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Copyright Counseling & Litigation

In our rapidly evolving, increasingly digital and global world, companies need copyright support that is as diverse as their business endeavors. Crowell & Moring’s copyright group understands this and offers our clients the full spectrum of copyright capabilities. We represent creators, publishers, distributors and users of content and creative works in copyright registration, transactions, monetization, protection, and enforcement. Our team handles cutting-edge copyright issues in such areas as literature, music, software, and NFTs; and those pertaining to fair use as applied to areas such as the visual arts and software code.

Copyright Transactions and Content Clearance. We secure rights for advertisers, publishers, and media companies to use content in a variety of formats, including video, film, print, music, and software. We support advertisers and publishers to clear rights for content.

Copyright Registration, Licensing, and Litigation. We help our clients protect and monetize their copyright assets through registration, licensing, and enforcement. We act for copyright holders in the federal courts, in copyright royalty proceedings, and in rulemaking before the U.S. Copyright Office. 

Broadcasters and Publishers. Our work for broadcasters and publishers centers around protecting their content distribution channels and content valuation. Key ways in which we support clients include:

  • Identifying the proper value of television programming, advertising, and other content in transactions and litigation.
  • Representing commercial broadcasters in copyright royalty and rate setting litigation at the U.S. Copyright Office and in recovering unpaid rebates and fees from advertising agencies on behalf of brands.
  • Drafting and negotiating publishing, author, and licensing agreements and digital platform distribution agreements for academic, medical, and scientific publishers.
  • Incorporating key tools into agreements to ensure that media placements are correctly measured and that our clients’ media agencies are well-equipped to root out digital ad fraud.

Digital Media. We provide counsel and negotiate deals for programmatic advertising, media barter, and digital art (NFTs). In close partnership with Crowell & Moring’s Cyber & Privacy and Investigative teams, we help companies develop programs to investigate and combat ad fraud, and to pursue recovery when fraud is discovered. We provide counseling and thought leadership on cutting edge fair use and AI questions in the digital world, and regarding exploitation of copyrighted content through NFTs.

Entertainment and Sports Licensing. With deep experience in handling trademark, as well as copyright issues, and knowledge of the sports and entertainment media market, the Crowell team negotiates sponsorship, promotion, naming rights, and media deals for clients in the travel, apparel, financial services, retail, automotive, food and beverage, and consumer products industries. We do the same for sports leagues and teams, including U.S. Soccer and the LA Clippers.

Representative Engagements

  • Represent the U.S. commercial television broadcast industry in litigation and administrative proceedings to recover shares of copyright royalties for cable and satellite retransmission of stations for decades.
  • Represent a variety of leading U.S. political news publishers and industry trade associations with counsel and negotiation of agreements regarding publishing rights, content aggregation and digital database platforms, content licensing, entertainment and piracy. 
  • Represent a variety of leading brands with counsel and negotiation of agreements regarding copyright clearance for use of content in advertising, development of documentary films, television shows and related entertainment properties, and novel fair use issues related to digital content and assets.
  • Represent Ikea in copyright and trademark infringement case involving unauthorized use of copyrighted photographs and trademarks for an advertising campaign in Belgium.
  • Represented Lucasfilm for copyright issues related to Phantom Menace and The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie releases, including sound and Internet infringements.
  • Defended MillerCoors in copyright/right of publicity litigation filed by Jason Mraz.
  • Represented leading software application developer long-running copyright infringement cases involving copyrightability and copyright fair use issues.
  • Representing HealthPlan Services in a trade secret and copyright infringement case involving software for a healthcare exchange. We obtained a default judgment, and the Magistrate Judge has recommended a damages award in excess of $11 million.
  • Representing American Airlines and British Airways in a copyright infringement lawsuit involving hotel photographs appearing in vacation travel booking sites.
  • Represented ZTE in a copyright infringement lawsuit alleging unauthorized use of a photographer’s image on its phones.
  • Represented Amway Corporation in a copyright infringement case involving sound recordings.
  • Represented American Airlines in a copyright case involving music licensing issues.
  • Represented resort in copyright infringement case involving artist’s claim of unauthorized use of paintings of angels.
  • Represented Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and owner of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater® in copyright infringement action.