Robert S. Gutierrez

Of Counsel

gutierrezr@ballardspahr.com
Tel 424.204.4370
Fax 424.204.4350
Los Angeles

Robert S. Gutierrez is a litigator who defends clients across the entertainment industry in contract, ownership, and royalty disputes; idea submission and right of publicity claims; and in matters involving allegations of copyright infringement, defamation, invasion of privacy, unfair competition, and fraud.

Robert also provides chain of title analysis and clearance review of books, screenplays, documentaries, and films on issues pertaining to defamation, trademark and copyright infringement, and privacy and publicity rights.

Representative Matters

  • Defended prominent Vietnamese entertainment company against claim of copyright infringement relating to compositions by famed Vietnamese composers.
  • Obtained summary judgment for leading music production company FirstCom Music against claims for RICO violations, copyright infringement, and fraud involving hundreds of compositions and sound recordings.
  • Obtained dismissal of a lawsuit filed against producers of the motion picture The 33 alleging copyright infringement against the film's score.
  • Obtained dismissal for Pure Flix Entertainment in two separate copyright infringement actions filed against the motion picture God's Not Dead.
  • Defended beneficiaries of composer Jimmy Holiday's ex-wife in dispute over ownership of royalties from Jimmy Holiday compositions.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing implied-in-fact contract and breach of confidence claims against the Imagine Television/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation television series Lie to Me.
  • Defended Discovery Communications, Inc. over a television broadcast of The Prosecutors and successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal that the California Supreme Court's decision in Briscoe v. Reader's Digest Association, Inc., (1971) was no longer good law. On appeal, obtained a decision by the California Supreme Court overruling Briscoe. Gates v. Discovery Communications, Inc., 34 Cal.4th 679 (2004).
  • Obtained summary judgment for Miramax Film Corp. and writers in breach of implied-in-fact contract claim over the motion picture Rounders. Grosso v. Miramax Film Corp., 2007 WL 2585053
  • Obtained summary judgment for Wayans Bros. Productions on claims for copyright infringement and breach of implied-in-fact contract over the motion picture White Chicks. A Slice of Pie Productions, LLC v. Wayans Bros. Entertainment, 487 F.Supp.2d 33 (D. Conn. 2007), 487 F.Supp.2d 41 (D. Conn. 2007)
  • Defended ABC Cable Networks Group in two breach of implied-in-fact contract actions over the television series Hannah Montana.
  • Defended DreamWorks Animation against a claim for copyright infringement over motion picture Flushed Away, and against a claim for breach of implied-in-fact contract over the motion picture Bee Movie.
  • Defended publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc. against defamation claim filed against book Through the Storm by Lynne Spears, mother of Britney Spears.
  • Defended producers of the motion picture The Killer Inside Me in dispute over remake rights to underlying novel.
  • Defended DVD distributor against right of publicity claims by actresses Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, and Kate Hudson.
  • Defended Merv Griffin Entertainment, Inc. against breach of implied-in-fact contract claim over the television game show Merv Griffin's Crosswords.
  • Defended Kevin Costner and related producers against claim for producer credit on the motion picture Open Range.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Twentieth Century Fox on copyright infringement claim against the motion picture Titanic.
  • Obtained summary judgment for CBS and writers and producers on copyright infringement claim against television movie of the week. Weygand v. CBS, Inc., 43 U.S.P.Q.2d 1120 (C.D. Cal. 1997)
  • Obtained summary judgment for producers on copyright infringement claim against the USA Network police drama Pacific Blue.
  • Defended numerous publishers in various actions for defamation and/or invasion of privacy filed by Donna Summer, Rodney Dangerfield, Ed McMahon, Peter Criss, Cher, Anna Nicole Smith, and others.
  • Defended record company in dispute with rap singer over sound recording catalogue, resulting in a multi-million-dollar judgment against the plaintiff.
  • Defended Chino Unified School District against claims by former principal for defamation and invasion of privacy.

Professional Activities

California State Bar Association

Los Angeles Copyright Society

Media Law Resource Center

Recognitions & Accomplishments

Southern California Super Lawyer, 2014-2019

Publications

"California Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment Dismissing Implied Contract Claim Against Rounders Motion Picture," MLRC MediaLawLetter, September 2007

"California Appellate Court Rejects Claim For Publication of Old Crime Information," MLRC MediaLawLetter, March 2003

Stanford Law School (J.D. 1989)
Associate Managing Editor, Law Review

Harvard University (B.A. 1984)

California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit