Kelly M. Klaus

Kelly M. Klaus

Kelly Klaus is a litigation partner in the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Klaus’s practice is focused on copyright and related litigation, including antitrust and class action litigation. He has represented the major motion picture studios, the major recorded music companies and many other entities in some of their highest-profile litigation matters in recent years. In addition to litigating, Mr. Klaus regularly counsels clients on copyright, software licensing and other intellectual property issues.

The Daily Journal has named Mr. Klaus among the leading intellectual property lawyers in California for the last seven years, and he is consistently ranked as a leading litigator in Media & Entertainment by Chambers USA. In 2017, Mr. Klaus was recognized among the Most Influential Intellectual Property Lawyers by the Los Angeles Business Journal and as a Media & Entertainment MVP by Law360. Mr. Klaus was named one of Hollywood’s top 100 lawyers in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Lawyers” report in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023. Mr. Klaus was also recognized among the top attorneys in the entertainment business in Variety’s 2018 Legal Impact Report.

Actively engaged in the copyright community, Mr. Klaus is a member of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, the Copyright Society of the United States, the Copyright Alliance’s Legal Advisory Board and the USC Intellectual Property Institute’s Planning Committee. He is a frequent speaker at programs on copyright issues. Mr. Klaus has taught appellate advocacy at Stanford Law School, and he served on Stanford Law School’s Board of Visitors. He is a past member of the board of governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers in Los Angeles.


Key Representations

  • FX Networks and Pacific 2.1 Entertainment Group in obtaining dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of a defamation lawsuit brought by actress Olivia de Havilland involving the program “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
  • Disney, Lucasfilm, Fox and Warner Bros. in a copyright infringement and circumvention action against VidAngel.
  • The Motion Picture Association of America and its member studios in:
    • defending against a class action lawsuit alleging that the MPAA’s motion picture rating service is required to give an “R” rating to any movie featuring any tobacco imagery.
    • securing an injunction against the operators of Zediva, an unlicensed video-on-demand service.
    • obtaining a permanent injunction against RealNetworks for its "RealDVD" device for copying DVDs.
    • numerous copyright cases as amicus curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court and circuit courts around the country.
  • TMZ and Warner Bros. in copyright litigation arising out of TMZ’s posting of a video of a famous actor and recording artist discussing the music of another recording artist.
  • Disney in defending claims of copyright infringement related to the motion picture “Frozen.”
  • The National Fire Protection Association, a major standard-setting organization, in litigation challenging whether standards lose their copyright protection when government bodies incorporate them by reference.
  • SoundExchange, on behalf of sound recording copyright owners, in the Copyright Royalty Board’s Web IV proceedings to set royalty rates for broadcasters operating under the statutory license.
  • NCAA in the O’Bannon litigation, which challenges the rules of amateurism governing college athletics.
  • Activision-Blizzard in its successful defense against a right of publicity action filed by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega arising out of a Noriega character in a “Call of Duty” game set against the backdrop of the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.
  • The major recorded music companies in a copyright infringement action against LimeWire and its founder. After obtaining a permanent injunction against LimeWire, Munger Tolles proceeded to a damages trial in U.S. District Court. Two weeks into trial, the defendants agreed to pay the record companies $105 million.
  • Universal Music Group in:
    • claims for secondary copyright liability against Bertelsmann AG and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners arising out of the infringing Napster service.
    • defending against antitrust claims arising out of the wholesale prices for permanent downloads on iTunes and other download services.
  • Advising and representing clients in software licensing and computer software infringement matters.
  • Electronic Arts in copyright litigation alleging that Zynga’s online social game “The Ville” infringed EA’s copyrighted game “Sims Social.”
  • Green Hills Software in successfully defending a five-month arbitration alleging copyright infringement relating to application program interfaces for computer programs.