Linda J. Zirkelbach

Linda Zirkelbach
Linda Zirkelbach has extensive experience representing prominent media companies, book and software publishers, and nonprofits in a range of intellectual property matters, with a focus on leading IP enforcement actions for major companies, publishing law, strategic IP counselling and clearance work, digital media and rights issues, and trademark strategy and disputes. Linda regularly counsels clients on complex copyright and trademark issues; litigates in the areas of copyright and trademark; negotiates and drafts copyright and trademark license agreements, publishing agreements, and other IP agreements; and reviews and clears publications and other productions prior to launch.

Linda has significant experience across a host of copyright infringement matters and has particularly deep experience in digital/online infringement and anti-piracy, with an emphasis on complex Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) issues. Her primary areas of focus are based on her experience holding senior in-house counsel roles in the music and publishing industries. She leverages her insight into the business needs of an organization to provide strategic, practical, and clear advice to her clients. 

After beginning her career as a Venable associate, she served as vice president, legal affairs, for the Recording Industry Association of America, where she was actively involved in high-profile copyright litigation for the major U.S. record companies. She later became vice president and general counsel of a leading publishing and media company, handling intellectual property issues and a broad spectrum of corporate, commercial, and strategic business matters and serving on the company’s executive committee.

Linda has advised clients in a range of industries, including music, book and magazine publishing, entertainment, software, digital media, alcoholic beverage and restaurant services, trade associations and nonprofits, university/higher education, and consumer goods. She represents their interests before federal courts across the country, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), and the U.S. Copyright Office. 



Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel running various national copyright enforcement efforts on behalf of a variety of prominent content owners
  • Lead counsel on numerous copyright litigations in federal court for well-known plaintiffs
  • Manage trademark enforcement efforts of well-known national fitness center chain
  • Successfully defended motion for temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by customer against software company seeking to terminate customer for breach of software licensing agreement, then negotiated and finalized multimillion dollar settlement
  • Negotiated and finalized a book publishing deal for prominent federal politician
  • Managed high-profile copyright litigation on behalf of the leading U.S. record companies, resulting in numerous precedent-setting court decisions
  • Served on the legal team responsible for the movie and record industry’s 9-0 victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in MGM Studios v. Grokster
  • Represented a well-known magazine/media company in copyright infringement litigation against a web host involving Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and safe harbor issues
  • Managed trademark enforcement efforts of a well-known charitable organization
  • Negotiated a complex development and licensing agreement on behalf of a client opposite organization behind a major, internationally known television show and media/merchandising company
  • Successfully defended a $36 million dollar false advertising litigation; prevailed at jury trial in federal court

Representative Decisions

  • MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd, 545 U.S. 913 (2005)
  • BMG Music v. Gonzalez, 430 F.3d 888 (7th Cir. 2005)
  • Arista Records, Inc. v. Beker Enterprises, Inc., 298 F. Supp. 2d 1310 (S.D. Fla. 2003)

Noteworthy Briefs

  • Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films (6th Cir.) (amicus)
  • Costar Group, Inc. v. Loopnet, Inc. (4th Cir) (amicus)
  • RIAA v. Verizon Internet Services, Inc. (D.C. Cir and U.S. Supreme Court)
  • RIAA v. Charter Communications, Inc. (8th Cir.)
  • Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc. (9th Cir.) (amicus)
  • Rossi v. Motion Picture Association of America (9th Cir.) (amicus)




  • J.D. cum laude American University, Washington College of Law 1999
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
  • B.A. University of Michigan 1995

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Trustee, Copyright Society of the USA, 2020 - 2023
  • Member, International Trademark Association 
  • Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association 
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar, Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association 
  • Former board member and general counsel, Women in Technology 


Linda has been recognized for her considerable skill advising on a wide range of sophisticated trademark and copyright matters. Clients state that she “is passionate about her work and an excellent practitioner,” and that she “actively engages on all matter[s] and ensures optimum results.” (Chambers USA)

  • Chambers USA, Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets, Washington, DC, 2019 – 2023
  • Legal 500, Trademarks: Non-Contentious, 2015
  • Business Today, Top 10 Influential IP Lawyers in DC, 2023