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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 1993
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 2014
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1994
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2000
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, 2001
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2002
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2011

Alonzo Wickers IV

Wickers IVAlonzo
Al Wickers focuses on media, IP, and entertainment law. On the litigation side of his practice, he and his team represent content creators and distributors in copyright, trademark, right of publicity, idea submission, defamation, invasion of privacy, and breach of contract disputes in federal and state courts across the country.

In addition, Al and his team provide 24/7 counseling on development, acquisition, and production issues, including chain of title and rights analyses, day-to-day production and clearance advice, production legal services, and pre-broadcast review for television networks, production companies, film studios, video game publishers, documentarians, and newspaper, book, and magazine publishers.

He also has extensive experience defending media organizations against subpoenas and prior restraints, gaining access to court proceedings and records, and litigating California Public Records Act, Freedom of Information Act, and Brown Act matters.

Representative Experience

Copyright and Trademark

LaBau v. Food Network

Represented Food Network in copyright-infringement action arising from alleged copying of an online cooking video for Snow Globe Cupcakes. (C.D. Cal. 2017)

Estate of Barre v. Pretty Bird Pictures, et al.

Counsel for music video producer, director, artist, and others in copyright and trademark case arising from alleged use of deceased performer’s voice in music video for hit song “Formation.” (E.D. La. Ongoing)

The Sporting Times, et al. v. Orion Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., Have Glove Productions, et al.

Representing defendants in a lawsuit filed by an online sports publication, The Sporting Times, which claims that its trademark was unlawfully used in Spaceman, a biopic about eccentric former Major League Baseball star Bill “Spaceman” Lee. The plaintiffs allege that the film and its trailer infringed their mark by using it without their permission. The lawsuit includes trademark and false advertising claims under federal and state law, and pits our clients’ First Amendment right to free expression against the plaintiffs’ trademark interests. Our motion to dismiss is pending. (Ongoing)

Brownmark Films v. Comedy Partners

Successfully defended Comedy Central, South Park Digital Studios, and other defendants against a copyright-infringement claim arising from "South Park's" parody of the Internet viral video "What What in the Butt." The district court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding that "South Park's" use of the plaintiffs' video was protected as a fair use under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. The court also granted the defendants’ fee motion. Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the 7th Circuit, which affirmed the district court’s "well-reasoned and delightful opinion," and unequivocally held that "South Park's" parody was a fair use. Importantly, the 7th Circuit instructed that the fair-use defense may be decided without discovery in appropriate cases—something that other circuits have resisted—enabling content creators to avoid long and burdensome litigation. (E.D. Wis., 7th Cir. 2012)

Dream Quest Florida Keys v. Boxcars Entertainment, et al.

Defended Boxcars Entertainment and Litton Entertainment in a trademark and unfair competition lawsuit arising from the title of a reality television series airing on the CW network. (M.D. Fla. 2017)

BWP Media v. Bleacher Report

Represented Bleacher Report in copyright-infringement lawsuit arising from use of publicity photos from motion picture in sports reporting. (C.D. Cal. 2016)

Jeremy Bales Creative, LLC v. Nerdist Industries, LLC

Represented defendant Nerdist in copyright-infringement lawsuit arising from use of photograph on Nerdist website in connection with podcast. (C.D. Cal. 2016)

Collier v. Black Entertainment Television, et al.

Defended BET and Film Garden Entertainment in a copyright-infringement action arising from the use of plaintiff’s fashion photographs in a reality-television series. The case was resolved days after BET and Film Garden filed their motion for summary judgment. (C.D. Cal. 2012)

Williams v. McGraw-Hill

Successfully defended McGraw-Hill against two copyright-infringement lawsuits based on use of allegedly copyrighted material in book. The district court granted McGraw-Hill's motion to dismiss and awarded McGraw-Hill its attorneys' fees. The 9th Circuit dismissed plaintiff's appeal. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2011)

Dane v. Gawker Media

Defended Gawker Media in a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by actors Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart, based on's publication of a news item. In December 2009, the district court granted Gawker's motion to strike plaintiffs' claims for statutory damages and attorneys' fees. (C.D. Cal. 2010)

Right of Publicity

Frigon v. Universal Pictures

Defending Universal Pictures in a right-of-publicity, unfair competition, and false advertising lawsuit arising from the upcoming Tom Cruise film "American Made" (formerly "Mena"), which chronicles the life of Barry Seal, a cocaine smuggler and CIA informant who was assassinated by Colombian drug lords in 1986. Seal’s ex-wife/executor alleges that the studio was required to obtain her consent to make the film and asked the court for damages for violation of his right-of-publicity and for an order setting aside a life rights agreement that the producers entered into with several of Seal’s other relatives. The district court in Louisiana granted our motion to dismiss in September 2016, and recently denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial, as well. In February 2017, the court deemed Universal to be the prevailing party under Louisiana’s anti-SLAPP statute and set a hearing on our client’s entitlement to recover its attorneys’ fees. The plaintiff has appealed, and we will file our appellate briefing later this summer. (19th Judicial Dist. Ct. of the State of Louisiana Ongoing)

Jim Brown v. Electronic Arts

Defended Electronic Arts in nine-year right-of-publicity and trademark litigation by former NFL star Jim Brown, who challenged EA’s use of his alleged likeness in its "Madden NFL" video game. After the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Brown’s Lanham Act claim, he re-filed his state-law right-of-publicity claims in Superior Court. After the Superior Court denied EA’s anti-SLAPP motion, EA appealed to the California Court of Appeal arguing that the existing balancing tests applied in right-of-publicity cases are not sufficiently protective of speech, and that courts should treat the right-of-publicity as a content-based restriction on speech that is subject to almost-always-fatal strict constitutional scrutiny. The matter was resolved informally while the appeal was pending. (2016)

Michael Davis, et al. v. Electronic Arts

Represented Electronic Arts in the 9th Circuit in an appeal of order denying EA’s special motion to strike right-of-publicity claims targeting alleged use of retired NFL players’ alleged likenesses in Madden NFL video game. Oral argument focused the panel on the threshold issue of whether the right-of-publicity, when applied to expressive works like films, books, and video games, is a content-based regulation that should be subject to strict constitutional scrutiny. The panel found that it was bound by previous 9th Circuit authority and affirmed the district court’s decision. In its next major right-of-publicity opinion, however, the 9th Circuit adopted EA’s argument that California’s right-of-publicity statute is a content-based restriction on speech that is subject to strict scrutiny. (2016)

Rahman v. Showtime Networks, Floyd Mayweather, et al.

Represented Showtime in right-of-publicity lawsuit arising from docuseries "All Access." Two amateur boxers sued Showtime and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather based on the production and airing of an episode of the series, which showed them sparring at Mayweather Las Vegas gym in the weeks leading up to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. (Nev. Dist. Ct. 2016)

Hoelscher v. Magical Elves, Turner Broadcasting, et al.

Defending Magical Elves, Turner Broadcasting, Wolf Reality, and others in right-of-publicity lawsuit filed by a murder victim’s surviving children against producers of TNT’s docuseries “Cold Justice.” (57th Judicial Dist. Ct. of the State of Texas, Bexar County, Ongoing)

Singletary v. Magical Elves, Wolf Reality, et al.

Defended Magical Elves and Wolf Reality in right-of-publicity lawsuit filed by a murder suspect against producers of TNT’s docuseries “Cold Justice.” The case was resolved on favorable terms for our client. (Tenn. Cir. Ct., Sumner County, 2015)

Keller v. Electronic Arts

Represented EA in the district court and 9th Circuit in key right-of-publicity case. The district court denied EA's special motion to strike the plaintiff's claims arising from EA's use of the former college quarterback's likeness in its "NCAA Football" video game. The case, which was consolidated for appeal with Brown v. Electronic Arts, pitted the game publisher's First Amendment rights against celebrities' right-of-publicity. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2009-2013)

Buzz Aldrin v. The Topps Company

Successfully defended The Topps Company against right-of-publicity claims filed by astronaut Buzz Aldrin arising from Topps' use of Aldrin's name and likeness in the Topps American Heritage: American Heroes trading-card set and on the cover and packaging of that work. The court recognized (for the first time within the 9th Circuit) that trading cards are constitutionally protected expressive works, granted Topps' anti-SLAPP motion, and dismissed the claims. Aldrin agreed to dismiss his appeal in exchange for Topps’ waiver of its right to recover fees. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2012)

Ahmed v. Lions Gate Entertainment

Successfully defended Lionsgate against right of publicity claims arising from use of convicted terrorist’s likeness in motion picture "The Next Three Days." The defendant contended that the film’s producer should have obtained permission to use his likeness on a watch list used as a prop. The court granted Lionsgate’s anti-SLAPP motion, entitling Lionsgate to a fee award, and dismissed the lawsuit. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)

Lindgren v. Microsoft

Defended Microsoft against right-of-publicity, false light, and unfair competition claims arising from's article that used plaintiff’s likeness without his permission. The court granted Microsoft’s SLAPP motion, finding that’s conduct was protected under California’s SLAPP statute and that plaintiff could not show a probability of prevailing on any of his claims. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)

Eisenberg v. Lions Gate Entertainment

Defended Lionsgate against right-of-publicity and unfair-competition claims arising from the use of actor Jesse Eisenberg's name and likeness on the cover of a DVD release of the film "Camp Hell." The matter was resolved during the appeal of an order denying Lionsgate's anti-SLAPP motion. (Cal. Super. Ct., Cal. Ct. App., 2013)

Hilton v. Hallmark Cards

Represented several video game publishers as amici counsel in connection with rehearing petition in 9th Circuit in right-of-publicity case arising from the use of Paris Hilton's likeness on a parodic greeting card. The court modified its original opinion, adopting amici's arguments. (9th Cir. 2010)

Idea Submission

Hulse v. MTV Networks

Successfully defended MTV Networks against idea-submission claims arising from hit reality series "Jersey Shore." After allowing plaintiff extensive discovery, the court granted MTVN’s motion for summary judgment, finding that VH1 had independently created the series without using plaintiff’s idea that allegedly was pitched to MTV. The court also found that plaintiff lacked standing to assert his implied-in-fact contract claim. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012; Cal. Ct. App. 2013)

McGhee v. MTV Networks

Defended MTV Networks and Randy Jackson against breach of implied-in-fact contract and other idea-submission claims arising from the reality-television show "America's Best Dance Crew." The case was resolved several days after MTV filed its motion for summary judgment based on independent creation and the statute of limitations. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011) Read more

Mete v. Showtime Networks

Defended Showtime Networks against idea-submission lawsuit filed by woman who pitched idea for online reality program. Court sustained Showtime’s demurrer to complaint without leave to amend, and entered judgment in favor of Showtime. Plaintiff dismissed her appeal voluntarily. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2010)

Defamation and Invasion of Privacy

Bryan v. News Corp., et al

Representing News Corp. and related defendants against libel, privacy, and illegal recording claims filed by the toe-sucking former paramour of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.  Plaintiff’s complaint focuses on an article reported and written by the so-called Fake Sheikh, an English journalist whose controversial reporting techniques recently led to his conviction on criminal charges in the UK. The case presents the important issue of whether a third party’s television exposé about a news organization’s years-old reporting restarts the statute of limitations. (Los Angeles Superior Court, Cal. Ct. App. Ongoing)

Shelton v. Bauer Publishing, et al.

Defending entertainment magazine publisher against defamation claims arising from reporting about country music star’s well-publicized alcohol use. The district court denied our anti-SLAPP motion, and we have appealed to the 9th Circuit. (Ongoing)

Boladian, et al. v. Simon & Schuster, et al.

Defended Simon & Schuster and Ben Greenman, the publisher and co-author of funk musician George Clinton’s 2014 memoir, in a defamation and false light lawsuit filed by Clinton’s nemesis, Armen Boladian. In late 2015, the court granted our anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of Simon & Schuster and Greenman, and dismissed Boladian’s claims with prejudice. Plaintiff has subsequently dismissed his appeal as to our clients. (Los Angeles Superior Court, 2015; Cal. Ct. App. 2016)

Strouse-Johnson v. Penguin Group

Successfully defended Penguin and author Jillian Shriner against defamation, invasion of privacy, and other claims arising from the use of the plaintiff's photograph in a promotion for book "Some Girls: My Life in a Harem," which recounted the author's experiences in a royal harem in Brunei. The court granted Penguin and Ms. Shriner's anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed all of the plaintiff's claims with prejudice. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012)

Herpin v. Simon & Schuster

Successfully defended Simon & Schuster and child star Jodie Sweetin against false-light lawsuit filed by her ex-husband based on her memoir. The plaintiff dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice after defendants filed their anti-SLAPP motion. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)

Rooke v. MTV Networks

Successfully defended MTV Networks in an invasion of privacy, trespass, and negligence lawsuit arising from the production and broadcast of the popular reality television series "The Hills." MTV moved to strike the plaintiff-homeowner's claims under California's anti-SLAPP statute. After the court dismissed the privacy and trespass claims the homeowner voluntarily dismissed all of his claims against MTV to avoid liability for MTV's attorneys' fees. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2010)

Ishkanian v. Baker

Successfully represented Wenner Media, publisher of Us Weekly, in persuading the Court of Appeal to overturn a trial court's order denying the magazine's special motion to strike a former employee's $55 million lawsuit for defamation and other torts. On remand, the trial court awarded Wenner Media its attorneys' fees. (Cal. Super. Ct., Cal. Ct. App. 2009)

Clark v. Cable News Network and Larry King

Defended CNN and Larry King against defamation lawsuit filed by actress Lynn Redgrave's ex-husband, based on statements about their divorce proceedings made on "Larry King Live." The 9th Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing the lawsuit. (C.D. Cal., 9th Cir. 2007)

Spears v. Us Weekly

Successfully defended Us Weekly against libel claim by Britney Spears. The court granted the magazine's anti-SLAPP motion, dismissed the lawsuit, and awarded the magazine its attorneys' fees. (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2007) Read more

Prior Restraints

State of Idaho v. Brad Compher

Represented TNT and Magical Elves in connection with a murder defendant’s request for prior restraint/injunction to prohibit TNT from airing an episode of TNT’s docuseries “Cold Justice,” which investigated the unsolved killing for which the defendant faces trial. The defendant claimed that the episode, if aired on TNT, would prejudice his right to a fair trial. The district court denied his request for an injunction, and an appellate court affirmed in an emergency proceeding. Two months later, the defendant subpoenaed outtakes and other materials from Magical Elves relating to the investigation. We successfully moved to quash the subpoena. (Bannock County Idaho District Court 2015)

Freedom Communications v. Superior Court

Petitioned Court of Appeal for emergency writ to vacate prior restraint against newspaper. The court granted the newspaper's petition and issued a published opinion reaffirming the strong constitutional presumption against prior restraints. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2008)

Other Litigation Experience

Taylor v. Viacom

Defending Viacom against rap artist’s breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and related claims arising from casting of the reality television series "She’s Got Game." We intend to file an anti-SLAPP motion. (Ongoing)

The Press-Enterprise v. San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association

Successfully represented "The Press-Enterprise" in Public Records Act lawsuit resulting in judgment compelling public agency to release information about pensions paid to retired public employees. The court subsequently awarded "The Press-Enterprise" 100 percent of its requested fees. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)

In re Marriage of Nicholas

Represented Los Angeles Times and argued before Court of Appeal in case arising from sealing of court records relating to high-profile divorce. The Court of Appeal recognized that successor judges have broad rights to vacate sealing orders and affirmed order granting public access to court file. 186 Cal. App. 4th 1566 (2010)

Mattel v. MCA

Successfully defended "BusinessWeek" reporter who was subpoenaed to testify by Mattel in multibillion-dollar civil lawsuit arising from ownership of Bratz dolls. Relying on First Amendment reporter's privilege, the court denied Mattel’s motions to compel and motions for reconsideration before the discovery master, and Mattel's motions asking the district court judge to reverse the master's orders. (C.D. Cal. 2008)

Board of Trustees of California v. Superior Court

Represented The Copley Press, publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, in a Public Records Act lawsuit against San Diego State University. The court ordered the university to release several documents, and awarded the newspaper its attorneys' fees and costs. 132 Cal. App. 4th 889 (2005)

In re Molz

Represented the California Newspaper Publishers Association as amicus curiae in an important newspaper adjudication case. The Court of Appeal allowed CNPA to participate in oral argument and issued a published decision adopting CNPA's position. 127 Cal. App. 4th 836 (2005)

Los Angeles Times v. Board of Supervisors

Obtained important published decision from the Court of Appeal, reversing a trial-court order denying attorneys' fees to a successful plaintiff in a Brown Act open-meetings case. 112 Cal. App. 4th 1313 (Cal. Super. Ct., Cal. Ct. App. 2003)

Development, Production, and Pre-broadcast Counseling, and Other IP Advice

Pre-broadcast and production counseling and IP advice for various television series and pilots

Al and his team regularly provide counsel on rights, pre-broadcast, advertising, and promotions issues, and related services for television networks, production companies, and other content services including: Amazon Studios, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central/Viacom, Turner Broadcasting (TNT, truTV, Turner Sports, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network), VICELAND, Fusion, AMC, A&E, El Rey Network, Pivot/Participant Media, Legendary Television, Lionsgate Television, Funny or Die, SuperDeluxe, Abso Lutely, ITV, Magical Elves, Left/Right, Titmouse Studios, Red Bull Media House, LeVision Entertainment, LinkedIn, Shed Media, Entertainment One, Blumhouse, South Park Studios and others. Representative projects include "@midnight," "Tosh.0," "South Park," "Cold Justice," "Unlocking the Truth," "Billions," "The Affair," "Ray Donovan," "Orange is the New Black," "Ballers," "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," "Last Week Tonight," "Chumel con Chumel Torres," "The Man in the High Castle," "Transparent," "I Love Dick," "Stranger Things," "Nathan for You," "The Eric Andre Show," "Rick and Morty," "With Bob and David," "American Playboy," "Throwing Shade," "Manuscript," "Grand Tour," "Desus & Mero," "Weediquette," "Hamilton's Pharmacopeia," and "Triumph’s Election Special 2016." (Ongoing)

Pre-distribution and production counseling and IP advice for motion pictures, documentaries, and video games

Al and his team regularly counsel the producers of feature-length films, documentaries, and video games regarding right of publicity, life rights, copyright, trademark, and defamation issues, often on projects that tackle sensitive topics and involve substantial fair use issues ("Spotlight," "Funny or Die Presents Donald J. Trump’s The Art of the Deal," "Anomalisa," "Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman," "Virunga," "Finding Vivian Maier," "Prophet’s Prey," "Deliver Us From Evil," "West of Memphis," "Tales of the Grim Sleeper," "South Park: Stick of Truth," "South Park: Fractured But Whole," "Whitney: Can’t I Be Me?"). Representative clients include Netflix, Amazon Studios, Cross Creek Pictures, Disarming Films, Funny or Die, South Central Films, Participant Media, Ravine Pictures, Legendary, and South Park Digital Studios.

Intellectual property/First Amendment Counsel to Entertainment Software Association

IP and First Amendment counsel to the Entertainment Software Association, the trade association that represents major video-game publishers in the United States. Worked with the ESA on proposed right-of-publicity bills in Minnesota, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, encouraging lawmakers to afford video games the same protections as other expressive works. Testified before legislative committees, met with lawmakers, submitted written comments to proposed legislation, and helped formulate ESA's strategy. ESA’s efforts have been opposed by professional athletes’ union and by SAG-AFTRA. (Ongoing)

Professional & Community Activities

  • Instructor, "Law of Mass Communications," Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Fall 2000-2007
  • Founding Co-Chair, Media Law Resource Center, California Chapter
  • Board of Trustees, Hollywood United Methodist Church
  • ABA Forum on Communications Law 

Professional Recognition

  • Named One of the "50 Top Entertainment Attorneys" by The Daily Journal, 2014-present
  • Named as one of the "Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California" by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2013-2014
  • Named by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the "Top 100 Power Lawyers-Litigation," 2011-2017
  • Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Media & Entertainment: Litigation (California) by Chambers USA, 2006-2017; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2017
  • Selected by Best Lawyers as Los Angeles' "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation–First Amendment, 2013, 2018; Media Law, 2017 
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Media Law by Best Lawyers, 2007-present; named in First Amendment Law, 2010-present
  • Selected to "Southern California Super Lawyers" in Intellectual Property Litigation, Media and Advertising, Entertainment & Sports, Thomson Reuters, 2004-2017
  • Named one of Lawdragon's "500 New Stars, New Worlds," 2006
  • Named as one of California Law Business' "20 Under 40," 2000
"He is extremely responsive and a first-rate issue spotter." -Client Quote, Chambers USA 2017
A day in Al's life at DWT
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