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Entertainment

Hueston Hennigan attorneys represent leading motion picture studios, video game publishers, broadcast and cable television networks, music companies, and industry entrepreneurs in a wide array of federal and state court actions, appeals, and arbitration proceedings. Our attorneys have litigated on behalf of defendants and plaintiffs in a wide variety of entertainment matters, including disputes alleging copyright, trademark, and trade dress infringement; right of publicity violations; idea theft; breaches of licensing and distribution, participation, film financing, and executive employment agreements; trade secret violations; and a variety of fraud, interference, personal injury, and other tort actions. Our attorneys have successfully obtained and defeated applications for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, won significant trial and appellate court victories, and obtained favorable settlements in a number of high-profile entertainment disputes.

In addition to their active litigation matters, our attorneys regularly advise major entertainment and media companies on a variety of intellectual property, privacy, and contract issues. We are often consulted in connection with complex business transactions involving the production and distribution of motion pictures and television programming and the drafting of content acquisition and licensing agreements, talent contracts, and participation agreements and releases. Our attorneys are also frequently called upon to perform risk assessments and provide counseling to assist our entertainment and media clients to achieve their business and creative objectives with a view toward avoiding potential future litigation.

Representative Matters

  • Representing IMDb in challenging the constitutionality of a California law restricting online speech. [See "IMDb Sues California Over Law Allowing Actors to Conceal their Ages" in the Wall Street Journal, and "Judge Predicts Doom for Privacy Law on Actor Ages" in Courthouse News Service.]
  • Prevailed in $40 billion battle for corporate control of Viacom on behalf of controlling shareholder and Chairman Emeritus Sumner M. Redstone that was waged in the courts of Delaware, Massachusetts, and California. [See "Viacom Saga Comes to End With Redstones Emerging Victorious" in Bloomberg, and "Redstone Family Prevails in Fight for Viacom" in The Hollywood Reporter.]
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of Electronic Arts in copyright and trade secret action related to The Sims 3, the third installment in the company's best-selling series of life simulation games. Hueston Hennigan attorneys have also successfully represented Electronic Arts in a high-profile dispute related to the hiring of the development team responsible for the "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" video game franchise; trademark infringement actions related to "EA SPORTS Active" and "Mirror's Edge" video games; and right of publicity actions involving "Fight Night" and "Medal of Honor" video games.
  • Representing The Walt Disney Company and more than a dozen of its subsidiaries in multimillion-dollar trademark infringement and unfair competition action involving Toy Story 3.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order for Entertainment One motion picture distribution company on eve of film's premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival.
  • Represented Paramount Pictures in numerous contract and business tort actions related to complex domestic and international film financing transactions.
  • Represented Warner Bros. Entertainment in putative class action related to treatment of home video revenues for purposes of reporting and payment to profit participants.
  • Represented Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, and CBS in a number of copyright and idea submission actions related to scripted and reality television series.
  • Represented Showtime Networks in action alleging Lanham Act and right of publicity violations in connection with misattribution of motion picture.
  • Represented UMG Recordings in a nine-figure negligence and breach of contract lawsuit concerning the valuation of media assets.
  • Represented Oscar-winning filmmaker in accounting and profit participation dispute related to Lord of the Rings.
  • Represented three motion picture studios in multibillion-dollar dispute related to licensing and distribution of pay television services in Australia.
  • Represented owners of and creative talent behind world-famous cartoon characters in litigation against a major motion picture studio for copyright infringement and breach of contract.
  • Represented founders and franchisor of world-famous Improv comedy clubs in trademark infringement and breach of contract disputes.