Media and Entertainment

Overview
Representative Matters

Industry Contact(s)

Overview

The Honigman Media and Entertainment Practice is longstanding and distinguished. The lawyers in the group are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, are active on a regular basis in the practice and have been counsel in many of the important reported decisions in the media and entertainment industry.

The Honigman Media Defense Practice                               

Honigman is the preeminent Michigan firm in First Amendment litigation and media representation.  The Honigman practice is co-chaired by Jim Stewart and Len Niehoff who have over 60 combined years of representing and defending media organizations in hundreds of cases. The practice is complemented by several younger partners and associates with a deep knowledge of the subject 

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

Honigman regularly counsel and advocate in a variety of matters, including pre-publication and broadcast review and news room issues. We also have years of experience in information access litigation such as litigation under the Freedom of Information Act and in defending against efforts to compel disclosure of sources and unpublished information.

Honigman understands that especially in today’s news cycle, 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 a wide range of broadcast and print and online publishers against lawsuits, including defamation, invasion of privacy and related claims. Our attorneys also have served in leadership positions in significant professional organizations such as the National Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) and on the Board of Governors of the Forum on Communications Law of the ABA. 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.

The following are recent cases.  A full list is available upon request. 

  • Obtained dismissal of defamation action; Todd Courser v. Detroit News, Inc. et al., Washtenaw County Circuit Court (2019)
  • Obtained dismissal of defamation action; Odis Jones et al. v. Scripps Media, Inc., United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (2019)
  • Obtained dismissal of defamation action; James Edwards v. Detroit News, Inc. et al., Michigan Court of Appeals (2017)
  • Obtained dismissal as co-counsel of action against producers of the motion picture Drive; Michigan Court of Appeals (2018)
  • Obtained dismissal of defamation action for defendant; Todd v. NBC, Wayne County Circuit Court (2014), affirmed Michigan Court of Appeals (2015)
  • Obtained records from public university under Michigan Freedom of Information Act for national broadcaster; ESPN v. Michigan State University, Ingham County Circuit Court (2015)
  • Obtained dismissal of defamation action for defendant; Fitch v. WJBK, Wayne County Circuit Court (2014)
The Entertainment Practice

The Entertainment Practice is overseen by Michael Huget, who is also the Chair of Honigman’ s Litigation Department.  Mr. Huget has more than 30 years’ experience representing major entertainment companies in Michigan-based litigation, including intellectual property and privacy matters.

The following are representative cases.  A full list is available upon request. 

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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