Robert Rotstein grew up in Culver City, California, then the location of the famed MGM Studios and so the true “Hollywood.” To this day, the city’s motto is “The Heart of Screenland.” Robert’s elementary school was caddy corner to one of the studio’s back lots. At an early age, he became hooked on legal dramas – not only Perry Mason, the archetype of the legal mystery, but also on the politically charged The Defenders and lesser known shows like Judd for the Defense, The Young Lawyers, and The Trials of O’Brien – lawyers doing justice.
Perhaps Robert’s early combination of life in an entertainment-company town and fascination with the lawyer-as-hero made it inevitable that he’d become both an attorney whose practice focuses on the entertainment industry and an author of legal thrillers: during breaks from representing movie studios and well-known writers, directors, and musicians in copyright and IP cases, Robert penned the critically acclaimed novels Corrupt Practices, Reckless Disregard, and The Bomb Maker’s Son.
Litigation with a focus on intellectual property and technology, copyright, and entertainment matters.
- Frank Sivero v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Obtained anti-SLAPP order striking complaint alleging misappropriation of likeness and idea in connection with a character in The Simpsons. Affirmed on appeal.
- Alexander v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. et al. Obtained complete dismissal of claims of idea misappropriation, breach of implied-in-fact contract, and unjust enrichment on behalf of motion-picture studio, director, and writers in lawsuit over sequel in highly successful film series.
- Peter Gallagher et al v. Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. et al. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of copyright infringement claim over a popular horror film on behalf of motion-picture studio, director, and producer in the Central District of California.
- Morawski v. Lightstorm Entertainment, et al. Obtained summary judgment in breach of contract case brought by plaintiff who claimed that the motion picture Avatar was based on his idea.
- Ryder v. Lightstorm Entertainment, et al. Obtained summary judgment in breach of contract case brought by plaintiff who claimed that the motion picture Avatar was based on his idea.
- NBC Studios, LLC et al. v. Dish Network Corporation, et al. Represented plaintiff in copyright action over certain features of "The Hopper."
- Mark Gable a/k/a Mark Pizzuti v. National Broadcasting Company ("NBC"), et al. Obtained summary judgment and attorneys' fees award on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox and NBC Universal in a high-profile copyright infringement action brought by a writer who claimed that the popular TV program "My Name is Earl" infringed upon his screenplay.
- L&M Optical Disc West, LLC v. Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., et al. Representing the defendant, obtained dismissal under California's anti-SLAPP statute of complaint alleging libel and related torts.
- RealNetworks, Inc. and RealNetworks Home Entertainment, Inc. v. DVD Copy Control Association, Inc. et al. Served as co-counsel representing several major movie studios looking to block the sale of RealDVD, a software program that would let users make hard drive copies of copyrighted DVDs. Clients obtained permanent injunction.
- MDY Industries and Michael Donnelly v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Vivendi Games, Inc., et al. Filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit, on behalf of the MPAA, regarding the interpretation and application of the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Ninth Circuit's opinion adopted the MPAA's position.
- Larry Montz, et al. v. Pilgrim Films & Television, Inc., et al. Filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America in breach of implied in fact contract action regarding the reality television show "Ghost Hunters."
- Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. Filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit appeal of the federal district court case Vernor v. Autodesk, a dispute between a software vendor and a man who offered used copies of the company's software (which retailed for thousands of dollars) for sale on eBay. The brief examined the First Sale Doctrine, and whether or not the transfer of a tangible copy is a license or sale under the Copyright Act.
- Universal City Studios Productions LLLP, v. YouTVpc.com, et al. Represented major studios in lawsuit against website that linked to content that infringed plaintiffs’ copyrights.
- Davis v. Blige Filed amicus curiae brief in United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, on behalf of Motion Picture Association in case regarding validity of retroactive licenses.
- Paramount Pictures Corporation, et. al., v. Load ‘N Go Video Inc Represented six major studios in lawsuit against company that copied DVDs to portable devices.
- Price v. Twentieth Century Fox, et al. Represented Fox and others in a copyright infringement case over the motion picture Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
- RDF Media v. Rocket Science Laboratories, et al. Represented Rocket Science and Fox in copyright infringement suit alleging that the reality television series “Trading Spouses” infringes the copyright in the series “Wife Swap.”
- Lewis v. Absolut Represented Absolut in a right of publicity dispute brought by actor in HBO’s television series “Sex and the City.”
- M2 Software v. Handelman, Madacy, SFX Represented defendants in a trademark infringement case, resulting in a defense jury verdict. The verdict was recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top ten defense verdicts of 2003. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment in 2005, in a published opinion.
- Flynn v. Twentieth Century Fox Obtained summary judgment for defendants Fox and Imagine Pictures in connection with a copyright infringement suit alleging that Plaintiff’s novel was infringed by the hit television series “24.”
- Sephora adv. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman Represented Sephora, a cosmetic retailer, in a right of publicity and trademark lawsuit brought by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and in another lawsuit brought by Sara Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
- MPAA: Wrote Amicus briefs on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in WHAM-O v. Paramount, Silvers v. Sony Pictures, Gates v. Discovery Channel, and Kahle v. Ashcroft.
- Peterson v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Represented Fox in a claim that a television motion picture misappropriated the plaintiff’s idea for a motion picture.
- Columbia Pictures et al. v. SonicBlue, Inc. and ReplayTV, Inc. Represented Columbia Pictures, et al. in a lawsuit for copyright infringement, challenging the defendants’ sale of the ReplayTV 4000, a digital video recorder that permits a user to record hundreds of hours of television programming and send that programming to others over the Internet.
- Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. v. Tee Vee Toons, Inc. Represented Columbia Pictures against a well-known independent record company, TVT Records, and rap singer “Snoop Dogg” for infringing Columbia’s trademark and copyright in the “Charlie’s Angels” television series and motion picture. MWE obtained a preliminary injunction, enjoining defendants’ use of album artwork and advertising.
- Groubert v. Spyglass Represented defendants in a copyright infringement lawsuit suing over Al Pacino motion picture "The Recruit."
- Fuertes v. Sony Pictures and International Creative Management Obtained summary judgment for defendants Columbia and ICM in a copyright infringement case alleging that a motion picture project infringed plaintiff’s screenplay.
- Ribeiro v. Fox Music Representing Fox as U.S. counsel in lawsuit filed in France alleging that the theme from the “X-Files” infringes plaintiff’s music.
- Ruddy v. Twentieth Century Fox Defense of copyright infringement matter on behalf of Fox and USA Networks. Obtained summary judgment for Defendants.
- Herzog v. Castle Rock and John Sayles Obtained summary judgment and affirmance on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of defendants in copyright infringement case.
- Smith v. Jackson Obtained jury verdict and affirmance on appeal in copyright infringement case on behalf of defendants Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Sony Music, and Warner Chappell.
Honors & Awards
- “Top Copyright Star," Managing IP, 2020-2021
- "Recommended Attorney" in Intellectual Property - Copyright, Legal 500 (2017)
- "Top 5% of lawyers in Southern California," Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2006, 2009-2019, 2022-2023)
- AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- Partner of the UCLA Entertainment and Media Law and Policy Program Advisory Council
- Served as adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles (teaching copyright)
- Former Member, Executive Committee of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of California
- Former Lawyer Representative for the Central District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (1990-93) and to the Ninth Circuit Automation and Technology Committee.
- Former trustee and past President of the Los Angeles Copyright Society
Other Career Experience
- Law Clerk, Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy, Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Professional, Business, and Civic Affiliations
- January 10, 2023
- January 20, 2022
- June 2021
- May 2020
- The Hollywood Reporter, February 19, 2020
- January 30, 2019
- February 13, 2018
- September 8, 2017
- August 30, 2017
- July 6, 2017
- May 31, 2017
- January 20, 2017
- November 28, 2016
- October 2, 2016
- January 27, 2016
- January 20, 2016
- August 2015
- July 22, 2015
- July 2015
- April 15, 2015
- November 21, 2014
- June 2014
- January 2014
- January 2013
- The 2012 Legal 500 USA Guide Recognizes MSK Attorneys and Intellectual Property and Tax Practice Groups Among the Nation's BestJune 18, 2012
- April 27, 2012
- January 23, 2012
- The 2011 Legal 500 USA Guide Recognizes MSK Attorneys and Intellectual Property and Tax Practice Groups Among the Nation's BestJune 9, 2011
- April 6, 2011
- January 25, 2011
- March 23, 2010
- January 26, 2010
- January 30, 2009
- November 21, 2008
- April 9, 2008
- June 2014
- MDY Industries, LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.: The Right to Prevent Circumvention of Access Controls Absent Copyright Infringement Under DMCA § 1201(a)Bloomberg Law Reports - Intellectual Property, April 2011
- Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, March 2010
- Comment, Federal Employment Discrimination: Scope of Inquiry and the Class Action Under Title VII, 22 UCLA Law Review 1288 (1975)1975
- A “Prince” of an Opinion or a Drag on Creativity? SCOTUS Decides Fair Use Issues in Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Inc. v. GoldsmitMay 18, 2023
- March 16, 2023
- August 31, 2022
- May 7, 2020
- April 21, 2020
- Ninth Circuit Ends Lawsuit Involving Copyright Protection for Characters, Leaving Plaintiffs in a Bad MoodMarch 17, 2020
Events & Speaking Engagements
- 18th Annual Entertainment & Media Law ConferenceMarch 3, 2021
- January 17, 2019
- May 14, 2018
- February 24, 2018
- February 22, 2017
- February 1, 2016
- June 22, 2015
- October 20, 2011
- March 22, 2011
- March 2011
- Trademarks, Transformations, and Touchdowns: Recent Issues in Clearing Motion Picture, Television and Video Game ContentJanuary 20, 2011
- September 9, 2009
- Intellectual Property - Rights vs. Implications of Technology Innovation - from UGM to P2P - Understanding the Legal March of HistoryMay 8, 2008
- California, 1976
- U.S. District Court
- Central District of CA, 1977
- Southern District of CA, 1990
- Northern District of CA, 2000
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- Ninth Circuit, 1982
- Second Circuit, 2007
- Seventh Circuit, 2011
- Fourth Circuit, 2013
- Federal Circuit, 2017
- Tenth Circuit, 2022
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1986
University of California Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., 1976; Order of the Coif
UCLA Law Review
University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1973; summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa