Mark Passin has been practicing law for over 38 years.  During his career, Mr. Passin has been involved in many high profile entertainment cases, including a number of landmark cases in the music business.  He has been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Lawyer” list twice and is regularly named a “Southern California Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers.

Mr. Passin began his career with Engel & Engel, where he represented many clients in numerous entertainment, copyright and trademark matters, as well as defamation, right of publicity and right of privacy cases.  He continued his career as a Partner with Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan, and then with Dreier Stein & Kahan.  Most recently, he chaired the Entertainment and Media Group at Robins Kaplan LLP.

Professional Experience:

Mark Passin focuses his practice on high-profile contract disputes between major recording artists and record companies, record industry royalty audits, motion picture and television profit participations, disputes between artists and managers under the Talent Agencies Act, copyright and trademark infringement, motion picture and television litigation, as well as advertising industry cases.  His clients include recording artists, songwriters, actors, motion picture producers, personal and business managers, independent record and music publishing companies, advertising agencies, and concert tour merchandising companies.

During his career, Mr. Passin has represented artists and companies such as Cher, Poison, Axl Rose, the Ray Charles Foundation, Snoop Dogg, Meat Loaf, Tom Scholz, Teena Marie Brockert, Clint Black, Sammy Hagar, Henry Rollins, The Moody Blues, Leiber/Stoller Productions, Windswept Pacific Entertainment, and various Omnicom Group, Inc. companies, among others.

Areas of Practice:

  • Entertainment and Media Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Trademark, Advertising, and Brand Litigation
  • Copyright Litigation
  • Talent Agencies Act Litigation
  • Royalty Audit Litigation
  • Profit Participation Litigation
  • Defamation
  • Right of Publicity
  • Right of Privacy
  • Copyright Termination
  • Labor Code Section 2855 – Seven Year Rule

Representative Matters:

  • Represented Cher in an action against a major record company.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented the creators and producers of a hit television series in a profit participation case against Disney.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented the Ray Charles Foundation in an argument before the Ninth Circuit in which the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s dismissal of the action for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the Foundation had standing to challenge copyright termination notices served by Ray Charles’ children.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented the members of the group Poison in a royalty audit case against Capitol Records.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Axl Rose before the Second Appellate District of California on appeal of a summary judgment motion granted against him.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defended the members of the group Poison in a copyright infringement action.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented 5.1 Label Group LLC in a fraud and breach of contract action brought against Sanctuary Records Group, Inc. and Sanctuary Group PLC.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • CBS, Inc. v. Donald Thomas Scholz et. al.: Obtained judgment on behalf of Donald Thomas Scholz of the group “Boston” following a six week trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defended a television company in a copyright infringement action brought against it by a major television network.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Obtained a summary judgment for $13.6 million for a motion picture producer against a major motion picture studio in an interpleader action filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Obtained on behalf of a motion picture producer against a major motion picture studio a judgment in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for in excess of $10 million following a six week trial of a breach of contract action. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Clint Black in an action against his personal manager. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defended heirs at trial in an action brought against them by the Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences relating to the sale of Oscar statuettes. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Lucy Lawless in a profit participation lawsuit regarding “Xena.”  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Meat Loaf in a royalty audit case against Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defended a music publishing company against various actions brought against it for fraud and securities violations in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee relating to its default on a multi-million dollar bridge loan. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented a concert promoter against Michael Jackson in an action relating to the cancellation of a worldwide tour. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Obtained a civil harassment restraining order against a stalker on behalf of a recording artist.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Aisha Tyler in a Labor Commission proceeding; prevailed in talent agency dispute. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Trista Rehn in a Labor Commission proceeding; prevailed in talent agency dispute. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented Cher in a Labor commission proceeding; prevailed in talent agency dispute. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Earl S. Burroughs aka Jack Hammer v. Pepsico, Inc., BBDO Worldwide, Omnicom Group, Inc.: Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Pepsico, Inc., BBDO Worldwide, Inc. and Omnicom Group, Inc. in copyright infringement action. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Brett R. Spackman v. Agencycom Ltd., Miller Brewing Company, Skyworks Technologies, Inc., Starcom Media Vest Group and Young and Rubicam, Inc.: Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Agency.com Ltd. in copyright infringement action. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented an advertising agency and its client in a breach of contract, right of publicity and Lanham Act case.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Represented an advertising agency in a copyright infringement action brought against it by an illustrator.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defended film companies in various arbitrations governed by the Independent Film & Television Alliance. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for a record production company against the sale and distribution of an extended play album. (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)
  • Defeated a motion for preliminary injunction filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California by Odyssey Partners and Odyssey Television Partners Ltd. against Odyssey Film Partners Ltd. for violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act and represented Odyssey Film Partners Ltd. in connection with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the decision.  (Prior to joining McPherson LLP)

Bar Admissions:

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Education:

  • USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, California
    • J.D. – 1981
  • University of California at Los Angeles
    • B.A.
    • Honors: Magna Cum Laude – 1977

Published Opinions:

  • Ray Charles Foundation v. Robinson, 795 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2015)
  • Paul Ahern v. Donald Thomas Scholz, 85 F.3d 774 (1st Cir. 1996)
  • Engel v. CBS, Inc., 866 F. Supp. 728 (C.D. Cal. 1995)
  • Lamothe v. Atlantic Recording Corp., 847 F.2d 1403 (9th Cir. 1988)
  • Motown Record Corp. v. Teena Marie Brockert et al., 160 Cal. App. 3d 124 (1984)

Published Articles:

  • Reading Between The “Blurred Lines”: Copyright Takeaways, Law 360, July 17, 2015

Awards/Honors:

  • “Power Lawyer”, The Hollywood Reporter (2010, 2012)
  • Chambers USA, Notable Practitioner in Media and Entertainment Category (2014 – 2017)
  • Southern California Super Lawyer (2009 – 2020)

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • State Bar of California
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Copyright Society

Previous Law Firms:

  • Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Dreier Stein & Kahan LLP
  • Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan
  • Engel & Engel
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