When you walk in to Matt Williams’s office you’ll notice hyper-realism paintings and decorative items that give off reflections. Light bounces off mirrors, shiny lamps and paintings of metal telephone booths and car bumpers. The pieces reveal Matt’s personality and approach to legal practice. Thoughtfulness, creativity, and reflection are all words that describe him. Perhaps that’s not surprising for someone who was a Religious Studies major in college.
When Matt is not in his office he also searches for space to reflect, like on the Pigeon River in North Carolina (where he grew up) fly fishing. An old hobby of his is collecting magazines from the 1960s and 1970s from weeks when historically important events – such as the JFK assassination or the Cuban Missile Crisis – occurred. He finds that recalling such events helps put the daily squabbles of litigation in perspective.
Matt is also an avid movie buff. Before deciding on going to law school he had delusions of becoming a screenwriter. Lucky for him, he now gets to represent real screenwriters, directors and other creative people and companies.
Matthew Williams’ practice focuses primarily on civil litigation in federal courts, with an emphasis on disputes relating to entertainment, intellectual property, and technology law. He has extensive experience defending movie and music industry clients against copyright infringement and implied-in-fact contract claims. Mr. Williams has also litigated numerous anti-piracy cases for copyright owner plaintiffs.
A significant portion of Mr. Williams’ practice also includes representation of clients in administrative and regulatory proceedings relating to copyright and communications policy and in transactional matters involving online consumer contracts such as privacy policies and terms of service.
- Prevailed at trial in a Southern District of New York tortious interference with contract case for a music publisher against a rival publisher that caused a songwriter to breach a covenant not to sue by claiming copyright ownership of songs recorded by the rap group “Run-DMC.” Court awarded the client over $1.3 million in damages.
- Obtained summary judgment in the District of Maryland for defendants, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and director James Cameron, in a copyright case filed by a screenwriter who claimed that the multi-billion dollar grossing film Avatar infringed his scripts. Court awarded the defendants over $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees.
- Filed friend of the court briefs on behalf of trade associations and performing rights organizations in numerous copyright cases, including: Viacom v. YouTube (2nd Circuit); Fox Television Stations v. FilmOn X (9th Circuit); American Broad. Cos. v. Aereo (U.S. Supreme Court and 2nd Circuit); Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings (i.e., "Cablevision") (U.S. Supreme Court and 2nd Circuit); Vernor v. Autodesk (9th Circuit); MDY Industries v. Blizzard Entertainment (9th Circuit); Flava Works v. Gunter (7th Circuit); Righthaven v. Hoehn (9th Circuit); and Authors Guild v. Google (2nd Circuit).
- Represented the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Entertainment Software Association, and other trade associations for over a decade during triennial Copyright Office rule-making proceedings regarding exemptions to an anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
- Successfully moved to dismiss an Eastern District of New York right of privacy case filed against director Morgan Spurlock on First Amendment grounds relating to the use of the plaintiff’s likeness in the documentary film Supersize Me.
- Defeated motion to dismiss and counterclaims in a Central District of California antitrust case of first impression regarding markets in defensive registrations for internet domain names and the creation of new top-level domains (TLDs), resulting in a favorable settlement.
- Obtained pre-discovery summary judgment for Universal City Studios and director Ang Lee in the District Court for the District of Columbia in a copyright infringement case targeting the film Brokeback Mountain.
- Successfully defended an online music streaming service against copyright infringement claims filed in the Eastern District of New York by a music publisher.
- Defending health insurance industry client in copyright action in Eastern District of Virginia involving allegations of infringement of software code.
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- Former Co-Chair, DC Chapter of Copyright Society of the USA
- Member, Recording Academy
Other Career Experience
- Practitioner-in-Residence, American University Washington College of Law (2010-2011).
Courses taught: International and Comparative Copyright Law; Intellectual Property Seminar.
- Mr. Williams has published law review articles in respected periodicals, including Berkeley Journal of Law and Technology, UCLA Entertainment Law Review, and Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal.
- He has also published articles in National Law Journal, Los Angeles Lawyer, Network Computing, Intellectual Property and Technology Law Journal, Cinema Journal, Landslide, and M/E Insights.
- September 27, 2012
Events & Speaking Engagements
- District of Columbia
- New York
- U.S. District Court
- District of Columbia
- District of Maryland
- Eastern District of New York
- Southern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- Second Circuit
- Fourth Circuit
- Seventh Circuit
- Ninth Circuit
- District of Columbia Circuit
- Federal Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.; Order of the Coif; magna cum laude
Guilford College, B.A.