2 (5).jpg



  • A.B. (French), College of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University

  • J.D., School of Law, University of Virginia


  • State Bar of California

  • State Bar of New York

  • American Bar Association
    - Section on Litigation
    - Section on Intellectual Property
    - Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries (Chair, 2000-02)

  • Bar Association of San Francisco
    - Entertainment and Sports Law Section (Chair, 1997-99)

  • International Association of Entertainment Lawyers


Samsky v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 37 Cal.App.5th 517 (2019)

Smith v. AMC Networks, Inc., 129 U.S.P.Q.2d 1366 (N.D. Cal. 2019)

Opperman v. Path, Inc., 205 F.Supp.3d 1064 (N.D. Cal. 2016)

One Media IP Ltd. v. S.A.A.R. SrL, 122 F.Supp.3d 705 (M.D. Tenn. 2015)

Opperman v. Path, Inc., 84 F.Supp.3d 962 (N.D. Cal. 2015)

Stewart v. Screen-Gems-EMI Music, Inc., 81 F.Supp.3d 938 (N.D. Cal. 2015)

In re Checking Account Overdraft Lit., MDL No. 2036, 674 F.3d 1252 (11th Cir. 2012)

USA Technologies, Inc. v. Doe, 713 F.Supp.2d 901 (N.D. Cal. 2010)

Newton v. Diamond, 388 F.3d 1189 (9th Cir. 2004)

Mendler v. Winterland Production, Ltd., 207 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2000)

Dead Kennedys v. Biafra, 37 F.Supp.2d 1151 and 46 F.Supp.2d 1028 (N.D. Cal. 1999)

Systems XIX, Inc. v. Parker, 30 F.Supp.2d 1225 (N.D. Cal. 1998)

Ahern v. Scholz, 85 F.3d 774 (1st Cir. 1996)

Smith v. BIC Corp., 869 F.2d 194 (3rd Cir. 1989)

Record Club of Amer., Inc. v. United Artists Records, Inc., 701 F.Supp. 71 (S.D.N.Y. 1988)

Record Club of Amer., Inc. v. United Artists Records, Inc., 696 F.Supp. 940 (S.D.N.Y. 1988)

Littlejohn v. BIC Corp., 851 F.2d 673 (3rd Cir. 1988)

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.


David is the managing partner and general counsel as well as a co-founder of the firm. He began his career with the esteemed New York trial attorney Louis Nizer. His current practice spans both commercial and class action litigation as well as transactional matters, the latter with a special emphasis on entertainment, technology and intellectual property law.

David has served in several leadership roles in connection with complex class action litigation. From 2009 to 2015, he and the firm served as co-team leader and class counsel in three class actions involving the overdraft fee practices of three national banks, resulting in cumulative settlements of over $430 million on behalf of those banks’ customers. In 2012, David was appointed co-lead counsel by two different federal district court judges in class actions involving major record labels' treatment of digital download income in their accounting to recording artists and other royalty participants; settlements in those cases totaled $23 million and included significant prospective relief in the form of an ongoing royalty adjustment for class members. And he and the firm served, following their appointment by Federal District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar, as co-lead counsel in class action litigation against Apple and 12 of the nation’s major application developers over the alleged surreptitious harvesting of consumers’ contact information from their iDevices; in March 2018, Judge Tigar approved a $5.3 million class settlement in the case.

David has a wide-ranging entertainment and music law practice, encompassing both litigation and transactional work.  Over the years, David’s clients have included many mainstays of the Bay Area music, film and video game industries. For over a decade, David represented various entities associated with filmmaker George Lucas, including Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related video game company, LucasArts, in a variety of transactional and litigation matters. His experience in both transactional and litigation matters also spans all areas of the music industry; this includes representing leaving band members from platinum and multi-platinum acts (like PAPA ROACH, 4 NON-BLONDES, CAKE, MARILYN MANSON, and SOCIAL DISTORTION) as well as representing spouses in several high-profile rock-and-roll divorces, all of which has given him a unique perspective on intra-band dynamics and management.

More recently, David has been called upon to counsel and advise individuals and estates on the disposition of their creative property (i.e., songs, recordings, literary material, visual art, etc.) and royalty interests, including on the subject of copyright reversion.  In 2018, he counseled long-time clients, rights-holders of both the hit song and recording “Spirit in the Sky,” in the sale of those rights to Concord Music.  He has given advice to numerous creative artists and estates of those artists on reclaiming rights under the copyright termination provisions of the federal Copyright Act.  Among other engagements, David represented a majority of legendary musician Jerry Garcia’s heirs, and played a central role in the creation of the Jerry Garcia Estate LLC, which held and managed Jerry’s creative works as well as his name and likeness rights following the close of his estate.  And he continues as legal counsel and advisor to Caged Bird Legacy, the successor to the rights and entitlements in the works of literary and civil rights icon Dr. Maya Angelou.

For a two-year term, David served as chairman of the American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries. He has been a panelist and featured speaker at numerous entertainment, technology and video game industry events. In 2007, he co-chaired with Microsoft's lead in-house copyright attorney the LSI-sponsored Entertainment Technology Law Summit in Seattle. That same year, the American Bar Association chose him to present its annual Presidential Showcase Program, "Privacy, Copyright and Parental Control in the Age of YouTube, MySpace and Beyond." For over a dozen years, he was a featured speaker at the South by Southwest Interactive/Music Conference in Austin, Texas, on topics ranging from recent developments in music industry litigation to the future of cloud computing

For four consecutive spring semesters, David lectured in law at the University of California at Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he helped develop and implement the core curriculum for the school's entertainment law class. David has also guest lectured at the law schools of the University of San FranciscoPepperdine and Stanford University, among others.

For 14 years David served on the board of trustees (including as vice-chairman and chairman) of the Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco. A highlight of his career remains interviewing the inestimable Frank Zappa at his home studio in Los Angeles for a special issue of the Entertainment and Sports Lawyer on art and censorship.


In re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation (Multidistrict Litigation). Class action litigation against major US banks for their overdraft fee practices; served as co-team leader and class counsel, obtaining over $430 million in settlement proceeds on behalf of banks’ customers.

In re: Digital Download Litigation. Served as co-lead counsel in two class actions against UMG/EMI and Warner Music over the alleged systematic failure to account properly for income derived from digital downloads and ringtones; obtained $23 million cumulative settlement and prospective royalty adjustments on behalf of recording artists, producers and others.

Opperman et al. v. Path et al. Served as co-lead counsel in class action litigation against Apple and a host of App Developers over the alleged surreptitious harvesting of consumers’ contact information; obtained $5.3 million settlement approved by court in March 2018.

Medical Self Care v. NBC. Prevailed on summary judgment in dispute regarding the assignment of almost $10 million in advertising time on the NBC television network.

Black v. Lucasfilm. Defended Lucasfilm Ltd. against claims for $4 million in unpaid royalties to plaintiff claiming rights to Raiders of the Lost Ark; settlement entailed dismissal of case and no monies paid.

Dunbar v. Gottwald. Represented songwriters for the pop group THE RUBINOOS in lawsuit against pop superstar AVRIL LAVIGNE and her producer and co-writer Lukasz (“DR. LUKE”) Gottwald for copyright infringement, alleging that the Lavigne/Gottwald song “Girlfriend,” which was a No. 1 worldwide hit song for much of 2007, infringed on The Rubinoos’ 1979 hit song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."

Mendler v. Winterland Productions. Defended legendary music merchandiser in copyright dispute with photographer. 

Watts v. Watts. Defended daughters of philosopher/writer Alan Watts in arbitration against claims by disinherited siblings involving rights to Watts's literary works, resulting in award of attorneys' fees and costs. 

Doobie Brothers v. Curcio. Represented the renowned classic rock band THE DOOBIE BROTHERS in suit against promoter and three former members to prevent them from touring and promoting themselves as the "Original" Doobie Brothers; obtained a Preliminary Injunction, an order holding Defendants in contempt of the injunction, and a judgment in excess of $1 million, upheld on appeal by the 11th Circuit. 

Dead Kennedys v. Jello Biafra. Represented the legendary punk rock band DEAD KENNEDYS, achieving "complete victory" in case against band's former front man, Jello Biafra.

Carolyn Garcia v. Estate of Garcia. Represented Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia, ex-wife of the late Jerry Garcia, in lawsuit against Jerry's estate to enforce a property settlement agreement entered into by the late musician and his former wife; following two-week, nationally-televised trial, court awarded Ms. Garcia attorneys' fees and the right to the remainder of the dissolution agreement, totaling more than $4.5 million.


"US copyright termination: re-monetizations final frontier," Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 2016, Vol. 11, No. 11: 826-832.

"U.S. Copyright Termination: Remonetization's Final Frontier," in The Monetization of the Global Music Business Ch. 3.5 at 292 (Marcelo Goyanes & William Lewis eds., 2016). 

"Music in the Cloud -- A Business and Legal Primer," Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (Winter 2012). 

"Clash of the Titans: Viacom v. YouTube," Daily Journal (January 25, 2010).

 "A Modern Pandora's Box: Music, the Internet and the Dilemma of Clearing Public Performance Rights," Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (Fall 2008). 

"Online Music Comparisons, A Practical Guide," Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (Fall 2000).

First Amendment Protection for Trademark Use, Practicing Law Institute (1998).

Review of Law and Business of the Entertainment Industries (Third Edition)Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (Spring 1996).

"Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose": European Coproduction Remains Viable, For Now," Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (Fall 1995).


Recent Developments in Music Copyright Law. Intellectual Property Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Copyright Society of the U.S. (September 12, 2018; San Francisco, California)

Death, Taxes and Legacy Management. SXSW Conference and Festival (March 17, 2017; Austin, Texas) 

Monetisation of the Global Music Business - From Creators to Major Industry.  MIDEM Conference.  (June 4, 2016; Cannes, France)

Workshop on Copyright Termination of Transfer. Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (October 30, 2015; UC Berkeley Law)

Issues and Case Law Updates in Entertainment Litigation. 6th Annual International Legal Symposium on the World of Music, Film, Television, and Sports (April 23, 2015; Miami, Florida)

Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force Green Paper Roundtable on Remix, Sampling, and Mashups (July 30, 2014; UC Berkeley Law)

Actions, Reactions and Class Actions: Music Business Litigation. SXSW Conference and Festival (2014; Austin, Texas)

Fast Forward! Protecting and Selling Music in the Digital Age. Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, California Lawyers Association, and Sports and Entertainment Law Society of Berkeley Law (January 2013; UC Berkeley Law)

Run for Cover: The Future of Cloud Commerce. SXSW Conference and Festival (2012; Austin, Texas)

The Impact of Recent Big Music Cases. SXSW Conference and Festival (2011; Austin, Texas)

Is Copyright Law Harming or Helping the Music Industry? Northern California Chapter of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (February 21, 2011)

Clash of the Titans: Viacom v. YouTube -- Will Copyright Law Undo Google's Internet Juggernaut? American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries (August 6, 2010; San Francisco, CA)

Recent Developments in Digital Copyright Litigation. Bar Association of San Francisco (November 20, 2008)

The Ongoing Transformation of the Music Business: Lessons from the History of New Approaches for Online Distribution and Industry Responses to New Technologies and Players. Entertainment Technology Law Summit (August 16-17, 2007; Seattle, Washington)


Appellate court reverses trial court, awards client costs and attorneys’ fees

Firm files class action against Lucky Devils Band for Talent Agencies Act violations

Firm moves to certify class of restaurant workers in Charlie Palmer case

Case against makers of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD resolved

Firm pushes back in class action against software maker

Firm launches copyright/ trademark case for DEAD KENNEDYS

Firm closes “Spirit in the Sky” sale

Firm guides music publisher in sale of song rights

Court rejects NRA's attempt to halt discovery in copyright dispute

Firm partner honored for service at ABA event

Partner to speak at Bar Association event

Firm files copyright infringement case over FEAR THE WALKING DEAD

Firm files copyright infringement case for renowned sculptor against NRA

Panel agrees with firm on location of Facebook action

Firm guides long-time record label client in sale of assets

Federal court approves class settlement in data privacy case

Firm launches wage and hour case against the Charlie Palmer Group

Court will approve $5.3 million class settlement in data breach case

Firm concludes successful infringement defense of Supreme

Firm launches data breach class action against Equifax

Firm launches breach of contract and fraud action against PopSugar and Ebates

Appellate court sides with firm client FAITH NO MORE in anti-SLAPP spat

Firm partner confirmed to speak at South by Southwest music conference

Firm to defend DEAD KENNEDYS in copyright infringement dispute

Oxford University journal publishes partner’s article on copyright termination

Firm successfully defends former BOSTON guitarist in trademark infringement trial

Court certifies class against Path, Apple, for damages in invasion of privacy case

Partner gives paper on copyright termination at international music conference

Judge rejects attempt to keep internal Apple, Path documents secret

Court sends copyright tourist packing