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Alumni in the News

News Posted on April 25, 2013

Walter Sadler '82 Wins Ninth Circuit Copyright Infringement Case

Walter Sadler '82, a partner at Leopold, Petrich & Smith in Los Angeles, won a federal appeals court victory in a copyright infringement case that sets parameters of the fair use doctrine for struggling artists, documentarians, and their insurance carriers when the work is used in a historical context.

The case, Sofa Entertainment Inc. v. Dodger Productions Inc., involved the use of a seven-second clip from The Ed Sullivan Show in the musical Jersey Boys, which dramatizes the story of the group the Four Seasons.  On March 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a $155,000 attorney fee award to the musical's producers, holding that the fees were warranted because the plaintiff should have known the clip was fair use, based on its experience in another case involving a clip of Elvis Presley.

Sadler practices Media and Entertainment Law, with special emphasis on First Amendment, Libel & Slander, and Copyright. He has published on various matters, including Copyright, and is a member of the Los Angeles Copyright Society, as well as the American Bar Association's Patent, Trademark and Copyright Section, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Intellectual Property Section.

Walter Sadler '82