Stephen Smith

Partner

T:
310.785.6895
F:
310.201.2350

Profile

Stephen Smith focuses on representing entertainment and new media companies in the motion picture, television, digital app and interactive gaming industries.  He provides those companies with legal counseling related to all aspects of their businesses in litigation and transactional matters alike.  His clients have included Ubisoft Entertainment, S.A., Gameloft, S.A., Crave Entertainment, K2 Networks, Spark Unlimited, Savage Entertainment, Elite Modeling, Collision Studios, Ticketmaster, StudiVZ, Genuine Games, Papaya Studios, JANUS et Cie, Logan Media and Sugar Foods.

Daily Variety selected Steve as one of Hollywood’s “Dealmakers” in its “Impact Report ’08.”  The Los Angeles Daily Journal honored Mr. Smith as one of the top 20 lawyers in Los Angeles under 40 years of age in its 2009 “20 Under 40” report. Steve has been selected by Los Angeles Magazine as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” and has received the highest peer-review rating of “AV” by Martindale Hubbell.  

Steve has a particular expertise in legal issues arising in the interactive gaming industry and is regularly quoted and featured in magazine and newspaper articles, online publications and radio broadcasts dealing with those issues.  Steve also has particular expertise in arbitrations, including international arbitrations, and employment-related matters.

Steve serves on Greenberg Glusker's five-member Management Committee.  He also sits on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and provides pro bono services to the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel and the ACLU.

Interactive Gaming Experience

  • Represented Ubisoft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, in a license dispute against MGA Entertainment, the owner of the girl doll property known as “Bratz,” which resulted in a $13 million judgment in favor of Ubisoft
  • Successfully negotiated and closed one of the most significant video game deals in the industry on behalf of Ubisoft Entertainment in an acquisition of rights to use bestselling author Tom Clancy's name and likeness in connection with interactive games, related books and motion pictures
  • Defended massively multiplayer online role playing video game publisher, K2 Networks, in copyright infringement, breach of contract and computer fraud and abuse act case filed by Mgame Corporation simultaneously in California state court, California federal court and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre 
  • Defended Ubisoft Entertainment against a copyright infringement case brought by John Beiswenger alleging that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed video game infringed Beiswenger’s novel Link, resulting in Beiswenger dismissing his case at the pleading stage
  • Represented Crave Entertainment in a video game development dispute against Visiware Entertainment, a video game developer, which resulted in an award in favor of Crave for 100 percent of the damages sought by Crave along with all of its attorneys’ fees and costs
  • Represented Ubisoft Entertainment in its acquisition of the name and likeness rights of Michael Jackson for use in the video game Michael Jackson: The Experience.
  • Represented Spark Unlimited, the developer of video games Call of Duty Finest Hour, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and Legendary: The Box, in a breach of contract and fraud claim against Activision Publishing
  • Represented Savage Entertainment, a video game developer whose work includes Transformers, Blacksite, Medal of Honor: Vanguard and U.S. Army: DARPA Real World, in a breach of contract dispute with video game publisher Take Two Interactive
  • Defended video game publisher and developer, Nobilis, in breach of contract case filed by Southpeak Interactive, resulting in a dismissal of the case at the pleading stage
  • Represented Gameloft, a mobile phone interactive gaming publisher, in copyright and trademark infringement action brought against it by Activision Publishing

Articles

  • Mentioned, "Sterling Family Trust Completes $2 Billion Sale of Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer," August 13, 2014
  • Mentioned, "Judge Approves $2 Billion Sale of Los Angeles Clippers; Allows Sale to be Completed Regardless of Appeal," Reuters, July 28, 2014
  • Quoted, "MPAA backs anti-piracy curriculum for elementary school students," Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2013
  • Quoted, "Video game specialists leave large firms behind," Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 5, 2013
  • Quoted, "Piracy fight taken into US kindergartens," Financial Journal, October 9, 2013
  • Profiled, "Stepping Out," Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 7, 2013
  • Featured in "Making His Case," Smart Business Los Angeles, June 2012 
  • Quoted in the Los Angeles Daily Journal article, "Warring game makers ink peace"
  • Quoted in the Los Angeles Times article, "Is a Call of Duty settlement coming?"
  • "Activision and creators behind 'Call of Duty' begin battles in court," The Madeleine Brand Show, May 31, 2012 
  • Profiled, "Why arbitration remains the better option," Smart Business Magazine, September 1, 2011
  • "Law Firms, Agents Court Video Game Developers," Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • "Smith Sees Court Overturning Violent Game Law," Bloomberg Law Blogcast, November 3, 2010
  • Featured in Lawyer LimelightLawdragon.com, August 24, 2009
  • Quoted in, "Crushing Sales Figures Don't Signal 'Game Over' for Industry," E-Commerce Times, August 14, 2009
  • "Private Investigator Says Producer Stole His Show Idea," Entertainment Law Digest, May 2009
  • "Is It 'Game On' for Apple?," E-Commerce Times, May 5, 2009
  • "These Lawyers Got (Video) Game," Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2008
  • "Even Bratz victory has a price for Mattel," Reuters, August 22, 2008
  • Author, "Gimme Some Truth," The Recorder, August 20, 2008
  • "Publishers rule videogame universe," Variety, July 25, 2008
  • "Got Game - Entertainment's New Players," Daily Journal, June 25, 2008
  • "A $13M award could be harbinger for an industry in its infancy," The National Law Journal, February 18, 2008
  • "$13M Arbitration Award a Harbinger?" The Recorder, February 13, 2008
  • "Ubisoft Pwns Bratz Producers For $13 Million," Kotaku, February 12, 2008
  • Co-author, “Entertainment and Media Law Client Strategies: Leading Lawyers on Case Strategies, Exceeding Client Expectations, and Negotiating Deals,” Aspatore Books, 2007
  • Co-author, “Exemption Clause Gap,” Game Developer Magazine, June 2007
  • “Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against New Louisiana Video Game Law,” Arstechnica.com, June 20, 2006
  • “Top Southern California Law Firms: Entertainment,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 21, 2007
  • Author, “Play Smart with Wages,” Game Developer Magazine, May 2006
  • Co-author, “Contractual Jury Waivers Held Unenforceable,” California Real Estate Journal, February 13, 2006
  • “Los Angeles Sue Over 'Grand Theft Auto' Game,” Reuters, January 27, 2006
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