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Admitted to Practice

  • California, 2013

Brendan Charney

Brendan Charney has experience in a broad range of legal issues, and focuses his practice on media, First Amendment, and intellectual property law. He has litigated motions in state and federal courts; taken depositions of individuals and entities; provided pre-broadcast and pre-publication counseling to documentary filmmakers, journalists, and other creative clients on defamation, privacy, fair use, and other legal issues; drafted and filed appellate briefs in state and federal court; successfully compelled disclosure of public records through federal and state FOIA proceedings; and represented clients before the Copyright Office in an administrative rulemaking under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Representative Experience

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)

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)

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)

Additional Qualifications

  • Summer Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine, Los Angeles, 2012
  • Supervising Clinical Intern, Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, University of Southern California Law School, Los Angeles, 2011-2013
  • Litigation Paralegal, McLaughlin & Stern, LLP, New York, N.Y., 2008-2010