Michael is Chair of the firm’s Copyrights group and centers his practice on copyright and trademark, First Amendment and open records matters.
He advises and litigates on behalf of news, entertainment, publishing and other media business. Michael has experience in all stages of litigation in the state and federal courts, from managing e-discovery to arguing motions to representing clients at evidentiary and injunction hearings.
Michael also routinely provides pre-publication review and advises media and entertainment clients on clearance and fair use issues in connection with documentaries, films, television shows, books and other expressive works. Michael’s clearance work includes advising publishers, screenwriters, documentarians, and production companies on defamation, false light, invasion of privacy, trademark, and copyright issues, and providing creative pathways to minimize risks.
Michael’s trial experience includes a six-day jury trial in a copyright matter in which he served as second chair and trial counsel, as well as several cases in which he worked on trial teams that favorably resolved copyright, trademark and defamation-related matters.
DRK Photo v. McGraw-Hill Education (9th Cir. 2017)
Obtained an appellate victory affirming an earlier summary judgment ruling that dismissed nearly 1,000 claims of copyright infringement against a textbook publisher where the court had ruled that the stock photo agency pursuing the case lacked standing under the Copyright Act because it did not hold exclusive rights in the photos at issue in the case. The ruling confirmed earlier decisions in other cases across the country involving textbook publishers in similar situations. Subsequently obtained a denial of plaintiff’s certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Louis Hampers v. Denver Westword, LLC (Denver Dist. Ct. 2016)
Served as litigation counsel for the Westwordweekly newspaper defending it in a defamation action brought by the former head of Emergency Medicine at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. The plaintiff claimed that Westworddefamed him in two articles that reported a woman’s allegations that he harassed her six years earlier. In a summary judgment dismissal, the court held that the challenged articles were substantially true because the newspaper accurately reported the woman’s allegations.
Grant Heilman Photography v. McGraw-Hill Education (E.D. Pa. 2014)
Served as litigation counsel for a bellwether trial on a selected set of copyright claims brought by a stock photography agency against a textbook publisher, during which the court denied the plaintiff’s claims for statutory damages on nearly a dozen photographs and the jury dramatically reduced the plaintiff’s request for profits on the remaining photographs. The jury’s damages award was further reduced by the court in a post-trial ruling. The test trial was part of a larger case involving more than 2,300 copyright infringement claims relating to hundreds of textbooks.
Panoramic Images v. John Wiley & Sons(N.D. Ill. 2014)
Served as second-chair trial counsel during a six-day jury trial involving six stock photographs used in both textbooks and trade books. The publisher acknowledged liability for use of the images, and the jury subsequently awarded damages significantly below the plaintiff’s demand.
Before Fox Rothschild
Before beginning his legal career, Michael worked as a systems administrator for a biotechnology company in Boulder, CO.
Prior to joining Fox, Michael was an attorney at national and international law firms and served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Timothy M. Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
During law school, Michael was a judicial intern for the Honorable Allison H. Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court and served as production editor on the Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology Law.
Honors & Awards
- Recognized as Lawyer of the Year by Colorado Law Week (2011)
- Named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Colorado (2013-2018)