About David Halberstadter

With nearly 40 years of practice, David Halberstadter, the firm's deputy general counsel, has established a reputation among leading entertainment companies as a no-nonsense advisor and talented litigator. When other options fail, he aggressively pursues and defends lawsuits, with a focus on intellectual property-related disputes. Across all his work, clients value David's clear thinking, strategic wisdom and practical business sense.

Straight talk backed by industry knowledge

David represents motion picture studios, production companies, television networks and new media companies. He gives them clear guidance that they can actually use — plain-spoken, grounded in common sense and uncluttered by legalese.

David's useful recommendations are backed by the decades he has spent advising clients in the entertainment industry. He also understands the cost burden of litigation and factors that into his counseling. This broad-based experience, in-depth knowledge and pragmatic mindset has garnered praise from his clients, including one who shared that "David is an amazing attorney with a wide breadth of knowledge who we regularly rely on to avoid legal pitfalls" (Chambers USA 2022).

The cases that David litigates cover all aspects of developing, financing, producing and distributing entertainment content. He also plays a significant "behind-the-scenes" role in the development of movies, television shows and new media properties. He helps clients assess and mitigate risk, often answering the question: "Can we do this without getting sued?" He regularly reviews books, magazine articles and other source material to determine the risk of third-party claims likely to arise from adaptations. In other instances, he reviews often-byzantine rights agreements to make sure his clients actually acquire the rights they need for a project. Clients also turn to him for advice on accounting claims asserted by motion picture and television profit participants.

Regularly ranked among leading litigators in the entertainment industry, David has earned recognitions in multiple industry and legal publications including Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 and Variety. Named in Chambers USA for 10 consecutive years in the Media and Entertainment: Litigation category, he has been lauded for his counseling and client service. As one client noted, "David is highly knowledgeable and responsive. He is always delightful to work with on complex matters" (Chambers USA 2022).

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"Clients highlight his 'comprehension of the law, the media business and his clients' needs, which is combined with excellent service and clear, firm advice.'"

Chambers USA 2018
(California, Media & Entertainment: Litigation) survey response

Practice Focus

  • Entertainment industry litigation
  • Copyright infringement, fair use, parody and termination
  • Trademark infringement and unfair competition
  • Defamation, rights of publicity and privacy, and the First Amendment
  • Rights acquisitions and transfers
  • Contract disputes between companies and third parties, including talent

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