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Russell Frackman Honored With GRAMMY Foundation® Service Award

February 2, 2015

Renowned Intellectual Property litigator honored for 45-year career protecting rights of music industry

Russell J. Frackman, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, will be presented with the GRAMMY Foundation® 2015 Service Award at ceremonies to be held on February 6th during the 17th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative® Luncheon. The honor is awarded to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the music community through service.

The award to Frackman "is a testament to his longtime commitment to our music community and its members," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation.

“Much More than a Lawyer”

Frackman has been a "go-to" lawyer for the entertainment industry throughout his 45-year career, representing the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), record and music publishing companies, and artists such as Coldplay, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Page, Radiohead, and David Lee Roth. Known as the industry’s leading defender of intellectual property rights, he has successfully argued a number of landmark cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including as counsel for the record company plaintiffs in the seminal Internet file-sharing litigation A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., In re Aimster Copyright Litigation, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios,Inc. et al., v. Grokster, Ltd., et al.

“Russ lives and breathes the copyright issues he litigates, understands them in his bones, and cares about them in his heart,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and Chief Executive of the RIIA. “He knows the ins and outs of the music companies he represents, the customs and practices of the business, the people who work in the industry. Much more than a lawyer, he is a respected colleague, a trusted advisor and a friend.”

A Distinguished Career

Frackman graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1970, where he was on the Board of Editors of the law review. A Brooklyn native, he moved to California one week after graduation to join Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. He is still there.

During the past 45 years, he has litigated hundreds of matters in trial and appellate courts throughout the country, including precedent-setting copyright, trademark, and entertainment-related cases. He has been described as “the strongest music litigator in the state” (Chambers USA) and “strategically brilliant and a nice guy to boot” (Legal 500).

As an associate, Frackman began to represent record companies in cases involving piracy of 8-track tapes. He continued that work with the advent of cassettes and CDs, suing retail stores, flea markets and pressing plants, in the process establishing important principles of contributory infringement and vicarious liability. These principles later were applied to the Internet, where Frackman represented and continues to represent the record company plaintiffs as lead counsel in the District Courts and Courts of Appeals in a number of pivotal cases.

Frackman has been presented with two honorary Gold Records by the RIAA for his anti-piracy work and was selected in 2010 by the National Law Journal as one of the Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers and by the Daily Journal as one of California’s Ten Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade. He is a founding member and a former chair of the USC Intellectual Property Institute.


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