Copyright and Entertainment
Steptoe represents entertainment, technology, and media companies – including television networks, music companies, literary publishers, and satellite and Internet-based content distributors – on a host of entertainment and copyright related matters.
Our lawyers combine extensive experience in media and entertainment law – including complex commercial disputes, matters involving the sale of television and radio stations, non-compete agreements, changes in talent/personnel, advertising disputes, and agreements involving the development of television shows, books and other media.
We also prepare and negotiate appropriate acquisition, transfer, funding, licensing, and other contracts formalizing transactions to protect and exploit clients’ respective talent and publicity rights, and also provide pre-publication review of news and other copy. Steptoe’s copyright experience runs the gamut from high-stakes cutting edge copyright infringement litigation to securing and advising on copyright rights in the first instance. We also negotiate copyright licenses and we draft and negotiate agreements to assist in the exploitation and distribution of copyrighted films, television programs, and other media. We have the technical skill necessary to handle copyright issues related to computer software, and have successfully represented high technology clients in copyright infringement matters. In addition, we work with law enforcement agencies to protect our clients’ rights by preventing the sale of pirated material.
We have a deep understanding of new media platforms and distribution technologies, which provides our clients with an unparalleled ability to engage in disputes and counseling involving the intersection of copyright and technology.
Through our experience, we serve as both litigators and counselors for our clients. We are proud of our success in litigation but we are equally proud of our ability to resolve matters outside of litigation. Through efficient representation, we work to keep the business interests of our clients paramount.
- Adobe Systems Incorporated et al. v. Forever 21, Inc. et al. (N.D. Cal. 2015) – Steptoe is representing Forever 21 in a copyright infringement suit relating to software products.
- BMG Rights Management (US) LLC et al. v. Cox Enterprises, Inc. et al. (E.D. Va. 2014) – Successfully represented BMG Rights Management US LLC in a copyright infringement case against Cox and prevailed at trial with a finding of willful contributory infringement and $25M in damages awarded, which was the largest awarded in Virginia in 2015.
- Energy Intelligence Group, Inc. et al. v. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (S.D. Tex. 2014) - Represented Raymond James Financial in a copyright infringement suit.
- Michael Miller Fabrics, LLC v. Kuhn Rikon Corp. (S.D. N.Y. 2013) - Represented Sears Holdings Management Corp. in a copyright infringement suit related to a fabric design.
- Eighth Floor Promotions, LLC v. R.S. Owens & Co. (S.D. Ohio, 2009) - Representing Eighth Floor Promotions, LLC in a copyright infringement case related to rival trophy design.
- Stratos v. Telenor (D. Md. 2004) – Represented Stratos Global Corporation in copyright infringement litigation related to computer software.
- Kay v. Kanter (Los Angeles Super. Ct., 2007) – Represented, Kay, young filmmaker in a declaratory relief action concerning the ownership of a copyrighted film. The case concluded with a settlement that resulted in our client owning all rights in the film.
- Textile Secrets International, Inc. v. Ya-Ya Brand Inc., 524 F. Supp. 2d 1184 (C.D. Cal., 2007) – Represented Ya-Ya Brand Inc. and successfully obtained summary judgment on a novel issue of law concerning the proper interpretation of a provision under the DMCA.
- Kirchman Corporation v. Regions Financial Corporation (M.D. Fla., 2006) – Defended Regions in a contract action concerning bank data processing software in which the plaintiff was seeking in excess of $60 million. The action was concluded with a settlement favorable to Regions.
- The Welk Group, Inc. v. Televisa, S.A. de C.V. (Los Angeles Super. Ct., 2006) – Defended Televisa in a common-law copyright infringement action involving music in television programs.
- Cassetica Software, Inc. v. 3M Company (N.D. IL, 2009) – Represented defendant 3M Company in a copyright infringement litigation regarding the NotesMedicTM software for the LotusNotes program. The case was successfully settled on behalf of 3M.
- Advised on copyright transfer agreements relating to the book American Grown by Michelle Obama.
- Counsel to a major technology company before the US Copyright Office in analyzing various petitions involved in the DMCA’s Triennial Rulemaking.
- Counsel to a major cable television network in negotiations over distribution agreements with MVPDs.
- Counsel to production company on television co-production agreements with Chinese production companies for broadcasting and distribution of TV shows in China.
- Counsel to the largest Hispanic television production and distribution company in the structuring their co-production agreements in China for compliance with Chinese regulations of television broadcasting and production in China.
- Counsel to young filmmaker in connection with a movie starring Kevin Bacon in a declaratory relief action concerning the ownership of a copyrighted film. The case concluded with a settlement that resulted in our client owning all rights in the film.
- Counsel to a major Hispanic television station in a common-law copyright infringement action involving music in television programs.
- Counsel to a premier emergency response organization in connection with the negotiation of a production agreement for a reality program focused on that organization.
- Counsel to a high profile celebrity’s talent managers in connection with a lawsuit filed against them and their client arising out of a dispute concerning a reality television show.
- Counsel to a production company in defense of injunction proceedings involving rights to a major motion picture.
- Counsel to a production company in two successive actions against another production company alleging underpayment of royalties in connection with the licensing of a film library.
- Counsel to an internet record producer and recording company in connection with copyright protection and exposure of doing business of music downloads over the Internet.
- Counsel to a non-profit radio company providing broadcast to southeast Asia in connection with music licensing issues.
- Counsel to a major entertainment company in connection with trademark portfolio management for its subsidiary; assisted with trademark clearance counseling, prosecution, and enforcement.
- Counsel to a major broadcasting company in connection with a trademark action to protect its logo, and defended defamation and privacy actions against that company in two states.
- Counsel to the producer of a popular videotape series and related marketing efforts against invasion of privacy and related claims in the Arizona Superior Court.
- Counsel to two major network affiliate stations in Phoenix in a wide range of matters, including intellectual property, defamation and privacy and related matters.
- Counsel to various celebrities in connection with issues and agreements related to use of licensing and talent agents, fashion lines and brand launching, and all related trademark, copyright and licensing issues.
Select News & Events
- Leader’s Edge Magazine Quotes Rachel Hofstatter on Copyright Infringement
- Steptoe Secures $10M Judgment Against Internet Pirate
- Law360 Quotes Michael Rips on Monkey Selfie Copyright Battle
- Law360 Features Charles Schill for Practice Leaders Q&A
- “Entertainment & Sports Law Annual Meeting,” ABA
- “Voluntary Initiatives Addressing Copyright Infringement in the Online Environment,” USPTO
- Computer Copyright and Tying Agreements: An Argument for the Abandonment of the Presumption of Market Power1987, Boston College Law Review