King & Spalding Achieves Important Licensing Dispute Victory; Welcomes New Lateral Hires

Friday, October 18, 2013 - 14:55

King & Spalding has successfully represented Pandora Media Inc. in a significant licensing dispute with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).  U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of the internet radio service provider, rejecting efforts to narrow Pandora’s license to music in the ASCAP repertory.

The issue arose after numerous music publishers attempted to withdraw “new media” licensing rights from ASCAP in order to require certain services, including Pandora, to negotiate public performance licenses for purportedly “withdrawn” works directly with the publishers (as opposed to ASCAP). ASCAP nevertheless retained the right to license the “withdrawing” publishers’ works to the vast majority of music users. Citing Pandora’s application for a license through 2015 under ASCAP’s consent decree, which unambiguously requires ASCAP to grant any music user a license to perform all of the works in its repertory, Pandora sought a court ruling confirming that publisher withdrawals would not impact the company’s access to the ASCAP catalog.

The Court’s decision prevents ASCAP-member publishers from selectively withholding their catalogs from Pandora and enables Pandora to obtain a court determination of reasonable fees for the entire ASCAP repertory.

Pandora was represented in this matter by King & Spalding intellectual property partner Kenneth Steinthal and counsel Joe Wetzel. Both reside in the firm’s San Francisco office. Other members of the cross-office Pandora team include associates Blake Cunningham and Katy Merk (San Francisco), Katie Bates (Atlanta) and Jeffrey Seddon (New York).

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Alejandro Jara, former deputy director general of the World Trade Organization, has joined King & Spalding as senior counsel in the WTO and international trade practice of its Geneva office, as the firm continues to expand its international trade policy capabilities and its global disputes group.

Mr. Jara had served as WTO deputy director general since 2005. A native of Santiago, Chile, he obtained his law degree from the Universidad de Chile and, as a Fulbright scholar, pursued graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He joined Chile’s Foreign Service in 1976, where he specialized in trade policy. His career covered a wide range of regional and multilateral trade policy posts, and he culminated his service in the Chilean Government as Chile’s ambassador to the WTO from 2000 to 2005.

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King & Spalding has recruited Matthew J. Bromberg, former senior managing counsel and managing director in the Global Fund Services Group of The Bank of New York Mellon, as partner in its financial institutions and capital transactions and real estate practices in New York.

Mr. Bromberg has more than 18 years of experience advising clients on a range of matters arising under federal securities, commodities and banking laws, as well as practical experience at some of the most well-known financial services companies. Before BNY Mellon, Bromberg worked at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Nomura Securities and Deutsche Bank.

Mr. Bromberg’s  primary expertise is in representing registered investment companies – including exchange traded investment companies (ETFs) and business development companies (BDCs), as well as investment advisers, broker-dealers, transfer agents and other institutions – in general business, transactional, regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters.   

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King & Spalding has established an online Directors Governance Center that will provide public company directors with curated and original content on corporate governance issues, as well as practical resources, commentary from governance thought leaders and insight from the Center’s editors.

King & Spalding established the Center, at www.directorscenter.com, to provide directors with the best available information on evolving governance issues and best practices to support their board and committee service. The Center will present articles, reports and research from a broad array of sources, along with additional interpretation and insight from King & Spalding experts. Users can browse by topic, board committee, “tagged” cross-references and subjects, or use the site’s full-text search feature.

Subjects covered by the Center include strategy, risk oversight, board development, board leadership, operations, emerging issues, executive compensation and succession, litigation and investigations, stakeholder engagement and major transactions.

Other features of the Center include:

  • Access to King & Spalding’s governance-related client alerts and presentations, as well as periodic reports from its Lead Director Network
  • Information about upcoming governance conferences and symposia
  • Links to other websites and resources of interest to public company directors, corporate secretaries and governance professionals

Directors can also subscribe to receive alerts when new postings are added to the Center, and a dedicated King & Spalding Twitter feed (@kslawcorpgov) will highlight timely developments in the corporate governance sphere.

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King & Spalding took home top honors as FDA medical device firm of the year at the inaugural LMG Life Sciences Awards in New York City on September 25. King & Spalding was also a finalist in the categories of FDA medical device attorney of the year (Edward Basile), product liability attorney of the year (Chilton Varner) and government investigation (False Claims Act) firm of the year.