Lee Brenner serves as chair of the firm’s Media and Entertainment practice group. Mr. Brenner is dedicated to getting the result his clients want, and focuses on creativity when it comes to mapping the right path to a favorable resolution. A consummate advocate who values a strong team, he is known for his honesty, approachability and straightforward communication style.
Mr. Brenner’s clients include individuals, television networks, production companies, corporations and partnerships in business, media, entertainment, employment and commercial lawsuits. With several published decisions in his career, he is a proven litigator with deep experience in the media and entertainment industry, particularly in the area of copyright law. He has resolved major, high-stakes disputes pertaining to intellectual property, such as copyright, idea theft, trade secret and trademark matters. Mr. Brenner offers his clients extensive experience in litigation risk analysis, complex civil litigation in both state and federal courts, and before arbitration tribunals. He routinely handles class action consumer fraud matters. In addition, Mr. Brenner is skilled in defending companies in litigation claims related to California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) and advising on Prop 65 compliance.
Mr. Brenner is a recognized leader among his peers, and is co-editor of the Communications Lawyer, the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law’s publication on media and First Amendment law; and a regular contributor to Drye Wit, Kelley Drye’s media and entertainment law blog. A sought-after speaker and educator, he speaks regularly to clients and professional groups on the subjects of right of publicity, copyright, idea submission and trademark law.
Mr. Brenner is dedicated to community service. Notably, he has acted as pro bono counsel for the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and has performed pro bono counsel and trial work regarding First Amendment issues.
Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton v. Home Box Office, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107944 (C.D. Cal., July 25, 2016): Representing Home Box Office, Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, among others; obtained a dismissal of a $200 million copyright infringement claim relating to the popular HBO original series “Ballers.”
Weiss v. Amblin’ Films, Inc. (2015): Obtained a dismissal of claims for copyright infringement, breach of implied contract, unfair competition under the Lanham Act and declaratory relief arising from the television show “Smash” on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to allege any reasonable theory of access to her alleged works, and that “Smash” and the plaintiff’s alleged works were not substantially similar as a matter of law.
Seltzer v. Green Day Inc. et al.,2013 WL 4007803, 107 U.S.P.Q.2d 1803 (2013): Obtained a summary judgment against copyright, Lanham Act and state unfair competition claims on the basis that the use of the plaintiff’s artwork constituted “fair use” and that plaintiff failed to show that he had a valid, protectable trademark; awarding attorneys’ fees to our client. Affirmed by the Ninth Circuit in August 2013.
Gilbert v. New Line Productions, Inc., Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, et al., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141516: Representing numerous studios, movie producers and celebrities, obtained a summary judgment against the plaintiff’s numerous copyright and RICO claims premised upon the creation, release and distribution of the motion picture “Monster-in-Law,” and obtained an award of over eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000) in attorneys’ fees and costs against the plaintiff. Affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (July 2012).
CBS Radio Inc. adv. Second Chance Financial, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles (2012): Obtained a dismissal of fraud and breach of contract claims; secured an award of over $550,000 in attorneys’ fees in our client’s favor.
Colo’n v. Kelsey Grammer, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (2011): Defended Kelsey Grammer and others in a copyright infringement action concerning the television series “The Game.” Obtaining judgment dismissing the action at the pleading stage, and affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Also obtained a dismissal of the case when the plaintiff later filed similar claims in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Profant and Helmstreet v. Have Trunk Will Travel et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California (2011): Obtained a dismissal of claims for unfair competition and false advertising in connection with the motion picture “Water For Elephants.”
Abend Trust v. Spielberg, Paramount Pictures, et al., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99010 (S.D.N.Y. 2010): In federal court for Southern District of New York, obtained a summary judgment against copyright claims which asserted that the Paramount/Spielberg movie “Disturbia” infringed the copyright in the short story upon which Alfred Hitchcock based his 1954 classic film “Rear Window.”
Regina Kimbell v. Home Box Office, Inc., Chris Rock, et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California (2009): Represented HBO and Chris Rock in a copyright infringement action concerning the documentary “Good Hair,” successfully defending against an application for a temporary restraining order and a motion for preliminary injunction.
Zella v. E.W. Scripps Co., et al., 529 F. Supp. 2d 1124 (C.D. Cal. 2007): Obtained a dismissal, at the pleading stage, of the plaintiffs’ claim for copyright infringement arising from one of TV's most popular cooking shows, “Rachael Ray.”
Moore v. Infinity Radio Inc., (2007): Obtained a defense judgment on claims of age discrimination and e-discovery spoliation following a two-week arbitration in Denver, Colorado.
Supernova From Cynot3, LLC v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., United States District Court for the Southern District of California (2006): Successfully opposed an application for preliminary injunction and negotiated the dismissal of a trademark infringement suit concerning the television series, “Rock Star.”
Cotter v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles (2006): Obtained a dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of claims arising from a hidden-camera news report on doctors and unaccredited medical schools.
Trilenium Pictures, Ltd. et al. v. The Walt Disney Co. et al., United States District Court for the Central District of California (2005): Secured the dismissal of a copyright infringement claim arising from the motion picture “Signs.”
Sullivan v. CBS Corp., (2000): Defeated an application for TRO, in Chicago, for alleged trademark violations in connection with television series “Survivor.”
Currently representing several companies in putative class allegations actions violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Rock Star Inc. v. CBS Broadcasting Inc. (2005): Handled a trademark infringement lawsuit on behalf of CBS against claims that the television series “Rock Star” infringed on a mark for an energy drink.
IMAX v. Showscan & Showscan v. IMAX, (1995–1997): Handled three lawsuits involving claims of antitrust, trademark infringement and unfair competition in New York, Northern California and Southern California; a confidential settlement was reached.
American Bar Association’s Communications Lawyer, co-editor.
Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, (2011). Co-author of amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., California Broadcasters Association, CBS Broadcasting Inc., CBS Films Inc., Home Box Office, Inc., Showtime Networks Inc., Summit Entertainment, LLC, and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. regarding idea theft claims and copyright preemption.
American Bar Association, Forum on Communications Law.
Los Angeles Copyright Society.
Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
Honors & Awards
The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Media Law, 2016-2017.
Selected as one of Southern California's Super Lawyers in 2011-2017, and was selected as one of Southern California's Rising Stars from 2005-2010.
Mr. Brenner has acted as pro bono counsel for the Daniel Pearl Foundation, and has performed pro bono counsel and trial work regarding First Amendment issues.