The Legal 500

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  1. Copyright
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, PC in New York is best known for its strength in general advisory work, but is also active in some significant litigation. Richard Dannay and counsel Thomas Kjellberg are particularly noted for their expertise in the book publishing area, and Richard Mandel, Jonathan King and Eric Shimanoff are strong in the music and recording industry. The team continues to represent Capitol Records against ReDigi, which operates an online marketplace for second-hand digital music. It also acted for Capitol Records against Harrison Greenwich and obtained a summary judgment from the Supreme Court holding the defendant liable for copyright infringement for playing a pre-1972 sound recording on its website. In the book publishing industry, the firm acted for the defendants in Newton v Penguin/Berkley Publishing USA and obtained a summary judgment holding that defendant’s quotation of 95 words was too de minimis for a claim of copyright infringement.

Jenner & Block LLP has an outstanding reputation for representing content owners and is frequently involved in litigation at the forefront of copyright and new online technologies. 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. Recent highlights included the successful representation of several broadcast television companies, including Fox and PBS, before the Supreme Court in the high-profile case against Aereo, which captured over-the-air television and retransmitted it over the internet. The team continues to act for Fox against DISH Network, which offers a different recording and streaming service of broadcast TV for its customers. In the music industry, the firm recently secured a victory for EMI in a long-running copyright infringement case against now-defunct online music storage service MP3tunes. Other clients include Universal Music Group, Warner Bros, Sony, NBCUniversal, Electronic Arts Inc, and The Motion Picture Association of America.

Loeb & Loeb LLP provides ‘first-class service’, especially for clients from the music, motion picture and television industries. Recent highlights included successfully defending DreamWorks Animation in an appeal process at the Los Angeles Superior Court against plaintiff Terence Dunn, which alleged idea theft with respect to the creation of the Kung Fu Panda film. Another success was obtaining dismissal of a copyright infringement case against Fox Entertainment and others, alleging that the television series Touch infringed the plaintiff’s screenplay. The firm also secured an appellate victory on behalf of David Guetta and Frédéric Riesterer, producers and writers of The Black Eyed Peas’ song I Gotta Feeling when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s summary judgment dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim of copyright infringement. David Grossman in Los Angeles is a ‘smart and aggressive litigator’, and New York-based practice chair Barry Slotnick and Jonathan Zavin are also recommended.

The ‘top notch’ practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York has ‘unmatched expertise’ with regard to music licensing and is frequently involved in first impression new media matters. Practice head Bruce Rich is a ‘brilliant legal mind’ and Randi Singer and Benjamin Marks are also recommended. The team is acting for Pandora in a number of disputes with the music recording industry, including proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board regarding royalty rates for the public performance of sound recordings. The team also has been handling several disputes for Walt Disney and Marvel Entertainment, most recently a suit against American Music Theatre concerning the use of various Marvel characters in a Broadway show. In the book publishing sector, the firm successfully represented Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Sage Publications against Georgia State University regarding the practice of copying and distributing book excerpts to students without paying licensing fees.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is underpinned by its wider commercial litigation capabilities. New York-based Bruce Keller has been handling a number of high-profile copyright cases; he and Washington DC-based Jeffrey Cunard successfully represented several broadcast television companies, including ABC, CBS and NBC, before the US Supreme Court against Aereo, putting an end to its business model of retransmitting over-the-air broadcast programs through the internet. Keller and Michael Schaper, who is also based in New York, continue to defended the NFL in long-running litigation against retired football players who want to be paid for its continued use of game action footage taken during their playing careers; the case began as a class action in 2009, but continued after a large number of players opted out of a settlement.

New York-based boutique Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C. handles the full spectrum of copyright work from the non-contentious to dispute resolution. It is particularly noted for its capabilities in the areas of author-publisher agreements, music licensing and online infringements. James Weinberger and Roger Zissu have been representing DC Comics, publisher and owner of the Batman series, before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against Mark Towle, who converted cars to replica ‘Batmobiles’ and offered kits for self-conversion. Zissu and David Donahue represented ERB, owner of all existing rights regarding the literary works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, against comic book publisher Dynamic Forces.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘exceptionalDale 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 Oracle as co-counsel before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit against Google - in relation to its Android operating system - in a dispute about the copyrightability of Oracle’s Java application programming interfaces. It continues to represent Fox News in its lawsuit against media monitoring company TVEyes, which is defending its provision of news broadcasts as fair use. In another fair use matter, the firm represented a patent prosecution law firm in a dispute with two academic publishers regarding the copying of journal articles; this case was recently settled.

Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp provides ‘excellent service’ for clients in the motion picture, television, music, and publishing industries. Practice co-chairs Robert Rotstein and Karin Pagnanelli are recommended along with Russell Frackman and Marc Mayer, who are all based in Los Angeles. Christine Lepera in New York is praised as an ‘excellent litigator’. The team continues to represent ASCAP in proceedings to establish rates to license the streaming of musical compositions on YouTube. It is also representing Capitol Records in three separate cases against Pandora, Sirius XM and Vimeo regarding the question of whether there is a public performance right for pre-1972 sound recordings. Other clients include Twentieth Century Fox, Touchstone Television Productions, Universal Music Group, the International Intellectual Property Alliance, and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s team of litigators has been some high-profile copyright disputes recently. Practice head Robert Raskopf is recommended along with Carey Ramos and Todd Anten, who are all based in New York, and Rachel Herrick Kassabian in Silicon Valley. It is best known for representing service providers in new media issues, and Raskopf and Kassabian continue to defend Vimeo against copyright claims from Capitol Records and EMI Blackwood Music. Anten has been defending TVEyes against copyright claims brought by Fox News. The team is also defending the Richard Avedon Foundation in a matter brought by a former employee seeking a declaratory judgment that he owns the copyright of photographs he took while working for Avedon. Andrew Schapiro left the firm to become the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Arnold & Porter LLP is noted for advising sports leagues, motion picture studios and TV broadcasters, as well as representing them in major copyright disputes. Washington DC-based Robert Garrett and his team have been representing Joint Sports Claimants Inc, a consortium that includes MLB, the NFL and the NBA, in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board for many years. The same team is also advising MLB 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, Fox and NBCUniversal, in disputes against online streaming service FilmOn. Other clients include Walt Disney, Nexstar Broadcasting, Barnes & Noble, and the Motion Picture Association of America.

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 advice to news organizations, entertainment companies, advertisers, and publishers. Bruce Johnson in Seattle and Edward Davis in New York are defending 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 is defending book publisher Simon & Schuster against copyright infringement claims by Ashleigh Erwin regarding her contribution to the book Disaster Artist.

San Francisco-based boutique Durie Tangri LLP has built a significant profile among users and distributers in high-profile copyright disputes regarding new technologies; most recently, Daralyn Durie and Joseph Gratz have attracted praise from peers for their successful fair use defense of Google Books. Other highlights included successfully representing Automattic, owner of Wordpress, in a precedent-setting case against Straight Pride UK regarding false DMCA takedown notices against Wordpress users. Currently, the firm is defending CoreLogic in a class action regarding the removal of copyright management metadata from photographs originally taken by professional photographers for real estate agents and brokers. It also filed an amicus brief on behalf of Netflix in Garcia v Google regarding copyright claims in the controversial anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s broad copyright practice is led by Joseph Petersen in Silicon Valley and includes senior counsel Joseph Beck and newly promoted partner James Trigg in Atlanta, Larry McFarland in Los Angeles, and Marc Lieberstein in New York. Recent highlights included defending HathiTrust, a collaborative digital library of more than 60 colleges, against the Authors Guild, in which case the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the copying of millions of books for the purposes of making them searchable is fair use. The team also acted for Lionsgate Entertainment after a copy of the unreleased film The Expendables 3 was stolen and leaked on the internet; it implemented an anti-piracy program, including thousands of takedown notices and civil litigation.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s practice head Charles Sims is noted for his role in high-profile disputes involving 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 a class action suit to follow the US Supreme Court decision in Reed Elsevier v Muchnick regarding the republication of freelance periodical articles on electronic databases. Sims also continues to represent The English Premier League in a copyright infringement dispute with YouTube. Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks and Charles Ortner successfully represented Lady Gaga against singer-songwriter Rebecca Francescatti, who alleged that the client’s song Judas infringed copyrights of her song Juda. All mentioned attorneys are based in New York.

Winston & Strawn LLP is especially known 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 recently promoted partner Erin Ranahan in Los Angeles are further names to note. Recent highlights included defending online video hosting service FC2 against claims by several film studios regarding secondary liability for copyright infringing content posted by users. The team also acted for Gary Fung, founder of the torrent search engine isoHunt, in his dispute with several motion picture companies, and advised Microsoft on its amicus brief in Capitol Records v Vimeo.

Covington & Burling LLP’s extensive experience in online piracy and DMCA liability issues underpins its litigation strength 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 includes defending Samsung against copyright infringement claims by CCP Systems concerning printer software, assisting the NFL with combatting the unauthorized retransmission of its game telecasts over the internet, and acting for PBS in matters before the Copyright Royalty Board regarding the distribution of statutory copyright royalties.

Fenwick & West LLP has ‘very good technology sector knowledge’. Jennifer Stanley chairs the non-contentious side of the practice, which advises clients such as Expedia, Airbnb, and CBS Interactive. On the contentious side, Laurence Pulgram and Jennifer Kelly successfully represented King Digital Entertainment in a suit against competitor 6waves, shutting down two knock-off games of the defendant on Facebook and obtaining a share of their profits. Andrew Bridges successfully defended online service provider Giganews against copyright infringement claims by Perfect 10. Bridges is also acting for General Motors in a dispute with the AARC regarding the question of whether a recording device in vehicles requires the payment of royalty fees. All mentioned attorneys are based in San Francisco.

Fish & Richardson P.C. is best known for representing technology companies in disputes with content owners, especially regarding fair use issues, with Boston-based David Hosp and Mark Puzella being particularly experienced in such matters. Recent work includes defending Microsoft in a dispute with Getty Images in the Southern District of New York regarding the display of image previews by widgets of the Bing search engine. The firm also successfully represented software company ICONICS in a copyright dispute with a former employee and new competitor. Besides litigation, the team regularly advises various clients on the protection of copyright works and infringement matters.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC in New York advises various clients in the publishing, entertainment and advertising business and represents them in disputes. Litigator Edward Rosenthal chairs the practice, with Toby Butterfield and Maura Wogan among the other lead lawyers on contentious matters. Richard Heller is noted for his transactional and advisory work for authors. Recent work includes representing documentary filmmaker VSW Productions in a dispute with the United States Tennis Association regarding clips used for the movie Venus and Serena; the case was settled without the need to remove any footage. The team has also been representing Hasbro in a suit against Sweetpea Entertainment regarding copyright infringements as a result of the defendant’s production of the Dungeons & Dragons movie.

Hogan Lovells handles a variety of arts, media and entertainment sector-related copyright matters, with particular expertise regarding fair use and First Amendment issues. Dori Ann Hanswirth in New York continues to defend Fox News in two cases brought by North Jersey Media Group regarding claims of copyright infringements based on photos posted on Facebook. Washington DC-based Neal Katyal and Dominic Perella have recently been instructed by Google to take over the defense in Garcia v Google regarding a takedown request for the controversial anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims on YouTube based on copyright claims by one of the actors appearing in the video. Other clients include Walt Disney, New York Post, HBO, and the Anne Frank Foundation.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is best known for its litigation experience in the technology sector, particularly regarding the scope of copyright protection for software. San Francisco-based Michael Jacobs acted for Oracle in its dispute with Google regarding the unauthorized use of portions of the client’s Java platform in Google’s Android operating system. Jacobs is also representing Autodesk and Property Solutions International in software copyright disputes. Los Angeles-based Benjamin Fox has successfully represented several internet service providers in appeal proceedings regarding the downloading of copyrighted material by their customers. 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 is much broader, ranging from retail products to computer software. Matthew Kline in Los Angeles frequently acts for Warner Bros, most recently defending it against copyright infringement claims regarding the movies Gravity and Trouble With the Curve. Robert Schwartz, also in Los Angeles, was recently instructed by Sirius XM to appeal against four separate court decisions concerning copyright infringement claims for pre-1972 recordings. David Eberhart in San Francisco successfully defended Berkeley Design Automation against copyright claims regarding software interfaces from Cadence Design Systems. Other clients include Walt Disney and MGM.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has had considerable success in handling high-profile copyright disputes in the technology sector. In a recent example, ‘outstanding’ litigators Annette Hurst (San Francisco) and Joshua Rosenkranz (New York) prevailed for Oracle before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit against Google in a dispute about the copyrightability of parts of Oracle’s Java software, which Google used for its Android operating system. New York-based Lisa Simpson continues to act for DISH Network in a dispute with several TV broadcasters regarding its ad-skipping digital video recording service. Gabriel Ramsey in San Francisco handles anti-piracy matters and litigation for Microsoft.

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 is represented in several proceedings and negotiations about royalty rates. Most recently, the firm represented ASCAP in a trial in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to determine license fees to be paid by Pandora. In addition, the firm obtained a victory for Harlequin Enterprises in a putative class action brought by three authors who challenged its royalty payments on sales of e-books.

Pryor Cashman LLP’s practice has a steady flow of work from its many clients in the music industry, including EMI, Sony/BMG, Universal Music Group, and Capitol Records, and is also frequently instructed by film studios. Recent work includes obtaining a multimillion-dollar jury verdict on behalf of EMI Music Publishing against MP3tunes founder Michael Robertson for wilful copyright infringement. The firm also successfully represented The Weinstein Company, Millennium Films and other defendants against copyright claims regarding the motion picture Lovelace. In addition, it defended Kanye West and several music companies against copyright claims regarding the song Gold Digger. New York-based litigators Donald Zakarin, Frank Scibilia, Tom Ferber, and Brad Rose are recommended.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington DC has remarkable expertise with 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 Copyright Royalty Board to establish license fees for the online streaming of sound recordings. It is also representing several large radio and media companies in Sound Exchange audits regarding the sound recording performance rate. Beyond music licensing, the firm frequently represents publishers of professional newsletters and periodicals, including Grant’s Financial Publishing and Warren Communications News, and has obtained several millions in copyright infringement settlements for them.

Arent Fox LLP’s practice is praised for its ‘very good responsiveness’ and ‘excellent industry knowledge’, particularly in the music industry, but it also acts for a variety of clients in the entertainment, technology and fashion industries. ‘Sharp litigator’ Paul Fakler and Ross Charap, both based in New York, continue to defend online music subscription service MediaNet against alleged copyright infringement claims brought by artist Aimee Mann. Fakler is also representing Sirius XM in webcasting rate proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board. Anthony Lupo in Washington DC is particularly recommended for his ‘expertise in the fashion industry’, with Hugo Boss, Diesel, and Bluestar Alliance featuring among the firm’s clients.

Baker & Hostetler LLP is best known for its work in the music industry, but the copyright practice includes also clients from the broadcasting, publishing and software industries. In New York, practice head Oren Warshavsky has been acting for the Artists Rights Enforcement Corporation (AREC) and its clients in numerous cases, including a recent dispute that was settled with First State Media Holdings. Katrina Quicker in Atlanta acted as co-counsel for the Board of Regents for 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. Robert Welsh in Los Angeles successfully defended Skechers against claims from photographer Richard Reinsdorf.

Davis & Gilbert LLP’s practice in New York has ‘outstanding industry knowledge’ in the advertising and marketing sector. It regularly advises clients on the full range of issues relating to the use, licensing and protection of copyrightable materials, including assessments of copyrightability and license-free fair use; the ‘detail-oriented, smart, responsive, and efficient’ Ashima Dayal is particularly recommended for such work. The practice also frequently represents clients in copyright infringement litigation stemming from advertisements; for example, Guy Cohen successfully defended Mars and its advertising agency BBDO against copyright infringement claims regarding an M&M commercial. Other clients include Wieden+Kennedy, Harpo Productions, TED Conferences and Harris Publications Inc.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP in Washington DC covers a broad range of contentious and non-contentious copyright issues and has particular strength in the technology sector owing to its remarkable expertise in database and software protection. Margaret Esquenet and Douglas Rettew have been advising the American Chemical Society on the protection and enforcement of the SciFinder and Science IP databases. Esquenet is also assisting MRIS with the protection of its real estate database, including litigation with competitors. Esquenet and Brett Heavner acted for Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey to resolve a dispute with Sirius XM regarding the unlicensed use of a copyright-protected direct mailing envelope design.

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Ian Ballon, who splits his time between the firm’s Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices, focuses on technology and internet-related copyright litigation. Ballon recently acted for Google in its dispute with Oracle regarding copyright infringement claims stemming from the use of Oracle’s Java application programming interfaces for Android.

Irell & Manella LLP’s of counsel David Nimmer, based in Los Angeles, has a longstanding 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 on multiple occasions. Nimmer continues to acts for clients across the media, entertainment and technology sectors.

Kenyon & Kenyon LLP handles the full spectrum of copyright matters including registration of works, licensing, enforcement and litigation. Jonathan Reichman has a particular focus on the entertainment industry and longstanding experience regarding fictional characters, including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Barbie. Michelle Mancino Marsh works for many clients in the fashion and luxury sector, including LeSportsac and Fabergé, and has been representing Penshurst Trading Inc against competitor in a lawsuit about copyright infringing glassware. Together, Marsh and Reichman are representing DLT Entertainment, producer of the 1970s television series Three’s Company, in litigation against playwright David Adjmi about copyright infringement claims regarding his parody play 3C. Mentioned attorneys are based in New York.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘highly capable trial counsel’ Kenneth Steinthal in San Francisco is an ‘acknowledged expert’ for matters where new technologies meet music copyright and has recently been acting for various content distributers in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Recent highlights included successfully representing Pandora in a dispute with ASCAP about the scope, structure and rates of license fees; he also continues to act for Pandora in a license fee dispute with BMI. In addition, Steinthal is lead counsel for Amazon, Microsoft, eMusic and The Orchard in a class action over alleged mechanical rights protection failures of the defendants’ digital distribution system.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP handles a variety of copyright matters in the entertainment sector, 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 successfully represented 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. Edwin Komen in Washington DC acted for JW & JJ Entertainment to resolve a copyright dispute regarding the motion picture Hands of Stone.

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 NFL in a dispute with seven photographers regarding alleged copyright infringements through the client’s use of photographs in advertising and marketing campaigns.

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Summer 2015

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