Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation, Insolvency & Creditors' Rights
- IP Litigation
- Media Law
- Loyola Law School, J.D., Scott Moot Court Honors Society, 1985
- California State University, Northridge, B.S., Finance, cum laude, 1982
Bar & Court Admissions
Harvey W. Geller
Los Angeles CA 90067
Harvey Geller is a well-known litigation attorney in the entertainment industry. Prior to joining Steptoe’s intellectual property, media, and litigation groups, Mr. Geller was Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs at Universal Music Group (UMG) – one of the largest entertainment companies in the world with interests in recorded music, music publishing, distribution, artist management, and merchandise. For more than 15 years, Mr. Geller served as primary legal counsel for UMG with respect to matters and disputes involving intellectual property (copyright, trademarks and patents), antitrust, Internet, business torts, defamation and trade libel, contracts, accountings and royalties, bankruptcy, employment, and insurance.
Mr. Geller has been at the forefront of almost every major issue affecting the intellectual property and online communities and the entertainment industry, and was instrumental in developing and shaping new media and Internet piracy law. He litigated the landmark cases against MP3.com, Napster, Aimster, Grokster, and LimeWire, in addition to the industry leading cases against “user generated content” websites. He also litigated the groundbreaking case against Napster's investors, and was instrumental in creating one of the largest and most successful nationwide anti-piracy programs ever instituted in the United States.
Prior to joining UMG, Mr. Geller was a partner with a prominent mid-sized general practice law firm in Los Angeles, where he built a complex business litigation practice with an emphasis on intellectual property, unfair competition, unfair business practices, antitrust, securities, and entertainment. At that firm, Mr. Geller served as the Assistant Chair of the Entertainment Litigation Practice Group
Mr. Geller has extensive state and federal court experience in all aspects of litigation, including trial and appeals. His significant matters have included:
- MGM v. Grokster - Copyright infringement action involving p2p file sharing service which resulted in seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing claim for inducement of copyright infringement.
- UMG v. MySpace; UMG v. Grouper; UMG v. DivX; UMG v. Veoh - First copyright infringement actions involving the scope of the DMCA safe harbors filed against social networking sites.
- A&M v. Napster - First contributory and vicarious copyright infringement action involving p2p file sharing service. Resulted in influential 9th Cir. decision.
- UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Bertelsmann; UMG v. Hummer-Winblad - Copyright infringement actions brought against investors in Napster after Napster filed for bankruptcy. Case established law for pursuing investors.
- Arista v. LimeWire - Contributory and vicarious infringement action involving biggest p2p file sharing service. Settled during trial for one of largest copyright settlements in history.
- Mattel v. MCA - Defended trademark and dilution claims concerning the name “Barbie.” Obtained summary judgment which was affirmed on appeal by 9th Cir. in major trademark and First Amendment decision.
- UMG Recordings v. MP3.com - Direct copyright infringement action involving the creation of a database of 80,000 recordings. Obtained summary judgment on liability and $53 million judgment after damages trial.
- In re CD Antitrust Litigation - Defended against antitrust class actions brought by retailers and consumers alleging horizontal agreement with respect to CD pricing.
- In re Minimum Advertised Price Litigation - Defended against antitrust class actions brought by Attorneys General in forty-two states and private consumers alleging vertical and horizontal agreements in connection with minimum advertising price policies.
- Federal Trade Commission v. Polygram - Defended against price fixing action brought by FTC with respect to Three Tenors recordings.
- Lemelson Foundation v. Universal - Defended against patent claims regarding vision technology used in the manufacture of CDs.
- Lee v. Decca - Defended against class action brought by recording artists with respect to royalty payments.
- HLC v. MCA - Defended against royalty claims brought by Bing Crosby's heirs. Case resulted in significant California Supreme Court decision defining the scope of the attorney-client privilege.
- MCA v. Sehorn; MCA v. Charly Records - Unfair competition actions involving 25,000 pre-1972 recordings, Cases won at trial and affirmed on appeal.
- Steiner v. ABC - Copyright infringement class action involving thousands of songs used in soap operas. Case resulted in $65 million settlement.
- TVT v. IDJ - Defended against interference claims. Adverse trial judgment of $132 million successfully reversed on appeal in 2nd Cir.
Mr. Geller is also a longtime member of the City of Hope’s Music and Entertainment Industry group. Through its fundraising activities, this group supports the City of Hope’s efforts to prevent and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.