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Media Law / Defamation

The firm represented The New York Times and several Business Week journalists against Hewlett-Packard, seeking and obtaining damages when HP illegally obtained private telephone records of the journalists in an attempt to learn the trade secrets of the identities of the journalists’ sources.  As General Counsel to the Burning Man arts and performance festival, the firm negotiates, advises and litigates numerous trademark, copyright and privacy matters on its behalf.

Other representative engagements include:

  • the joint representation of Spike Lee in obtaining a preliminary injunction against Viacom for infringing on Spike Lee’s right of publicity when it used his name for a cable channel;
  • the joint representation of Gianni Versace s.P.a. and the Versace family in successfully stopping the publication of a defamatory book that also invaded the Versace family’s privacy;
  • obtaining a significant settlement on behalf of child abuse victims who testified at the criminal trial of their abuser, from two television stations that broadcast images identifying the victims.

In a special appointment by the California Attorney General, the firm represented the People of California and the listeners of Pacifica Radio in successfully overturning a takeover of the Pacifica corporation.  The firm also advises media entities and authors on defamation and libel clearance. The firm regularly represents journalists and authors in areas concerning their work and their employment by media entities.  The firm represents plaintiffs in defamation and privacy actions against national and local news media. The firm also actively represents clients prior to the publication of potentially inflammatory articles in negotiations with news media to ensure that inaccurate information is not published.