With more than 30 years of experience, Alan represents clients in the entertainment industry in complex contract matters that often raise issues of industry custom and practice, copyright and trademark disputes, and participation/royalty claims. In addition to litigating these and other matters for his clients, Alan provides pre-litigation counseling and representation aimed at avoiding litigation or best positioning his clients to litigate aggressively if the matter is not resolved.
Alan regularly handles matters in state and federal courts in New York, California and other jurisdictions and before JAMS, AAA, IFTA, MPAA and other arbitration panels. His clients include motion picture and television production companies and distributors, music companies, C-Level executives and creative talent including writers and directors. He regularly provides advice on disputes involving:
- Copyright infringement
- Trademark infringement
- Breach of contract matters
- Participation and royalty accountings
- Pre-release review of scripts, film clips and marketing materials
- Right of publicity/privacy Issues
- Unfair competition
In addition to serving for most of his career as outside litigation counsel, Alan served as general counsel of Miramax Film Corp. from 1999 through 2005, when the company’s founders separated from the company. Through this experience, Alan provides his clients with a perspective that includes his assessment of the underlying legal issues and internal business issues that their disputes raise. He also provides his clients with the benefit of his specialized industry knowledge of the film production/distribution business and its customs and practices. Film, television and music properties that have been the subject of lawsuits and arbitrations Alan has handled include Shakespeare in Love, “Django Unchained,” “Bad Santa,” “Scream,” “The Biggest Loser,” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” In addition to litigating matters for his clients, Alan has successfully disposed of numerous commercial and intellectual property claims asserted against his clients without litigation.
Beyond his entertainment law practice, Alan has represented clients in complex commercial litigation, including claims involving contract, fraud, fiduciary duty, federal securities law claims and other disputes for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts and in arbitrations from their inception through their final appellate stages. Additionally, Alan has represented individuals and companies in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) regulatory investigations.
- Successfully obtained with prejudice dismissal of copyright claim asserted against the motion picture “Django Unchained” following oral argument of motion to dismiss. Colvin, Jr., et al. v. Tarantion, et al., Case No. 1:15-CV-02250 (TSC) (D.D.C Complaint filed Dec. 24, 2015).
- Won motion to dismiss lawsuit seeking to discontinue client’s right to continued royalties from the exploitation of classic Broadway play in all exploitations in all media. Leigh v. Vega Productions, slip op., Index No. 651188/2013 (N. Y. Sup. Ct. Sept. 20, 2013).
- Won summary judgment dismissal of copyright claim asserted against NBC Universal and Reveille LLC in which plaintiff contended that popular television show “The Biggest Loser” infringed on her copyrighted treatment. Latimore v. NBC Universal, Inc., slip op., 07 Civ. 9338 (AKH) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 2011), aff’d, Latimore v. NBC Universal Television Studio, 480 Fed.Appx. 649, 650 (2d Cir.2012).
- Won dismissal of consumer fraud class action complaint contending that the marketing of the motion picture “Drive” was misleading and deceptive with respect to the nature and characteristics of the motion picture. Deming v. FilmDistrict Distribution LLC, Case No. 11-122030-CZ (March 14, 2012).
- Won reversal of MPAA Title Registration Bureau arbitration award preventing use of the word “Butler” in the title of the acclaimed motion picture entitled Lee Daniels: The Butler. Warner Bros. Family Entertainment v. The Weinstein Company (decision rendered July 19, 2013).
- Responded to and successfully resolved without litigation numerous claims of copyright infringement involving motion pictures and music compositions.
- Won appeal of NC-17 rating accorded to acclaimed feature length film entitled “Blue Valentine,” resulting in issuance of “R” rating for film, which facilitated marketing and distribution of the picture. The Weinstein Company v. MPAA(decision rendered December 8, 2010).
- Represented foreign sales agent in connection with delivery dispute concerning whether motion picture delivered by foreign sales agent to distributor for major foreign territories complied with “non-technical specifications” included in license agreement and negotiated favorable resolution prior to initiation of claims in IFTA arbitration.
- Obtained judgment for full amount of client’s claim in dispute between producer and motion picture distribution company over adequacy of rights licensed by producer for exploitation in territories outside United States. Maple Pictures Corp. v. CPG, Inc., Case No. 2:10-cv-03508 AHM (RZx).
- Successfully represented recording artist in copyright litigation and in litigation against artist’s ex-manager and other advisors involving artist’s claims of fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and accounting claims resulting in multiple reported decisions. E.g., Joel v. Weber, 602 N.Y.S.2d 383 (1st Dep’t 1993); Joel v. Weber, 569 N.Y.S.2d 955 (1st Dep’t 1991).
- Won dismissal of claim that prominent fashion model tortiously interfered with contract between her husband and his ex-manager by prevailing on argument of “novel issue” that spouse is immune from claims of tortious interference with contract to which other spouse is a party. Weber v. Brinkley Joel, 581 N.Y.S.2d 579 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1992).
- Successfully represented record company and band against right of privacy and New York Civil Rights Law §51 claim based on use of plaintiff’s photograph on album cover, music video and merchandise, including winning two appellate decisions, one that determined that the plaintiff’s domicile determined the choice of law inquiry – and, thus, that New York statute favorable to plaintiff did not apply – and another that prevented plaintiff from refiling lawsuit in a different jurisdiction in order to again assert that New York Civil Rights Law §51 applied to his claim. DuBray v. Warner Bros. Records, Ltd., 653 N.Y.S.2d 592 (1st Dep’t 1997).
- Successfully handled multiple litigations for Apple Corps Ltd. involving trademark and copyright infringement of The Beatles’ intellectual property rights and unauthorized use of their name and likeness.
- Represented Apple Corps Ltd. and Apple Records Inc. in lawsuit against Capitol Records Inc. and EMI Records Limited asserting substantial claims contesting royalty accountings issued in connection with the sale of Beatles recordings. Apple Records, Inc., et al. v. Capitol Records, Inc., et al., 137 A.D.2d 50 (1st Dep’t. 1988).
Before Fox Rothschild
Prior to joining Fox, Alan was a partner at a major international law firm. He also previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Miramax Film Corp.
Beyond Fox Rothschild
A frequently sought-after media source for current entertainment matters, Alan serves on the board of editors for the Entertainment Law & Finance newsletter. He also regularly provides continuing legal education (CLE) instruction in trial practice and discovery techniques and lectures on subjects involving copyright, legal ethics and entertainment law issues.
Honors & Awards
- “Recognized Practitioner” for Media & Entertainment: Copyright & Contract Disputes in New York by Chambers USA (2015)
- Named in “Super Lawyers” (2006-2012, 2014-2018)
- Named among “The Best Lawyers in America” for Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television in New York by Best Lawyers (2010-2019)
- Martindale-Hubbell "AV Preeminent" rated