Media and entertainment: litigation in United States

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a key destination for corporations and individuals from across the media & entertainment industry, handling matters from film finance litigation and contract disputes to securities and class action lawsuits. Practice head Scott Edelman operates from the firm’s Century City office, representing the likes of Netflix and CBS Studios in arbitrations and employment suits. New York-based Orin Snyder is a regular advisor to well-known individuals and technology giants, currently advocating on behalf of Meta in a high-profile securities fraud complaint that has been covered extensively in the media. Fellow New York resident Brian Ascher specializes in civil litigation with notable experience in trade secrets matters and founder disputes. Theodore J. Boutrous Jr.  is a widely praised Los Angeles-based media lawyer who is focuses on First Amendment litigation. Another name to note in Los Angeles is Ilissa Samplin who, alongside Edelman, Snyder and Boutrous Jr., recently successfully represented AMC in a long-pending profit participation case heard in New York State Court that followed a previous victory for the firm in Los Angeles concerning the same case.

Practice head(s):

Scott Edelman


Other key lawyers:

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


Key clients

Sony


AMC


Universal Music Group


CBS


CNN


Netflix


MGM


HBO


NBC


Yahoo


Latham & Watkins LLP

Based primarily out of California, Latham & Watkins LLP litigates across the media and entertainment industry, with the practice particularly focused on Hollywood litigation and complex IP disputes at the intersection of content and new technologies. Trial lawyer and IP specialist Marvin S. Putnam  heads the practice, which is primarily based in the firm’s Century City office; in a recent highlight, he represented romantic singer Jonny Mathis in a tort suit brought by an independent contractor. Fellow Century City resident Jessica Stebbins Bina  is an esteemed trial and appellate litigator who is currently serving as lead defense counsel for First Access Entertainment in a wrongful death suit concerning the Swedish-American emo rapper Lil Peep. Robert Ellison's broad entertainment practice includes handling sensitive investigations and work for emerging companies. Laura Washington, a highly regarded trial and appellate lawyer, specializes in discovery work and managed responses to high-profile crises. Further recommended is antitrust and IP expert Andrew Gass who frequently represents major content providers clients in music-rights rate-setting cases.


Practice head(s):

Marvin S. Putnam


Other key lawyers:

Jessica Stebbins Bina; Laura Washington; Andrew Gass; Robert Ellison


Key clients

Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)


Johnny Mathis


First Access Entertainment/Sarah Sennett


Camping World/Marcus Lemonis/FreedomRoads


ICM Partners


MNTN Digital, Inc.


Pandora Media


Live Nation Entertainment


Endeavor Group Holdings/WME


Spotify


Roblox


National Association of Broadcasters


Shopify


IMDb.com, Inc.


Apple


Sinclair Broadcasting Group


Radio Music License Committee


O'Melveny & Myers LLP

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s active team is based primarily out of Century City. The venerable practice handles complex litigation for large motion picture studios, high-profile individuals and multinational multimedia companies with profit participation, contract disputes and antitrust and unfair competition matters being standout areas of expertise. The team is led by resourceful entertainment litigator Molly Lens, who specializes in sensitive matters concerning misconduct and discrimination and is currently acting as lead counsel for Paramount Pictures in a widely publicized copyright infringement case. Renowned trial lawyer Daniel Petrocelli is a key member of the team, regularly leading on the firm’s highest-profile cases such as an ongoing multi-district negligence litigation in which he is advocating on behalf of the rapper Travis Scott.  Drew Breuder is particularly strong on media and entertainment IP matters as well as complex arbitrations. Further recommended is lawyer and appellate Leah Godesky who has litigated in a number of major suits related to the film and music industry in recent years and is also known for her constitutional pro bono work.

Practice head(s):

Molly Lens


Other key lawyers:

Daniel Petrocelli; Drew Breuder; Leah Godesky; David Marroso; Matt Kline


Testimonials

‘The Media and Entertainment litigation group are obviously excellent litigators. They are always prepared and bring legal prowess and litigation strategy. What makes them unique is that they are also practical and business oriented. They are great business partners who won’t waste time and churn legal fees on issues that are irrelevant.’

‘Dan Petrocelli is an incredible strategist. David Marroso is a great executor, and sometimes executioner.’

‘Dan Petrocelli and his litigation teams, especially Drew Breuder, are outstanding and highly skilled in all areas, including intellectual property.’

Key clients

Paramount Pictures


Travis Scott


FremantleMedia


Google


Kesha


NBCUniversal


The Walt Disney Co.


Twentieth Century Fox


Warner Bros.


Work highlights


  • Successfully dismissed litigation filed by SmileDirectClub (SDC) against NBCUniversal alleging defamation and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.
  • Represented Twentieth Century Fox in high-profile employment contract litigation against Netflix.
  • Represented Walt Disney Company in a lawsuit filed by actress Scarlett Johansson regarding simultaneous distribution of the film Black Widow.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

The New York-based team at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP handles antitrust, IP and securities disputes for a variety of clients including major broadcasting and digital gaming companies. In addition, investigatory expertise at the firm allows them to advise media companies facing investigation or to conduct internal investigations on behalf of media companies when issues such as sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are alleged. The practice is jointly led by experienced lawyers Gary Bornstein  and Kevin Orsini , the former is known for his cross-examination expertise while the latter is currently representing Light & Wonder, Inc. in several individual and putative class action lawsuits concerning automatic card shufflers. Further recommended is Wes Earnhardt, who advocated on behalf of Starz Entertainment in a case against MGM Domestic Television Distribution in which his arguments pertaining to the scope of copyright protection won praise from peers in the legal industry. Antitrust litigator Katherine Forrest departed the firm in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Gary Bornstein; Kevin Orsini


Other key lawyers:

Katherine Forrest; Wes Earnhardt; Lauren Moskowitz


Key clients

Boston Red Sox Baseball Club LP


Epic Games, Inc.


Home Box Office, Inc.


Light & Wonder, Inc.


Meta Platforms, Inc.


Starz Entertainment, LLC


Independent Directors of Viacom Inc.


The Walt Disney Company


Warner Media, LLC


Word Collections, Inc.


Work highlights


  • Secured a precedential Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Starz Entertainment in a copyright infringement and breach of contract action against MGM.
  • Representing Epic Games as plaintiff in two separate antitrust actions against Apple and Google, alleging that the companies are engaged in anticompetitive behavior.
  • Representing Meta in putative class action and individual antitrust litigation filed throughout the country related to the multi-billion-dollar digital advertising industry.

Kendall Brill & Kelly

Los Angeles-based boutique Kendall Brill & Kelly acts for a range of entertainment clients, notably from across the film and music industry, in breach of contract disputes, entertainment finance litigations, and hard-to-categorize suits such as the ongoing dispute over the use of a racial slur by the founder of the Papa John’s Pizza company, John Schnatter, in which the team is representing Wasserman Media. Practice chair and founding partner Richard Kendall has a strong track record in distribution rights and profit participation disputes. In a recent highlight he represented Creative Arts Agency in a lawsuit, and subsequent arbitration, over allegations of fraud, misrepresentations and breaches of fiduciary duty. Resourceful litigator Philip Kelly has expertise in an array of entertainment litigation matters; a recent international arbitration in which he represented Paramount Global over an alleged breach of contract claim showcases his versatility. Laura Brill is an appellate specialist who handles many of the media and entertainment appeals for the firm. Another name to note is Nary Kim, an accomplished trial lawyer who, in a recent highlight, played a key part in the dismissal of a child pornography suit filed by a man who appeared as a naked baby on the 1991 Nirvana album ‘Nevermind’.

Practice head(s):

Richard Kendall


Other key lawyers:

Philip Kelly; Laura Brill; Nary Kim


Key clients

Creative Artists Agency, LLC (CAA)


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


Brad Pitt


Wasserman Media Group


Paramount Global


The heirs of Lilly Cassirer


The Offspring band members Bryan Holland and Kevin Wasserman


Nirvana, UMG, and other Defendants


Versace


Universal Studios Limited


Lionsgate Entertainment, Inc.


NBCUniversal


Gaumont Television USA


The Estate of Jenni Rivera


CBS Broadcasting


TikTok, Inc.


Work highlights


  • Represented Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in a $55m lawsuit brought by producers and film financiers, achieving a ‘walkaway’ settlement.
  • Represented Regency Entertainment Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.A.R.L. in a breach of contract lawsuit they filed over Warren Beatty’s film ‘Rules Don’t Apply’.
  • Representing actor Brad Pitt in a lawsuit against his ex-wife, actor Angelina Jolie, over her sale of her share of their French estate and winery, Château Miraval.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

A particularly popular destination for video game companies,  Kirkland & Ellis LLP specializes in complex IP cases in areas where clear legal precedent is yet to be established; in a representative matter, the firm is representing Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. in a suit that pertains to the reproduction of copyrighted tattoos in a basketball videogame. Litigator and team head Dale Cendali is singled out for her IP expertise; she represented Epic Games in precedential litigation concerning the copyrightability of dance steps in a recent highlight.  Another name to note is Joshua Simmons, who has significant experience advocating on behalf of video games companies in various copyright infringement litigations. Claudia Ray is further recommended for her copyright and internet litigation. All mentioned lawyers are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Dale Cendali


Other key lawyers:

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


Testimonials

‘Kirkland’s entertainment practice is one of the absolute best in the industry. For bet-the-business and cutting-edge IP litigation there is no better firm.’

‘Dale Cendali thrives at applying existing precedent to novel and cutting-edge subject matter and is comfortable in rapidly evolving high-tech subject matters.’

‘Josh Simmons encyclopedic knowledge of relevant law and measured but firm advocacy inject an aura of calm into even the most stressful disputes.’

 

Key clients

Association of American Publishers


Cleveland Guardians


Epic Games, Inc.


Fox News Network LLC


J.K. Rowling


Riot Games, Inc.


Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.


Thomson Reuters


Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP  represents a variety of heavyweight entertainment figures, notably from across the music industry; IP matters such as copyright infringement and breach of contract cases stand out as particular areas of strength. Renowned litigator and practice head Robert Jacobs regularly advocates on behalf of high profile recording artists and music publishers. He recently represented electronic music producer Marshmello; Dan Smith, the lead singer of pop rock band Bastille; and other performing artists in a copyright infringement suit that featured complex copyright issues pertaining to remixes of pre-existing songs. Nathaniel Bach has extensive experience in IP-related matters and is currently representing EMI in a music royalties litigation. Further recommended is esteemed trial lawyer Sarah Moses who is well versed in antitrust actions, breach of  contract matters and trademark disputes. All lawyers mentioned are based in Las Vegas.

Practice head(s):

Robert Jacobs


Other key lawyers:

Nathaniel Bach; Sarah Moses; Gary Gilbert


Testimonials

‘The team is top flight and second to none. Well schooled, well disciplined and results-oriented. Matters and properly staffed and seen to closure.’

‘Robert Jacobs is the reason that I use this team. He is simply at the top of his game.’

‘A particular strength of the firm is the ability to bring together lawyers from different disciplines that can approach complex aspects of a project or litigation.

‘I think potential clients will feel comfortable working with the firm across multiple types of legal issues and find that those departments connect well together.

‘I think the biggest difference is that it’s very easy to quickly connect and relate to the lawyers I have been working with at the firm. They both have a great amount of nuance in their approach and are able to explain complex concepts, in ways that I can instantly understand.’

‘Full service firm that handles both transactional deals and litigation.’

‘Robert Jacobs is thorough and very practical on guiding through and resolving litigations.’

Key clients

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


BMG Rights Management (US) LLC


Iglesia Ni Cristo


James Edmunds


EMI Entertainment World


The Bar Music Group


Hugh M. Hefner Foundation


Gente De Zona


Megan Roup/The Sculpt Society LLC


Work highlights


  • Represented music producer Marshmello in a copyright infringement lawsuit in which the court granted our summary judgment motions in full.
  • Representing Megan Roup, a celebrity fitness instructor, and her company The Sculpt Society LLC in a copyright, Lanham Act, breach of contract, and unfair competition lawsuit filed in the Central District of California.
  • Represented BMG Rights Management in a copyright infringement lawsuit based on the allegedly unauthorized use of plaintiff’s musical composition “Help Me”, and the musical composition and sound recording “Toe 2 Toe”.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

From contract disputes, to trade secret disputes, to idea theft litigation, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP represents prominent artists, media and technology companies and distributors in disputes that span the spectrum of media and entertainment.  In Los Angeles, practice co-head Robert Schwartz is a versatile entertainment litigator who in a recent highlight represented a technology billionaire in a libel case against the New York Post. Also in Los Angeles, movie financing and distribution specialist Gary Gans is a fellow co-head of the practice; he is currently representing two banks in a dispute pertaining to the purchase of a film distribution company. Carey Ramos, who co-heads the practice from New York, has extensive experience in secondary liability cases related to digital companies such as Spotify. Another name to note is the experienced trial lawyer and arbitrator Daniel Lombard, who co-heads the practice from the firm’s Chicago office.

Practice head(s):

Robert Schwartz; Gary Gans; Carey Ramos; Daniel Lombard


Other key lawyers:

Richard Erwine; Alexander Rudis


Testimonials

‘Quinn Emanuel’s litigators are amongst the best in the business. They combine cutting edge legal acumen and knowledge with creativity and ruthlessness to rapidly achieve client objectives.’

‘Bobby Schwartz is an encyclopedia of entertainment and IP law and brings decades of experience and deep understanding of the businesses he serves to every representation.

‘Rich Erwine and Alex Rudis are bright, capable, practical and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

The PGA of America (Professional Golfers Association)(Donald Trump matter)


Alexander R. Baldwin III and El Dorado Pictures (Rust Movie shooting case)


Twitter


Jay-Z /Shawn Carter Enterprises


Journal of the American Society of Anaesthesiologists


Michael Goguen


Vimeo, Inc. (a subsidiary of IAC/InterActiveCorp)


Morgan Art Foundation Ltd.


Spotify USA Inc.


Big Run Studios and Skillz Platform


BabyBus Co., Ltd. & BabyBus (Fujian) Network Technology Co.


Boy Scouts of America


Emigrant Bank and Banc of California


Snail Games USA Inc. and Wildcard Properties LLC


Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP  fields a strong team in the music litigation space, with rate-setting proceedings standing out as an area of particular strength. The unit is additionally proficient in handling complex commercial litigation for publishers and televisual content creators and distributors.  First amendment and music licensing specialist Benjamin Marks leads the practice; in August 2022, his representation of Pandora Media in the long-running Phonorecords IV proceedings, which were argued in front of the Copyright Royalty Board, resulted in an industry-shaping settlement. Fellow music licensing expert Todd Larson  frequently appears alongside Marks, he co-led on the aforementioned proceedings and is also representing Kano Computing Limited in a copyright infringement case that lies on the intersection of music copyright litigation and new technology. Yehudah Buchweitz  specializes in antitrust matters and recently represented Paramount Global in a compensation dispute. Randi Singer , whose representation of Meta has included a broad array of IP-related matters, is another name to note. All advocates mentioned are based in New York with the exception of Singer, who divides her time between the practice’s New York and Silicon Valley offices.


Practice head(s):

Benjamin Marks


Other key lawyers:

Todd Larson; Yehudah Buchweitz; Randi Singer


Key clients

Pandora Media


Sirius XM Radio


A&E Television Networks


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


North American Concert Promoters Association


eBay


Samsung Electronics


Paramount Global Corp.


WB Discovery


Gannett Co., Inc.


Association of American Publishers


S&P Global


Zion Williamson and Creative Arts Agency


Philo, Inc.


MGA Entertainment


Kano Computing


Work highlights


  • Represented Simon & Schuster in two separate nationwide, industry-wide antitrust class actions regarding e-books and print books.
  • Commenced a mega trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit on behalf of A&E, challenging competitor Reelz’s airing of a copycat version of A&E’s successful reality show, ‘Live PD’.
  • Represented Pandora Media in the Phonorecords IV copyright royalty board proceedings and secured a favorable settlement.

Williams & Connolly LLP

With a successful record in federal appellate courts, the Washington DC-based team at Williams & Connolly LLP handles First Amendment litigation, antitrust and fair use litigation for major newspapers, television networks and technology companies. Practice co-head Thomas Hentoff is an esteemed litigator with considerable experience of litigating copyright, trade secret, privacy and false-advertising matters; he recently defended the Washington Post against a $250m defamation action brought by former Congressman Devin Nunes. Fellow practice co-head Joseph Terry is a First Amendment expert who is adept at handling both civil and criminal litigation. Completing the triumvirate of practice co-heads is professional liability specialist Stephen Fuzesi who regularly defends major news organizations in defamation cases related to their reporting. Additionally recommended is Nicholas Gamse, an accomplished media attorney who complements his courtroom duties with providing prior to publication advice to media companies and journalists.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Hentoff; Joseph Terry; Stephen Fuzesi


Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Gamse; Lisa Blatt; Joe Terry


Testimonials

‘They are among the smartest in the business for media law.’

‘Joe Terry is a master negotiator and  a brilliant writer.’

‘I have worked with Nick Gamse and he continues to impress me at every step of the way. He is proactive. He clearly knows the media industry well.’

Key clients

The Washington Post


CNN


Google


YouTube


Lynn Goldsmith


Recording Industry Association of America


The Atlantic Monthly Group


Amazon


Work highlights


  • Represented CNN before the trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a $435m defamation action filed by former Congressman Devin Nunes
  • Representing photographer Lynn Goldsmith in an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning whether the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. had a fair use defense to Ms. Goldsmith’s claim of copyright infringement.
  • Representing The Washington Post, CNN, and others on appeal, after the media companies won summary judgment in a defamation lawsuit filed by U.S. Senate candidate Don Blankenship.

King & Spalding LLP

A strong background in music litigation has seen the primarily California-based team at King & Spalding LLP represent Google in a far-reaching matter concerning royalty rates for music streaming services that will have an impact across the industry. Additionally, the team advocates on behalf of a number of large entertainment companies in copyright, theft of ideas and defamation disputes. Practice head Kenneth Steinthal is a specialist in IP issues related to digital content distribution. Highly-regarded trial lawyer Arwen Johnson has a strong focus on studio disputes and recently represented New Line Productions in an idea theft dispute concerning the 2018 Melissa McCarthy comedy ‘Life of the Party’. Washington DC-based David Mattern brings additional copyright infringement expertise to the team and is playing a key role in the aforementioned Google streaming dispute.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Steinthal


Other key lawyers:

Arwen Johnson; David Mattern


Key clients

A&E Television Networks


Amazon (including subsidiary Twitch)


AMC Networks


Audacy (formerly known as Entercom and including CBS Radio)


BBC


Bloomberg TV and Radio


Comcast/NBCUniversal


Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including NPR and PBS


Cumulus Media


CW Network


DISH


Disney/ESPN


Film Finances


Fox Cable


Google/YouTube


iHeartMedia


Lodgenet/Sonifi


Madison Square Garden/MSG Networks


Mood Media/Muzak


Netflix


New Line Productions


The Orchard (Sony Music subsidiary)


Pandora Media


Paramount Global (f/k/a ViacomCBS/Showtime)


Peloton


Radio Music License Committee


Rhapsody/Napster


Starz/Lionsgate


TikTok


Townsquare Media


Univision


Vevo


Warner Bros. Discovery (including both former Warner entities such as HBO and Turner and Discovery entities such as Scripps)


Zoom


Work highlights


  • Representing Google in the Web V Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceedings regarding royalty rate increases on digital performances of sound recordings made by non-interactive music streaming services.
  • Represented Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in a matter in which the plaintiff claimed that the Ben Affleck thriller ‘The Accountant’ was based on his idea.
  • Represent Google/YouTube in the Copyright Royalty Board litigation known as “Phonorecords III” to determine the structure and rates for “mechanical” reproduction rights in musical compositions associated with the streaming activities of digital music services.

Loeb & Loeb LLP

Loeb & Loeb LLP has significant expertise in assisting clients from music, television and film with matters such as copyright infringement, profit participation and film distribution arbitration. Intellectual property expert Barry Slotnick co-heads the practice from the firm’s New York office; in a standout matter for the litigator, he is currently representing Sony Music Publishing and Sony Music Entertainment in a copyright infringement case brought by a duo signed to Rafael Pina’s reggaetón label. David Grossman and Christian Carbone  co-chair the practice in Los Angeles. Grossman’s broad practice encompasses copyright infringement, idea submission and rights of publicity; he recently represented NBCUniversal in a copyright-related case over a song used at the Olympics.  John Gatti, a Los Angeles-based litigator, is particularly proficient in dealing with reputationally sensitive cases such as those related to the ‘me too’ movement.

Practice head(s):

Barry Slotnick; David Grossman Litigation; Christian Carbone


Other key lawyers:

John Gatti; Jim Curry; Wook Hwang; Sunny Brenner; Jonathan Zavin; Tal Dickstein; Lauren Fried


Testimonials

‘Jim Curry has been an outstanding partner throughout a long and difficult litigation process. He successfully brought it to a conclusion just prior to trial. Excellent work.’

‘Loeb and Loeb has long been one of the premier law firms in the entertainment industry. They have a top-notch team of attorneys and cover every area of entertainment.’

‘Barry Slotnick is smart, knowledgeable, understands our organization inside and out and knows exactly how we would like things handled. He is also witty and charming and enjoys people. He is one of the most well-loved and respected attorneys in the music industry.’

Key clients

Universal


Netflix


BET


Lionsgate


Paramount Pictures


Justin Baldoni, Lionsgate Entertainment and CBS


NBCUniversal, Gary Oldman, and Working Title


Matt and Ross Duffer (The Duffer Brothers)


Morgan Creek Productions


NBCUniversal


Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, SonyATV Music Publishing, PeerMusic, Spirit Music Group, Concord Music Publishing, ABKCO Music


Sunflower Entertainment, The Orchard


ViacomCBS


Gaumont Television USA


David C. Cook dba Integrity Music, Capitol CMG, Inc. and Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu pka Sinach


Sony Music Publishing (US) LLC; Sony Music Entertainment


Miramax, LLC


Reservoir Media Management, Inc., Atlantic Recording Corporation, Elektra Entertainment Group, Inc., Warner Music Inc., and Warner Music Group Corp.


Straight Up Films, LLC, its principals Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen, and the Estate of Dr. Viktor Frankl


Tracy Chapman


Sony/ATV


Shalon Palmer, Worship Online


Vandross Music Group, Warner Records, Inc., Warner Music Group


Sony Pictures, Marvel


Paramount Global (f/k/a ViacomCBS)


MGM Studios


Baobab Studios


Authentic Brands Group


Work highlights


  • Representing CBS in a variety of litigation relating to the popular daytime television program, “Judge Judy”
  • Representing Miramax, LLC in a suit brought by photographer Firooz Zahedi, who claimed to own the rights to an iconic photograph of Uma Thurman used in a poster for the movie “Pulp Fiction,” which Miramax produced.
  • Represented Sony Pictures, Marvel and related companies in a copyright infringement action brought by a record label in the Southern District of New York over the allegedly unauthorized use of a song in the film “Venom.”

Paul Hastings LLP

The Los Angeles-based team at Paul Hastings LLP represents high profile entertainment companies including Disney, Pixar and Activision in disputes from profit participation to business tort matters. Renowned litigator Steven Marenberg heads the practice, with expertise across new technologies and issues of law such as NFT property rights. Tamerlin Godley, whose recent highlights include high-profile trademark and discrimination disputes, is a highly capable litigator who is also known for her company investigative work.  Further recommended is First Amendment specialist Bo Pearl who represents high-profile plaintiffs and defendants in defamation suits across the country.

Practice head(s):

Steven Marenberg


Testimonials

‘The people are excellent and attentive to our specific needs.’

‘Bo Pearle is a solid advisor. She is realistic about possible outcomes and always available to us.’

 

Key clients

The Walt Disney Company


Pixar Animation Studios


American Broadcasting Companies


WarnerMedia


NBCUniversal


MidCap Financial Trust


Activision


Justin Weniger


Syn City


Nu Dotco


Work highlights


  • Representing American Broadcasting Companies in lawsuits that challenge ABC’s and Disney’s adoption and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
  • Representing animation studio Pixar in a breach-of-contract case relating to the motion picture ‘Onward’.
  • Representing NBCUniversa against  accusations of racial discrimination and retaliation on the set of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Praised for its work on performing rights and cable television related litigation, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP handles copyright, antitrust and rate-setting disputes for clients including ASCAP and the NMPA. The practice also regularly handles litigation related to the sports industry. Corporate advisor and renowned litigator Brad Karp co-chairs the practice; in a recent highlight he represented Bloomberg in an international broadcast licensing dispute.  Fellow practice co-chair Lynn Bayard is a copyright and trademark specialist who is representing TIME in a copyright and contracts dispute. Commercial and arbitration litigator Jessica Carey co-chairs the practice and is experienced in high-value class action matters. Co-chair Jay Cohen is a music specialist, with particular expertise in digital rights and licensing rates matters. Kenneth Gallo is experienced in patent disputes and co-chairs the practice from the firm’s Washington DC office. High-stakes litigator and co-chair Theodore Wells is noted for his significant civil and corporate litigation expertise. Former federal judge and experienced litigator Katherine Forrest arrived from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in an eye-catching January 2023 move. All mentioned attorneys are in New York, unless otherwise stated.


Practice head(s):

Brad Karp; Lynn Bayard; Jessica Carey; Kenneth Gallo; Theodore Wells


Other key lawyers:

Katherine Forrest


Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP is a go-to for major record labels and recording artists; film production companies and high-profile entertainers also trust the team with a variety of contentious matters. ‘Top-flight counsel’ Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks leads the team from New York and Los Angeles, she litigates across the music industry with copyright infringement, trademark rights and unfair competition claims among the cases that routinely appear on her docket. Los Angeles-based labor law specialist Anthony Oncidi is highly experienced in employment litigation involving the media and entertainment industry; he is currently representing Viacom in an employment contract dispute against Netflix. Also in Los Angeles, Kate Gold  focuses her practice on employment-related suits and also conducts work investigations for major media companies. Further recommended is New York-based trial attorney and senior counsel David Munkittrick, who focuses his practice on music-related copyright matters.

Practice head(s):

Sandra Crawshaw-Sparks


Other key lawyers:

Anthony Oncidi; Kate Gold; David Munkittrick


Testimonials

‘Expert, distinguished and impactful.  Well respected,  efficient  and results-oriented.’

‘Sandy Crawshaw Sparks is the reason we use this firm. Top flight counsel at the height of her power.’

 

Key clients

Viacom/Activision


Sony Music Entertainment


Ellen DeGeneres


Universal Pictures


Miramax


Lil Nas X


BMG Rights Management


Work highlights


  • Representation of BMG Rights Management in a lawsuit brought by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania alleging an unauthorized cover of a Jehovah’s Witnesses hymn.
  • Representing Miramax in a lawsuit against Quentin Tarantino on allegations of IP infringement and breach of contract in connection with Tarantino’s offering of Pulp Fiction NFTs.
  • Representation of Ellen DeGeneres and her company, Monkey Business Inc., in connection with the investigation by WarnerMedia into work environment issues.

Pryor Cashman LLP

Pryor Cashman LLP‘s combination of film, televisual and music industry related litigation expertise has made the firm a compelling choice for film directors, record labels, music publishers and high-profile performers alike. Practice co-head Ilene Farkas is a copyright specialist with extensive experience of co-authorship and royalty disputes. Fellow co-head Donald Zakarin is a music intellectual property expert who represents major recording artists and publishers; he is currently representing Ed Sheeran in a widely publicized copyright infringement song filed by the estate of songwriter Edward Townsend. Copyright and licensing expert Frank Scibilia also co-heads the practice; he specializes in matters that concern new technology. In Miami and Florida, practice co-head James Sammataro is a versatile music lawyer with a transnational reach; he is representing Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment in a parallel copyright infringement matter against the Bang energy drink company. Benjamin Semel rounds off the leadership team- the experienced litigator’s work is informed by his work as a as a mediator and arbitrator for New York City courts. Brad Rose is further recommended for his vigorous defense of his clients’ brand value whether through the prosecution or defense of their IP rights. All named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise specified.

Practice head(s):

Ilene Farkas; James Sammataro; Frank Scibilia; Benjamin Semel; Donald Zakarin


Other key lawyers:

Brad Rose; Benjamin Akley; James Janowitz


Testimonials

‘Pryor Cashman’s media and entertainment litigation practice is exceptional. Their practitioners have a solid grasp of the relevant areas of the law, and are able to provide meaningful and straightforward guidance on such issues. In addition, their turn-around time for advising on issues is timely.’

‘The team is a pleasure to work with. Each member that I’ve worked with listens to and evaluates the issues being presented and provides clear and concise guidance. I trust them.’

Key clients

META


Paulo Londra


Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)


National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)


Netflix


Sony Music Entertainment


Bruno Mars


Mark Ronson


Phil Lawrence


Jeff Bhasker


Ed Sheeran


Sony/ATV Music Publishing


Atlantic Records


AMC Networks


UMG Recordings Inc.


Work highlights


  • Representing the original META in its lawsuit against Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly known as Facebook).

Ballard Spahr LLP

With a strong focus on First Amendment litigation, Ballard Spahr LLP is able to handle many of the increasing number of defamation suits being filed in the United States. The team also has a formidable track record in cases related to government transparency and access to public records, exemplified by the firm’s representation of 16 news organizations seeking access to videos related to the Capitol Riot. In Washington DC, practice head Charles Tobin focuses his practice on media defense, an area that includes prepublication content review, Freedom of Information Act requests and subpoena advice. Libel specialist Leita Walker operates from Minneapolis, and recently submitted written comments to the Minnesota Supreme Court in support of a rule change that would increase the use of cameras in courts. Also in DC, seasoned litigator Jay Ward Brown is highly experienced in fair use copyright and defamation matters; the DC-based lawyer also specializes in obtaining clearance for documentary films and TV series. Philadelphia-based lawyer Michael Berry is also a key name in the team.

Practice head(s):

Charles Tobin


Other key lawyers:

Leita Walker; Jay Ward Brown; Michael Berry; Chad Bowman; Matt Kelley; Thomas Sullivan; David Bodney


Testimonials

‘Ballard is the best of the best — has quality up and down its roster of lawyers, and the experience and judgment to handle any issues that arise. We rely on Ballard heavily for all matters relating to media law.’

‘Jay Brown is our go-to guy for issues facing the company. He is excellent at everything, and also takes a practical approach to find solutions.

‘Chad Bowman is an exceptional litigator.’

‘Matt Kelley combines a passion for a free press with exceptional lawyering skills.’

‘Ballard Spahr is one of the very best media law defense firms in the country. The firm has a deep bench of talented attorneys. Ballard is on the short list of every general counsel for the biggest media cases, and deservedly so.’

‘Jay Brown, Chuck Tobin, Chad Bowman, Matt Kelley, Thomas Sullivan, Michael Berry, David Bodney and Mara Gassmann. All these attorneys are experts in the field and have a winning way with judges and clients alike.’

‘I have been working with Jay Brown as outside counsel for about seven years. In particular, he routinely advises on fair use, copyright and first amendment issues, along with privacy and defamation. I can honestly say he is one of the best (if not the best) outside counsel I have worked with.’

Key clients

A&E Television Networks


ABC, Inc.


Amazon


Amber Heard


Apple


The Associated Press


Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN)


CBS Broadcasting Inc.


Politico LLC


Dow Jones


Fox Television Stations, LLC


Gannett Co., Inc.


Gray Television


Pro Publica


NBCUniversal, Inc.


Netflix


National Public Radio (NPR)


The New York Times Co.


Scripps Media, Inc.


Sinclair Broadcasting Group


Southern Poverty Law Center


Tegna, Inc.


Univision


The Washington Post


Brown Rudnick LLP

A key destination for leading artists and high-net-worth individuals, Brown Rudnick LLP  handles defamation suits, copyright disputes, class actions and various other litigations in cases that frequently attract media scrutiny.  The firm has a particular focus on the reputational management aspect of high-profile cases. Benjamin Chew co-heads the practice in Washington- a renowned litigator, he recently represented Johnny Depp in a widely publicized defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Camille Vasquez who litigated alongside Chew in the Depp defamation case, co-chairs the practice from the firm’s Orange County office; she is also representing Q’orianka Kilcher in a white collar matter pertaining to worker’s compensation fraud. Further recommended is IP specialist Peter Willsey, who, among other matters, handles trademark prosecution work for the film production company Infinitum Nihil.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Chew; Camille Vasquez


Other key lawyers:

Peter Willsey; Wayne Dennison; Rebecca Lecaroz; Jessica Meyers; Sam Moniz; Stephanie Calnan


Testimonials

‘The Brown Rudnick team with which I worked was comprised of a group of attorneys who are some of the most intelligent and uniquely talented individuals I know. Each of the attorneys also exemplified stellar personal character which made them a truly formidable combined force.’

‘I took the stand confident that I was protected and that the person asking me questions understood me and my work. I felt genuinely respected, understood, and safe, and it drew out the best in me.’

‘This diverse and exceptionally capable group of attorneys go above and beyond for their clients.’

‘Ben Chew, Wayne Dennison, and Camille Vasquez are standouts, advocates that you’d always want on your team.’

 

Key clients

Johnny Depp


Q’orianka Kilcher


Majed Khalil


Mark Cuban and Dallas Basketball Limited, d/b/a Dallas Mavericks


Johnny Depp, Jeff Beck and Deuce Music Ltd.


Infinitum Nihil


Samantha Tan Racing/STR38 Motorsports


DivX, LLC


MGM and Wynn Resorts


Liberty University


Work highlights


  • Represented Johnny Depp, in his high-profile defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
  • Representing actress Q’orianka Kilcher who was charged in July 2022 with two felony counts of worker’s compensation fraud by the California Department of Insurance.
  • Representing a Venezuelan businessman in a multi-million defamation lawsuit against Fox Corp., Fox News Network LLC, and former host Lou Dobbs.
     
     

DLA Piper LLP (US)

The Los Angeles-based team at DLA Piper LLP (US) represents a broad mix of high-profile individual artists and organizations from across the entertainment industry in copyright matters, rights of publicity cases and fraud suits.  The team is led by transactions specialist Tom Ara and New York-based sports financing expert Peter White . Seasoned practitioner Michael Garfinkel litigates across the industry; he is currently representing William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in a breach of contract dispute that continues a longstanding working relationship between Garfinkel and the major talent agency. Intellectual property expert Tamany Vinson Bentz takes a keen interest in present-day entertainment issues such as influencer liability and the value of hash tags, representing celebrity  fitness Tracy Anderson in a complex copyright dispute involving copyrighted choreography. Another name to note is Jason Taylor Lueddeke, a resourceful litigator who provides key support to Garfinkel and Bentz.

Practice head(s):

Tom Ara; Peter White


Other key lawyers:

Michael Garfinkel; Tamany Vinson Bentz; Matt Gruenberg


Testimonials

I feel that my matters are well looked after with the team and their guidance is helpful and we feel they are business minded in assessing our exposure to determine appropriate strategies. The team is proactive communicating upcoming deadlines and provides drafts we enough in advance to allow sufficient time for review and discussion before filing.

Mike Garfinkel provides exceptional service and advice that is on point for our risk tolerance as a client. Mike has a very proactive way of managing the litigation process that allows us to feel at ease that nothing will be missed. When dealing with members of the team the information flow is seamless making it easy to progress on matters.

Michael Garfinkel is excellent, knowledgeable and top in his field.

Their expertise, resourcefulness, tactics, responsiveness and professionalism are bar none above other attorneys. Their attorneys have a level of dedication superior to any in my experience.

Matt Gruenberg and Michael Garfinkel are knowledgeable subject matter experts, in the law and in our company\’s industry. They each have an innate approach to problem-solving.

Key clients

Park County (South Park)


Endeavor


Studio 71


The Agency and Mauricio Umansky


Philip Lawrence


Cinelou Films and Courtney Solomon


All Time Low


Jukin Media


Tracy Anderson (fitness)


Zash Global


Thane Direct Inc.


Promedev, LLC


HarborView Equity Partners


William Fay


Raven Capital Management


Body Love LLC


Breaking Code Silence


Camp Gladiator


Trinity Broadcasting Network


Work highlights


  • Represented William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC in a litigation brought by AMHS arising out of the cancellation of a performance by comedian Colin Quinn.
  • Representing the charity Breaking Code Silence on a pro bono basis in an action against two of its former board members that launched a social media smear campaign against the organization.
  • Representing Mauricio Umansky and The Agency real estate brokerage, both of which are featured in the Netflix series “Buying Beverly Hills,” in a litigation concerning a high-value property.
     

Greenberg Traurig LLP

The varied entertainment practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP handles work encompassing tortious lawsuits, copyright infringement actions and defamation cases for the likes of Charlamagne Tha God, Activision Blizzard and The Palm Beach Post. In Los Angeles, practice co-head Vincent Chieffo‘s courtroom experience includes copyright infringement and right of publicity cases; he recently represented Katy Perry in a copyright infringement suit related to an eight note musical figure in the singer’s hit ‘Dark Horse’. Co-head Michael Grygiel operates from the firm’s Albany office; he is a First Amendment specialist who regularly protects news and media organizations from publication related claims. Also in Los Angeles, former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart is a heavy-hitting trial lawyer who recently obtained a court-ordered suspension of Britney Spears’s conservatorship in a highly publicized case. His Los Angeles colleague Jeff Scott is a highly regarded commercial lawyer who recently defended Activision Blizzard in a class action lawsuit.

Practice head(s):

Vincent Chieffo; Michael Grygiel


Other key lawyers:

Mathew Rosengart; Gregory Herbert; Jeff Scott; Nina Boyajian; Robert Harding


Testimonials

‘Mike Grygiel and his team of First Amendment/litigation experts are uniquely able to pair creative legal argument with practical strategies to accomplish client goals.’

‘Mike Grygiel and his team have cutting edge expertise, a unique ability to develop creative legal argument and combine it with practical strategies to accomplish client goals, and a commitment to frequent and open communication with the client. Outcomes have always been 100% successful.’

‘The members of the team with whom I interact are very knowledgeable about current and evolving areas of communications laws, particularly as they involve the internet. Mike Grygiel is a foremost expert on Sec. 230 issues and the ever-changing area of libel and defamation law.’

‘Mike Grygiel has perhaps the country’s most well-rounded and extensive knowledge of information law – from Sec. 230 to libel and defamation to freedom of information laws.’

‘Robert Harding has an extensive knowledge of the players and motivations in NYS and NYC government, and the ways in which they would view legislation relating to media industries.’

Key clients

Activision Blizzard, Inc.


Britney Spears


Gannett Co., Inc.


iHeart Media, Lenard McKelvey a/k/a Charlamagne Tha God


Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (PKA Katy Perry)


Kathy Griffin


Matthias Paul (PKA Paul van Dyk)


Michael and Jacquelyne Love


Telemundo Television Studios


Work highlights


  • Advised Britney Spears on obtaining a court-ordered suspension of her father as conservator, which ended a 13-year-long conservatorship.
  • Represented Katy Perry in a copyright infringement action involving Perry’s hit Dark Horse.
  • Represented Blizzard Entertainment in California Court of Appeal against a lawsuit that asserted challenges to in-game purchases of “loot boxes”.

Katten

The Los Angeles-based team at Katten balances risk assessment aimed at avoiding litigation with a broad contentious practice that encompasses contracts, IP and business disputes for high-profile clients from the music and visual entertainment industry. Practice head Zia Modabber focuses his practice on music industry disputes; he recently represented the estate of Michael Jackson in a matter of first impression matter concerning a posthumous Michael Jackson album. Seasoned litigator David Halberstadter  specializes in intellectual property defense, in a recent highlight he represented Viacom CBS in a copyright infringement case concerning the alleged misuse of a pilot script. Fellow IP expert Joel Weiner also specializes in anti-SLAPP motions. Further recommended is Tami Kameda Sims who provided key support when the aforementioned Michael Jackson matter was argued in front of the California Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Zia Modabber


Other key lawyers:

David Halberstadter; Joel Weiner; Tami Kameda Sims


Key clients

Endemol Shine Latino


Excel Sports Management


Fox Broadcasting Co. and Talk WW Production Inc. (Producers of The Wendy Williams Show)


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


NBCUniversal


Sony Pictures Entertainment


Will Smith


Overbrook Entertainment


CBS Broadcasting, Inc.


Courtney Kemp


Mark Canton


Starz Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment, Katori Hall and others


Trent Reznor


ViacomCBS


Westfield Property Management LLC


New WTC Retail Owner LLC


Work highlights


  • Represented MJJ Productions, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment in an appeal before the California Supreme Court regarding the posthumous Michael Jackson album.
  • Represented Sony Pictures Entertainment against claims of copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition relating to the movie  “Charm City Kings.”
  • Represented Fox Broadcasting Co. and Talk WW Production Inc., regarding a lawsuit filed by an individual, Darryl Wilkins.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown‘s New York-based practice specializes in handling cutting-edge copyright cases for high-profile clients from the music, technology and gaming industries. Practice co-head Paul Fakler specializes in new media-related IP matters, and is currently representing Pandora in a group of copyright infringement cases related to the licensing of jokes in comedy sound recordings. The intellectual property expertise at the firm is further augmented by co-head John Mancini, who is representing Spotify in a copyright dispute related to Eminem tracks. Jacob Ebin centers his practice around the music industry and advises the Television Music License Committee regarding potential litigations.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fakler; John Mancini


Other key lawyers:

Jacob Ebin


Key clients

Pandora Media, LLC


Google


Music Choice


Orchestra Music Licensing Association


Sirius XM


Spotify USA Inc.


Television Music License Committee LLC


Work highlights


  • Represented Google in connection with copyright infringement claims brought by a videogame developer.
  • Representing Pandora Media, LLC in a group of copyright infringement cases filed by various comedians or their estates.
  • Advising SiriusXM with respect to complex music copyright and related policy issues, including counselling regarding the implementation of new music licensing procedures.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

The Century City-based team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP litigates across the entertainment industry with notable expertise in rights of publicity, copyright infringement and breach of contact matters. Renowned litigator Martin Katz leads the team; his varied practice incudes performer injuries, wrongful death disputes and music and distribution rights. Dylan Price is a profit participation specialist with substantial experience of litigating in trials and arbitrations; he is currently representing Campanario and Netflix in a case that revolves around a producer’s claim to the life story rights of the late singer Selena Quintanilla. Another name to note is litigator and trademark attorney Jill Pietrini .

Practice head(s):

Martin Katz


Other key lawyers:

Dylan Price; Jill Pietrini


Key clients

Row 44


Nu Image, 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