Phillips Nizer LLP
About Phillips Nizer LLP Phillips Nizer LLP Attorneys Phillips Nizer LLP Industry Teams Phillips Nizer LLP Practice Areas Phillips Nizer LLP News and Events Phillips Nizer LLP Publications
    
About Us Professionals Industry Teams Practice Areas News & Events Publications
Education:
  • New York University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, NYU Law Review, Order of the Coif
  • Smith College, A.B., Phi Beta Kappa
Bar Admissions:
  • New York
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd, 3rd, 6th & 9th Circuits
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., EDNY
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., WDNY
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., SDNY

Home  » »  Attorneys  » »  Helene M. Freeman

Helene M. Freeman Helene M. Freeman
Partner
New York Office
hfreeman@phillipsnizer.com
phone: (212) 841-0547
fax: (212) 262-5152

download vCard
Areas of Experience:

Helene M. Freeman is a partner in the Litigation Department at Phillips Nizer LLP.   Ms. Freeman's practice is focused on all facets of entertainment, publishing, the arts and fashion.  She has counseled multinational record distributors, leading musical performing groups, film and television producers and distributors, international music publishing companies, theatrical producers, authors and advertising agencies.

As a litigator with more than 30 years experience, Ms. Freeman has been trial and appellate counsel in precedent setting cases under both copyright and trademark law throughout the United States.  She provides assistance in securing registration of copyrights and trademarks in the United States and developing plans for the worldwide exploitation and protection of creative property. She also regularly advises on international transactions involving the acquisition of rights in entertainment and media properties.

Representative Litigation:

  • Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et. al. (C.D. Cal. 2016).  Defense counsel to surviving Led Zeppelin members in high-profile copyright infringement case involving the claim that "Stairway to Heaven" copied an instrumental composition.  Jury verdict for the defendants.
  • Robinson v. Sanctuary Records Group, Ltd. et al., 542 F. Supp. 2d 284 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). Trial and appellate counsel to defendant record company in breach of contract action. Secured judgment after trial that plaintiff recover no damages.
  • RBFC One, LLC v. Zeeks, Inc. et al., 367 F. Supp. 2d 604 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) aff’d., 171 Fed. Appx. 902 (2d Cir. 2006). Representation of the musical group *NSYNC in an action for breach of contract and fraud brought by producer of large format motion picture *NSYNC Bigger Than Live. Secured summary judgment dismissing the suit; affirmed on appeal.
  • Guardian Music Corp. v. James W. Guercio Enterprises, Inc., 459 F. Supp. 2d 216 (S.D.N.Y. 2006), aff’d. 271 Fed. Appx. (2d Cir. 2008). Representation of defendant music publisher in an action for breach of co-publishing agreement. Secured summary judgment dismissing claim to renewal term of song copyright; affirmed on appeal.
  • The Chase Manhattan Bank v. AXA Reinsurance UK PLC et al., 294 A.D.2d 245, 741 N.Y.S. 2d 867 (1st Dept. 2002). Secured dismissal of independent film producer from multiple actions asserting fraud in connection with multi-billion dollar insurance backed film finance program, affirmed on appeal.
  • Maeillo v. Brendan and Peter Brown, Case No. 13 181 05584. Trial counsel to musical group “Wheatus” securing judgment after bench trial that its agreement with its manager was void.
  • Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, Inc. v. Zeeks, et al., 00-12579. Trial counsel to *NSYNC securing dismissal of action claiming copyright infringement in puppets by virtue of the use of photos of the puppets in concert merchandise.
  • Trans Continental Records, Inc. et al. v. Zomba Recording Corporation et al., 99-1282-Civ-Orl-22C (M.D. Florida). Successfully defended the musical group *NSYNC in a Lanham Act action brought by BMG Music and Louis Pearlman to enjoin the group from performing under the name *NSYNC and to compel the group to deliver master recordings to BMG. As a result, *NSYNC was permitted to leave the RCA Record label and release their No Strings Attached record through Jive Records.
  • Batjac Productions, Inc. v. GoodTimes Home Video Corp., 160 F.3d 1223 (9th Cir. 1998). Trial and appellate counsel for defendant in copyright infringement action alleging infringement of copyright in unpublished screenplays for public domain motion picture; summary judgment granted to defendant and affirmed on appeal.
  • Maljack Productions, Inc. v. GoodTimes Home Video, 81 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 1996). Trial and appellate counsel for defendant in action alleging infringement of the copyrights in music used in public domain motion picture and unfair competition; summary judgment granted to defendant and full attorneys fees awarded.
  • The Walt Disney Co. v. GoodTimes Home Video Corp., 830 F. Supp. 762 (S.D.N.Y. 1993). Trial counsel to defendant in action alleging infringement of the trade dress for videocassettes of Disney animated motion pictures; judgment for defendant after trial.
  • Larball Publishing Co. v. CBS, Inc., 664 F. Supp. 704 (S.D.N.Y. 1987). Lead counsel to plaintiff in copyright infringement action, sustaining jurisdiction over all subsidiaries worldwide and recovery of worldwide profits from infringement.
  • Davis v. Ross, 754 F.2d 80 (2d Cir. 1985). Appellate counsel to Diana Ross in libel action brought by former employee.

Representative Transactions:

  • Intellectual property counsel to EM.TV in connection with the acquisition of The Jim Henson Company
  • Intellectual property counsel to Madstone Holdings Inc. in connection with the acquisition of New Yorker Films

Peer Review Rating:

Honors:

  • Selected as "Lawyer of the Week" by The Times of London (July 7, 2016)
  • Selected as a 2013 "Top Rated Lawyer" in Commercial Litigation by American Lawyer Media (ALM) and Martindale-Hubbell 
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Copyright Law (2017)
  • Selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers® - Metro New York Edition (Entertainment & Sports), (2007 - 2009, 2011 - 2014)
  • Selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers® - "Top Women" annual list of female attorneys
  • Selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers® - Corporate Counsel Edition in Entertainment (2009)
  • Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow in Civil Liberties
  • American Civil Liberties Union (1976-1977)

Clerkship:

  • United States District Court , Southern District of New York , Honorable Robert J. Ward (1974-76)

Speaking Engagements:

  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) 2017 Intellectual Property Litigation Section Seminar (May 11, 2017) [Upcoming]
  • American Bar Association (ABA) International Legal Symposium panel on Entertainment Litigation update (March 30 - 31, 2017) [Upcoming]
  • 28th Annual North American Law Summit for Entertainment, Sports and Intellectual Property, sponsored in part by the New York State Bar Association. Panel: "Winning Strategies & Ethical Boundaries for Persuading Judges and Juries in Entertainment Cases" (November 9 - 13, 2016)
  • American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries 2016 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada (October 6 - 8, 2016). "Plenary Session: Litigation Roundup" (October 8, 2016)
  • American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) webinar, “Copyrights, Ransom and (Bet the Company) Lawsuits: Avoiding the Troll Under The Next Bridge”. A webinar highlighting the seriousness of copyright infringement and the now lucrative business of infringement actions by copyright owners against vendors. (September 4, 2014)
  • Speech, Copyright Society, New England Chapter, “Slip Sliding Away: Termination Rights Under the Copyright Act” (April 2010)
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Faculty, “Get Wired: Practicing Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law in the Digital Age” (October 2000)
  • Practising Law Institute, Faculty, “Litigating Copyright, Trademark & Unfair Competition Cases for the Experienced Practitioner,” November 1996
  • American Bar Association, Torts & Insurance Practice Section, Demonstration — “Jury Selection & Opening Statement” (April 1991)
  • American Bar Association, Torts & Insurance Practice Section, Speech, “What is a Defamatory Statement” (May 1987)

Articles:

  • Duran Duran Case Shouldn't Affect Paul McCartney's Termination Rights (Law360, January 30, 2017)
  • The Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995 in Litigating Copyright, Trademark & Unfair Competition Cases for the Experienced Practitioner (Practising Law Institute, 1996)
  • Proceedings of the New York University 39th Annual Conference on Labor, "Employee Discharge: Defamation Through the Form of Termination" (Matthew Bender, 1986)
  • "Testimony of the American Civil Liberties Union, Customs Service Mail Openings," in Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 119-39, 1977
  • Note, "Airport Searches: Fourth Amendment Anomalies," 48 NYU 1043, 1973

Social Media:

Fashion Law Blog:
  • The Fashion Industry Law Blog, includes posts published by the members of the Fashion Law Practice of Phillips Nizer LLP and attorneys in other related practice areas.

Professional Memberships:

  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • Copyright Society
  • Community for Education Foundation, Inc. (Member, Board of Directors [emeritus]; Chair, Governance Committee)

Foreign Language Competencies:

  • French