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Convergence � the marriage of entertainment and technology � is the new buzzword, and everyone from Apple to Yahoo is talking about it. Yahoo is partnering with Spanish TV network Telemundo to offer Spanish Web content and television programming to its users. BitTorrent, the Bay Area-based purveyor of download technology beloved by traders of unauthorized media downloads, has landed a licensing deal to distribute some of Warner Bros.’ top films. As for Apple, the Cupertino computer company had a hand in jump-starting it all with its iTunes music downloads. More recently, Apple has added movies and TV shows to its pay-per-download service. Where clients go, of course, lawyers follow. And so it is that Silicon Valley law firms are converging on Hollywood. Several Silicon Valley firms with strength in technology and intellectual property are focusing on digital media, marketing themselves as much better positioned to help clients straddle the world of entertainment and technology than their Los Angeles counterparts. As digital media expands the scope of the entertainment industry to include the Internet, cell phones, iPods and other digital devices, technology lawyers based in Silicon Valley say they are primed to take the spotlight from traditional entertainment attorneys. “As entertainment becomes more technology-based than content-based, we’re hoping that having a strong technology background will give us a leg up over more traditional entertainment law firms,” says Vickie Feeman, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Orrick’s 120-lawyer IP litigation group is also hoping that the current emphasis on technology in Hollywood will result in more patent litigation. The firm’s IP practice has been heavily concentrated in the semiconductor space. But firm leaders see potential patent fights in the entertainment industry as an area of expansion as technology increasingly plays a central role in the delivery and creation of music, movies, television shows and video games. Feeman says that’s why the firm is launching an entertainment and video gaming practice within its IP litigation group. “We think patents will become a central issue as everyone become more reliant on technology,” she says. To be sure, movie studios rarely wind up in patent disputes. Studios are often protected from such suits because they mostly rely on third-party contractors to supply them with the technology used in movie production. But now that some entertainment companies are acquiring or partnering with small technology vendors and Internet companies to help distribute their products, they could be vulnerable to patent suits. Currently, only one active patent case involves movie studios. In June, an obscure company called Digital Dailies & Previews sued 15 film companies, including Columbia Pictures, MGM and 20th Century Fox, for infringing on its patent covering a method of editing motion pictures in high-definition video for previews. Feeman predicts that more suits of this nature will be filed, which in turn could lead to more work for her firm. “A lot of the work is still going to traditional entertainment law firms but we are counting on the fact that as patent litigation increases in this area, more people will start seeing the benefit of hiring law firms with strong IP practices,” she says. With the increasingly high-tech nature of patent disputes, studios have been making noticeable shifts in the way they farm out their litigation. Orrick, for example, recently represented Universal Studios’ amusement park division in a patent dispute over one of its rides. The firm was hired specifically because of its experience handling patent trials, says Feeman. One firm that has so far successfully leveraged its IP practice in the digital media realm is Weil, Gotshal & Manges. The firm is among the first to combine its IP litigation and media practices and has attracted clients from both technology and entertainment industries. The firm’s specialty, according to Kenneth Steinthal, a San Francisco-based partner, is dealing with various “convergence” issues as they apply to new technologies. Steinthal, who co-chairs Weil’s IP/media practice group, currently represents AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo before the U.S. Copyright Office in the ongoing litigation over royalties for online music streaming. He is also representing German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG in copyright infringement lawsuits and several cable and satellite television channels, including the Disney Channel, the Discovery Channel and ESPN, in disputes over music royalties. The Weil practice group has also generated a number of patent litigation cases for clients such as Sony, Apple and Yahoo. “We don’t see ourselves as entertainment lawyers,” says Steinthal. “Entertainment law connotes negotiating contracts for artists. Our practice is much more focused on the major media companies. And because we have established ourselves in all areas of IP, many of our media clients are now relying on us to represent them in all IP cases, be it copyright, trademark or patent litigation.” Steinthal believes the substantial amount of litigation generated by media-related disputes will continue to provide a huge source of business for the firm. “You’re going to see a lot more litigation in this area and we have positioned ourselves as experts in all areas of convergence,” he says. Although litigation provides the bulk of the business for many law firms that focus on digital media issues, other firms such as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are making big money focusing on the transactional side of the digital media industry. The growing collaboration between entertainment and technology companies has generated a considerable amount of complex licensing and counseling work, says Catherine Kirkman, an IP partner at Wilson. “The convergence of technology and content has transformed a lot of businesses in Silicon Valley,” she says, “If you are a tech company and you don’t have content, you’re missing out in a very important market.” The same applies to entertainment companies. Anyone in Hollywood who has content to sell is now looking to Silicon Valley for innovative technology to help distribute its products. The resulting deals require lawyers who understand the technology side of the business, says Kirkman, a former entertainment lawyer at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles. “Many of the deals in this area require a deep understanding of technology and intellectual property issues,” she says, pointing to digital rights management � anti-copying technology � as an example. “You don’t do a media licensing deal, for example, without talking about what kind of DRM technology you’re going to use to license your content.” The transformation of many technology and Internet companies into multimedia distribution centers has created a frenzy of business activity in Silicon Valley. “It is really exciting how many new startups are popping up and how many large companies are getting into this area,” says Kirkman. “Digital media is such an important area for us right now because that’s what many of our clients are focusing on. If you’re not in this space right now, you’re out.”

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