Kelley Drye & Warren LLP trial lawyers have a well-established record of winning cases for media and entertainment clients. The breadth of our practice, and the depth of our talent, extends to virtually every area of media and entertainment litigation. Representing defendants and plaintiffs in high-stakes entertainment lawsuits – our trial attorneys win and resolve disputes arising from the creation and exploitation of creative works across all media.
We frequently resolve disputes without ever exposing our clients to the risk and expense of trial, through summary judgment and other pre-trial motions, and through alternative dispute resolution. Nevertheless, our greatest strength lies in our ability to win litigation in the trial court, before a judge or jury.
Trademark and Copyright
Because our entertainment clients’ most valuable assets are their creative works – their intellectual property – copyright and trademark protection is essential to our clients’ business success. At the same time, our clients’ new ventures and new entertainment productions are subject to challenge from the holders of copyrights and trademarks registered in other works or products. We are, therefore, frequently consulted for pre-litigation advice to help maximize legal protection for our clients’ intellectual property and also how to minimize our clients’ exposure to copyright and/or trademark claims from others.
When litigation becomes necessary, we create strategies that focus on successful resolution – both to avoid any litigation disasters and to keep our clients’ businesses running successfully.
Our litigators are frequently called upon to represent, advise and assist clients when disputes arise with the talent on successful television shows and motion pictures.
Our lawyers have been resolving talent agent and management disputes, acting, directing and producing services disputes and music industry disputes for over three decades. Talent disputes can be complex or simple, and can involve only a single individual or many people and entities. Although talent disputes are sometimes adjudicated all the way through trial and private hearings, we have been extremely successful in resolving most of these disputes without the need for lengthy proceedings.
From the courtroom or arbitration proceeding to more informal negotiations and advising clients, we get talent-related disputes resolved quickly and efficiently so that our clients can focus on the business of creating, producing and distributing motion pictures, television programming, music and other products.
Idea Submission Claims
Our litigators have proven expertise in adjudicating state law idea submission disputes, which have many of the same characteristics as a copyright claim but with an additional element based on an “implied contract.”
California has a robust body of law that, under certain circumstances, allows the creator of an idea for a motion picture, TV show or other entertainment project to claim an “implied contract” with production companies to whom the creator submitted his idea, in confidence and with an expectation of compensation if the idea were exploited. Our lawyers are seasoned experts in the litigation of these types of “idea submission” claims.
The breadth of our practice, and the depth of our talent, is reflected in the many victories we have won and favorable resolutions we have achieved in publicly-filed lawsuits based on claims of idea theft.
Production, Distribution and Financing Disputes
Because many of our clients engage in the production, distribution and financing of television programming and motion pictures, we are frequently retained to resolve disputes that arise from those business operations. With an extensive background and understanding of the nuances of motion picture and television finance and distribution, our lawyers get up to speed quickly in helping clients to resolve these matters, whether in pre-litigation negotiations or through a trial on the merits.
Protecting broadcasters, journalists, publishers and other media clients is one of our greatest strengths. Building on our decades of experience and trial victories, we have the expertise to guide our media clients in any First Amendment or related claim.
Among the many types of First Amendment claims we have defended are defamation lawsuits against both local and national news organizations, invasion of privacy claims against news-gathering journalists, claims for misappropriation of name, likeness and voice, and claims based upon speech.