Publishing and Digital Media

Venable is proud of its long history of providing strategic advice and legal solutions to publishers of print and digital media. Our attorneys are well versed in virtually every area that affects the publishing and media industry (in both the digital and print environments), including intellectual property (such as copyrights and trademarks), and commercial transactions and contracts, corporate mergers and acquisitions, tax law, employment law, government contracting, and litigation.

Our accomplished publishing and digital media team includes a former vice president and general counsel of a market-leading educational publisher, several copyright lawyers who secured 9-0 victories in landmark copyright cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and published authors on the practice of copyright law for other legal practitioners. We handle a wide range of matters related to the publishing industry, including:

"Traditional" Publishing and Digital Media Agreements

  • Publishing agreements
  • Licensing agreements
  • Digital rights agreements
  • Royalty agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Distribution agreements
  • Foreign rights agreements
  • Work-for-hire and other consulting agreements
  • Independent sales representation agreements
  • Permission agreements
  • Warehousing agreements
  • Agreements with federal, state, or local governments

Intellectual Property

  • IP Rights review of publications prior to release, and assistance obtaining rights necessary to publish certain content or publications
  • Copyright counseling, including fair use analyses, online infringement, user-generated content (UGC), and licensing and monetization of your IP
  • Copyright registration matters
  • Trademark counseling, searching/clearance, and registration matters and disputes
  • Patent protection and disputes

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

  • Between publishers and authors
  • Between publishers and licensors
  • Between publishers and vendors
  • Between publishers and other IP rights holders
  • Digital content piracy and book counterfeiting
  • Commercial business disputes

Labor and Employment

  • Employment and HR counseling
  • Employment agreements
  • Litigation


  • General corporate governance issues , including drafting of bylaws and board minutes
  • Qualification to do business in various jurisdictions
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Private equity transactions
  • Taxation
  • Bankruptcy and creditor's rights

General Commercial Contracts

  • Negotiating and drafting common business agreements
  • Vendor contracts
  • Printer agreements
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) agreements
  • Website Terms of Use

Government Contracting Agreements

Other Key Legal Areas for Publishers of Print and Digital Media

  • Advertising and marketing compliance (including issues like CAN-SPAM)
  • Privacy policies and data collection
  • Payment processing and merchant services
  • Sweepstakes, promotions, and contests