Fast-moving, disruptive technological change is transforming the way entertainment and media are created, licensed, distributed, and consumed. We help clients in this rapidly evolving business environment mitigate risk and maximize opportunity.
Our team represents leading motion picture studios, video game publishers, broadcast and cable television networks, music companies, and industry entrepreneurs in a broad array of high-stakes federal and state court actions, appeals, and arbitration proceedings.
We have a strong track record of results for defendants and plaintiffs in a wide range of entertainment matters, including disputes alleging copyright, trademark, and trade dress infringement; right of publicity violations; idea theft; breaches of licensing, distribution, participation, film financing, and executive employment agreements; trade secret violations; and a variety of fraud, interference, personal injury, and other tort actions. Our lawyers have successfully obtained and defeated applications for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, won significant trial and appellate court victories, and negotiated favorable settlements in a number of high-profile entertainment disputes.
In addition to resolving disputes, we regularly advise major entertainment and media companies on intellectual property, privacy, and contract issues. Our team provides risk assessments and advises clients on ways to avoid potential litigation so they can stay focused on achieving their business and creative goals.
Prevailed in a $40 billion battle for corporate control of Viacom on behalf of controlling shareholder and Chairman Emeritus Sumner Redstone, which was waged in the courts of Delaware, Massachusetts, and California. (See “The King of Content: Sumner Redstone’s Battle for Viacom, CBS, and Everlasting Control of His Media Empire,” Harper Business; “Redstone Family Prevails in Fight for Viacom,” The Hollywood Reporter).
Represented the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) in a successful challenge to the constitutionality of a California statute restricting online speech. Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctions invalidating the statute. (See “California’s IMDb Age Censorship Law Declared Unconstitutional,” The Hollywood Reporter; “California can’t force IMDb to stop publishing actors’ ages, judge rules,” The Los Angeles Times).
Obtained dismissal for Shari Redstone of federal RICO lawsuit filed by her father’s ex-companion, who had accused Ms. Redstone of having conspired to remove her from her father’s life and estate plan as part of a scheme to seize control of Viacom and CBS. (See “Judge Dismisses Ex-Companion’s Suit Against Sumner Redstone’s Daughter, Grandson,” The Wall Street Journal; “The Muscle Behind Shari Redstone’s War,” Vanity Fair).
Won a unanimous defense verdict for Electronic Arts in a jury trial regarding a copyright claim related to The Sims 3, the third installment in the company’s best-selling series of life simulation games. Also won summary judgment for Electronic Arts on a companion claim for alleged trade secret misappropriation and secured affirmance of that ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Represented Amazon Studios in defending against claims filed by Woody Allen and his production company after Amazon terminated its motion picture deal with Mr. Allen in the wake of the #MeToo movement. (See “Woody Allen Takes Big Hit In $68M Suit Over Amazon Ending Movie Deal,” Deadline).
Obtained dismissal of a dozen subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company from a multimillion-dollar trademark infringement and unfair competition action involving Toy Story 3. Recently argued the appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Prevailed on behalf of media mogul Sumner Redstone after just one day of a high-profile probate trial challenging his mental capacity. Secured affirmance of the ruling on appeal to the California Court of Appeal. (See “Judge dismisses mental competency case against Sumner Redstone,” Los Angeles Times).
Represented media mogul Sumner Redstone in defending against a high-profile challenge to his mental capacity filed by former companion Manuela Herzer. Obtained dismissal of Herzer’s challenge after just one day of trial.
Obtained dismissal for Sumner Redstone of derivative actions filed by CBS and Viacom shareholders in Delaware Chancery Court that sought to claw back compensation Redstone earned in connection with his board service. (See “Chancery Throws Out Challenge to Redstone’s Viacom Pay,” Law360).
Successfully defended Lionsgate and comedian Kevin Hart in a federal trademark infringement action challenging the use of the “Laugh Out Loud” name for their digital comedy venture.
Obtained a confidential settlement for Electronic Arts in a high-profile dispute related to the hiring of the development team responsible for the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare video game franchise.
Successfully defended Electronic Arts in trademark infringement and right of publicity actions related to EA SPORTS Active, Fight Night, Medal of Honor, and Mirror’s Edge video games.
Obtained a temporary restraining order for Entertainment One (eOne) entertainment company on the eve of a motion picture premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival.
Obtained confidential settlements for Paramount Pictures in multimillion-dollar contract and business tort actions involving complex domestic and international film financing transactions.
Successfully represented Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, and CBS in defending against copyright and idea submission claims related to various scripted and reality television series.
Obtained a favorable settlement for UMG Recordings in a nine-figure negligence and breach of contract lawsuit concerning the valuation of media assets.
Obtained a confidential settlement for an Oscar-winning filmmaker in an accounting and profit participation dispute related to The Lord of the Rings.
Successfully defended the founders and franchisor of the world-famous Improv Comedy Club in trademark infringement and breach of contract disputes.