• Contacts

    ROBERT A. JACOBS

    Partner

    Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Litigation
    email

    JOHN M. GATTI

    Partner

    Litigation
    Co-Chair, Entertainment & Media Litigation
    email

    Entertainment & Media Litigation

    With coast-to-coast resources backing entertainment litigation teams in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, Manatt offers a breadth of full-service capabilities to provide you with a level of counsel you can’t find anywhere else.

    We know the industry players, often on a first-name basis, and we complement in-depth knowledge of industry deals and transactions with a proven record in entertainment and media litigation. Unlike other firms, we don’t focus on one aspect of these industries. Instead, our strength lies in a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses television, radio, motion pictures, music, digital entertainment, art and advertising. From high-profile disputes over copyright infringement and breach of contract to right of publicity matters, trademark claims, false advertising consumer class actions and Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims, you can be confident in Manatt’s counsel—because chances are we’ve already handled a case like yours.

    We’re nationally recognized as leaders in the defense of “song theft” or music copyright matters, and our representation of popular talent places us among the most renowned firms in the country for these types of disputes.

    Industries
    Manatt provides a full range of litigation and dispute resolution services within the following core entertainment industries.

    Music:  Manatt represents recording artists, record labels, music publishers, songwriters, record producers, distributors, managers, concert promoters and booking agencies in a full range of matters.

    Motion Pictures/Television: Manatt represents motion picture studios, television broadcasters, producers, distributors, sales agents, financiers and above-the-line talent in a variety of disputes, including copyright infringement and idea submission claims; disputes among underlying rights claimants; contract disputes arising out of content production, distribution and financing, and profit participation and accounting; and artist-manager disputes.

    Advertising: Manatt represents a wide range of talent, advertising agencies, content providers and licensors, broadcasters, and consumer goods companies in a variety of advertising and branded entertainment-related disputes, including contract, copyright, right of publicity and trademark claims, as well as in the defense of false advertising consumer class actions. When it comes to litigation, we’re often the trailblazers:

    • We have successfully represented IMAX Corporation in net profit disputes, litigation involving 3-D cinema patents and surrounding intellectual property, and film clearance disputes.
    • We represented IAC in a national class action involving online promotions for its Internet media companies.
    • We represented NBC/Universal and Fox (as well as the production companies for American Idol and Deal or No Deal) in a national class action alleging that text message promotional games violate state lottery laws.
    • We represented HBO in a high-profile fraud and breach of contract matter and obtained full dismissal of the lawsuit on behalf of our client and others.
    • On behalf of Beacon Pictures, we negotiated a favorable settlement with a union trust fund for cents on the dollar. The fund was seeking millions of dollars in additional pension and health contributions for crew members on an entire library of pictures. Beacon is responsible for many blockbuster movies, including Air Force One, Bring It On and The Hurricane.
    • We represented the Michael Jackson estate and AEG Live, producers of Michael Jackson’s This Is It, the highest-grossing concert documentary of all time, in their guild and union contracts.
    • We defended Arista Records against a breach of contract claim by former members of the 1970s pop music group Bay City Rollers.
    • We tried the Anthony Pellicano “private eye to the stars” criminal RICO case and represented the defendants in the Ninth Circuit appeal.
    • We have conducted numerous confidential internal investigations for sports leagues, media companies and production companies in the context of alleged criminal misconduct.

    Attorneys & Professionals

    Email
    Name
    Office
    Phone
    Brown, Donald R. Los Angeles 310.312.4318
    Brunswick, Alan M. Los Angeles 310.312.4213
    de Recat, Craig J. Los Angeles 310.312.4319
    Escalante, Kristin S. Los Angeles 310.312.4124
    Gatti, John M. Los Angeles 310.312.4169
    Hummel, Chad S. Los Angeles 310.312.4197
    Iorlano, Diana Iketani Los Angeles 310.312.4356
    Kaufman, Kenneth M. Washington, D.C. 202.585.6532
    Lacks, Jeremy R. New York 212.790.4572
    Lee, Mark S. Los Angeles 310.312.4128
    Lessoff, David S. Los Angeles 310.312.4145
    Parcher, L. Peter New York 212.790.4520
    Peluso, Kimo S. New York 212.790.4570
    Petrossian, Emil Los Angeles 310.312.4294
    Pines, Adam Los Angeles 310.312.4322
    Shah, Nirav S. New York 212.790.4511
    Shatz, Benjamin G. Los Angeles 310.312.4383
    Sheehan, Amy Terry New York 212.790.4548
    Topper, Prana A. New York 212.790.4615
    Witkow, Erin C. Los Angeles 310.312.4176
    Wollman, Shari Mulrooney Los Angeles 310.312.4309

    Entertainment & Media Litigation

    Selected Clients

    • Atlantic Records
    • BMG Rights Management
    • EMI Music Publishing
    • NBC Universal
    • Sony Music Entertainment
    • Sony Pictures Entertainment
    • Ticketmaster
    • Warner Chappell
    • Warner Music Group

    Entertainment & Media Litigation

    Representative Matters

    Copyrights, Rights of Publicity and Trademarks

    • Ticketmaster L.L.C. v. RMG Techs., Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2007). Obtained a preliminary injunction for Ticketmaster based on copyright infringement, violation of Digital Millennium Copyright Act and breach of contract to stop defendant from creating and distributing computer programs that allowed defendant’s clients to “cut in line” in front of regular consumers buying tickets on www.ticketmaster.com website.
    • Love v. The Mail on Sunday (C.D. Cal. 2007). Represented Beach Boy Brian Wilson in two separate lawsuits brought by fellow group member Mike Love for copyright infringement, trademark infringement and violation of the right of publicity over the alleged unauthorized use of Love’s image and the Beach Boys’ trademark in connection with Wilson’s compilation CD in the United Kingdom. Obtained judgment for Wilson and attorneys’ fees of approximately $625,000.
    • KISS Catalog Ltd. v. Passport Int’l Prods., Inc., (C..D. Cal. 2005). Represented the musical group KISS in the first-known civil action brought under the federal anti-bootlegging statute in connection with the unauthorized sale of concert DVDs.
    • Newton v. Diamond (2003). Obtained summary judgment and Ninth Circuit affirmance for defendants in copyright infringement action involving “sampled” sound recording of the musical group The Beastie Boys.
    • Silvers v. Sony Pictures Entertainment (9th Cir. 2003). Obtained dismissal, affirmed by the Ninth Circuit, for defendant in copyright infringement action based on standing.
    • Selletti v. Mariah Carey, 70 Fed. Appx. 603 (2d Cir. 2003). Obtained dismissal of copyright infringement action against Mariah Carey and Sony Music concerning Ms. Carey’s song “Hero,” which Second Circuit affirmed on appeal.
    • Sony Pictures Entm’t Inc. v. Fireworks Entm’t Group, Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2001). 156 F. Supp. 2d 1148 (C.D. Cal. 2001): Prosecuted copyright infringement and unfair competition action involving character “Zorro” and the movie Mask of Zorro.
    • Freeman v. Timberlake (S.D.N.Y.). Represented music publishers against copyright infringement claims involving *NSYNC’s hit song “Girlfriend” and remix “Girlfriend featuring Nelly.”
    • Gaillard v. Rolling Stones (C.D. Cal.): Represented the Rolling Stones in the defense of a copyright infringement claim involving the song “Saint of Me” from the Rolling Stones’ album Bridges to Babylon.
    • LaCour v. Time Warner Inc., et al. Represented recording artist and songwriter Robert Kelly, his record label, and music publisher in a copyright infringement lawsuit over the composition “I Believe I Can Fly.”
    • Pahler v. Slayer (2001). Represented recording group Slayer in groundbreaking First Amendment wrongful death lawsuit over song lyrics; California Court of Appeal affirmed trial court demurrer based on First Amendment defense.

    Commercial Disputes

    • 24/7 Records, Inc. v. Sony Music Entertainment (2008). Represented record company defendants in breach of contract and tortious interference action arising out of refusal to distribute plaintiff’s cover recording of “The Ketchup Song”; obtained summary judgment and Second Circuit affirmance on main claims by establishing that plaintiff failed to secure license for use of “The Ketchup Song” composition; on remaining claims, obtained summary judgment ruling that plaintiff suffered no compensatory damages.
    • Humphrey v. CBS Sportsline.com, (2007). Obtained dismissal of action alleging that online fantasy sports leagues constitute illegal gambling in violation of laws of numerous states.
    • Steinbeck v. McIntosh & Otis, Inc., 433 F. Supp. 2d 395 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). Obtained summary judgment ruling that son and granddaughter of John Steinbeck validly exercised federal “termination” rights to retrieve book publishing rights in Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and other Steinbeck works under the Copyright Act, despite a 1994 agreement book publisher reached with John Steinbeck’s widow that purported to eliminate those rights.
    • Rowe Entm’t, Inc. v. William Morris Agency, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Defended two prominent booking agencies and obtained summary judgment and Second Circuit affirmance in action alleging race discrimination and antitrust violations in concert promotion industry.
    • Cusano v. Horipro Entm’t Group (S.D.N.Y. 2004). Obtained summary judgment and Second Circuit affirmance for music publisher in action brought by former member of musical group KISS, claiming fraud, conversion and constructive trust in connection with the sale of musical compositions.
    • Sheffield Enters., Inc. v. The Main Event Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2003). Obtained a jury verdict and permanent injunction on behalf of a company owned by the children of Frank Sinatra to block an unauthorized Frank Sinatra “tribute” in Las Vegas.
    • Faulkner. v. Arista Records LLC (S.D.N.Y.). Defended record label against purported breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims brought by former members of The Bay City Rollers seeking millions of dollars in allegedly unpaid royalties.
    • Anschutz Entm’t Group v. Nederlander-Downtown, Inc. (Cal. Sup. Ct.). Represented Anschutz Entertainment Group in claim against concert promoter Nederlander over concert booking rights to the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
    • LA Arena Co. v. Forum Enterprises, Inc. (Cal. Sup. Ct. and C.D. Cal.). Represented Anschutz Entertainment Group affiliate in dispute over the booking rights to concerts at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
    • Crane v. Concerts West (D.C. Nev.). Represented concert promoter Concerts West, the producer and originator of the Celine Dion show at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, in connection with a breach of contract/idea submission lawsuit by a claimant alleging to be the originator or “finder” of the project.
    • Mizell v. Concord Records, LLC (Cal. Sup. Ct.). Represented record label Concord Records in a breach of contract/idea submission claim asserted by party alleging to have originated the idea for the Grammy Award-winning Ray Charles album Genius Loves Company.
    • Greene Trio Music LLC v. Jackson (Cal. Sup. Ct.). Obtained summary judgment for record producer and television personality Randy Jackson, affirmed on appeal, in connection with a breach of fiduciary duty claim brought by music publisher alleging that copyrights to songs cowritten with recording artist Mariah Carey had been “diverted” from the music publisher to Carey’s publishing designee.
    • Image Entertainment Inc. v. BTP Acquisition Company LLC (Cal. Sup. Ct.). Represented home video distributor in connection with breach of video distribution agreement as well as companion claims arising out of a proposed merger transaction.
    • Estate of Michael Jeffrey v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. (App. Div. 2002). Defended record company in action brought by estate of former manager of legendary musical artist Jimi Hendrix, claiming royalties in connection with sale and distribution of Hendrix records; obtained dismissal, affirmed on appeal.
    • Moses Prods. v. Sweetland Films (N.Y. Sup. Ct.). Defended film producer in highly publicized lawsuit brought by Woody Allen’s film company relating to financing of Allen’s feature films; settled action during trial.
    • Betts v. Allman Brothers Band (AAA). Defended musical group in a highly publicized arbitration relating to Dickey Betts’ departure from the group.
    • Dwight McGhee v. MTV Networks, Randy Jackson (Cal. Sup. Ct.). Represent television personality Randy Jackson in idea submission case over MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew.

    Class Action Lawsuits

    • Druyan v. Jagger, 508 F.Supp. 2d 228 (S.D.N.Y. 2007):  Obtained dismissal of class action alleging that Ticketmaster and The Rolling Stones had violated consumer protection laws by cancelling concert due to performers' illness.
    • BMG Direct Mktg., Inc. v.Peake, 178 S.W.3d 763 (Tex. 2005):  Obtained reversal, in the Texas Supreme Court, of class certification in an action involving our client's late fees.
    • Taylor v. BMG Direct Mktg.,Inc., 749 N.Y.S.2d 31 (App. Div. 2002); Zuckerman v. BMG Direct Mktg., Inc., 737 N.Y.S.2d 14 (App. Div. 2002): Defended record club in class actions challenging marketing practices, including offer of free compact discs and application of shipping and handling charges; obtained dismissals, affirmed on appeal, in precedent-setting decisions under New York Deceptive Practices Act, G.B.L. § 349.
  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altNamed 2011 Law Firm of the Year

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally in Tier 1 for Entertainment Law 2010–2014

    logo/img/@altNamed 2014 Law Firm of the Year for Entertainment Law - Music

    logo/img/@altRanked in California for Media & Entertainment Law 2007–2014