Bill Gable Professional Biography

Bill Gable maintains a private practice specializing in copyright, intellectual property, entertainment law, and mediation.  He has represented a wide range of institutional and individual clients in the entertainment and technology fields. 

On the institutional side, Bill has done extensive work for major film and television studios negotiating and drafting numerous rights acquisition, production, traditional and digital distribution, licensing, marketing, theme park, home video, consumer products, internet, new media and other agreements.  He has a deep background in rights and chain-of-title analysis of films, television series, literary works, musical compositions and sound recordings for major entertainment companies.  In addition to these larger entities, he has served as primary outside counsel to numerous independent record labels and production companies.  He has assisted various clients in the purchase, sale and licensing of intellectual property assets and technologies.  Bill has represented a variety of established and start-up internet and new media companies in intellectual property, entertainment and other matters, strategizing with and positioning his clients for success while handling day-to-day matters, including drafting terms of use, privacy policies and other rights management and compliance documents. 

On the talent side, his past and present clients include numerous artists, including both Oscar and Grammy winners, their heirs and estates, including songwriters, recording artists, screenwriters, film producers, and entrepreneurs in all areas of their businesses and careers.  He counsels heirs and estates in management of intellectual property.

Bill is highly experienced in copyright terminations (“copyright recapture”). In addition to representing creative artists and their heirs and estates in copyright terminations, he has counseled music publishers, record companies, universities, trustees of estates and major entertainment companies in terminations matters, in the context of both transactions and litigation. He provided extensive comments to the Copyright Office in 2010, contributing to revised regulations addressing the problem of so-called “gap grants.”

Prior to entering private practice, from 1998 to 2007, Bill practiced intellectual property and entertainment transactional law and litigation in the Los Angeles and Century City offices of Morrison & Foerster (“MoFo”), one of the world’s leading international law firms, during that period the largest law firm in California.  While at MoFo he represented a host of entertainment, new media and internet startups, regularly counseling firm clients on copyright matters, including drafting legal opinions with Professor Paul Goldstein, of-counsel to the firm, addressing a number of cutting-edge copyright issues.  His matters encompassed numerous US and foreign copyright, trademark, right of publicity, unfair competition and other intellectual property issues.

In addition to his transactional practice, Bill represented clients in a broad range of litigation matters at MoFo, including: Kling v. Hallmark Cards, Inc. (9th Circuit) (work for hire and joint authorship doctrines); Wiener v. FBI (9th Circuit) (de-classification of FBI John Lennon dossier under Freedom of Information Act); Hebrew University of Jerusalem v. Fisher Scientific International, Inc. et al (alleged infringement of Albert Einstein right of publicity and trademarks) (C.D. Cal); National Conference of Bar Examiners v. PMBR (E.D. Penn.) (copyright infringement of bar exam test questions); Kumon v. Daekyo (C.D. Cal.) (alleged copyright infringement of mathematics instruction materials); El Sereno Neighborhood Action Committee v. California Transportation Commission (9th Circuit) (environmental justice action over freeway extension).

Bill is a certified mediator.  He has served as a mediator in intellectual property, entertainment and other disputes, has been a court-appointed mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court and a volunteer mediator for Lawyers For The Arts.  Before becoming an attorney he spent a year as a part-time volunteer mediator at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Bill is the author of “Restoration of Copyrights: Dueling Trolls And Other Oddities Under Section 104A of the Copyright Act,” 29 Colum. J.L. & Arts (Winter, 2005), an authoritative work on restoration of copyrights, and “Taking It Back,” Los Angeles Lawyer, June 2008, a detailed introductory analysis of terminations of copyright transfers.  His articles on copyright terminations have been reprinted by the California Copyright Conference and elsewhere. He is an active member of the Los Angeles Copyright Society.

Prior to attending law school, Bill had a lengthy career as a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and recording engineer.  In addition to his own recordings, he has composed and performed on three Grammy-nominated Yellowjackets recordings, has written songs with artists as diverse as Chicago and Branford Marsalis and has appeared on numerous recordings in various capacities.  His songs have been recorded by artists from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan and Korea.  (For more information on Bill’s music career, click here.)  During the same period, he also started and ran a successful humorous t-shirt line sold in more than 200 stores throughout the country.  During the early 1990s he formed and led a 4,000 member non-profit in a successful multi-year legal and political challenge to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority over improper use of parklands for the Los Angeles Metrorail project.

Bill attended Northwestern and UCLA law schools, obtaining his J.D. degree from UCLA in 1998.  He earned his B.G.S. degree (in American literature and philosophy) from the University of Iowa.