Media and Entertainment

Overview
Representative Matters

Industry Contact(s)

Overview

Honigman’s Media and Entertainment Industry Group provides members of the media and entertainment industries with timely advice and workable solutions to many of the complex business and legal problems companies often face when they are going through unprecedented change and transformation. We are dedicated to defending First Amendment rights, and to understanding how these rights apply to our clients' businesses in a time of extraordinary alterations to the definition of the media, broad challenges to established business models and a complex maze of regulatory hurdles.

Our clients include publishers, broadcasters and other media and entertainment organizations throughout the nation. We represent large daily newspapers, national television networks, a major licensor of music copyrights, local print reporters and broadcasters, specialty publishers and advertising agencies, among others.

Pre-publication Review, Libel, Privacy and Freedom of Information

News organizations frequently turn to us for counsel and advocacy in a variety of matters, including pre-publication and broadcast review and advice, and litigation in the libel and privacy fields. We also have substantial experience in information access litigation and in defending against compelled disclosure of sources and information. Since knowledge and awareness are essential to litigation avoidance, our attorneys frequently perform newsroom seminars on the latest issues in media law.

Beyond the Newsroom

Honigman understands that timely availability of legal advice is crucial to those involved in the delivery of news. Our clients know they can reach us within minutes. We consider ourselves "on call" 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Beyond the newsroom, we have successfully defended book publishers, motion picture producers and television networks against lawsuits, including breach of contract, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of ideas, and copyright infringement. Our attorneys also serve in leadership positions in significant professional organizations such as the National Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC). As a full-service business law firm, Honigman has experience in other areas of concern to publishers and broadcasters, including employment, breaches of talent agreements, advertising and corporate law. We also have considerable experience in both broadcast and print acquisitions and dispositions.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Getty Images in a copyright infringement action brought by a photographer who took the famous photo of Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard striking the Heisman pose in the end zone the year he won the Heisman Trophy
  • Represented Viacom, Inc. in a trademark infringement action brought by a couple alleging that Viacom’s “Bubble Guppies,” a Nickelodeon show, infringes upon their “Guppie” trademark.
  • Defended Twentieth Century Fox in a six-week copyright infringement trial involving allegations of movie script infringement
  • Obtained dismissal and substantial sanctions award on behalf of major music publishing company accused of copyright infringement
  • Obtained dismissal for Activision Publishing of injunction proceeding by a musical group alleging infringement of copyright and right of publicity in the use of “cover” recording of famous song in Activision’s “Guitar Hero” video game
  • Obtained summary judgment for Fox, Inc. and ABC Television Network of claim that television series infringed plaintiff’s treatment for a similar television series; the court held that defendant’s show was the product of “independent creation” and not copyright infringement
  • Represented surviving members of a music group relating to copyright and trademark use
  • Defended news outlets in a defamation and trademark litigation filed by subjects of investigative journalism reporting
  • Represented an automotive marketing and data publisher in a patent infringement case filed by a non-practicing entity concerning computer software, successfully settling the matter within a few months of taking over the representation
  • Represented the local affiliate Fox News station in state and federal defamation and invasion of privacy actions and obtained dismissals of the matters