Lee S. Brenner

Partner
Lee Brenner
Lee Brenner, chair of Venable's Entertainment and Media Litigation Group, is a trial attorney and business litigator. With numerous published decisions in his career, Lee is a proven litigator with deep experience in the media and entertainment industry, particularly in the areas of defamation, copyright law, idea theft, credit disputes, privacy, intellectual property, and right of publicity. He also has developed significant experience regarding defamation by anonymous posters on the Internet. He has an extensive background in handling high-stakes business disputes.

Lee is a recognized leader among his peers. He is co-editor of the Communications Lawyer, the American Bar Association’s publication on media and First Amendment law. A sought-after speaker and educator, Lee speaks regularly to clients and professional groups on the subjects of defamation, right of publicity, copyright, idea submission, and privacy. Lee is also dedicated to community service. Notably, he has performed pro bono counsel and trial work regarding First Amendment issues.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Obtained the dismissal of a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit relating to a television comedy series. The plaintiffs alleged the series infringed several of their works. The case was dismissed with prejudice at the pleading stage on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to state a plausible claim of access, as well as substantial similarity
  • Successfully defended against claims involving invasion of privacy regarding celebrity sex tape by employing California's anti-SLAPP statute
  • Obtained a dismissal of a $200 million copyright infringement claim relating to a popular cable television series. The case was affirmed by the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Obtained a dismissal of claims for copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, unfair competition under the Lanham Act, and declaratory relief arising from a television show on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to allege any reasonable theory of access to her alleged works, and that the television show and the plaintiff's alleged works were not substantially similar as a matter of law
  • Obtained a summary judgment against copyright, Lanham Act, and state unfair competition claims on the basis that the use of the plaintiff's artwork constituted "fair use" and that plaintiff failed to show that he had a valid, protectable trademark; attorneys' fees were awarded to the client. Affirmed by the Ninth Circuit in August 2013
  • Represented numerous studios, movie producers, and celebrities; obtained a summary judgment against the plaintiff's numerous copyright and RICO claims premised upon the creation, release, and distribution of a motion picture; and obtained an award of more than $900,000 in attorneys' fees and costs against the plaintiff. Affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (July 2012)
  • Obtained a dismissal of fraud and breach of contract claims; secured an award of more than $550,000 in attorneys' fees in the client's favor
  • Defended a celebrity and others in a copyright infringement action concerning a television series. Obtained a judgment dismissing the action at the pleading stage, and affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Also obtained a dismissal of the case when the plaintiff later filed similar claims in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • Obtained a dismissal of claims for unfair competition and false advertising in connection with a motion picture
  • Represented a television network and a celebrity in a copyright infringement action concerning a documentary and successfully defended against an application for a temporary restraining order and a motion for preliminary injunction
  • Obtained a dismissal, at the pleading stage, of the plaintiffs' claim for copyright infringement arising from one of TV's most popular cooking shows
  • Obtained a defense judgment on claims of age discrimination and e-discovery spoliation following a two-week arbitration in Denver, Colorado
  • Successfully opposed an application for preliminary injunction and negotiated the dismissal of a trademark infringement suit concerning a television series
  • Obtained a dismissal under California's anti-SLAPP statute of claims arising from a hidden-camera news report on doctors and unaccredited medical schools
  • Defeated an application for TRO in Chicago for alleged trademark violations in connection with a television series
  • Handled three lawsuits involving claims of antitrust, trademark infringement, and unfair competition in New York, Northern California, and Southern California; a confidential settlement was reached
  • Successfully defended claims at several trials involving Penal Code Section 632 and intentional interference with contract

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. cum laude University of California, Hastings College of the Law 1995
  • B.S. with distinction University of Wisconsin-Madison 1992

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, Los Angeles Copyright Society
  • Member, Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
  • Co-editor, Communications Lawyer, the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law's publication

Recognition
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  • Chambers USA, Media & Entertainment: Litigation, California, 2019
  • Listed in "Top Intellectual Property Lawyers," Daily Journal, 2019
  • National Law Journal's Trailblazers for Intellectual Property, 2019
  • Benchmark Litigation, California local litigation star, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Media Law, 2016 - 2019
  • Recognized in Los Angeles Business Journal's Leaders in Law, 2018
  • Selected as one of Southern California's Super Lawyers in 2011 - 2019; selected as one of Southern California's Rising Stars from 2005 - 2010