William Archer


William Archer is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis Brisbois and chair of the Entertainment, Media & Sports Practice. He primarily focuses on providing transactional, intellectual property and litigation services for clients throughout the entertainment/media industries, including music, motion picture, television, new media, theater, fashion, publishing, and modeling.

Mr. Archer regularly forms limited liability companies and other entities; provides start-up advice; prepares and negotiates agreements for acquisition of motion picture and other rights including option/acquisition agreements, purchase agreements, writer agreements and exclusive shopping agreements; and drafts and negotiates financing agreements and related documents including private placement memoranda, loan agreements, equity financing agreements and hybrid loan/equity transactions including partially financing motion pictures through sales of tax credits. Mr. Archer also assists his production company clients with becoming signatories to the basic agreements with the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, DGA and IATSE and advises clients regarding relevant provisions under those agreements. He also regularly negotiates and drafts production contracts (with networks, producers, directors, actors, editors and others), recording contracts, co-publishing and exclusive songwriter agreements, record producer agreements, composer agreements, soundtrack album agreements, album financing agreements, endorsement agreements, band partnership agreements, synch and master use licenses, and distribution and licensing agreements. Mr. Archer also handles clearance issues.

Mr. Archer recently has closed and assisted clients in closing transactions with Paramount, Dreamworks, the BBC, ABC, Fox, E!, Lifetime, BET, Nippon TV, Appian Way (Leonardo DiCaprio’s company), Lucky Chap Entertainment (Margot Robbie’s company), United Artists Media Group (Mark Burnett’s company), Reveille (now Shine), Universal Music, E-One, Fuse, True Entertainment, Castle Pictures and others. His clients include or have included Ashanti, J.Cole, Toni Braxton, Swizz Beats, Stephen Swid, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, David Duchovny, Dr. Jane Goodall, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Beats Music, Interscope, Zomba, Maverick, Kobalt, Dreamville Records, Varése Sarabande Records, CJ Entertainment, Netmarble, Napalm Records, Blue Ice Pictures, the Producers Guild of America, and a number of other motion picture, television, commercial/video production, record and music publishing companies. Mr. Archer has a particular interest in cross-border transactions and disputes and represents entertainment industry clients in Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Scotland, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Finland, China, Korea, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.

Recent transactions that Mr. Archer successfully closed or helped clients close include: motion picture distribution agreement with Dreamworks Animation; television show format option and license agreement between two entertainment conglomerates; license agreement between UK and Asian companies for on-demand service rights to various series episodes; television program license agreement between Japanese and Korean television networks; multiple licenses for use of John Williams’ Star Wars score in a video game; and license agreement with IFTA on Demand for live K-pop concert television program.

Mr. Archer has litigated a wide range of entertainment industry disputes, including copyright, trademark, right of publicity, idea submission, contract, Talent Agencies Act, film investor, defamation, employment and reuse fee disputes. He also has represented entertainment industry clients in WGA, IFTA, AFMA and ICDR arbitrations. Recent litigation matters include defense of Beats Music in an action alleging over $20 million in contract damages, defense of a U.S. record company arising from neighboring rights uses in Europe, right of publicity action for Ashanti and dismissal with prejudice of $765,000 fraud complaint against the managing director of a German record company.

Mr. Archer is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers.

Mr. Archer received his BA (philosophy/psychology), MA (philosophy) and JD from the University of Arizona where he also completed all of the course work for his Ph.D. in philosophy with a major in contemporary moral philosophy. He also taught philosophy for four years at the University of Arizona.

For Mr. Archer’s film credits, see: http://www.imdb.me/william.archer


  • Getting Real (an analysis of right of publicity, copyright and other legal issues in the reality TV context), Los Angeles Lawyer, 28th Annual Entertainment Law Issue, May 2012
  • Keeping Score: Music Rights in Film, Los Angeles Lawyer, 25th Annual Entertainment Law Issue, May 2009
  • From "Ace in the Hole" to "Rounders" - State and Federal Courts in California Have Dealt a Few Good Cards to Screenwriters and Other Idea Purveyors, Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook 2006-2007 Edition, Thomson-West, 2006
  • Artists' Rights: Understanding Them, Protecting Them and Fighting for Them, Entertainment Settlements and Negotiations: Leading Lawyers on Contract Negotiations, Dispute Resolution and Litigation Issues in Entertainment and Sports Law, Aspatore Books, 2006
  • Screenwriters and Others Who Submit Ideas Regain a Potentially Valuable Remedy With the Ninth Circuit’s En Banc Decision in Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • Judge Dismisses Iraq War Veteran’s Complaint Against Summit Entertainment and Others in “The Hurt Locker” Case and Orders Him to Pay $187,000 in Attorneys’ Fees, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • SOPA on the Ropes: Prospects Dim for The Stop Online Piracy Act Despite Clear Need for Antipiracy Legislation, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • Court Blocks Gilbert Arenas’ Shot to Enjoin “Basketball Wives: Los Angeles” – Ninth Circuit Affirms, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • “Female Forces” and the First Amendment Defeat Privacy Claim Under Illinois Statute but Not Under Federal Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • NBC Universal May Get Stung in “To Catch a Predator” Case, Entertainment Law Newsletter, January 2012
  • California Supreme Court Affirms Marathon Entertainment v. Blasi, Holds Personal Managers Sometimes Can Recover Part of Their Fees Even After Violating the Talent Agencies Act, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • Ninth Circuit Addresses Relationships Between Audiovisual Works, Literary Works and Phonorecords, Holds Compulsory Mechanical Licenses Do Not Apply to Karaoke Devices and Karaoke Companies Must Get Synch Licenses, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • District Courts in California Separately Dismiss Writers’ Copyright Infringement Complaints Against “Finding Nemo” and “Rachael Ray” Producers and Distributors, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • “American Gangster”: NBC Universal Cannot be Liable to DEA Agents for Defamation Based on Epilogue Statement Implying Criminal Misconduct Even if Wholly Inaccurate, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • U.S. Supreme Court Permits Managers to Circumvent California Labor Commissioner in Talent Agencies Act Disputes, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2008
  • Gross v. Miramax:  Denouement, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2007
  • A Lesson From the Appellate Court’s Rejection of Robert Wagner’s Bid to Share in Net Profits From “Charlie’s Angels” Movies, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2007
  • Sixth Circuit Holds that Record Rental Exception to Copyright Act’s First Sale Doctrine Applies Only to Sound Recordings of Musical Works, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2007
  • Motion Picture Production Company’s Failure to Post Security Deposit Did Not Preclude Liability of Payroll Service to Crew for Back Wages and Penalties, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2007
  • Ashanti Sues Former Demo Producer and Others Over "Can’t Stop," Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2005/2006
  • Central District of California Holds that Anti Bootlegging Statute is Constitutional, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2005/2006
  • Absence of Copyright Notice on Downloaded Music Files Does Not Entitle Downloader to "Innocent Infringer" Reduction in Statutory Damages Where Downloader Had Access to Compact Disks Bearing Proper Notice, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Winter 2005/2006
  • Grosso v. Miramax Decision Ups the Ante for Studios and Producers Receiving Pitches, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2005
  • Central District of California Vindicates Right of Record Labels to Join Forces to Prevent Unauthorized Television Broadcast of Copyrighted Music, Entertainment Law Newsletter, Fall 2005

Professional Presentations

"Copyright in the Entertainment Industries - Current Laws in Germany, Europe and the US and How TTIP [the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] Could Affect Them," University of Music Franz Liszt, Weimar, Germany, December 7, 2015


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California




  • Member, Law360 Media & Entertainment Advisory Board, 2015-2018
  • Member, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
  • Member, International Association of Entertainment Lawyers
  • Member, State Bar of California


University of Arizona, College of Law

Juris Doctor, with high distinction, 1985

University of Arizona

Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy, 1981-1985

University of Arizona

Master of Arts in Philosophy, with highest distinction, 1981

University of Arizona

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy/Psychology, with distinction, 1978

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