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  1. Copyright
  2. Leading lawyers

Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, PC remains a well-known name for both copyright litigation and counseling matters and in particular, for its expertise in literary copyright issues, with Richard Dannay continuing to represent major book publishers in copyright cases. More recently, it has been handling significant music industry-related contentious matters. Richard Mandel and Jonathan King represented Capitol Records in bringing a copyright infringement case against online start-up company ReDigi, whose service allows consumers to buy and sell used digital music. The case is being argued on the issue of first impression as to whether the first-sale doctrine is applicable in permitting users, who lawfully purchase digital music, to re-sell the recordings. Eric Shimanoff has been defending EMI against copyright infringement lawsuits brought by individuals and successfully obtaining dismissals against alleged claims of unlicensed recording, copying and distribution of particular songs or musical compositions. Of counsel Tom Kjellberg heads the practice and has experience in handling copyright matters across film, music and publishing industries.

Jenner & Block LLP acts for content providers from the media and entertainment sectors on both copyright litigation and counseling matters but is particularly known for its internet-related copyright infringement work. The firm’s content, media and entertainment practice is co-chaired by Steven Fabrizio and Andrew Bart. Fabrizio formerly led the litigation department at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and since then, has regularly represented major film studios and record companies in copyright protection lawsuits. He represented the plaintiffs in American Broadcasting Companies v Aereo, with appellate lawyer Paul Smith leading on the Second Circuit appeal for the case, which examines claims regarding the online retransmission of programming by the defendant. The team is also defending a number of major film studios on an appeal hearing of a case against BitTorrent website Isohunt. Smith worked alongside Susan Kohlmann in successfully obtaining a Second Circuit appeal reversal of a lower court rulingon behalf of the plaintiff in the $1bn case Viacom v YouTube and Google. Non-contentious work included advising on legislative matters and commercial agreements, with Steven Englund recently counseling the RIAA on drafting the Performance Rights Act.

Utterly top-drawer’, Loeb & Loeb LLP is widely recognised for handling major copyright litigation matters in the entertainment field. IP and entertainment group head Barry Slotnick is ‘simply remarkable. He is prepared, thorough, thoughtful and a brilliant lawyer’. Following settlement of a case against YouTube, Slotnick advised both the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Harry Fox Agency on negotiating a licensing agreement to enable music publishers to receive royalties for music posted on the website. More recently, he successfully represented Sony/ATV Publishing in a Sixth Circuit appeal, which reversed a lower court ruling that found the widow of singer-songwriter Roger Miller owned renewal copyrights to the artist’s songs. Jonathan Zavin is ‘an effective strategist, with superior knowledge of copyright law’, who continued to defend DreamWorks Animation against a copyright infringement claim brought by individual Terence Dunn regarding the film Kung Fu Panda, which is set for an appeal hearing. Zavin also obtained a successful Ninth Circuit appeal ruling for defendants MGM and Twentieth Century Fox, upholding dismissal of the copyright suit brought by the heir of the writer whose works were used for the film Raging Bull. Commercial litigators David Grossman, W Allan Edmiston and Jonathan Neil Strauss are also recommended.

Alongside copyright counseling, registration and transactional matters, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is active in contentious work, with the practice recently handling a number of high-profile cases regarding copyright infringement and questions of fair use. Los Angeles-based Alonzo Wickers led on the successfully defense of Comedy Central and other parties against a copyright infringement claim regarding TV show South Park’s parody of a popular online viral video. This Seventh Circuit appeal decision was the first by any appellate court to affirm a finding of fair use without discovery. In the New York office, Marcia Paul acted for a group of defendants, including Pizza Hut and Interpublic Group, in settling a copyright infringement case brought by music group The Black Keys, alleging misuse of musical works in commercials. Experienced trial and appellate lawyer Elizabeth McNamara and media and IP litigator Linda Steinman are representing The Associated Press in bringing a copyright infringement and “hot news" misappropriation case against digital news distributor Meltwater.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP leverages off its reputation in handling complex, high-profile litigation matters to take on some notable copyright cases regarding the issue of first impression alongside advising on licensing and transactional matters related to emerging technologies and new media. IP litigation head Bruce Keller and managing partner Jeffrey Cunard both ‘try out novel theories in taking on some of the most complex cases’. Keller, Cunard and counsel Michael Potenza are representing a group of major broadcasting companies as plaintiffs in a closely watched copyright infringement case against internet streaming service Aereo, which recently went to a Second Circuit appeal. Keller and Cunard also settled a copyright infringement case on behalf of publishing groups and the Association of American Publishers brought against defendant Google regarding the digitization of books from US libraries. More recently, Keller obtained a successful appeal decision for defendants Sony Pictures Television and A&E Networks, which rejected an infringement claim brought by a freelance photographer regarding a copyrighted photo that was copied by the television film Who is Clark Rockefeller?

Among the most trustworthy counsel in the country’, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C. is highly regarded for its expertise and deep bench in soft IP matters. It covers the full range of non-contentious matters, including copyright portfolio management, transactions, enforcement strategies and registration of works. Recognized copyright law expert Roger Zissu heads the practice, which handles counseling and litigation matters across industries such as the arts, publishing, media and entertainment. Zissu and litigator David Donahue have been defending Boundless Learning in a case brought by various publishers of educational texts, including Pearson Education, alleging violation of the Copyright Act regarding the client’s free online textbooks. The ‘knowledgeableJames Weinberger continued to successfully represent a group of defendants, including the Sundance Channel, when a copyright infringement case regarding the clients’ Brick City documentary reached a Third Circuit appeal. The plaintiff, E Adam Jackson, alleged that its TV series infringed the author’s novel of the same name.

Under the leadership of its best known figure, Dale Cendali, Kirkland & Ellis LLP remains noted for expertise on high-profile copyright litigation matters spanning a diverse range of sectors, such as technology, financial services and entertainment. The New York-based team has been acting for the producer behind Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark in an ongoing copyright infringement and royalties dispute brought by the show’s former director. Cendali and Claudia Ray led on the successful defence in Alexander v Murdoch, with a Second Circuit appeal affirming a district court dismissal of a claim brought by an individual alleging that TV series Modern Family infringes the copyright in his proposed script. Another success was obtaining a district court ruling in favor of Tetris Holdings, which found that start-up company Xio Interactive did infringe the copyrighted expression of its client’s game through releasing a knock-off version for the iPhone. The lawyers are also acting for credit rating agency A M Best Company as plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit against competitor SNL Financial, which claims that information on its website is copying the client’s insurance company ratings and press releases.

Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp has ‘a very deep bench of knowledgeable and skilled attorneys’ that can ‘deliver great value and are incredibly responsive and proactive’. It has a strong focus on the intersection between entertainment and technology sectors. IP practice co-chairs Karin Pagnanelli and Robert Rotstein, as well as Russell Frackman in Los Angeles, Paul LiCalsi and Christine Lepera in New York and Washington DC-based Eric Schwartz, are all recommended for contentious work. Pagnanelli and Marc Mayer successfully represented video game developer Nexon America in bringing copyright infringement claims against private operators that illegally copied the client’s products, including MapleStory. The practice recently acted for the Copyright Alliance in filing an amicus brief to support plaintiffs in litigation against internet TV start-up Aereo.

Arnold & Porter LLP continues to act for content owners in contentious matters at the intersection between entertainment and new media sectors. Robert Garrett has extensive experience in representing major sports and broadcasting companies in copyright infringement cases, with noteworthy clients including the Motion Picture Association of America, ABC, CBS and 20th Century Fox. Garrett is currently lead counsel for a consortium of major sports associations in disputes regarding royalties for TV retransmission of sports programmes. He also continued acting for a group of plaintiffs comprising broadcasting networks, sports leagues and TV content owners including NBC, Disney and Major League Baseball in a successful appeal, which affirmed an injunction against internet TV streaming service Ivi TV. Cases filed on behalf of Viacom against Time Warner Cable and Cablevision regarding the retransmission of programming of iPad devices have been settled.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz has a strong focus on copyright litigation and counselling as well as handling some registration work, particularly in the media, publishing and entertainment sectors. The practice ‘does an excellent job of synthesizing complex issues and providing solutions to address these in a practical, business-oriented fashion’. IP and litigation chair Edward Rosenthal is ‘a tough litigator and negotiator, yet an extremely trusted counselor’. He is currently representing plaintiff The Authors Guild in appealing a landmark ruling of a case against HathiTrust and a number of major universities regarding the defendants’ participation in the Google Books digitization project. The practice was also involved in representing other named defendants in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Janine Gordon against fellow photographer Ryan McGinley, with a Second Circuit appeal affirming dismissal of the claims. The ‘extremely smart and overall terrific lawyer’ Mary Sotis acts for sports and entertainment sector clients on both counseling and litigation matters. S Gregory Boyd ‘brings a wealth of knowledge in the speciality field of video game development, can act as a business advisor as well as a legal one and is very well connected and regarded in the industry’. Boyd, Victoria Cook and Richard Heller are all recommended for transactional work.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton provides expertise across a broad range of industries such as consumer products, entertainment, media, publishing and high-technology. Joseph Beck is known for litigating leading cases in the copyright field and successfully obtained a ruling of fair use in favor of the defendant in The Authors Guild v HathiTrust, which had brought copyright infringement claims against the client’s Google-affiliated mass digitization project led by academic institutions. Timothy Cahn handles both copyright counseling and litigation matters for major brand owners such as Sony Computer Entertainment and Apple. Joseph Petersen’s experience covers copyright enforcement and contentious matters, including music copyright royalty rate proceedings. James Trigg focuses on entertainment sector, internet and digital media-related matters, including advice on music licensing and contract negotiations.

Proskauer Rose LLP handles the full gamut of advisory and litigation matters for entertainment, media and sports sector clients, but particularly draws upon its extensive trial capabilities to handle some significant copyright cases. The New York-based team includes Charles Sims, who is ‘an outstanding copyright practitioner and excellent strategic legal thinker’. He continued representing the plaintiffs group in The Football Association Premier League v YouTube, going on to win a favorable Second Circuit reversal of a lower court ruling, regarding the use of copyrighted videos without permission on the defendant’s web service. Sims continues advising the plaintiffs in settling Reed Elsevier v Muchnick. The practice also acts for a number of high-profile music artists as defendants on copyright infringement cases.

Litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has developed a focus on representing emerging technology and new media sector clients in copyright disputes. Highly regarded appellate lawyer Andrew Schapiro acted for defendants Google and YouTube in the closely watched copyright infringement case brought by Viacom, with a Second Circuit appeal remanding the case back to a lower court trial. In a similar matter, which has been delayed pending guidance from the Viacom case, Robert Raskopf represents Vimeo as defendant to a copyright dispute brought by major music record labels. Gary Gans acts for media and entertainment sector clients and successfully defended the creators of feature film The Last Samurai in a case involving copyright infringement allegations. Carey Ramos has extensive trial and appellate experience. Rachel Herrick Kassabian specialises in internet-related cases.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is ‘the “go-to" firm’ in the music licensing arena, with Bruce Rich being ‘the best in the business in this sector. He remains at the top of his game as a litigator and negotiator’. Rich represented DMX Music in an appeal affirming a lower court decision to reduce royalty rates payable by the client to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and BMI, in a ruling that sets a precedent for allowing music publishers to negotiate and license music directly. The practice is also handling key cases in other entertainment and media sectors. This includes a number of e-publishing-related disputes, with the New York team acting for the defendant in White v West Publishing and for the plaintiffs group in Cambridge University Press v Becker. Benjamin Marks has been involved in a number of music licensing and media sector cases and is ‘very smart. He does a great job in court and in briefing’. Randi Singer was also part of the team defending The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Entertainment in an appeal of a copyright ownership dispute brought by heirs of comic book artist Jack Kirby.

Winston & Strawn LLP is distinguished by its representation of technology companies in bet-the-company digital media copyright cases. These include the successful representation of the defendant in precedent-setting case UMG v Veoh and acting for Yahoo! in US v ASCAP. Michael Elkin heads the practice from New York and has led on some notable cases at trial. Most recently, he was co-counsel to Aereo as defendant to a copyright lawsuit brought by a number of broadcasting companies, which allege infringement through Aereo’s mobile streaming of television programmes. The firm successfully represented the client at district court proceedings with the case now being decided at a Second Circuit appeal. Jennifer Golinveaux led for the defendant in Games Workshop v Chapterhouse Studios, which looks at the alleged copying of the plaintiff’s products by Chapterhouse. Thomas Lane has extensive trial experience in representing media and entertainment companies and individuals.

Covington & Burling LLP’s copyright practice spans counseling on registration, licensing and anti-piracy issues alongside disputes work for clients such as AOL, Wal-Mart, eBay, Hilton Worldwide and Amazon. In San Francisco, Simon Frankel advises clients such as the National Football League on copyright issues, and also acted for Samsung and Microsoft on contentious matters. Washington DC-based of counsel Ronald Dove represented Public Broadcasting Service in proceedings to determine copyright royalties. Clara Shin arrived at the San Francisco office in 2012 from Arnold & Porter LLP.

Fish & Richardson P.C. handles the full spectrum of copyright prosecution, counseling and litigation work. The copyright group is jointly led by Joel Leviton, who focuses on fair use and licensing matters, and trial lawyer Kristen McCallion, who advises companies and individuals in new media, arts and creative industries. They are advising artist/writer Jayme Gordon as plaintiff in a copyright infringement case against DreamWorks Animation regarding the film Kung Fu Panda. McCallion also successfully represented a Greek Orthodox monastery as plaintiff in an appeal of a copyright infringement suit regarding the monastery’s copyrighted translations of ancient religious texts. The firm won for the plaintiff in the damages appeal of Gaylord v United States of America, which examined the issue of fair use in a copyright infringement suit regarding a commemorative postal stamp featuring a photo created by the client. The team was recently co-counsel to Aereo in a copyright dispute brought by major US television broadcasters. The firm has taken steps towards strengthening its capabilities in soft IP matters through the hire of David Hosp and Mark Puzella from Goodwin Procter LLP.

Underpinned by its global presence, Hogan Lovells LLP acts for a number of leading, internationally recognised names in the entertainment and media sector on copyright enforcement, registration and litigation matters. It has been handling a number of copyright infringement cases regarding some high-profile works in film and publishing industries. Dori Ann Hanswirth has a strong focus on representing media sector companies. She previously settled a case on behalf of Fox News Network and News Corporation as defendants to a copyright infringement case regarding the use of video footage of the late Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe in a news report. Litigator Eric Lobenfeld co-heads the national IP practice and provides strong expertise in trial and appellate work. Slade Metcalf retired in 2012.

Irell & Manella LLP’s of counsel David Nimmer provides longstanding copyright law expertise and advises clients in entertainment, publishing and high-technology fields.Both Steven Marenberg and Laura Seigle have handled copyright infringement cases for entertainment sector clients.

Morrison & Foerster LLP focuses on copyright litigation in the hi-tech, online and software industries. It has handled some of the most significant recent cases in these fields, with Eric Acker and Michael Jacobs achieving Tenth Circuit affirmation of a lower court decision in favor of the client in SCO v Novell, in a case examining copyright ownership of the UNIX software system. More recently, Jacobs was co-counsel to plaintiff Oracle in a highly contested copyright and patent law case brought against Google. It obtained a ruling of copyright infringement in favor of the client on certain aspects of Oracle’s Java software. Commercial litigator James Hough was a lead lawyer for co-defendant LexisNexis in a case brought by a claimant group of lawyers alleging copyright infringement of legal documents included in the defendants’ electronic databases, with a partial motion to dismiss obtained.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP handles a range of both traditional and hi-tech-related copyright cases, with a number of high-profile clients across the entertainment, media and sports sectors, such as Apple, Walt Disney and Respawn Entertainment. The Los Angeles team is well regarded for its strengths in entertainment sector-related litigation, with experienced trial lawyers including Robert Schwartz and Daniel Petrocelli. Petrocelli successfully obtained dismissal of a case brought against clients Warner Bros Entertainment and writer John Logan regarding the creation of feature film The Last Samurai. He also acted for Warner Brothers and DC Comics in winning a long-running copyright dispute against heirs to the Superman character’s creators.

At Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York office, litigators Lynn Bayard and Jay Cohen handle copyright matters for media and entertainment sector interests, such as songwriters and music publishers. The team recently advised content owner associations such as ASCAP and NMPA on proceedings to set royalty rates for performances and distribution of musical works through both traditional and new media. The practice also regularly advises on copyright-related transactional matters.

Pryor Cashman LLP acts for major entertainment companies and associations but is particularly well-known for its experience in the music sector. It represents leading record labels and music publishers on copyright licensing and due diligence work as well as handling litigation for high-profile music artists, with clients including Capitol Records, EMI and Sony/BMG. The firm successfully represented Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin in obtaining a dismissal of copyright infringement claims regarding the plaintiff artist’s song Nikita. It also continued acting for music artist Kanye West and music companies Roc-A-Fella Records and UMG Recordings in a similar lawsuit, with an appeal ruling affirming a dismissal of copyright infringement claims. The practice is representing Capitol Records as plaintiff in a case against the operator of music streaming website Grooveshark. Outside the music sector, it won dismissal of a copyright infringement case on behalf of defendants Sylvester Stallone, Lions Gate Films and Nu Image/Millennium Films. Key attorneys are IP practice chair Brad Rose, entertainment, media and publishing industries litigator Tom Ferber, litigation practice head Donald Zakarin and digital media specialist Frank Scibilia.

Wiley Rein LLP acts for a mix of media and technology sector clients on contentious copyright matters; it also has particular experience in handling music licensing and royalty disputes. In Washington DC, practice head Bruce Joseph has handled a number of emerging technology-related cases and recently acted for Verizon Wireless as amici in the appeal of ASCAP v MobiTV, which decided on royalty rates for music performed on mobile video services. Other clients recently represented include telecoms companies T-Mobile and Ericsson and broadcasting networks CBS and NBCUniversal Media. Appellate practice co-chair Andrew McBride specialises in digital and new media-related litigation.

Arent Fox LLP has a well-rounded practice focused on advising fashion, internet, media and entertainment sector clients on transactional, licensing and litigation matters. It is copyright counsel to major brand companies such as LG Electronics, Pixar, HBO, Mars and Diesel. The team defended online music subscription website MediaNet against copyright infringement claims brought by music publishers. In New York, Ross Charap’s focus includes advising copyright owners on acquiring assets and he has particular expertise in copyright termination issues. Paul Fakler is experienced in rate-setting proceedings and has handled online media-related disputes. Washington DC-based IP practice co-chairs Anthony Lupo and Michael Grow handle counseling and litigation matters respectively.

Davis & Gilbert LLP focuses on advertising and marketing industries, regularly handling litigation alongside counseling clients on copyright licensing and protection rights. It advises leading advertising agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather and BBH alongside major companies such as AMEX, Sony, Harpo Productions, VEVO and Verizon Wireless. The practice has been acting for Levi Strauss as a named defendant in Gordon v McGinley, with a Second Circuit appeal affirming dismissal of copyright infringement claims brought by a photographer on the grounds that the allegedly infringing images are not substantially similar.

West Coast firm Durie Tangri LLP has become notable for its involvement in significant copyright cases, with a strong focus on digital and online media-related issues. The practice most recently represented Google in litigation regarding its digital book-scanning project of major academic library collections. Previous representations include a Ninth Circuit appeal win, which upheld a lower court decision in favor of defendant Troy Augusto, an individual selling promo CDs online, who was sued by UMG for copyright infringement. It has also previously acted for various groups and individuals on filing amicus briefs in major copyright dispute appeals, such as Perfect 10 v Google and Cariou v Prince. Michael Page has extensive trial and appellate experience and has previously represented Grokster in litigation against major film studios and music recording companies.

Fenwick & West LLP handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious copyright matters from its West Coast base, with a particular focus on the new media and high-technology sectors. Andrew Bridges is well regarded for his litigation skills on cutting-edge online and digital media-related cases. Trial and appellate lawyer Laurence Pulgram handles copyright enforcement and litigation matters. He successfully acted for Democratic Underground in obtaining a district court ruling of non-infringement and fair use in a counterclaim against copyright troll Righthaven, which had originally brought a lawsuit in relation to the client’s use of a newspaper excerpt in an online forum. David Hayes has counseled high-tech companies on copyright protection, licensing and acquisition rights. Jennifer Stanley focuses on licensing and transactional matters.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Ian Ballon and Heather Meeker were counsel to defendant Google on copyright infringement issues in its high-profile case brought by Oracle regarding the Java software system. The practice also handles copyright prosecution work for longstanding clients such as Alcoa. Kenneth Steinthal handles copyright litigation in relation to the music and other media industries.

Hunton & Williams LLP’s copyright counseling and litigation practice acts for clients across a broad range of sectors. In contentious matters, Douglas Kenyon (‘excellent at mustering and leading just the right team for the job’) and Michael Shebelskie (‘world-class litigator and an absolutely dynamo in court’) represented the defendant in Silicon Knights v Epic Games, which was a closely watched IP case in the video games industry. The team achieved a dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims, successfully counter-sued on copyright infringement claims and also obtained further damages following the original $4.5m jury award.

Kenyon & Kenyon LLP’s copyright practice covers the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters. Edward Colbert brings his extensive litigation experience to copyright cases, recently representing CVS Caremark as defendant to a copyright infringement dispute brought by photographer Rob Fleming, alleging that the client infringed his copyrights by allowing customers to duplicate his work. Colbert obtained summary judgment of non-infringement on behalf of his client. Jonathan Reichman handles licensing, counseling and litigation matters for entertainment sector clients and has particular specialist expertise in protection, enforcement and licensing of rights in fictional characters. Trademark, copyright and design group practice head James Rosini handles litigation and counseling matters.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP advises a broad range of individuals and companies in arts, entertainment, publishing, media and new technology industries on copyright registration, counseling and litigation matters. Entertainment, technology and advertising practice co-chair Martin Katz is particularly recommended. He acts for film and TV industry interests on copyright disputes, with strong experience at both trial and appellate level. Theodore Max is representing Beastie Boys in bringing copyright infringement claims against Monster Energy in relation to the use of the client’s music in online advertising.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP advises entertainment, communications and new media sector clients on copyright clearance, counseling and portfolio management. Cliff Sloan is a highly experienced trial and appellate attorney who regularly handles copyright disputes. He successfully represented Bon Jovi as defendant to a copyright infringement case brought by an individual, with a First Circuit appeal affirming a lower court ruling to dismiss the claims. Sloan also represented various media, sports and entertainment organizations as amici in support of Viacom’s copyright dispute against Google in a Second Circuit appeal hearing. Sloan has previously represented amici in the appeal hearing of Prince v Cariou, which was a copyright infringement and fair use case brought by a photographer against an appropriation artist.

White & Case LLP’s New York team advises entertainment, arts and publishing sector groups on contentious and non-contentious copyright issues. Stefan Mentzer specialises in copyright litigation and counseling matters. He recently submitted amicus briefs on behalf of major industry associations in some key copyright disputes. These include representing the Association of Art Museum Directors before the Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v John Wiley & Sons, in a case that may set a precedent regarding the first sale doctrine on goods made abroad. He also acted for national library associations as amici in The Authors Guild v Google and has handled royalty rate proceedings for performing rights organizations. In non-contentious matters, Mentzer advises clients on licensing and rights clearance issues. Fred Koenigsberg has longstanding experience in the copyright field and is counsel to ASCAP.

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