Copyright attorney Paul Fakler works at the intersection of music, technology and business. He draws upon two decades of copyright, computer, and music industry expertise to help streaming, media and software companies advance their business.

Although he assists clients with issues relating to many different types of content, Paul has especially deep experience in the music industry as it has adapted to fundamental changes brought by digital media. As music evolves into a cutting-edge digital industry, those businesses require an equally innovative legal approach. Paul offers creative ways to adapt copyright laws to the latest technology, through litigation, counseling and government relations. He has devoted his practice to this unique field, as well as to handling software copyright litigation, a natural fit given his experience as a copyright lawyer, former software developer and amateur musician.

Litigation & Licensing

He has litigated numerous high-profile copyright cases involving digital media, copyright and the Internet. He routinely represents digital music services, as well as other media and software companies, in negotiations and disputes with record labels, music publishers, and other rights holders. His clients in these ground-breaking cases have included MP3.com, Yahoo!, Veoh, MediaNet, Sirius XM Radio, Bill Graham Archives, and Music Choice.

Paul is one of the few attorneys with significant experience handling copyright royalty rate-setting proceedings, including proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc., (BMI) rate courts. He obtained the only two royalty rate reductions ever granted by the Copyright Royalty Board (or its predecessors).

Paul also routinely represents clients in bet-the-company copyright infringement litigation across many industries, often making new law on issues such as the DMCA safe harbor and fair use.

Counseling

Paul counsels clients with respect to copyright, trademark, right of publicity, entertainment, computer, and Internet law issues in diverse industries including the music, motion picture, publishing, software development, and digital media industries.

Government Relations

He also advises on strategies for shaping copyright policy and represents clients’ interest before government entities that impact the copyright ecosystem, such as Congress, the Copyright Office, and the Department of Justice.

  • Paul has been listed in Chambers USA since 2013 for the practices of Trademark and Copyright. He was also ranked in Managing Intellectual Property’s “IP Stars” guide and The Legal 500 each year since 2013. In 2016, Paul was named a WIPR leader by World IP Review.

    He is a member of The Copyright Society of the USA and the International Trademark Association. Paul frequently lectures on issues related to copyright, entertainment, and Internet law, and has appeared on television and in the press, commenting on the latest intellectual property issues. Paul previously served as chair of the New York State Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section, co-chair of the Copyright Committee and a member of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section.

    Prior to law school, Paul worked in the multimedia software development field and taught English composition and film studies at the University of Florida. His undergraduate training was in philosophy, with an emphasis on continental and post-structuralist philosophy. He pursued graduate studies in literature and film studies, focusing his research on the impact of electronic forms of communication on human cognition.

    • Defending Bill Graham Archives, operator of the Wolfgang’s and Concert Vault music services, in class action copyright infringement litigation arising from allegations that the company failed to secure mechanical and synchronization licenses for on-demand streaming of its collection of live concert audio and video recordings on its websites.
    • Representing Music Choice, the world’s first digital music service, in the PSS IV proceeding before Copyright Royalty Board, which will determine the royalty rates payable by certain radio services transmitted over television-based platforms for the Section 114 sound recording performance and Section 112 ephemeral copying rights
    • Represented Sirius XM Satellite Radio in the Webcasting IV royalty rate proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board, resulting in the first royalty rate decrease ever granted by the Board or its predecessors
    • Representing Sirius XM Satellite Radio in proceedings before the Department of Justice related to its review of the ASCAP and BMI antitrust consent decrees
    • Represented national trade association for broadcasters in connection with Copyright Office music licensing policy hearings
    • Represented cable music service Music Choice in various copyright royalty rate-setting proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board and the ASCAP and BMI rate courts, lobbying efforts in the United States Congress relating to various proposed changes to the Copyright Act, and proceedings before the Department of Justice relating to its review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees
    • Defended digital music service MediaNet in litigations brought by various songwriters relating to mechanical license requirements, leading to favorable settlements
    • Represented the unsecured creditors' committee in the Cengage Learning bankruptcy, the largest Chapter 11 filing of 2013. Developed a novel copyright strategy that placed the liens on all of the debtor’s copyrights at risk, leading to a significantly increased recovery for the unsecured creditors
    • Representing prominent cable network in connection with ongoing copyright counseling
    • Represented Sylvain Sylvain, founding member of seminal proto-punk band the New York Dolls, successfully obtaining cancellation of trademark registration improperly obtained by David Johansen’s personal corporation
    • Represented members of The Allman Brothers Band in litigation against UMG Recordings, Inc. for failure to pay royalties at the correct rate for digital downloads and other digital exploitation of several classic albums by The Allman Brothers Band
    • Defended symphonic rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra in copyright infringement case relating to album art and band merchandise, leading to favorable settlement
    • Defended Scottish software developer in copyright infringement case brought by its competitor, one of the world’s largest ATM hardware and software companies
    • Represented famous artist Greg Hildebrandt, in DMCA fraudulent takedown notice litigation
    • Defended prominent law firm in copyright infringement case relating to computer software used to process specialized financial transactions, successfully reversing preliminary injunction on appeal to the Second Circuit
    • Defended MP3.com digital music service in various copyright infringement lawsuits brought by record labels and music publishers relating to music streaming service, including litigation of whether musical sound recordings are works made for hire under the Copyright Act
    • Defended Yahoo! in a copyright case brought by the recording industry, determining the eligibility of Yahoo!’s LaunchCast webcasting service for a statutory copyright license
    • Represented First Niagara Insurance Brokers in $530 million trademark infringement action against First Niagara Financial Group
    • Represented Bill Graham Archives LLC with respect to various copyright, trademark, right of publicity and other intellectual property disputes relating to the operation of its Wolfgang’s Vault website and exploitation of its rights to a large collection of sound recordings, poster art and vintage rock and roll memorabilia
    • Defended Publications International, Ltd. in a case brought by the makers of Beanie Babies plush toys arising out of the publication of a Beanie Babies collector’s guide
    • Represented Domain name registrar Register.com in obtaining a preliminary injunction, affirmed on appeal, stopping the defendant from harvesting customer data from Register.com’s WHOIS database
    • Represented an individual client in action to obtain subpoenas to trace identity of defendants who had posted defamatory statements on Internet forums
    • Represented a religious organization in a trademark action relating to the unauthorized use of the client’s trademark in a third-level domain name
    • Defeated preliminary injunction action brought by comedian Jackie Mason against a religious organization arising from the use of Mr. Mason’s name and likeness in a parody on a religious tract
    • Represented Caesar’s World, Inc. in one of the first in rem cases brought under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act