Kenneth D. Freundlich

Ken Freundlich

CONTACT

EDUCATION

  • J.D. and M.B.A. (joint degree program), UCLA 1985
  • B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Organizational Behavior, Brown University 1981

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • California State Bar
  • New York State Bar
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States District Courts for Central, Southern, and Northern Districts of California
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

In his 35 years of practice, Ken has primarily focused on resolving complex business, entertainment, and IP disputes and is renowned for representing individuals and companies with his pragmatic aggressiveness, relatability, business acumen, and ability to handle everything from everyday business disputes to complex, ground-breaking cases.

Ken is a seasoned litigator and trial counsel licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of New York and California (among other courts) and has had notable successes in trials, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings in various settings ranging from California Labor Commission proceedings, to IFTA, Guild, and AAA/JAMS arbitrations, to Copyright Rate Court proceedings, to trial and appellate courts (including the United States Supreme Court). Ken is a well-known participant and moderator in panels concerning entertainment law issues.

Ken’s experience also includes a stint as the Executive Vice President of Atomic Pop, LLC, an early 2000’s internet-based record company (way ahead of its time) that sought to provide a platform to distribute entertainment content through digital media. At Atomic Pop, Ken was part of the company’s leadership team, navigating through complicated new media legal and business issues, acquisitions, strategic and financial planning, syndication, joint ventures and due diligence management.

A proud graduate of UCLA’s joint JD/MBA program, Ken is one of the few litigators who does not shy away from the quantitative or business side of cases. Whether it is grilling the opposing party’s experts about complex royalty statements, unraveling a party’s intricate corporate structures and related corporate issues, or negotiating and drafting an agreement to resolve a dispute or pave a way forward in business to maximize a client’s bottom line, Ken’s varied education and experience give him a bespoke set of skills with which to serve his clients.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Obtained liability jury verdict in favor of multi-platinum recording artists Spin Doctors in a copyright infringement action against Miller Brewing Company. Spin Doctors, et al v. Miller Brewing Co., et al., C.D. Cal. Case No. 2:95-cv-06336-HLH-Mc. The case settled just before the damages phase commenced.

Obtained defense jury verdict for Tony-nominated composer Frank Wildhorn in a lawsuit filed by his former publisher, manager and lawyer William Coben, concerning the rights in the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde. La Societe De La Musique v. Frank Wildhorn, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. SC 063489.

Represented Pandora Media, LLC (and its predecessor Pandora Media, Inc.) in a mass copyright infringement action brought by a prominent music publishing administrator where Pandora successfully moved to dismiss on standing grounds under the 1909 and 1976 U.S. Copyright Acts, which substantially reduced the number of works at issue.

See More

Represented a group of leading musicologists in amicus briefs filed in support of defendants in the Ninth Circuit en banc appeal, Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al.,  952 F.3d 1051 (9th Cir. 2020),  and in the district court case, Gray v. Perry, No. 215CV05642CASJCX, 2020 WL 1275221 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 16, 2020) (the “Katy Perry” case), arguing as to the proper scope of substantial similarity determinations in music copyright cases.  I also previously represented a group of leading musicologists in amicus briefs filed in the Ninth Circuit appeal, Williams, et al. v. Gaye, et al., 895 F. 3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2018) (the “Blurred Lines” case).

In an artist/manager dispute between “Judge Alex” (former Florida trial court judge and star of his own eponymous court television show) and his manager Arnold Preston, obtained a favorable 8-1 decision from United States Supreme Court in favor of my client Mr. Preston, holding that when a party seeks to enforce a valid arbitration clause within an agreement, the Federal Arbitration Act requires that the dispute must be heard by an arbitrator, rather than by the state administrative agency (there, the California Labor Commission) that would otherwise have had mandatory exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute. Preston v. Ferrer, 552 U.S. 346 (2008). After the Supreme Court victory, the case settled.

In twelve years of ongoing litigation between four former members of platinum recording artist WAR and Jerry Goldstein and his various publishing and record companies, obtained: (i) $3,000,000 judgment for past accounting claims; and (ii) Court of Appeal decision in a subsequent royalty dispute, reversing summary judgment against clients involving complex issues of contract interpretation under California law (including the proper role of extrinsic evidence) underlying a continuing royalty dispute between our clients and their music publisher. Brown, et al. v. Goldstein, et al., 34 Cal.App.5th 418 (2019).

Successfully defeated multiple motions to dismiss transnational copyright infringement lawsuit brought in S.D.N.Y. against various foreign defendants alleging that the interpolation and worldwide exploitation of our clients’ song, “San Francisco Bay,” within the hit Kesha song, “Timber,” was not authorized by our clients and therefore constituted copyright infringement under the laws of various foreign countries.  Levitin v. Sony Music Entm’t, 101 F.Supp.3d 376 (S.D.N.Y. 2015).

In a federal cybersquatting action brought by our clients—famed songwriter and music producer Walter Afanasieff and entertainment personality Katie Cazorla—successfully obtained a TRO and preliminary injunction, requiring the immediate transfer of domain names and website content to our clients.  Cazorla v. Hughes, 2014 WL 12235425 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 7, 2014).

In a high-profile lawsuit by our entertainment manager clients against actress Zooey Deschanel, successfully obtained summary adjudication, resulting in a complete dismissal of the breach of fiduciary duty Cross-Complaint against our clients. Seven Summits Pictures and Management, LLC v. Zooey Deschanel, LASC Case No. BC604072. The case then settled.

Successfully represented DAS Communications in a bicoastal dispute with award-winning artist Kesha and award-winning producer Dr. Luke resulting in an amicable settlement following DAS’s defeat of a motion to stay its New York action for breach of a management agreement and intentional interference with contract, and a ruling by the California Labor Commission upholding DAS’s right to collect management commissions from Kesha. DAS Communications, Inc. v. Sebert et al, Sup Ct. N.Y. County Index No. 65047/2010), Kesha Rose Sebert v. DAS Communications, Ltd., Case No. TAC-19800.

Represented Grammy Award-winning artist Joan Osborne in defending a lawsuit filed by her former manager Jonathan Waxman. After discovery, motion practice and pre-trial preparation. The case settled as the jury was seated.

Successfully represented a former executive of a major television production company in a complex accounting action involving royalties and ownership of certain well-known audiovisual works. Arbitration resulted in favorable result including reversion of intellectual property to client.

Successfully represented musical artists in multiple matters invoking claims under Section 28 of the SAG-AFRA Commercials Contract, including representing a Grammy award-winning hip hop group in a SAG arbitration against a major national retailer.

Successfully represented Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Miguel Pimentel (Miguel) in hard-fought litigation against his former record label that was ultimately resolved via settlement. Miguel thereafter signed with Jive Records.

Successfully represented a well-known producer in numerous IFTA arbitrations on behalf of a well-known film producer to recover unpaid monies from foreign distributors in Israel, Russia, Greece, and Eastern Europe.

Successfully brought a motion to amend or correct judgment, as well as an opposition to a post-judgment attorney’s fees motion, in a copyright action where our firm was retained immediately after issuance of a judgment that had erroneously sua sponte awarded attorney’s fees against our author client.  Not only did the Court correct the erroneous judgment, but it also denied the opposing parties’ post-judgment motion for $100,000+ in attorney’s fees.  King v. IM Glob., 2017 WL 2620695 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2017).

Successfully represented award winning Latin recording artist Prince Royce in an action brought against him by his former record label. The case was hard fought and resulted in an amicable settlement. Prince Royce thereafter signed with Sony Music Latin.

Represented a major television network and a production company in a lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who asserted right of publicity claims based upon allegations that she did not consent to her role as an extra on a television show.   The case settled quickly and favorably following a letter threatening an Anti-SLAPP motion on copyright preemption and First Amendment grounds.

Represented Paul Simon and was Associate Producer for Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park 1991.

Represented the producers of the Academy award winning film When We Were Kings including clearing the film and defending several litigations concerning the chain of title and credits which were all amicably resolved.

Successfully brought a motion to amend prior counsel’s pleading to include a breach of partnership claim in a case filed by Bounce Entertainment against Conde Nast, et al., concerning the production of a show called Women In Film. Conducted discovery and the case settled thereafter.

Successfully represented Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day in a California Labor Commission proceeding brought by Ms. Day when a former manager/record label filed suit to prevent Ms. Day from recording with another label. After a hearing at the California Labor Commissioner, the matter was settled. Ms. Day thereafter signed with Warner Bros. Records through Buskin’ Records.

Successfully represented a television actor in an action brought by her former manager for commissions. After filing a labor commission proceeding and taking several depositions the matter was amicably settled.

PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS

  • American Bar Association, Chair, Litigation Section of the Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law, Member of Planning Committee for Annual Event
  • Member Beverly Hills Bar Association (former Board member and chair of the Entertainment Section)
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society, Member
  • United States Copyright Society, Member and on Diversity Committee
  • Member, International Association of Entertainment Lawyers
  • Singers-in-Law, Founding tenor in dynamic jazz vocal quartet
  • Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic’s Legal Voices Choir, Tenor

Publications

  • “March Gladness! Two March 2020 Court Decisions Recalibrate Music Copyright Law” MLRC MediaLaw Letter, published by Media Law Resources Center, Inc.
  • Letter dated April 30, 2010 in Response to Notice of Public Inquiry: request for comments 75 Fed. Reg. 15390 (3/29/2010) in respect of termination of so-called Gap Grants” (co-authored with Professor Neil W. Netanel) cited in “Analysis of Gap Grants Under the Termination Provisions of Title 17,” United States Copyright Office December 7, 2010 and cited in 37 CFR Part 201, Copyright Office (“Gap in Termination Provisions”)
  • “Beatle’s settlement leaves open questions,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 17, 2017 (co-written with Michael J. Kaiser, Esq. of Freundlich Law)
  • “McCartney asks US court for Help!”, Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 30, 2017 (co-written with Michael J. Kaiser, Esq. of Freundlich Law)
  • “A View from Across the Pond: Duran Duran’s Termination Rights under the U.S. Copyright Act Come Undone by British High Court Ruling,” American Bar Association’s Entertainment & Sports Lawyer, Volume 33, Number 2, Winter 2017 (co-written with Michael J. Kaiser, Esq. of Freundlich Law)

PANELS & OTHER APPEARANCES

  • The Beverly Hills Bar Association, Beverly Hills, CA
  • The American Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Forum (including long-running stint as the moderator of the Litigation Year In Review panel at the annual meeting of the Sports & Entertainment Forum)
  • IAEL Panel at Midem in Cannes, France (frequent panelist on entertainment law issues)
  • The New York State Bar Association
  • NEMO Music Conference, Boston MA
  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA
  • Featured in Copyright Criminals, a film by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod concerning musical sampling
  • “Perfect Pitch” Executive Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
  • CMJ Music Conference, New York, New York
  • Future of Music Coalition, Washington, D.C.
  • Berkman Center of Legal Studies, Cambridge, MA
  • California Lawyer for the Arts Music Business Seminar, Los Angeles, CA
  • The California Copyright Conference, Los Angeles, CA
  • The State Bar of California, Copyright Section
  • USC Entertainment Law Institute, Los Angeles, CA
  • Southern Regional Entertainment, Sports and Intellectual Property Law Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Billboard R&B Conference, New York, New York
  • Practicing Law Institute New York, New York, and Los Angeles