Steve Marenberg is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, where he is a member of the litigation practice group and Head of the firm's Media and Entertainment Litigation Group. His practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation matters, with particular concentrations in the areas of entertainment-related litigation, intellectual property litigation, and antitrust and business tort disputes. Mr. Marenberg's clients have included some of the nation's leading motion picture studios, television networks, independent production companies, music companies, interactive game companies and entertainers, as well as prominent high-technology firms. 

Awards and Recognition

Mr. Marenberg is recognized as one of the country's foremost litigators. In its 2018 edition of Chambers USA, Chambers & Partners once again has ranked him in the top tier (Band 1) of media and entertainment litigators, citing client’s praise noting "He's fantastic. There isn't a single case that I wouldn't trust Steve to handle and give me the best representation on." Chambers previously reported praise for Mr. Marenberg, commending his work as a “first-rate lawyer, particularly with regard to entertainment litigation." One peer described him as an "excellent lawyer; I love to have him on my side and hate to be against him" and another lauded his "'excellent' trial skills, in particular his 'connection with the jury,'" and highlighted his ability to be "aggressive without being unpleasant," noting that "he is very professional, very smart and willing to think independently and creatively.

The Hollywood Reporter has named Mr. Marenberg to its 2018 list of "Power Lawyers," featuring the 100 most influential entertainment attorneys in the country. He has been included on this list every year since its inception. Variety recognized Mr. Marenberg among the top entertainment litigators in its 2015-2017 "Legal Impact Report." Los Angeles Business Journal has named him one of the 50 top litigators in Los Angeles in 2018. The Daily Journal listed Mr. Marenberg among the 50 "Top Entertainment Lawyers" in California in 2014. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation and in The Legal 500. Mr. Marenberg has also been selected for inclusion in Southern California "Super Lawyers" by Los Angeles Magazine, every year since the list's inception. The Daily Journal has previously named him one of California's "Top 10 Entertainment IP" lawyers and one of California's "75 Leading IP Litigators."

Experience and Engagements

Mr. Marenberg has extensive trial experience in federal and state courts, arbitrations, administrative proceedings and investigations by regulatory agencies. His recent high-profile engagements include:

  • Representing one of four major talent agencies in the entertainment industry in an antitrust case alleging that the four agencies had conspired to fix prices and engaged in a boycott of smaller talent agencies, thereby affecting the market for the licensing of scripted television series.
  • Representing one of Hollywood's largest studios in a well-publicized class action alleging that the studios have failed to account properly for the exploitation of motion pictures in home video and video-on-demand markets.
  • Representing the world's largest electronic game company in an interrelated series of lawsuits relating to the development of the best-selling "Call of Duty" series of video games.
  • Representing a leading internet infrastructure service corporation in a series of multi-party business tort actions arising out of a well-publicized credit card data security and privacy breach.
  • Representing Universal Music Group in several landmark copyright infringement lawsuits concerning the legality of displaying and distributing copyrighted music videos on "user generated content" websites and the scope of the safe harbors of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for such activities.
  • Representing the acclaimed writer and director Peter Jackson in a dispute with New Line Pictures concerning Mr. Jackson's profit participation for the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy of motion pictures.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Mr. Marenberg is presently Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Children's Rights, Los Angeles’ largest legal services organization focusing on providing legal and social services to Los Angeles County’s underprivileged children. He is a member of the Board of the Friends of the Saban Community Clinic (formerly the Los Angeles Free Clinic). Mr. Marenberg currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School and is Co-Chair of the Public Interest Advisory Committee of the University of Chicago Law School. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
  • Mr. Marenberg has lectured at many professional seminars, including the ABA Litigation Section Annual Meeting, the ABA Forum on Sports and Entertainment Law Annual Meeting, the PLI Antitrust Law Institute, the USC Entertainment Law Institute and the USC Computer Law Institute.
  • Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Marenberg served as a law clerk to Judge James B. Moran of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is admitted to practice in the states of California and Illinois.

Other Representative Matters

  • Successfully prosecuting, on behalf of Walt Disney Pictures, a trademark infringement action of Disney's rights in the motion picture, "Frozen."
  • Representing Universal Music Group before the California Supreme Court in HLC Properties, Ltd. v. MCA Records, Inc., 35 Cal. 4th 54 (2005), a landmark case defining the scope of the attorney-client privilege in California.
  • Counseling Activision, Inc. in connection with the FTC's investigation of the marketing of violent entertainment to children and in related litigation.
  • Defending Mark Burnett, Donald Trump and NBC Universal in Bethea v. Burnett, 2005 WL 1720631 (C.D. Cal. 2005), a copyright infringement case involving the NBC television series, "The Apprentice."
  • Defending a leading video game publisher in a series of RICO and commercial bribery suits involving rights to the highly successful WWE video game series, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. Jakks Pacific, Inc., et al., 530 F. Supp. 2d 486 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) and 425 F. Supp. 2d 484 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).
  • Representing Pixar and others in the successful defense of copyright and trademark claims relating to several Disney/Pixar animated motion pictures.
  • Representing Italy's largest motion picture distributor in dispute regarding film financing and distribution that resulted in favorable multi-million dollar judgment after trial.
  • Defending the well-known recording artist, Stevie Wonder, against claims of copyright infringement in Coles v. Wonder, 283 F. 3d 798 (6th Cir. 2002), involving one of the artist's Grammy Award-winning songs.
  • Serving as counsel for Walt Disney Pictures & Television in the defense of an industry-wide class action alleging that the studios had conspired to impose unconscionable "net profits" restrictions in motion picture talent contracts and in the defense of individual actions raising similar claims.
  • Providing counsel to the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") in connection with legislative hearings relating to legislation governing record company royalty accounting practices and amendments to California's "7-year rule" relating to personal services contracts.
  • Successfully defending a well-known California law firm in Schlessinger v. Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, 40 Cal. App. 4th 1096 (1995), a landmark case establishing that summary judgment procedures can be used in arbitration proceedings.
  • Defending one of the largest international music companies in connection with several governmental investigations and private antitrust class actions alleging that the "major" distributors of recorded music unlawfully fixed the price of compact discs and that the music companies unlawfully licensed rights to music videos in the United States and Europe.
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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 1981, Illinois; California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Central and Northern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois