Melinda Eades LeMoine is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson who specializes in complex business litigation, with a focus on clients in the entertainment and media industries.
Ms. LeMoine often defends clients facing putative class actions and has obtained positive results at every stage of the litigation, including successful motions to dismiss, successful class certification oppositions and complex settlement negotiations. Significant matters include representing:
- Five major motion picture studios in obtaining dismissal with prejudice and an anti-SLAPP order in a putative class action alleging the studios misled hearing-impaired consumers by failing to caption music lyrics in motion pictures and television shows.
- Cozen O’Connor in obtaining dismissal of a purported $900 million class action against its client and co-defendant Full Tilt Poker alleging the website engaged in fraudulent practices and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
- Warner Music Group in the settlement of a putative class action involving royalties related to digital downloads.
- Plains All American Pipeline in putative class actions and other lawsuits stemming from the release of crude oil from a pipeline near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in May 2015.
Ms. LeMoine has demonstrated expertise in cases presenting copyright issues, in particular involving music licensing or royalties. Significant representations include:
- SoundExchange, the collective representing all sound recording copyright owners and artists in the United States, in a key trial proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board to set the royalties for the use of sound recordings in non-interactive internet webcasting via services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM.
- Universal Music Publishing Group in the Justice Department’s review of consent decrees governing the licensing of performance rights through performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI, and in two heavily publicized disputes between Pandora Media, Inc. and ASCAP and BMI.
- Universal Music Group in a federal court trial alleging infringement of nearly 100 musical composition copyrights in connection with records sold in download form through the iTunes Store.
- Universal Music Publishing Group in a case alleging a knowing material misrepresentation under DMCA Section 512(f) in connection with a notice to YouTube.
- Universal Music Group in a case brought by former music producers for the recording artist Eminem, alleging that permanent downloads are subject to “license” royalty rates under artist recording agreements.
- Warner Brothers Records in a breach of contract action brought by the recording artist James Taylor and his former producer Peter Asher.
- Capitol Records in several breach of contract actions brought by various recording artists including Kenny Rogers, the estate of Ricky Nelson and members of the Knack.
Ms. LeMoine also has significant intellectual property expertise and experience. Prior to law school, Ms. LeMoine spent several years as a private investigator, focusing on investigations into the potential infringement of clients’ valuable trademarks and other intellectual property. As a lawyer, Ms. LeMoine has continued her passionate defense of clients’ intellectual property rights, including in several high-profile anti-piracy matters. Her most significant matters in this area include representing:
- Recorded music labels within Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, EMI and Sony in obtaining a permanent injunction against the notorious pirated music service LimeWire, and the ensuing damages trial that led to a $105 million settlement on behalf of the labels.
- A major motion picture studio in a large-scale investigation into the theft and unauthorized distribution of a major motion picture months before its planned release.
Ms. LeMoine currently serves on the boards of directors for Just Detention International, an organization that fights sexual assault in all forms of detention, and for the Antaeus Theater Company, one of Los Angeles’ best small theater companies.