Aaron J. Moss

Chair, Litigation Department
Fax 310-201-2314

Entertainment & IP Experience

  • Successfully defended Discovery Communications, LLC against a lawsuit seeking to prevent the network from broadcasting “The Lost Lincoln,” a documentary concerning a previously undiscovered photograph taken of the president after he was shot in 1866. After Discovery demonstrated that enjoining the documentary would constitute an unconstitutional “prior restraint” in violation of the First Amendment, the court denied the plaintiffs application for a temporary restraining order, allowing the program to be aired.
  • Obtained complete defense in three related proceedings on behalf of writer-director Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Star Wars: Episode VIII–The Last Jedi) in a commission dispute with a former agent arising under California’s Talent Agencies Act.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of client Barstool Sports, Inc. in a high-profile defamation and fraud lawsuit in the Southern District of New York brought by actor Michael Rapaport arising out of a failed business relationship between the parties.
  • Obtained summary judgment victory on behalf of retailer Costco Wholesale Corporation in a putative class action lawsuit alleging false advertising, unfair competition and related claims in connection with Costco’s advertising and sale of Apple AirPods.
  • Currently advises the owner of intellectual property rights in the works of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451 The Martin Chronicles) in connection with contractual and copyright issues arising out of the exploitation of those rights.
  • Represents the Rod Serling Trust in connection with intellectual property matters involving works by the famed creator of The Twilight Zone.
  • Successfully represented the licensor of trademark rights in the popular YOGI TEA brand in several federal court lawsuits and Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) opposition proceedings.
  • Successfully defended Univision Communications Inc. in a case brought by Jenni Rivera Enterprises, owner of Jenni Rivera’s intellectual property rights, arising out of Univision’s publication of allegedly confidential information in a 26-episode series about the late singer. Univision appealed following the trial court’s denial of its anti-SLAPP motion.  In a published opinion, the California Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the First Amendment provided a complete defense.
  • Represents one of the most popular sports and pop culture websites in the country in connection with various high-profile lawsuits alleging copyright and trademark infringement, right of publicity and defamation. 
  • Currently representing major media company in defense of breach of implied contract/idea submission claim arising out of a pitch for a television miniseries.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Discovery Communications, LLC in connection with an action brought by former talent for one of the network’s unscripted shows, claiming that Discovery was liable for allegedly defamatory Facebook postings. 
  • Represented the Ray Charles Foundation, a philanthropic organization and the sole beneficiary of Mr. Charles’ estate, in a copyright matter brought against Charles’ children. The Foundation challenged attempts by defendants to recapture, under the Copyright Act’s statutory termination provisions, rights in dozens of musical compositions written by Mr. Charles in the 1950s. The Foundation contended that the termination notices were invalid and that it was entitled to continue to receive royalties from the exploitation of the compositions, as Mr. Charles intended. The parties reached an amicable settlement.
  • Represented Riot Games, Inc., a video game developer best known for the enormously popular game and eSport “League of Legends,” in federal litigation against a company trafficking in stolen user accounts and infringing Riot’s intellectual property.  Obtained a permanent injunction shutting down the defendant and preventing its founder from engaging in future misuse of Riot’s property.
  • Successfully represented NBCUniversal/DreamWorks Animation in recovering 7.4 million units of home video inventory wrongfully held by its former distributor, Our Alchemy, in violation of the parties’ license agreement.  After DWA initiated arbitration proceedings, Our Alchemy filed bankruptcy and resisted DWA’s attempts to obtain a writ of possession and preliminary injunction. The Delaware Bankruptcy Court granted DWA’s relief from stay (over the objections of the Chapter 7 trustee and others), and we proceeded to obtain DWA’s requested relief in a Los Angeles arbitration before JAMS.
  • Represented Toho Co., Ltd., owner of copyright and trademark rights in the iconic Godzilla character and series of films, against producer Voltage Pictures and director/screenwriter Nacho Vigalondo. Toho claimed that defendants improperly used Toho’s intellectual property at the Cannes Film Festival to promote and sell an unauthorized Godzilla motion picture entitled “Colossal.” 
  • Defended NBCUniversal in major copyright infringement matter concerning claims that Section 6, a pre-production screenplay, violated copyrights in the James Bond character and series of films.
  • Represented DreamWorks Animation on various complex chain of title reviews, advising on copyright and trademark issues in connection with potential entertainment projects.
  • Represents Toho Co., Ltd., owner of intellectual property rights in Godzilla, in numerous matters involving copyright and trademark infringement and licensing disputes; among many others, these cases have involved the unauthorized use of the Godzilla character in motion pictures and television commercials, the “sampling” of Godzilla theme music in sound recordings, and the infringement of Toho’s characters in connection with various internet ventures; all of these cases were resolved with the defendants ceasing their infringing conduct.
  • Represented Costco Wholesale Corporation in a major copyright case of first impression, Omega v. Costco, defending Costco against claims that the retailer infringed Omega’s copyright by acquiring genuine watches imported from abroad without Omega’s consent and selling them for more than one-third less than Omega’s regular retail price. In January 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment in favor of Costco on its “first sale” defense, upholding Costco’s right to sell the watches. The case had originally been to the United States Supreme Court on this issue, which deadlocked 4-4. Upon remand to the district court, Costco obtained summary judgment on it's novel “copyright misuse” defense. While the judgment was on appeal, the United States Supreme Court decided Kirstaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 1351 (2012), which vindicated Costco’s legal position on the first sale defense, paving the way for the Ninth Circuit’s 2015 affirmance. A concurring opinion by Judge Wardlaw in the new decision agreed that Omega had engaged in copyright misuse by improperly attempting to leverage its copyright in a tiny engraving hidden on its watches for the purpose of preventing them from being sold by retailers like Costco.
  • Obtained reversal of an adverse arbitration ruling for Classic Media, LLC, one of the world’s largest owners and distributors of classic children’s and family content, in a dispute involving rights to a well-known television series; after prevailing on appeal, the client ultimately received $6,000,000 for its rights.
  • Defended and advised owners of such entertainment properties as Lassie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Winnie the Pooh and Charlotte’s Web in connection with attempts by authors’ heirs to recapture copyrights in these properties under the Copyright Act’s statutory termination provisions; in several cases, Mr. Moss has obtained summary judgment for his clients, establishing their continued right to own and exploit their copyrighted works.
  • Represented Marvel, owner of the copyrights in Spider-Man, Iron Man and numerous other iconic characters in various matters involving intellectual property disputes, profit participation rights, and general litigation.
  • Represented Tom Cruise in a defamation action against the publisher of supermarket tabloids In Touch and Life & Style Weekly.
  • Defended Ubisoft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, against copyright infringement claims brought by John Beiswenger alleging that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed video game series infringed the author’s novel Link, resulting in Beiswenger dismissing his case at the pleading stage.
  • Represents Classic Media, LLC in various litigation and transactional matters involving rights to Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Richie Rich, and other properties.
  • Obtained a permanent injunction on behalf of Leg Avenue, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of costumes, hosiery, and lingerie in a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against a competing seller.
  • Represented Sugar Foods, a multinational food products company, in obtaining dismissal at the pleading stage of a federal consumer class action complaint alleging false advertising and unfair competition claims.
  • Obtained a rare cover apology for actress Katie Holmes after bringing a defamation lawsuit against the publisher of Star Magazine.
  • Represented the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien in connection with rights issues arising out of The Hobbit motion picture and other intellectual property matters.
  • Defended Health Communications, Inc., the original publisher of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series in a trademark action brought by the books’ co-authors.
  • Represents Gameloft, S.A., one of the world’s largest publishers of mobile phone video games, in numerous IP matters, including a copyright and trademark dispute brought by Activision in connection with the video game Guitar Hero.
  • In a widely-publicized infringement action, part of the litigation team that successfully defeated a preliminary injunction motion seeking to prevent the release of DreamWorks’ motion picture Amistad.
  • Achieved favorable settlements on behalf of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when their names and likenesses were used without permission by cosmetics company Sephora
  • Represented Dustin Hoffman in a landmark right of publicity suit against a magazine that published an unauthorized computer-generated image of the actor.
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction for toy manufacturer Mattel, Inc. against a producer of dolls that infringed the “Barbie” and “American Girl” lines.
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction for a Fortune 500 company against a customer using the client’s copyrighted software beyond the scope of its license.
  • Successfully defended Brillstein-Grey Entertainment in a contractual dispute over alleged producing partnership.
  • Represented Tom Skerritt against the manufacturer of a dietary supplement that used a photograph of the actor in an unauthorized advertisement.
  • Represented R&B group Bloodstone when its members’ voices were used without permission in a beer commercial.