Media and entertainment: litigation in United States

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

From profit participation over IP in the creative industries to First Amendment and employment litigation, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a go-to in the media & entertainment industry. Renowned and heavy-hitting litigator Scott A. Edelman co-heads the practice from Los Angeles, where he recently represented Universal Music Group in the so-called ‘Vault Fire Lawsuit’. In New York, revered trial lawyer Orin Snyder advocates on behalf of digital and traditional media companies and individual artists such as Bob Dylan who Snyder represented together with Universal Music Group in a breach of contract claim arising out of the artist’s sale of his musical catalog. Alongside him in New York Brian Ascher handles complex civil litigation pertaining to issues arising from contracts, profit participation, trade secrets, and First Amendment matters. Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. is an esteemed litigator in Los Angeles who as of lately has focused on several cases pertaining to matters between the press and the White House. Further recommended in Los Angeles is Ilissa Samplin, a specialist in technology and IP litigation in the media and entertainment space who led the team alongside Edelman, Snyder, and Ascher in representation of AMC Film Holdings in its case of profit participation arising from the show ‘The Walking Dead’.

Practice head(s):

Scott A. Edelman; Orin Snyder

Other key lawyers:

Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.; Brian Ascher; Ilissa Samplin

Key clients

AMC

Rachel Maddow

MSNBC

NBC Universal

Comcast

Founders and early employees of Tinder

Universal Music Group

MGM Domestic Television Distribution, LLC

Employees of United States Agency for Global Media and Voice of America

Jerry Seinfeld

Verizon Media Inc.

Yahoo

Oath Inc.

Bob Dylan and Universal Music Group

Patsy Widakuswara

Latham & Watkins LLP

Based in California with an international reach, the team at Latham & Watkins LLP consists of heavy-hitting practitioners covering the whole media and entertainment industry as evidenced by the team’s representation of Spotify against the Copyright Royalty Board in the appellate court’s vacation of the Board’s decision to increase royalty rates. Trial and appellate litigator Marvin S. Putnam leads the firm’s practice, dividing his time between Century City and Los Angeles, and additionally advises on pre-publication reviews as well as internal investigations. His Century City based colleague Jessica Stebbins Bina is an expert trial lawyer with a complementary reputation management practice, currently leading the team in its representation of Pandora Media in a class action against members of the rock band ‘The Turtles’. Also from the Century City office, Laura Washington often works alongside Putnam, recently in the representation of Miramax in cases arising out the Weinstein-related litigation, and represents her clients in complex corporate matters. Another Century City practitioner and specialist in restricting his clients exposure to litigation, Robert Ellison further handles internal investigations and cases with a high media profile, such as the firm’s work for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Practice head(s):

Marvin S. Putnam

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Stebbins Bina; Laura Washington; Robert Ellison

Key clients

Apple

Facebook

Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Johnny Mathis

Live Nation

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Netflix

Pandora

Spotify

Tornante

Twitter

WME/Endeavor

Zynga

ICM Partners

Work highlights

  • Representing Zynga, Inc. in five putative class actions arising from a criminal hacking attack on its system.
  • Representing Twitter in a securities class action arising after user settings choices adversely affected target advertising.
  • Representing Live Nation in multiple class actions relating to refund policies, a rate setting proceeding, and ticket resale litigation.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

The Century City-based team at O’Melveny & Myers LLP represents large multimedia companies like The Walt Disney Company, high-profile recording artists such as Kesha and interactive entertainment company Activision Blizzard in antitrust, class actions, contract disputes, First Amendment, IP and employment matters. Daniel Petrocelli is a distinguished trial lawyer who leads the team in its high-stakes cases such as the defense of Google in three antitrust cases pertaining to its app store. Highly active in the team, Molly Lens is a specialist in sensitive matters such as allegations of misconduct and discrimination. Drew Breuder has a strong practice in the IP aspects of media and entertainment and in a recent highlight worked alongside Petrocelli to represent The Walt Disney Company in a copyright infringement claim concerning the motion picture ‘Zootopia’. Further recommended comes Leah Godesky, who advocates in trial courts, arbitrations, and regulatory proceedings and has been involved in highly-publicized matters last year for clients such as Kesha and Twentieth Century Fox. 

Practice head(s):

Daniel Petrocelli

Other key lawyers:

Drew Breuder; Leah Godesky; Matt Kline; Molly Lens; Amy Lucas; David Marroso; Cassandra Seto; Vision Winter

Key clients

Activision Blizzard

DIRECTV

Google

Global Music Rights

HBO

Kesha

NBCUniversal

Twentieth Century Fox

Walt Disney Company

Warner Bros.

Work highlights

  • Represented Twentieth Century Fox in a copyright lawsuit over the show ‘Empire’ before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented The Walt Disney Company in a lawsuit filed by actress Scarlett Johansson regarding the distribution of the motion picture Black Widow. Disney disputed the allegation that the contract required an exclusive theatrical release and sought to enforce the parties’ contract requiring arbitration of all disputes. The case was resolved in October 2021.
  • Represented NBCUniversal in a profit participation dispute involving the iconic Columbo television series, convincing a judge to reverse his own prior decision in the case.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

A force in court‘, New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP specialises in antitrust cases and pre-trial investigations with particular expertise pertaining to the gaming industry and digital distribution, especially pertaining to interactive home entertainment. Former US District Judge Katherine Forrest  is a renowned litigator who leads the team in the firm’s representation of Epic Games, Inc. against Google LLC and Apple Inc., respectively. Alongside her is co-head J Wesley Earnhardt , a specialist in complementary areas such as contracts, business torts, and financial restructuring. Co-head of the litigation department Kevin Orsini advises the media and entertainment industry in matters of antitrust, securities, and other commercial law. Additionally recommended is Lauren Moskowitz who also represents clients in increasingly IP-related cases.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Forrest; Kevin Orsini

Other key lawyers:

J. Wesley Earnhardt; Lauren Moskowitz

Testimonials

‘Cravath is a premier law firm and at the top of all firms for litigation in Media and entertainment. Supreme skill; tremendous depth; first rate practical judgement. A force in court.’

‘Katherine Forrest – one of the best trial lawyers and in court lawyers in the U.S. Lauren Moskowitz – emerging into the top tier of highly skilled trial and appellate lawyers.’

Key clients

Boston Red Sox Baseball Club LP

Epic Games, Inc.

Facebook, Inc.

Hasbro, Inc.

Home Box Office, Inc.

Quibi Holdings, LLC

Scientific Games Corporation

SciPlay Corporation

Starz Entertainment, LLC

Independent Directors of Viacom Inc.

The Walt Disney Company

Warner Media, LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing Epic Games, Inc. in two anticompetitive behavior allegations against Apple and Google, regarding mobile phone app distribution and processing of consumers’ payments.
  • Representing Starz Entertainment, LLC in a copyright infringement and breach of contract action against MGM Domestic Television Distribution LLC.
  • Representing The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary FSLA Holdings LLC in an alleged breach of contract filed by Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V. arising out of Disney’s agreement to divest broadcasting assets in Mexico.

Jenner & Block LLP

From Universal Music Group to Disney, every major US recording company and motion picture studio trusts the team at Jenner & Block LLP to handle their content litigation in music, movies, television, video games, and publishing. Andrew Bart co-heads the practice in New York- a renowned litigator, he recently represented Chancelor Bennett (Chance the Rapper) in a high-profile artist-manager dispute. Newly named co-head and longstanding litigator in New York Alison Stein is an expert in content disputes and reputation management for high-profile individuals. In Los Angeles, practice co-head David Singer counsels studios and television networks on production and distribution and currently leads the team in its representation of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Their team includes Susan Kohlmann, an expert in copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets, in New York who represented ViacomCBS in its trademark dispute over the title of MTV reality show ‘MTV Floribama Shore.’ Steven Englund in Washington DC further demonstrates the firm’s depth in content litigation with his expertise in the US Copyright Act, particularly as it pertains to digital transmission of music. Previously at Gerard Fox Law P.C., special counsel Lauren Greene joined the practice in Los Angeles in August 2021, reinforcing its strength in music litigation.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Bart; David Singer; Alison Stein

Other key lawyers:

Susan Kohlmann; Steve Englund; Andrew J. Thomas; Julie Shepard; Christopher S. Lindsay; Previn Warren; Emily Chapuis; Alex Trepp; Lauren M. Greene; Jacob Tracer; Remi J. D. Jaffre; Andrew G. Sullivan

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable; very practical; very responsive.’

‘Andrew Bart — fine writing; very strategic. Excellent negotiator.’

Key clients

Universal Music Group (UMG Recordings, Inc.)

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Fox Corporation

Sony Music Entertainment

Disney

NBCUniversal (incl. Universal Studios)

ViacomCBS

Motion Picture Association (MPA)

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Warner Music Group

Nintendo of America

Chancelor Bennett (Chance the Rapper)

Estate of Elaine Steinbeck

Nielsen

Princeton University

Facebook (Meta)

Paramount Pictures

MGM

Endeavor

News Corp (subsidiary Move, Inc.)

National Association of Realtors

StudioCanal SAS

MRC Studios

Work highlights

  • Represented ViacomCBS in a $100 million trademark dispute over the title of the MTV reality show “MTV Floribama Shore.”
  • Represented Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and member companies Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group in a copyright case against Spinrilla, a hip-hop mixtape service that distributed unauthorized copies of member labels’ copyrighted sound recordings.
  • Representing the Las Vegas Review-Journal and its owners in a closely watched antitrust case between Las Vegas news media rivals.

Kendall Brill & Kelly

Los Angeles-based boutique litigation firm Kendall Brill & Kelly is a powerhouse in film-finance advocacy and handling breach of contract matters for talented individuals. A longstanding representative for Paramount, Richard Kendall heads the practice, a former federal prosecutor turned seasoned litigator, he currently focuses his practice on distribution rights, copyright, financing, and profit-participation cases. Fellow name partner Philip Kelly is an expert litigator in his own right and in a recent highlight led the team alongside Kendall in representation of Regency Entertainment Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.A.R.L. in a dispute with film financiers of Warren Beatty’s ‘Rules Don’t Apply‘ regarding a breach of contract. Renown appellate attorney and name partner Laura Brill extends the firm’s scope of practice with her expertise in First Amendment issues and recently demonstrated her proficiency in fine art restitution during her advocacy on behalf of David Cassirer, et al.

Practice head(s):

Richard Kendall

Other key lawyers:

Phil Kelly; Laura Brill; Bert H. Deixler; Patrick J. Somers; Nicholas F. Daum; Robert Edward Dugdale; Nary Kim; Meaghan L. Lert; Nicole M. Cambeiro; Katelyn A. Kuwata

Key clients

Creative Artists Agency, LLC (CAA)

Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Regency Entertainment and Monarchy Enterprises S.A.R.L.

Wasserman Media Group

European Film Bonds

Burmester Dunkler & Jory Gmbh

The estate of Jenni Rivera

Paws Incorporated

Paramount Licensing Inc.

CBS Broadcasting

Versace

Major League Baseball

Hipgnosis Songs Fund

Nirvana

David Cassirer, et al

Outfront Media

Work highlights

  • Represented Creative Artists Agency LLC in a dispute with the Writers Guild of America, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, and violations of Unfair Competition Law.
  • Representing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in its controversies regarding a lack of African-American creators.
  • Represented the estate of Jenni Rivera in a dispute against the singer’s former business manager arising from a breach of his NDA.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP represents key players in music and film, including the three major record labels, famous artists like Steve Mac, and Miramax, LLC. The practice is led from out Los Angeles by Robert Jacobs, who regularly represents both the talent and the corporate side of the industries. In a recent highlight, he represented BMG Rights Management (US) LLC in a lawsuit against South African musical group Die Antwoord. His colleague John Gatti, also based in Los Angeles, employs his expertise in litigation pertaining to the film industry, last year he represented Caryn and Mike Borland against David Wood Enterprises in a civil action. In the firm’s New York office, Prana Topper handles a wide variety of matters including contracts, royalties, and copyright and she has worked alongside Jacobs in the BMG case. The practice has significantly bolstered its strength in Los Angeles with the October 2021 hire of counsel Sarah Moses from Kendall Brill & Kelly, who extends the team’s scope with her work pertaining to fashion and influencer agencies. Additionally, Nathaniel Bach joined the Los Angeles office in January 2022 from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, deepening the breath of the practice through his experience in music, film, and First Amendment matters.

Practice head(s):

Robert Jacobs

Other key lawyers:

John Gatti; Prana Topper; Sarah Moses; Nathaniel Bach

Testimonials

‘Robert Jacobs allows this firm to thrive. He is simply the best partner to have when confronting litigation in this sector. He is able to staff matters appropriately and manage expectations.’

‘Robert Jacobs.’

Key clients

BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CBS Broadcasting

Christopher Comstock (p/k/a Marshmello), Bastille, and Steve Mac

EMI April Music

Miramax, LLC

Revolution Studios and Revolution Production Services, Inc.

Roger Hodgson

Sony Music Publishing

UMG Recordings

Universal Music Group

Warner Music Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Christoper Comstock (aka Marshmello) in a copyright infringement lawsuit in which the court granted summary judgment motions in full, concluding the case in a complete victory for defendants.
  • Represented Tracy Chapman in a federal court action claiming copyright infringement over the use of Tracy Chapman’s copyrighted music and lyrics in a Nicki Minaj song.
  • Represented leading independent film studio Revolution Studios and Revolution Production Services, Inc., in a breach of contract and profit participation case filed by film producer George Zakk seeking producer credits and fees including profit participation for work on xXx: Return of Xander Cage and all future “xXx” films, starring Vin Diesel.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Handling the whole spectrum of issues arising in media and entertainment, the team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP are specialists in distribution-related disputes as they pertain to music, TV, and video game content as well as handling matters for high-net individuals in the public eye. Los Angeles based practice co-head Gary Gans is an expert in matters pertaining to motion picture financing, production and distribution, and IP. Also in Los Angeles, practice co-head Robert Schwartz is a renowned litigator in media and entertainment who in a recent highlight represented Spyglass Media Group, LLC and Lantern Asset Management GP LLC against breach of contract and fraud claims brought by Yucaipa Companies LLC. From the firm’s New York and Hong Kong offices, co-head Carey Ramos focuses his expertise on cross-border litigation and media matters involving technology. Co-head Robert Raskopf, who also sits in New York, is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. Highly active in the firm’s New York office is Todd Anten, who alongside Raskopf represented Vimeo, Inc. before the second circuit in copyright infringement claims brought by major record labels. Additionally recommended from New York is Rachel Epstein for her expertise in complex commercial disputes and international arbitration across all industries.

Practice head(s):

Robert Raskopf; Carey Ramos; Gary E. Gans; Robert Schwartz

Other key lawyers:

Luke Nikas; Todd Anten; Rachel Epstein; Jessica Rose

Key clients

The John Gore Organization

John Gore

Spotify USA, Inc.

Washington Nationals Baseball Club

Vimeo, Inc.

Mark Geragos

Bloomberg, L.P.

Bloomberg Finance, L.P.

Charter Communications, Inc.

Big Run Studios Inc.

Skillz Platform Inc.

Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists

The PGA of America

Spyglass Media LLC

Jay-Z

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Vivendi S.A.

Studiocanal

Aperture Media Partners LLC

Emigrant Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing Spotify in a copyright infringement case against the owners of Eminem’s catalogue of compositions, challenging the constitutionality of the Music Modernization Act.
  • Representing PGA Tournament Corporation against Trump Bedminster in a JAMS arbitration.
  • Representing Jay-Z in a lawsuit against Jonathan Mannion alleging unlawful use of the client’s name, image, and likeness.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Embedded in music and cable TV litigation, the New York-based team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has extensive expertise in all matters pertaining to content distribution and defamation defense for trade associations. Additionally, practice head Benjamin Marks is an expert in digital rights management who recently advocated on behalf of Pandora Media in the Phonorecords III and IV proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board.  Todd Larson , a specialist in litigation pertaining to copyright and royalties, was also key on this case. Yehudah Buchweitz is an experienced commercial litigator in matters of copyright, the First Amendment, and right of publicity. Randi Singer , a specialist in secondary liability theories of infringement, is also a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Marks

Other key lawyers:

Yehudah Buchweitz; Todd Larson; Randi Singer

Testimonials

‘Weil has deep knowledge of IP/media matters relevant to the tech/internet industries. They are second-to-none in their substantive expertise, and they have a keen understanding of the client’s business.’

‘Randi Singer successfully combines deep substantive knowledge of IP & media issues with strong business acumen and practical instincts. She is extremely well-rounded in her experience — able to weigh in on all manner of IP issues and to bring to bear her years of practice with tech/internet clients.’

‘Weil’s team draws on deep subject matter expertise and extensive experience to provide insightful and practical counsel on a range of intellectual property issues. Their litigators are outstanding in all respects – strategic, efficient, creative, and highly effective. They focus on the details and keep their eyes on the big picture. Weil’s team understands business issues and works collaboratively with clients to achieve excellent results.’

‘Benjamin Marks stands out for his expertise in intellectual property, broad experience, thoughtful approach, and outstanding litigation skills. David Lender stands out as a fantastic trial lawyer, with valuable and varied experience, insightful thinking, and a collaborative approach to solving problems.’

Key clients

Sirius XM

Pandora Media

Getty Images

ViacomCBS

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Facebook/Meta (including subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus)

North American Concert Promoters Association

Simon & Schuster

Association of American Publishers

Discovery Communications

A&E Television

Spotify

Twitter

The Spectator (1828), Ltd.

Samsung Electronics

Mood Media

Work highlights

  • Represented Getty Images in a $3+ billion copyright infringement action alleging Getty Images had unlawfully copied, displayed and intentionally altered the photographer credit information for more than 47,000.
  • Represented Pandora and Sirius XM in the Web V Copyright Royalty Board proceedings against the recorded music industry to determine statutory royalty rates to be paid by non-interactive webcasters.
  • Represented The Spectator in a trademark dispute, preserving the company’s ability to expand its brand to a new U.S. edition.

Williams & Connolly LLP

Aside from an outstanding expertise in defamation law, the team at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington DC advises on the full range of potential legal issues arising in media organizations, and has a special expertise in providing authors with comprehensive advice on publication. A renowned civil litigator, Thomas Hentoff co-heads the practice, representing his clients in matters of first amendment law, IP, and media law. In a recent highlight, he led the team in their advocacy on behalf of Lynn Goldsmith. Fellow co-head Joseph Terry is a specialist in representing media companies in complex litigation cases. Stephen Fuzesi rounds out the leadership expertise with his proficiency in professional liability and first amendment litigation. Additionally recommended in the sphere of First Amendment law is Nicholas Gamse, who further advises clients on possible liability issues prior to publication of their work. 

Practice head(s):

Thomas Hentoff; Joseph Terry; Stephen Fuzesi

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Gamse

Key clients

Lynn Goldsmith

National Geographic Partners

Cable News Network

The Washington Post

Walt Disney Company

Fox News Network

Recording Industry Association of America

American Civil Liberties Union

Google

Work highlights

  • Represented Lynn Goldsmith in an appeal before the second circuit challenging the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.’s fair use defense.
  • Represented several news networks in a copyright infringement action against David Goodfriend and Sports Fan Coalition NY, Inc. regarding online retransmission.
  • Represented CNN and The Washington Post in multiple defamation actions brought by congressman Devin Nunes and a senior advisor.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

A copyright-focused practice deeply embedded in the video gaming industry, the New York-based team Kirkland & Ellis LLP also handles matters pertaining to high-profile Broadway plays. Seasoned litigator Dale Cendali heads the team and outside the firm serves on the Council for the IP Section of the American Bar Association. She routinely works together with Joshua Simmons, an expert practitioner on the appellate and trial court stages. In recent highlights they have represented Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. on questions of copyright protection on individual dance-steps and tattoos in video games. Additionally recommended is Diana Torres from the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Practice head(s):

Dale Cendali

Other key lawyers:

Claudia Ray; Diana Torres; Johanna Schmitt; Joshua Simmons; Mary Mazzello; Shanti Sadtler Conway

Key clients

Association of American Publishers

Epic Games, Inc.

Fox News Network LLC

J.K. Rowling

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.

Thomson Reuters

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP applies a strong focus on distribution and antitrust litigation throughout several sectors, with particular expertise pertaining to the music industry and representation of both entities and individuals from the organized sports industry. Chairman and seasoned litigator Brad Karp represents entertainment companies in high-stakes litigation matters. Co-chair of the litigation department Kenneth A. Gallo is a specialist in antitrust representation. His fellow co-chair Theodore Wells is an expert in advocating during pre-trial investigations. Their colleague and co-chair Jessica Carey focuses on commercial litigation, particularly pertaining to financial institutions. Among the team is Lynn Bayard, who represents songwriters and their associations alongside her work for TV and motion picture studios. Additionally, Jay Cohen is well versed in the media sector and advises clients on cases including antitrust, securities, and IP law issues.

Practice head(s):

Brad Karp; Jessica Carey; Kenneth A. Gallo; Theodore Wells

Other key lawyers:

Lynn Bayard; Jay Cohen

Work highlights

    Proskauer Rose LLP

    Between New York and Los Angeles, Proskauer Rose LLP is home to a broad entertainment practice with a strong focus on contentious litigation pertaining to the music industry, the firm represents organizations, recording companies, and individual artists. Practice head Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks divides her time between the two offices, as she represents clients in contractual disputes, matters pertaining to copyright and trademarks, unfair competition, and right to privacy. Brendan O’Rourke from New York is a seasoned litigator who led the team in representation of Young Hollywood in a lawsuit brought by White Ops, Inc. alleging several offenses under the Lanham Act. Further recommended in New York is senior counsel David Munkittrick, a specialist in copyright litigation and compliance whose clients include key music companies as well as high-profile individual artists.

    Practice head(s):

    Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks

    Other key lawyers:

    Brendan O’Rourke; Anthony Oncidi; Kate Gold; David Munkittrick

    Testimonials

    ‘Proskauer is a world class firm with top flight divisions with this group leading the pack. The name alone increases a client’s leverage given the firm’s reputation.’

    ‘Sandy Crawshaw Sparks is one of the best and brightest in her class. She is able to staff as needed and keep costs manageable.’

    Key clients

    The Recording Academy

    BMG Rights Management

    Young Hollywood LLC

    Viacom/Activision

    Ellen DeGeneres

    NBCUniversal

    Universal Pictures

    Pryor Cashman LLP

    Pryor Cashman LLP represents a high-profile list of recording companies, music associations, and artists and handles content litigation in other media where they overlap with music. James Janowitz co-chairs the practice in New York and recently led the team in advocacy of AMC Networks in a $300m breach of contract claim. In Los Angeles, co-chair James Sammataro is a highly regarded music litigator, especially in the Latin music space. Another prominent practitioner in New York is Donald Zakarin, who acts as primary outside litigation counsel for Sony/ATV Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing. Additionally recommended in the New York office comes Ilene Farkas, who represents a strong list of high-profile artists and record labels. Additionally, Benjamin Semel is a specialist in copyright and leads the team in representation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective. Alongside him on this case works fellow New York peer Frank Scibilia, another expert in copyright law and particularly digital music matters.

    Practice head(s):

    James Janowitz; James Sammataro

    Other key lawyers:

    Donald Zakarin; Brad Rose; Frank Scibilia; Ilene Farkas; Benjamin Semel

    Testimonials

    ‘The collective knowledge, experience and effectiveness of the team in handling music and IP-related matters, both from a counseling and litigation standpoint.’

    ‘Each of the individuals we work with are always accessible, and they each have institutional knowledge of the subject areas for which we retain them. They are very capable attorneys who just get the job done, and in a cost-efficient manner.’

    Key clients

    Mechanical Licensing Collective

    National Music Publishers Association

    Netflix

    Sony Music Entertainment

    Bruno Mars

    Mark Ronson

    Phil Lawrence

    Jeff Bhasker

    Ed Sheeran

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing

    Atlantic Records

    AMC Networks

    We Are Walker

    UMG Recordings Inc.

    Universal Polygram International Publishing

    E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing and Stones Throw LLC

    Work highlights

    • Representing the Mechanical Licensing Collective as the statutory licensing collective pursuant to the 2018 Music Modernization Act.
    • Representing the National Music Publishers’ Association and Nashville Songwriters Association International regarding fair compensation of songwriters and music publishers.
    • Representing Sony Music Entertainment in several multi-faceted lawsuits as well as its C-suite executives and Grammy-winning recording artists like Ricky Martin.

    Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

    Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP litigates breach of contract, publicity, fraud, and IP matters for corporate players such as Global Eagle Entertainment and key figures on the talent side of the industry such as Hillary Duff. Marty Katz leads the practice out of Century City, a seasoned litigator covering a wide variety of claims and entities in the industry, he recently represented Oakley Inc. in a dispute with snowboarder Shaun White regarding endorsement royalties. Additionally based in Century City, Dylan Price is a practitioner with international reach, he regularly represents foreign investors, producers, and distributors in profit participation and distribution-related matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Marty Katz

    Other key lawyers:

    Dylan Price

    Key clients

    Row 44

    Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.

    Oakley, Inc. and Luxottica of America, Inc.

    Tohme R. Tohme

    Barajoun Entertainment FZ-LLC

    Weying Galaxy Inc

    Campanario Entertainment, LLC and Netflix, Inc.

    Just Goods Inc

    Wargaming

    Amobee

    Hilary Duff

    Ballard Spahr LLP

    The ‘street-smart‘ team of Ballard Spahr LLP consists of specialists in defamation law, who conduct prepublication content previews, handle access to public record matters, and advise on subpoenas and policies. From Washington DC, Charles Tobin leads the practice and in addition to the firm’s core practice represents clients in unfair competition, disparagement, and false advertising. In Minneapolis, Leita Walker defends against claims of libel, privacy, and right of publicity. The firm elevated Kaitlin Gurney, a specialist in matters of access to public records and prepublication issues, to partner in July 2021. Michael Sullivan has retired from the practice and Steven Zansberg has departed.

    Practice head(s):

    Charles Tobin

    Other key lawyers:

    David Bodney; Jay Ward Brown; David Schulz; Seth Berlin; Michael Berry; Chad Bowman; Leita Walker; Kaitlin Gurney

    Testimonials

    ‘Ballard has a first-rate media law practice. It also values and promotes diverse lawyers.’

    ‘I’ve worked a lot with Michael Berry on defamation defense and newsgathering subpoena matters. His advice and writing is always at the highest standard of excellence. Charles Tobin has done access to public records litigation. The work has never been anything but superb.’

    ‘They are all excellent lawyers. Street-smart, pragmatic, lovely to use.’

    ‘Ballard has quality people from top to bottom. No matter what issue arises, we can rely on expert advice from Ballard attorneys to guide us through it. Their folks know the issues well, provide excellent advice and are just good people to know.’

    ‘Jay Brown is our go-to guy for any media needs. Not only does he know the law, he has excellent judgment and can always be counted on to guide us through the most difficult issues. Chad Bowman is a top-notch litigator. Charles Tobin brings a joy to his work that is infectious. He is an expert and can guide you through any issues.’

    ‘Charles Tobin, Chad Bowman, Jay Brown, David Bodney and Leita Walker are just some of the top partners in this practice group. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of media law combined with a common sense, cost effective approach to achieving client-oriented results.’

    Key clients

    CBS

    Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and The New York Times Company

    Netflix, Inc.

    Worldwide Media Services Group, Inc.

    The New York Times and James Bennet

    Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

    Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer

    Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo

    Politico, LLC

    Gray Media Group, Inc., d/b/a WLBT-TV

    John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    National Public Radio, Inc. (NPR)

    Global Witness

    Univision

    Cable News Network, Inc.

    Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.

    A&E Television Networks, LLC

    DLA Piper LLP (US)

    The media & entertainment litigation practice at DLA Piper LLP (US) is focused on cases of breach of contract and fraud. Based in Los Angeles, the team acts for an array of clients from all subsectors including Jukin Media, and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Michael Garfinkel leads the practice, a seasoned litigator he represents companies operating in music, film, television, and IP disputes. With extensive expertise in IP and advertising as they pertain to new media and consumer products, Tamany Vinson Bentz recently represented Thane Direct Inc. in two disputes concerning royalties and unjust enrichment respectively. Further recommended is associate Jason Taylor Lueddeke who is highly active in the team, working closely with Garfinkel.

    Practice head(s):

    Michael Garfinkel

    Other key lawyers:

    Tamany Vinson Bentz; Jason Taylor Lueddeke; Carolina Veltri

    Testimonials

    ‘Our experience with DLA’s Media and entertainment litigation practice has been very positive and feel they operate with a commercial mindset and the ability to deliver timely, diligent, and thorough work. We have been very satisfied with the drafts presented for our review being well thought out and relevant and appreciate the efforts made to respect and minimize our principals time spent on these matters.’

    ‘Michael Garfinkel is an absolute pleasure to work with. He takes a proactive approach and provides a great overview of the issues and our options. His recommendations clearly demonstrate that he is listening to our feedback of what is important for our business.’

    ‘They have experience in all aspects of the media and entertainment industry, and have a team of lawyers who are saavy and knowledgeable about the business.’

    ‘Mike Garfinkel is one of the most knowledgeable attorneys when it comes to entertainment litigation. His experience and connections are second to none.’

    ‘Michael Garfinkel is an excellent litigator. We appreciate that he is a strong, creative advocate while at the same time recognizing the practical impact to our business when helping us determine appropriate litigation strategy.

    ‘Deep team with varied and complimentary skill sets, experienced in litigation practices in variety of major state and federal venues as well as arbitration and mediation.’

    ‘Very capable, experienced, professional and efficient. Always helpful in navigating difficult strategic decisions.’

    Key clients

    Park County (South Park)

    Immediate Musicals (The Book of Mormon)

    Endeavor

    Courtney Solomon and Cinelou Films

    Phillip Lawrence and Philmar Studios

    Spyglass Media Group

    Dr. Seuss Enterprises, LP

    Raven Capital Management

    Jukin Media

    Thane Direct Inc.

    Naturalena

    Studio 71

    William Fay

    Storyboard Media, LLC

    ICM Partners

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

    Work highlights

    • Representing Park County and Immediate Musicals in a number of matters relating to those businesses including a confidential arbitration.
    • Representing Philip Lawrence, a multi-Grammy Award winning songwriter and producer for his work with Bruno Mars, in two lawsuits.
    • Representing prolific film producer Courtney Solomon, his Cinelou Films and three of its special purpose production entities in an action brought by independent film lender The Fyzz Facility Limited arising out of a dispute concerning several development loans, including pursuing fraud and unfair competition claims on behalf of Cinelou.

    Katten

    Based in Los Angeles, the team at Katten takes cases on behalf of musicians and music industry organizations as well as TV and film production studios, including idea theft. Zia Modabber heads the practice and represents high-profile musical artists including Trent Reznor and Stevie Wonder, as well as institutions such as Live Nation and The Recording Academy. On the TV, film, and new media side, David Halberstadter represents companies such as ViacomCBS and Starz Entertainment. Another specialist in this area is Joel Weiner who in a recent highlight represented filmmaker Robert Rodriguez in a claim regarding the ‘Machete’ films. Tami Kameda Sims is also recommended for her expertise in pre-publication review, advising on content and performing rights analysis.

    Practice head(s):

    Zia Modabber

    Other key lawyers:

    David Halberstadter; Joel Weiner; Tami Kameda Sims; Leah Solomon

    Key clients

    Endemol Shine Latino

    Goldco Direct, LLC

    Huda Beauty LLC

    John Branca, as Co-Executor of the Estate of Michael J. Jackson

    MJJ Productions, Inc.

    Sony Music Entertainment

    Lions Gate Entertainment

    Starz Entertainment

    Courtney Kemp

    Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson

    Live Nation Merchandise LLC

    Merch Traffic LLC

    Silva Artist Management, LLC

    Min Jin Lee

    Producers of The Wendy Williams Show

    Robert Rodriguez

    Sony Pictures Entertainment; Actor/Producer Will Smith; Overbrook Entertainment

    Starz Entertainment

    CBS Broadcasting Inc.

    Sony Pictures Entertainment

    Mark Canton

    Universal Studios Company

    Robert Zemeckis

    Bob Gale

    ViacomCBS

    Work highlights

    • Representing the Michael Jackson Estate, Michael Jackson Productions, and Sony Music in a dispute regarding the posthumous Michael Jackson album.
    • Representing Sony Pictures Entertainment, along with renowned actor/producer Will Smith and his company Overbrook Entertainment, against claims of copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition relating to Sony’s movie on HBO Max under the title Charm City Kings.
    • Representing ViacomCBS in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who claims that the company infringed upon her written treatment and pilot script for a proposed television series by using her materials for an episode of the CBS television series Bull and as the basis of a not-yet-produced television series based upon the motion picture Clueless.

    King & Spalding LLP

    The team around Kenneth Steinthal at King & Spalding LLP handles copyright, content, and libel litigation for a long list of clients with a particular focus on key players in the music industry. Based in San Francisco, Steinthal is an expert on content distribution issues, advising large tech companies in this area. His Los Angeles colleague Arwen Johnson broadens the firm’s scope with her expertise in cases of idea theft. They are assisted by highly active practitioners across the country such as associate David Mattern in Washington DC who represents tech and music services in litigation.

    Practice head(s):

    Kenneth Steinthal

    Other key lawyers:

    Arwen Johnson; Jeanne Fugate; Blake Cunningham; David Mattern; Kathryn Running

    Key clients

    Zoom

    New Line Productions

    Google

    YouTube

    ByteDance

    TikTok

    Peloton

    Amazon

    Twitch

    Netflix

    ViacomCBS

    The Orchard

    Warner Media

    Mood Media/Muzak

    Disney

    ESPN

    Corporation for Public Broadcasting

    A&E Television Networks

    AMC Networks

    BBC

    Bloomberg TV and Radio

    CW Network

    Cumulus Media

    Discovery Communications

    DISH

    Audacy

    Film Finances

    Fox Cable

    iHeart Media

    Lodgenet

    Madison Square Garden

    Comcast

    Pandora Media

    Napster

    Radio Music License Committee

    Lionsgate

    Townsquare Media

    Univision

    Vevo

    Work highlights

    • Representing Google before the Copyright Royalty Board in relation to statutory royalty rates for digital performances on non-interactive music streams and mechanical reproduction rights for digital streaming.
    • Represented Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in a case of alleged idea-theft regarding the movie ‘The Accountant’.
    • Representing Amazon in several copyright infringement claims alleging improper license of musical compositions in digital downloads.

    Loeb & Loeb LLP

    With a strong focus on content litigation, the team at Loeb & Loeb LLP are specialists in cases of profit participation and alleged copyright infringement. Based in New York, practice co-head Barry Slotnick represents both record companies and creators in these matters. In Los Angeles, co-head David Grossman focuses his expertise on advocating for investors, insurers, and financial institutions in media and entertainment matters. With his extensive experience in commercial litigation, particularly advertising and marketing, co-head Christian Carbone , based in New York, further expands the firm’s scope. Additionally in Los Angeles, co-head Daniel Murphy is an expert on issues arising in real estate.

    Practice head(s):

    Barry Slotnick; Daniel Murphy; Christian Carbone; David Grossman

    Other key lawyers:

    Jim Curry; Wook Hwang; Sunny Brenner; Jonathan Zavin; Tal Dickstein; Linna Chen; Sarah Schacter

    Testimonials

    ‘Loeb has deep knowledge and experience in the music and theatre businesses. They would be among my first choices for any substantial litigation in either of these areas.’

    ‘Barry Slotnick and Tal Dickstein are wonderful entertainment litigators. Their knowledge of the music business is broad and deep, and their litigation skills are superb, both in motion and appellate practice and in the courtroom.’

    Key clients

    Paramount Pictures

    David C. Cook dba Integrity Music

    Capitol CMG, Inc.

    Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu pka Sinach

    NBCUnivers

    Energy BBDO, Inc.

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

    Gaumont Television USA

    Netflix

    Sony Music Publishing (US) LLC

    Sony Music Entertainment

    CBS

    Ford Motor Company

    Morgan Creek Productions

    Bravo

    Ryan Seacrest Productions

    Truly Original

    ViacomCBS, BET

    Universal and Legendary

    Warner/Chappell Music Publishing

    PeerMusic

    Spirit Music Group

    Concord Music Publishing

    ABKCO Music

    Master Licensing

    Sony Pictures Entertainment

    Fox Searchlight, Guillermo del Toro

    Reservoir Media Management, Inc.

    Atlantic Recording Corporation

    Elektra Entertainment Group, Inc.

    Warner Music Inc.

    Warner Music Group Corp.

    MGM Studios

    Baobab Studios

    Work highlights

    • Representing Paramount Pictures in a claim by the Estate of Truman Capote regarding the rights to the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn.
    • Representing defendant music publishers and songwriters in a claim brought by Lisa Brunson alleging unauthorized exploitation of the song “Way Maker”.
    • Representing NBC Universal and others in Lanham Act claims by Janice Dickinson for false endorsement, false advertising, and trademark dilution.

    Paul Hastings LLP

    Paul Hastings LLP covers a broad range of issues arising in media and entertainment, including class actions, defamation for high-profile individuals, pre-trial investigations, and copyright-related matters. Based in Century City, practice head Steven Marenberg is a seasoned litigator who recently represented the UTA in its dispute with the Writer’s Guild as well as Ubisoft in a case of alleged price-fixing. In Los Angeles Tamerlin Godley is a specialist in IP related matters and highly sensitive cases. Further recommended in Century City is James Pearl for his expertise in First Amendment and defamation work.

    Practice head(s):

    Steven Marenberg

    Other key lawyers:

    Tamerlin Godley; James Pearl

    Key clients

    The Walt Disney Company

    Ubisoft, Inc.

    Ubisoft S.A.

    WarnerMedia

    Jonathan Mannion Photography

    Nu Dotco, LLC

    Georgia Film Fund LLC

    MidCap Financial Trust

    Bahakel Communications, Ltd

    Doug Band

    Steward Partners

    Activision Blizzard

    Work highlights

    • Represented Ubisoft S.A. and Ubisoft, Inc. in an antitrust class action.
    • Represented WarnerMedia with regard to an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
    • Representing Jonathan Mannion in an action filed by Jay-Z alleging distribution of photographs violate Jay-Z’s rights of publicity.