Entertainment Industry Litigation

From Los Angeles to New York and Washington, DC, Venable has established a national top-tier entertainment and media litigation practice. We have substantial experience with disputes that involve trademarks, copyrights, First Amendment, idea submission, defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, guild disputes, profit participation, vertical integration claims, royalty payments, violations of the Talent Agencies Act, and interpretation and enforcement of talent, executive, distribution, film, and recording contracts.

Our entertainment and media litigators are supported by an extensive team of trial attorneys, all of whom are distinguished for their tenacity and the ability to try the most simple or complex cases. Each of our entertainment and media litigators has a stellar reputation in the courtroom, among the firm's clients, among their peers, and in the community. What sets Venable's entertainment and media litigators apart from their peers is the level of "think-outside-the box" creativity they bring to resolving matters for clients. 

Venable's entertainment and media litigators' innovative and creative approach to problem solving uniquely qualifies them to assist those in such creative industries as entertainment and media. This enables us to handle litigation and legal matters on the forefront of entertainment law. Venable regularly handles cases involving subject matter with little settled law, establishing important precedents in state and federal courts. 

Venable provides legal service to a wide array of entertainment and media clients, including a significant number of Hollywood's "A-list" talent, producers, directors, talent agencies, personal managers, studios, television networks, distributors, financiers and production companies, recording artists, and music publishing companies. Because we are a full-service firm, we are able to access the knowledge of attorneys in other departments to support our entertainment and media clients, such as tax, corporate, and estate planning.

Intellectual property protection is unique in the entertainment industry. Venable prosecutes and defends our entertainment clients' copyright, trademark, right of publicity, trade dress infringement and idea submission claims, and other intellectual property infringement concerns. We provide assertive counsel on claims, on behalf of celebrities, that involve intentional interference with contracts and invasion of privacy protections. We also manage conflicts over rights acquisitions, the engagement of talent, exploitation, and distribution.

Venable's West Coast litigation team comprises attorneys who have spent decades navigating California's state and federal courts and the ADR system advocating on behalf of their clients. We are experienced trial attorneys who practice across a wide range of issues, including advertising and marketing, commercial litigation, class actions, intellectual property disputes, product liability, entertainment industry matters, real estate issues, white collar criminal defense, employment matters, and wage-and-hour claims.

Government Experience
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Nearly 200 trial attorneys, including attorneys who formerly served as:

  • Government prosecutors
  • U.S. Attorney General 

Experience
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  • Privacy Rights – Defended media in a putative class action challenging mobile ad serving technology under a variety of state and federal privacy statutes in one of the first cases to challenge tracking of mobile Internet usage. The matter was dismissed without prejudice after 12(b)(6) motions were filed and subsequent non-approval of a proposed settlement. The cases were never re-filed
  • Securities Fraud – Represented advertising giant in a securities derivative suit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California alleging a "pump-and dump" scheme in which the defendant aggressively promoted the Company to new investors and then sold new investors large quantities of their own secondary shares at ever-increasing valuations
  • Unfair Business Acts – Defended a mobile content provider against several consumer class actions alleging false advertising and improper business practices
  • False Advertisement – Obtained defense summary judgment affirmed by the Ninth District, in a widely publicized matter involving a large fast food franchise's advertising trademark
  • Intellectual Property – Representing a media outlet in an ongoing federal action regarding copyright/trademark rights concerning a well-known cartoon character's name/image
  • Class Action Wage and Hour – Represented over 40 independent commercial producers, including industry leaders, in an entertainment industry-wide wage & hour class-action lawsuit. We continued to represent many of these producers in opt-out and related individual actions
  • Royalty Dispute – Representing a producer in a royalty dispute and contingent compensation related to game shows on network television
  • Publicity Rights – Represented artists in complex contractual disputes which involved copyright infringement allegations
  • Residual Audits and Guild Arbitration – Representing several independent production companies with distribution audits and arbitrating Guild claims arising from the audits
  • Breach of Contract/Fraud – Representing partner in the purchase and sale of a high-profile entertainment company who was cut out of fees and other compensation owed because of his role in the transaction
  • Employment Discrimination – Representing internationally renowned musician and actress against wrongful termination claims and in counterclaims for extortion

Representative Clients
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Our West Coast team has represented or is currently representing:

  • Prominent advertising agency in a major dispute over a well-known commercial character;
  • Heirs to the creator of a famous cartoon character in a copyright/trademark dispute;
  • Major studio in a rights/accounting dispute over a feature film, among other matters;
  • Major studio in a patent ligation matter;
  • Major studio in a naming rights dispute;
  • Several A-list celebrities in real property, royalty, accounting, and other business litigation matters;
  • Many commercial production companies in clearance/rights cases, catastrophic production accidents, wage/hour matters, and ownership/accounting disputes; and
  • Cable television network in a "bet the company" trademark dispute with world's largest liquor company.