Film Law: The Lawyer Who Sued CBS For Piracy Explains His Thinking

“The topic of piracy engenders much passion these days. There are those who argue until their throats are hoarse that copyright laws need to be firm and punishing, just as others shout on mountaintops that copyright holders have gone too far. What about those who supply megaphones to both camps?

Earlier in the week, we reported about a lawsuit against CBS Interactive for playing a role in the rise of the P2P era by distributing file-sharing software on subsidiary CNET. The headline character in this dispute is Alki David, an eccentric billionaire and Hollywood bit player, who seems to have spearheaded the legal effort as part of a revenge campaign. But just as intriguing in our eyes is the attorney, Michael Zeller, who agreed to take the case and has some fairly provocative views on the subject of copyright.

Zeller won’t like the idea that we deem his viewpoint to be “provocative.” We talked to him on the phone after the news of the lawsuit broke. He shrugged off our suggestion that he’s dancing on a tightrope for this case and blanched at the notion that the case could set precedent. “I hope not,” he says.

Zeller is a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which was named last year as the top intellectual property firm in the United States by IP Law & Business magazine. Zeller has a top-notch client list, including Google, eBay, IBM, Disney, and Mattel. He’s been on both sides of copyright battles, for both plaintiffs and defendants, and as such, there have been times when he’s argued for expanding copyright infringement liability and times when he’s argued otherwise.”

THR, Esq. has the full story.

Photocredit: THR, Esq.