Copyrights and Licensing

Every company and organization has copyright issues. They may arise when using software; maintaining a website; doing business online; creating advertising, products, and designs; and publishing newsletters, videos, and other print and electronic materials. Issues also arise when it comes to the use of music, art, and text.

Venable assists clients in acquiring and licensing copyrights, and enforcing and defending those rights. Our attorneys counsel clients on national and international copyright infringement issues, assignments of rights, work-for-hire agreements, ownership disputes, branding issues, licensing and IP audits.

We have decades of litigation experience on the state, federal, and appellate levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court, in copyrights, rights of privacy and publicity, media, and related matters.

Copyright Focus

  • Copyright registration
  • Licensing and purchase/sale of copyrighted material
  • Litigating copyright disputes
  • Reproduction rights
  • Resolving infringement issues
  • Resolving ownership disputes
  • Searching copyright records to determine ownership and protectability
  • Work-for-hire agreements, assignments and releases

Trademark Focus

  • Clearance counseling
  • Customs recordations
  • Infringement issues
  • Licensing
  • Litigation, U.S. and worldwide
  • Technology transfers and corporate transactions
  • Trademark prosecution, U.S. and worldwide

Internet Focus

  • Cybersquatting
  • Domain name best practices
  • False search-engine placement
  • ICANN policies
  • Internet auctions of counterfeits
  • Keyword issues
  • Litigation
  • Online threats to brands
  • Recouping misappropriated names
  • Typosquatting


In the literary world, we negotiate book publishing contracts, author and agent agreements, option agreements and life-story rights.

We assist in music and film agreements across the country.

In the art world, we negotiate artist/gallery agreements, art licensing agreements, agency agreements, art publishing contracts, public work commissions, art donations, and tax-exempt projects, and advise on auctions, collector’s issues, and estate-related concerns dealing with artworks.

Venable is regularly called upon to write photography, television, and film production agreements; talent contracts; host or spokesperson arrangements; and video game development agreements. We help clear rights (copyright, trademark, and publicity) for a wide variety of projects.

We have represented European media organizations such as Agence France Presse, the oldest and one of the largest wire services in the world, and ANSA, Italy’s premiere wire service, in various matters regarding copyright, licensing, infringements, rights of privacy, publicity, and First Amendment issues.

Venable has been active in representing European artists and artistic entities in licensing and protecting their works from counterfeiting in the United States, such as Graphic International in Germany, and the Art Group and Felix Rosenstiel’s Widow and Sons, both in the United Kingdom.

We represented Perdue Farms Inc., the third-largest poultry company in the United States, in license negotiations with the world’s largest media conglomerate for the use of images related to a computer-animated family film.

Venable represented an internationally recognized interior designer in license negotiations with an international furniture manufacturer.

Venable has represented both licensees and licensors in hundreds of product license negotiations for brands, art, sports, celebrities, and events.


  • Managing Intellectual Property, Trademark and Copyright, 2019
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers
    • Law Firm of the Year, Technology, 2017, 2022
    • Best Law Firms, Litigation – Intellectual Property (Tier 1), Washington, DC, 2012 – 2022 - 2023
    • Best Law Firms, Litigation – Intellectual Property (Tier 1), National, 2012 – 2022 - 2023
  • Chambers USA, Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright and Trade Secrets, Washington, DC, 2014 – 2023