Entertainment Litigator Harvey Geller Joins SteptoeOctober 11, 2012
(October 11, 2012, Century City) — Steptoe is pleased to announce that Harvey Geller, an entertainment lawyer who has played a leading role in many of the music industry’s major litigation efforts over the past 20 years, has joined the firm’s Intellectual Property Group as of counsel. Mr. Geller arrives at Steptoe from Universal Music Group (UMG), a multi-billion dollar world-wide entertainment company, where he was deputy general counsel and senior vice president for business and legal affairs. He will be resident in the firm’s Century City office, but will also work on entertainment industry representations emanating from other Steptoe offices, particularly New York.
As head of litigation at UMG, Mr. Geller was at the forefront of almost every major issue affecting the entertainment industry including intellectual property, copyright, and online activities. He was instrumental in creating the largest and most successful nationwide anti-piracy program ever instituted in the United States, and in developing and shaping new media and Internet piracy law. Mr. Geller litigated landmark cases including UMG Recordings v. MP3.com, A&M v. Napster, and Arista v. LimeWire, as well as MGM v. Grokster, which resulted in a US Supreme Court opinion that recognized for the first time inducement of copyright infringement as a cause of action. Mr. Geller also litigated industry-leading cases against “user generated content” websites and litigated the groundbreaking cases against Napster’s investors after Napster filed for bankruptcy.
“Harvey has a strong reputation as one of the leading copyright litigators in the music business, particularly in the recording industry’s high-profile battles with ‘New Media’/Internet companies. Few lawyers have been more actively involved in litigating Internet, digital, new media and DMCA issues than Harvey,” said Roger Warin, chair of Steptoe. “His arrival will boost our expertise and profile for intellectual property and for entertainment matters.”
Mark Neubauer, managing partner of Steptoe’s Century City office, added: “Both friend and foe acknowledge that Harvey is one of the brightest in the field of copyright litigation. We welcome the addition of someone who has so influenced the intellectual property and entertainment world. The skill and success which he provided to UMG for so many years is now available to a large swath of clients.”
In addition to leading intellectual property cases at UMG, Mr. Geller led the company’s efforts on a wide array of other matters, ranging from class action antitrust litigations to business torts to accounting and royalty disputes. Aside from litigations, he also handled government investigations, and was extensively involved with matters in numerous foreign countries. Prior to joining UMG, Mr. Geller was a litigation partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, an entertainment law firm in Century City.
Mr. Geller commented: “Steptoe’s deep expertise in complex litigation coupled with its impeccable reputation provides a great platform for me. I am looking forward to utilizing the experiences I have gained over the past 25 years to handle intellectual property, Internet, new media and entertainment litigation matters for the firm’s existing clients, as well as my many contacts in the intellectual property and entertainment communities.”
Steptoe’s Intellectual Property Group helps clients develop, exploit, and defend their intellectual property to produce enduring competitive advantages. The team’s lawyers have been recognized by Chambers, the Legal500, Intellectual Asset Management and the World Trademark Review, and three Century City partners have twice been named to the Daily Journal’s list of the Top 25 Intellectual Property Portfolio Managers in California.
Alfred Mamlet, head of Steptoe’s Intellectual Property Department, commented: “Harvey is one of the preeminent copyright litigators in the country. Adding him strengthens our full service IP practice, enhancing our ability to serve our entertainment, Internet, media and software industry clients.”
Mr. Geller earned his law degree from Loyola Law School, where he was a member of the Scott Moot Court Honors Society. He received a B.S., cum laude, from California State University. He is a member of the executive committee of the City of Hope’s Music and Entertainment Industry, an organization which has raised more than $80 million for cancer prevention and other life-threatening diseases since its founding in 1973.
Mr. Geller’s arrival was announced in The Hollywood Reporter.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP is an international law firm widely recognized for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.