Stanton “Larry” Stein, Esq.

Profile

One of the most accomplished, recognized and respected practitioners in the field of entertainment law, Stanton “Larry” Stein, Esq. has over forty years of experience as a litigator. He has now agreed to add mediator to his law practice. As a founder of both a boutique litigation firm and a mid-size general practice firm, Mr. Stein’s management and personal skills raised both firms to national prominence. His ability to understand and appreciate both sides of the legal issue, as well as his demeanor, allowed him to successfully resolve the vast majority of the cases in which he was involved as a litigator.

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Stein has handled some of the industry’s most prominent and influential cases. His groundbreaking work in vertical integration has redefined the face of contract negotiation among networks, their affiliated production companies, and talent. He has also handled many high-profile cases involving licensing fees, revenue streams, profit participation, copyright infringement in reality television, defamation, rights of privacy, and rights of publicity.

Mr. Stein’s breadth of experience extends to industries as varied as film and television, reality television, the recording industry, and new media. He has worked with actors, writers, directors, producers, musicians, high-net-worth individuals, entertainment guilds, talent agencies, personal and business management companies, independent production companies, and interactive gaming companies.

As a testament to his success, Mr. Stein has consistently been recognized by leading legal, business, and entertainment industry publications and organizations as a top lawyer in the field of entertainment law.

Mr. Stein is a Lecturer in Law at USC Gould School of Law and has taught the entertainment law class for the past twelve years. He has also taught the entertainment law class at Stanford Law School.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Entertainment/Media: defamation, rights of privacy, rights of publicity
  • Intellectual Property: copyright infringement, idea submission
  • Accounting: vertical integration, profit participation and royalties
  • Contract Disputes: personal services contracts, management and agency contracts

EDUCATION

  • University of Southern California, J.D., 1971
    Academic Scholarship, Editor of The Law Review and Winner of Moot Court Competition
  • University of Southern California, B.A. with Honors, 1969
    Debate Scholarship and Phi Beta Kappa

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  • “Attorney of the Month”, Attorney at Law Magazine
  • Recognized by California Lawyer as one of the top five “A-List Entertainment Lawyers” changing Hollywood
  • Recognized in the “Rising” section of Entertainment Weekly’s “101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment”
  • “Entertainment Lawyer of the Year”, Beverly Hills Bar Association and Century City Bar Association
  • Received the ACLU Foundation’s Pro Bono Civil Liberties Award
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in the Daily Journal’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers in California”
  • Regularly listed in “Who’s Who in L.A. Law” by the Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Consistently ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers
  • Consistently listed in “100 Most Powerful Lawyers” in the Hollywood Reporter
  • Listed in Variety’s Legal Impact Report
  • AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell
  • LawDragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
  • Regularly listed as a “Super Lawyer” in Los Angeles Magazine

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Co-Founder and Founding President of Public Counsel (public interest law firm)
  • Board of Directors, Bet Tzedek Legal Services

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Past President, Beverly Hills Barristers
  • Member, Board of Directors, Foundation of the State Bar of California (2005-2010)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association

Representative Cases

Profit Participation and Vertical Integration

  • The first vertical integration suit was on behalf of the showrunners for Home Improvement against ABC, quickly followed by suits on M.A.S.H. for Alan Alda and The X-Files for David Duchovny.
  • Representation of the Maloof family as consultants to a well-known record producer and artist in disputes with producer/artist’s record label, involving profit participation and contractual disputes.
  • Represented Little Star Films in connection with its profit participation in the hit motion picture "Mamma Mia." The matter addressed several Audit issues in connection with the film.
  • In a Hollywood Accounting case, Larry successfully negotiated a settlement for Connie Burge, the show runner (writer-producer) for the television series Charmed against CBS Studios, Inc., in a complaint for breach of contract and accounting. The client sought damages of millions of dollars based upon a number of accounting practices, including vertical integration issues.

Producer Agreements

  • Successfully represented Colony Capital and resolved a law suit filed by David Bergstein in which Bergstein claimed participation in the acquisition of Miramax.
  • Represented Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison in their dispute against Legendary regarding credit and compensation in connection with the feature film Godzilla.
  • Successfully negotiated settlement on behalf of Summit Entertainment in a lawsuit regarding production rights and credits on the film I, Alex Cross, based on the book by James Patterson.

Civil Code Section 3344 (Right of Publicity)

  • Successfully represented William Roberts p/k/a Rick Ross, a highly acclaimed rapper, who was sued by “Freeway” Ricky Ross, a former kingpin of a Los Angeles cocaine empire. The plaintiff, Freeway, alleged Mr. Ross misappropriated his name and persona for his musical career and stated various federal and state claims based on that allegation. A federal district court dismissed trademark and Lanham Act counts brought against the famous musician, and that dismissal was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. He also successfully defended Mr. Ross in the subsequent state court action for alleged violation of common law and statutory rights to publicity. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Mr. Ross. The California Court of Appeal affirmed, ruling Mr. Ross did not violate any publicity rights because the First Amendment protected the rapper’s creative expression through his music and performances. This ruling was a significant victory not only for Mr. Ross but for all those involved in the industry, as it reaffirmed the First Amendment’s protection of creativity.

Copyright Infringement

  • Represented all the defendants in an action brought by Edward Pressman Film Co. and Clarke Abbey alleging that defendants' independent film Night Moves infringed the copyright in the popular novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. The action was resolved and dismissed.
  • Represented Tokyo Broadcasting System suing American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ("ABC") and Endemol USA, alleging that their program Wipeout infringed format copyrights in six Tokyo Broadcasting System programs (Takeshi's Castle, MXC, Saskuke, Kunoichi, Ninja Warrior, and Women of Ninja Warrior), and that ABC improperly promoted Wipeout by trading on consumer goodwill associated with Tokyo Broadcasting System's shows to divert viewers to Wipeout.

Right of Privacy

  • Represented Pauley Perrett, one of the stars of NCIS, in a trial involving violation of a restraining order by her former husband and a criminal conviction for use of the Internet to harass. In a separate case, Larry represented Pauley Perrett and her fiancé Thomas Arklie in an action for abuse of process, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress brought by an individual who, in connection with the same facts, had been criminally convicted of violating Ms. Perrett’s restraining order against him.  The anti-SLAPP dismissal of the complaint was preserved on appeal.
  • Represention of David Choe, the already successful graffiti artist who was in the headlines because of the stock he received from Facebook for the graffiti artwork he created for Facebook headquarters.
  • Successfully represented LeAnn Rimes in litigation against a mother and daughter who illegally recorded a telephone conversation with Ms. Rimes and edited and distributed it on the Internet. The case involves cyber-bullying.

Defamation

  • Representation of Blake Shelton  in his defamation action against Bauer Publishing in connection with In Touch magazine’s publication of the false and defamatory cover story “REHAB For Blake”. Shelton defeated Bauer’s anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss and the matter is on appeal at the Ninth Circuit.
  • Representation of music artist Ciara in a defamation and false light action against her ex-boyfriend Future.
  • Larry represented rapper Drake and secured the dismissal of a trade libel case against him regarding various statements he made on Twitter about a theatrically released documentary in connection with one of his 2009 concerts in Toronto. In addition to dismissal, Drake was awarded his attorneys' fees. The film’s distributor appealed and later settled.
  • Representation of Camille Grammer in a defamation and malicious prosecution action brought by her former boyfriend in federal court in Dallas.  Ms. Grammer has counterclaimed for assault.

Personal Services Agreements

  • In international litigation, Larry successfully represented the high-profile producer and performer, Timbaland, against a concert promoter in connection with a concert tour that was to have taken place in Australia. The concert promoter alleges that Timbaland breached a personal services agreement primarily because he booked another performance when he was allegedly to be performing in Australia. This case involved complex issues of the impact of the concert promoter's failure to pay guarantees and the concert promoter's inability to properly coordinate the tour. The case settled.

Contractual Disputes

  • Representation of Kurt Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. Based on his fame and notoriety in the racing world, Mr. Busch was approached by Luke Burrett and was asked to invest in Burrett’s clothing-related companies.  Mr. Busch made significant investments in, and loans to, Burrett’s companies and also provided name-recognition to increase sales to NASCAR fans. Knowing Mr. Busch was likely to sue, Burrett and his companies filed a preemptive lawsuit, falsely accusing Mr. Busch of breaching various investor agreements.  Mr. Busch responded with a cross-complaint for breach of contract and fraud.
  • Represented Summit Entertainment and Pablo Fenjves (writer) against claims by Gavin Polone that he was attached as a producer to the film Man on a Ledge. Polone alleged an oral contract with Mr. Fenjves by which he claims the right to produce the film. The complaint alleged breach of contract and sought injunctive relief. The case settled.

Contractual Disputes in Television

  • Represented Harry Shearer in the negotiations leading to his return to "The Simpsons." The negotiations involved complicated issues concerning Shearer's services and compensation in connection with the series.
  • Larry has been instrumental in negotiating for the rights of participants in reality television shows and in revising their contractual obligations. For example, Larry represents Camille Grammer and represents Adrienne Maloof, the former stars of the reality television show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Recording Industry Disputes

  • Represented the Frank Zappa Family Trust in litigation against Rykodisc, Inc. (a subsidiary of Warner Music) over the scope of grant of rights that the Trust made to Rykodisc to release certain classic Frank Zappa albums. One of the main issues in dispute in the case was whether Rykodisc was transferred rights to exploit the Frank Zappa recordings by releasing them in MP3 format on iTunes. Also at issue were Rykodisc's royalty accountings. The case was resolved with the Zappa Family Trust re-acquiring the catalog.
  • Represented the rapper Chief Keef in defense of an alleged breach of contract for failure to perform at a venue. In this District of Columbia case, he successfully argued that Chief Keef was a minor when he entered the contract, thus dismissing him from the case. Larry brought a jurisdictional challenge with regard to allegedly related entities and the matter settled before hearing on the jurisdiction issue.
  • Represented record producer and executive Jolene Cherry and her label The Cherry Party in cases against artist Judith Hill and Prince for, respectively, breach of contract and interference with contract.  The Cherry Party alleged that Prince interfered with its recording agreement with Hill by recording and releasing Hill’s music to the public as a free download.

Intellectual Property Rights

  • Representation of the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust in a number of litigation matters against a Trust beneficiary. The iconic race car driver and designer of the Cobra and Shelby Mustang 350 and 500 developed a wide range of businesses, and Larry is helping the trustees of the estate in a variety of matters that pertain to protecting Shelby intellectual property and continuing Mr. Shelby’s legacy.