Entertainment, Copyright & Intellectual Property2022-11-07T20:13:09+00:00

Entertainment, Copyright & Intellectual Property

Wolf Haldenstein is a Trailblazer in Copyright Litigation.

Wolf Haldenstein has distinguished itself by skillfully navigating the complex relationship between copyright law and public domain protection. The Firm has blazed a trail where the boundaries of ownership and licensing intersect with fair use and the public domain. Wolf Haldenstein has no ties to the record companies or managers and focuses entirely on representing artists and music industry executives. 

Copyright Litigation

Wolf Haldenstein put itself at the top of copyright law by successfully challenging the copyright claimed on Happy Birthday to You, the world’s most famous song. The Firm received worldwide acclaim for returning Happy Birthday to the public domain. Law360 recognized Wolf Haldenstein a “Trailblazer in Copyright Law.” Global media, such as USA Today, The New York Times, The Guardian, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Billboard, Rolling Stone, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, NBC News, CBS Nightly News, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, celebrated the Firm’s historic victory. 

Wolf Haldenstein achieved another major copyright victory when it successfully challenged the copyright to We Shall Overcome, called “the most powerful song of the 20th Century” by the Library of Congress. The Firm won summary judgment after showing that the copyright applications were significantly flawed and that changes to the melody and iconic lyrics were not “original” and therefore are not entitled to copyright protection. 

Ownership Disputes

Wolf Haldenstein represents artists in disputes over the ownership of copyrights and other intellectual property rights.  The Firm prevailed in perhaps the most famous ownership dispute of all time, resolving the disputed ownership of the copyright to Happy Birthday to You. Wolf Haldenstein achieved worldwide acclaim by proving that a copyright was never transferred to the company that claimed to own it, thus invalidating the copyright and returning the world’s most famous song to the public domain. 

The Firm currently represents the assignees of copyrights and performance rights from two members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in an international dispute regarding those rights and the entitlement to decades of revenue from them. 

Wolf Haldenstein has the experience and resources necessary to investigate and resolve complex ownership disputes, which often require thorough review of years or decades of historical records.  The Firm’s track record speaks to its thorough and meticulous preparation when facing such challenges. 

Royalty Recovery

Unique among law firms that represent artists in royalty disputes, Wolf Haldenstein has no ties to record companies or managers. The Firm focuses its effort on recovering royalties for artists. With in-house MBAs and a team of forensic accountants, Wolf Haldenstein has the technical capacity to review and audit even the most complicated royalty disputes. And with trial-tested business litigators, the Firm is prepared to flex its muscle when a negotiation fails. 

Business Disputes

Wolf Haldenstein represents artists and music industry executives in a variety of business disputes. Issues that arise in these disputes can be complicated and unique, often involving copyrights, performance rights, trademarks, and other valuable intellectual property. Music industry business disputes can, and often do, involve celebrity parties, which adds to their complexity. The Firm is sensitive to all the nuances of these disputes and the issues that may arise and works closely with its clients to handle them quickly and discretely. Wolf Haldenstein has the experience and resources necessary to investigate and resolve even the most complex business disputes, with a track record that stretches from the most confidential settlements to the most public trials. 


Wolf Haldenstein represents artists and music industry executives in contract negotiations. The Firm has no ties to record companies or managers and focuses exclusively on what is best for artists and executives.  Armed with in-house MBAs, the Firm has the skill necessary to anticipate and analyze even the most complex financial issues that can arise during contract negotiations. 

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