular expertise in digital media copyright. The team frequently represents digital distribution companies in disputes with content owners, particularly from the music industry. Highlights included the representation of Google in a putative class action claiming that it and other defendants failed to ensure that the music they make available for download is properly licensed. The team has also been retained by Spotify to defend two class actions regarding mechanical rights protection. In addition, it has been representing United Airlines in a dispute with Sony Music regarding the defendant’s in-flight entertainment system.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP handles a variety of copyright matters for entertainment sector clients, including contentious and non-contentious issues. Martin Katz in Los Angeles is particularly recommended for copyright matters in the motion picture business. New York-based Paul Garrity continues to represent the hip-hop group the Beastie Boys in a copyright infringement suit against Monster regarding the unauthorized use of its music in a promotional video for the Monster energy drink.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP draws on its transactional and litigation capabilities to handle contentious and non-contentious copyright matters for clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including fashion, consumer products, media, entertainment and sports. Anthony Dreyer in New York continues to act for the National Football League in a copyright dispute with seven photographers regarding alleged copyright infringements through the client’s use of photographs in advertising and marketing campaigns.

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