Helene M. Freeman

Helene M. Freeman: Attorney with Phillips Nizer LLP AV stamp icon
  • Partner at Phillips Nizer LLP (66 Attorneys)
  • 485 Lexington Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017
    View Helene M. Freeman's office location
  • As a litigator, Helene M. Freeman, has been a trial and appellate attorney in precedent-setting cases under both copyright and trademark law throughout the United States.
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Helene M. Freeman is a partner in the Litigation Department at Phillips Nizer LLP. Ms. Freeman's practice is focused on all facets of entertainment, publishing, the arts and fashion. She has counseled multinational record distributors, leading musical performing groups, film and television producers and distributors, international music publishing companies, theatrical producers, authors and advertising agencies.

As a litigator with more than 30 years' experience, Ms. Freeman has been trial and appellate counsel in precedent setting cases under both copyright and trademark law throughout the United States. She provides assistance in securing registration of copyrights and trademarks in the United States and developing plans for the worldwide exploitation and protection of creative property. She also regularly advises on international transactions involving the acquisition of rights in entertainment and media properties.

Pro Bono

•Community for Education Foundation, Inc. (Member, Board of Directors [emeritus]; Chair, Governance Committee)

Peer Review Rating

•AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell


•U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Honorable Robert J. Ward

Speaking Engagements

•New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section (EASL) Annual Music Business and Law Conference, Panel: Litigation Update (CLE, November 16, 2018)
•Practising Law Institute (PLI), Copyright Licensing - Understanding the Intellectual Property License 2018 (CLE Program/Webcast, November 5, 2018)
•American Bar Association (ABA), Forum Committee on the Entertainment and Sports Industries 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting (October 4 - 6, 2018)
•American Bar Association (ABA), Entertainment Law Symposium (April 5 - 6, 2018), Panel: Entertainment Litigation Update (April 6, 2018)
•Tennessee Intellectual Property Association (TIPLA) (CLE Program, May 4, 2018)
•Defense Research Institute (DRI) 2017 Intellectual Property Litigation Section Seminar (May 11, 2017)
•American Bar Association (ABA) International Legal Symposium, Panel: Entertainment Litigation Update (March 30 - 31, 2017)
•28th Annual North American Law Summit for Entertainment, Sports and Intellectual Property, sponsored in part by the New York State Bar Association. Panel: Winning Strategies & Ethical Boundaries for Persuading Judges and Juries in Entertainment Cases (November 9 - 13, 2016)
•American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries 2016 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada (October 6 - 8, 2016), Plenary Session: Litigation Roundup (October 8, 2016)
•American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) webinar, “Copyrights, Ransom and (Bet the Company) Lawsuits: Avoiding the Troll Under The Next Bridge”. A webinar highlighting the seriousness of copyright infringement and the now lucrative business of infringement actions by copyright owners against vendors. (September 4, 2014)
•Speech, Copyright Society, New England Chapter, “Slip Sliding Away: Termination Rights Under the Copyright Act” (April 2010)
•Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Faculty, “Get Wired: Practicing Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law in the Digital Age” (October 2000)
•Practising Law Institute (PLI), Faculty, “Litigating Copyright, Trademark & Unfair Competition Cases for the Experienced Practitioner” (November 1996)
•American Bar Association, Torts & Insurance Practice Section, Demonstration - “Jury Selection & Opening Statement” (April 1991)
•American Bar Association, Torts & Insurance Practice Section, Speech, “What is a Defamatory Statement” (May 1987)


• Copyright Licensing - Understanding the Intellectual Property License 2018 (Practising Law Institute (PLI), November 5, 2018)
• Duran Duran Case Shouldn't Affect Paul McCartney's Termination Rights (Law360, January 30, 2017)
•The Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995 in Litigating Copyright, Trademark & Unfair Competition Cases for the Experienced Practitioner (Practising Law Institute (PLI), 1996)
•Proceedings of the New York University 39th Annual Conference on Labor, Employee Discharge: Defamation Through the Form of Termination (Matthew Bender, 1986)
• Testimony of the American Civil Liberties Union, Customs Service Mail Openings, in Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 119-39, 1977

Fashion Law Blog

•The Fashion Industry Law Blog, includes posts published by the members of the Fashion Law Practice of Phillips Nizer LLP and attorneys in other related practice areas.


•The Times of London, Lawyer of the Week (July 7, 2016)
•American Lawyer Media (ALM) and Martindale-Hubbell, Top Rated Lawyer (Commercial Litigation)
•The Best Lawyers in America (Copyright Law), (2017 - 2019)
•Super Lawyers - New York Metro Edition (Entertainment & Sports), (2007 - 2009, 2011 - 2014, 2017 - 2018)
•Super Lawyers - Top Women annual list of female attorneys
•Super Lawyers - Corporate Counsel Edition in Entertainment (2009)
•Marvin M. Karpatkin fellow in Civil Liberties, American Civil Liberties Union

News & Publications

Helene Freeman, partner in the Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law Practices speaks at the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section 2018 Music Business and Law Conference.

Helene will addresses the Copyright Act of 1909 that was involved in the Stairway To Heaven and Blurred Lines cases at this NYSBA CLE program on Friday, November 16, 2018.

The program will be held at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013.

Register at: www.nysba.org/EASLMusicConference18

•Speaking Engagement - Continuing Legal Education (CLE) - Helene Freeman , Litigation partner and member of the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Practices addresses Copyright Licensing on Mon., November 5, 2018 at the 2-day Practising Law Institute (PLI) program, Understanding the Intellectual Property License 2018 .
11/05/2018 Practising Law Institute

Licensing Intellectual Property can offer a practical and efficient strategy for companies looking to expand into a new market, enhance an existing product line, reduce costs or accomplish other business goals. The IP under consideration for license could be a patent, copyright, or trademark, software or any combination of these properties.

As this approach becomes increasingly common across industries, counsel who are new to licensing
IP must understand the complex range of issues that may arise when licensing a mix of intellectual
property types.

This program is designed for intellectual property specialists, corporate counsel and general practitioners who are interested in learning how to license and protect various forms of intellectual property.

•Media - Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law partner Helene Freeman quoted by Radio+Television Business Report regarding the Music Modernization Act signed into law today.
10/11/2018 Radio+Television Business Report

•Super Lawyers (2018)

Seventeen Phillips Nizer attorneys were announced on September 13, 2018 as selected for inclusion on the 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. Attorneys represented a cross-section of several practice areas and industry teams.

•U.S. News - BestLawyers (2019)

Best Lawyers recognized Alan Behr, Helene M. Freeman, Michael W. Galligan, Donald P. Perry, Evan J. Spelfogel, Lauren J. Wachtler, Martin B. Wasser and Elliot J. Wiener.

•Golden Oldies: The Music Modernization Act (Intellectual Property Magazine, July-August 2018)

•Speaking Engagement - Tennessee Intellectual Property Association (TIPLA) Spring CLE Seminar featuring Helene M. Freeman

Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law partner Helene Freeman addresses copyright issues in the music business at TIPLA's Spring Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee.

•Speaking Engagement - Litigation partner, Helene Freeman, joins veteran entertainment lawyers to discuss recent developments in the law affecting practitioners in the field and to share their favorite trial tips at the 9th Annual American Bar Association Entertainment Law Symposium (April 5 - 6, 2018) in Miami, Florida.

The panel presentation, Entertainment Litigation Update will be held on Friday, April 6th from 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

•U.S. News - BestLawyers (2018)

U.S. News-Best Lawyers announced on November 1, 2017, Phillips Nizer's recognition as one of the nation's Best Law Firms for 2018. The listing is presented in ranking tiers from 1 - 3. We ranked highly, Tier 1, nationally in Copyright Law, Trademark Law and Trusts & Estates Law. We were also ranked in the New York City Metropolitan listings.

•Super Lawyers (2017)

It was announced on September 20, 2017, that sixteen Phillips Nizer attorneys were selected for inclusion on the 2017 Super Lawyers list. Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking, Business Litigation, Entertainment, Intellectual Property, and Trusts & Estates practices were represented.

• Speaking Engagement - Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law partner Helene Freeman will be a featured presenter at the 2017 Copyright Society of the U.S.A. Annual Meeting (June 4 - 6) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Helene 's panel on Monday, June 5th is entitled, Sound + Vision: Challenges in Evaluating Substantial Similarity of Musical Works.

•Speaking Engagement - Entertainment and Intellectual Property litigator, Helene Freeman, will be a featured speaker at the Defense Research Institute's 2017 Intellectual Property Litigation Section 2-day seminar in Chicago, Illinois.

Helene will highlight the reasons for the differences in outcomes between the Blurred Lines and Led Zeppelin copyright infringement cases. Helene successfully defended Led Zeppelin in June 2016.

•Media - Legendary recording artist Sir Paul McCartney filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan against music publisher Sony/ATV over ownership of some of the Beatles’ most famous songs.

Partners Helene Freeman and Alan Behr members of our Intellectual Property Law practice, were quoted in articles published by Forbes magazine and Digital Music News. Forbes included quotes by Helene, and Digital Music News published quotes by both Helene and Alan.

•Paul McCartney Sues To Win A Battle Duran Duran Lost (Forbes)
•56 Years Later, Paul McCartney Wants His Beatles Songs Back... (Digital Music News)
Related Article:

• Duran Duran Case Shouldn't Affect Paul McCartney Contracts by Helene Freeman (Law360, January 30, 2017)

•Duran Duran Case Shouldn't Affect Paul McCartney Contracts (Law360)

• Media - The successful representation on behalf of our client, the legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin (Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin), in one of the most high-profile copyright cases in recent years, lands on Law360’s list of the “Top 10 Copyright Rulings Of 2016” published on December 21, 2016.

The case is number 5 on the list. We were extremely pleased - and so was the band - with our victory this year thanks to our litigation and entertainment law partner Helene Freeman . Through our entertainment law partner, George Fearon, we have proudly represented Led Zeppelin for over 40 years. View the Top 10 .

• Speaking Engagement - Litigator, Helene Freeman, partner in our Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Practices joins the 28th Annual North American Law Summit for Entertainment, Sports and Intellectual Property as a panelist.

The panel, Winning Strategies & Ethical Boundaries for Persuading Judges and Juries in Entertainment Cases, will be held on Friday, November 11, 2016. The Summit convenes in Riviera Maya, Mexico, November 9 - 13th.

•U.S. News - Best Lawyers (2017)

U.S. News-Best Lawyers announced Phillips Nizer was recognized as one of the Best Law Firms in the nation for 2017 ranking highly nationally in Trusts & Estates Law. The firm was also ranked in the New York City Metropolitan area in Trusts & Estates Law, Copyright Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Litigation and Trademark Law.

•Speaking Engagement - Entertainment and Litigation partner, Helene Freeman, joins fellow entertainment law industry veterans on the Plenary Session: Litigation Roundup panel at the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries 2016 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada (October 6 - 8, 2016).

The panel discussion will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 8th.

•Media - The New York Law Journal quotes Entertainment Law partner, Helene M. Freeman, on the recent decision of Manhattan Commercial Division Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich’s to deny recording artist Kesha's bid to nullify her contract with record producer Dr. Luke, who she claims assaulted her. The consensus among entertainment lawyers is the Court made the right decision.

In the article, “Attorneys Say Judge Made Right Call in Rebuffing Kesha,” Helene comments, It's not unheard of for artists to claim they cannot work with a particular producer who has an exclusive contract to record them...But that is not grounds for the artist being excused from the financial obligations. Kesha could refuse to record with Dr. Luke; she cannot then refuse to furnish those recordings to Sony, and Sony cannot refuse to pay Dr. Luke royalties generated by Kesha's albums that she agreed to make for them.

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• Super Lawyers (2014)

In an announcement on September 23, 2014, twenty-six Phillips Nizer attorneys were recognized on the Metro New York 2014 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. Twenty-two partners, senior counsel and counsel were selected as Super Lawyers. Four counsel and associates were selected as Rising Stars. The 2014 selections crossed all major practice groups. The annual Super Lawyers lists are a result of confidential peer review and independent research.

•Super Lawyers (2013)

Nineteen Phillips Nizer attorneys were selected by Super Lawyers and recognized in the 2013 New York Super Lawyers - Metro Edition publication. As was the case in 2012, attorneys selected represented several practice areas. The Firm achieved a significant increase in the number of honorees, including one recognized as a Rising Star . Each year, attorneys are nominated across various legal practices and vetted through a process of confidential peer review. Independent research by the publisher is an important component before one can be selected as a Super Lawyer .

•DOMA Decision Impacts Statutory Succession Rights to Literary and Artistic Works

•Super Lawyers (2012)

Phillips Nizer was honored with the selection of twelve of its attorneys for the 2012 New York Super Lawyers - Metro edition. The attorneys were recognized across seven practice areas - Alternative Dispute Resolution, Entertainment Law, Environmental Law, Estate Planning & Probate Law, Family Law, General Litigation, and Real Estate Law.

• Super Lawyers (2011)

Thirteen Phillips Nizer attorneys represented across seven distinct areas were recognized as 2011 Super Lawyers . Super Lawyers, a publication of Thomson Reuters, reviews nominations of attorneys across various legal practice areas. Those ultimately selected as Super Lawyers were vetted through a process involving peer review and independent research by the publisher.

•Intellectual Property Alert - Digital Millennium Copyright Act Prohibits Removal or Alteration of Name of Author or Copyright Owner of Photographic Images

This Alert highlights a recent Third Circuit decision holding that the removal of a photographer's name from a photograph violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( DMCA ). As interpreted by the court, the photographer's name on a physical copy of the photograph was protected copyright management information and its removal was a statutory violation even though the name was not part of an automated or electronic copyright management protection system. This decision is particularly important since many unsuspecting business owners and executives, company employees (such as in-house designers) or third-party contractors who may use photographic images readily available in print and on the Web for promotional purposes, may be violating the DMCA and the copyright law. These violations can be costly as both statutes provide for damages even if there is no actual injury or profit.

Areas of Practice (8)

  • Litigation
  • Appellate Practice
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Copyright
  • Trademark
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Partnership Disputes

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(212) 841-0547  Phone
212-262-5152  Fax
University Attended:
Smith College, A.B., 1971
Law School Attended:
New York University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1974
Year of First Admission:
U.S District Court, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of New York; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Third, Sixth and Ninth Circuits; 1975, New York; U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships

•New York City Bar Association (Member, Copyright and Literary Property Committee)
•Copyright Society

Reported Cases:
Representative Matters: Representative Litigation; Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et. al. (C.D. Cal. 2016). Defense counsel to surviving Led Zeppelin members in high-profile copyright infringement case involving the claim that Stairway to Heaven copied an instrumental composition. Jury verdict for the defendants.; Robinson v. Sanctuary Records Group, Ltd. et al., 542 F. Supp. 2d 284 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). Trial and appellate counsel to defendant record company in breach of contract action. Secured judgment after trial that plaintiff recover no damages.; RBFC One, LLC v. Zeeks, Inc. et al., 367 F. Supp. 2d 604 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) aff'd., 171 Fed. Appx. 902 (2d Cir. 2006). Representation of the musical group *NSYNC in an action for breach of contract and fraud brought by producer of large format motion picture *NSYNC Bigger Than Live. Secured summary judgment dismissing the suit; affirmed on appeal.; Guardian Music Corp. v. James W. Guercio Enterprises, Inc., 459 F. Supp. 2d 216 (S.D.N.Y. 2006), aff'd. 271 Fed. Appx. (2d Cir. 2008). Representation of defendant music publisher in an action for breach of co-publishing agreement. Secured summary judgment dismissing claim to renewal term of song copyright; affirmed on appeal.; The Chase Manhattan Bank v. AXA Reinsurance UK PLC et al., 294 A.D.2d 245, 741 N.Y.S. 2d 867 (1st Dept. 2002). Secured dismissal of independent film producer from multiple actions asserting fraud in connection with multi-billion dollar insurance backed film finance program, affirmed on appeal.; Maeillo v. Brendan and Peter Brown, Case No. 13 181 05584. Trial counsel to musical group Wheatus securing judgment after bench trial that its agreement with its manager was void.; Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, Inc. v. Zeeks, et al., 00-12579. Trial counsel to *NSYNC securing dismissal of action claiming copyright infringement in puppets by virtue of the use of photos of the puppets in concert merchandise.; Trans Continental Records, Inc. et al. v. Zomba Recording Corporation et al., 99-1282-Civ-Orl-22C (M.D. Florida). Successfully defended the musical group *NSYNC in a Lanham Act action brought by BMG Music and Louis Pearlman to enjoin the group from performing under the name *NSYNC and to compel the group to deliver master recordings to BMG. As a result, *NSYNC was permitted to leave the RCA Record label and release their No Strings Attached record through Jive Records.; Batjac Productions, Inc. v. GoodTimes Home Video Corp., 160 F.3d 1223 (9th Cir. 1998). Trial and appellate counsel for defendant in copyright infringement action alleging infringement of copyright in unpublished screenplays for public domain motion picture; summary judgment granted to defendant and affirmed on appeal.; Maljack Productions, Inc. v. GoodTimes Home Video, 81 F.3d 881 (9th Cir. 1996). Trial and appellate counsel for defendant in action alleging infringement of the copyrights in music used in public domain motion picture and unfair competition; summary judgment granted to defendant and full attorneys fees awarded.; The Walt Disney Co. v. GoodTimes Home Video Corp., 830 F. Supp. 762 (S.D.N.Y. 1993). Trial counsel to defendant in action alleging infringement of the trade dress for videocassettes of Disney animated motion pictures; judgment for defendant after trial.; Larball Publishing Co. v. CBS, Inc., 664 F. Supp. 704 (S.D.N.Y. 1987). Lead counsel to plaintiff in copyright infringement action, sustaining jurisdiction over all subsidiaries worldwide and recovery of worldwide profits from infringement.; Davis v. Ross, 754 F.2d 80 (2d Cir. 1985). Appellate counsel to Diana Ross in libel action brought by former employee.; Representative Transactions; Intellectual property counsel to EM.TV in connection with the acquisition of The Jim Henson Company; Intellectual property counsel to Madstone Holdings Inc. in connection with the acquisition of New Yorker Films
Representative Transactions: Intellectual property counsel to EM.TV in connection with the acquisition of The Jim Henson Company; Intellectual property counsel to Madstone Holdings Inc. in connection with the acquisition of New Yorker Films

Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0
  • High ethical standing icon
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Documents (12)

Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

New York, New York

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