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Christiane Kinney

Ms. Kinney is a partner with Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP, representing a diverse client roster of artists, celebrities, and intellectual property owners. She focuses her practice on entertainment law transactions, intellectual property litigation, and brand management, representing Platinum-selling and Grammy award-winning recording artists, songwriters and their estates, published authors, professional athletes, award-winning filmmakers/producers, visual artists and more. Kinney is a musician herself, with awards and distinctions from Billboard, ASCAP, International Songwriting Competition, and more. Her personal experience as both a creative artist and an entertainment attorney provides a unique perspective to the deal-making process.

On the litigation side, Kinney regularly handles high stakes intellectual property matters, involving copyright, trademark, and contract cases as well as First Amendment and anti-SLAPP matters. A member of both the California and Texas State Bars, she is admitted to practice in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court, and has handled a number of landmark cases from inception through appeal. She also handles administrative charges filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing related to claims filed under the Talent Agencies Act.

Areas of Practice

Music

  • Draft, review and negotiate exclusive recording agreements and music publishing agreements with both major and independent labels.

  • Negotiate master use and synchronization licenses, marketing and promotion agreements, registering recordings and compositions with performance rights organizations and Copyright Office.

  • Sample clearance, work for hire agreements, production agreements, copyright, trademark and name and likeness licensing, merchandise agreements.

  • Draft and negotiate agreements related to live performance, broadcast, branded tours, tour sponsorship, tour personnel, tour marketing and promotion, photography and video licenses.

Film & Television

  • Draft, review and negotiate various agreements for talent, producers and writers with both major and independent studios and networks.

  • Production counsel for independent films and documentaries that included advising clients on clearance issues and providing risk analysis.

  • Negotiate and draft development and production-related agreements, including talent agreements, crew agreements, option agreements, life-story rights agreements, location releases and material releases.

Licensing & Merchandising

  • Representation of intellectual property owners, mobile application developers, music artists, producers, licensing agencies and licensees in the negotiation and enforcement of various merchandising agreements.

Intellectual Property, Entertainment & Media Litigation

  • Copyright Infringement

  • Trademark Infringement

  • Contract litigation

  • Talent Agencies Act

  • First Amendment

EDUCATION

  • Juris Doctor (1998), Pepperdine School of Law, magna cum laude

  • Bachelors of Arts (1995), University of California, Irvine, Music & Psychology, with minor in Criminology

Admissions

  • Member of the California State Bar

  • Member of the Texas State Bar

  • All U.S. District Courts in California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

  • United States Supreme Court

Honors & Outside Activities

  • Author, LexisNexis' "Practical Guidance for Transactional Entertainment Attorneys," addressing music law and legal issues related to managers, agents, and attorneys. 

  • Listed in California Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2010, 2011)

  • Regular lecturer on issues relating to artists and protection of their works through copyright and trademark laws

  • Co-Founder of Hearts Giving Hope Foundation, Inc. (founded in 2002), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides music and art programs to at-risk youth throughout Southern California.

  • Advisory Board Member, Love Button Global Movement (2018)

  • Pianist and singer songwriter