Robert Alan Garrett

Robert Alan Garrett

Senior Counsel

Robert Garrett whose practice focuses on copyright and telecommunications law, particularly as it affects the sports, media and entertainment industries and new technologies. He represents and advises major sports leagues and organizations, motion picture producers and distributors, recording companies, broadcast and cable television networks, municipal and foreign governments, and others who create or make use of copyrighted works.

Mr. Garrett handles numerous matters before the federal district courts and courts of appeals, US Supreme Court, Copyright Office, Copyright Royalty Board (and predecessors), FCC, Congress and WIPO. He analyzes, under applicable copyright and communications laws, the legality of various technologies and practices. He also assistes clients in contractual negotiations and disputes involving the licensing of copyrighted content as well as in the mediation of disputes over the unlicensed use of such content.

Prior to joining Arnold & Porter, Mr. Garrett served in the US Army and as a law clerk to then-Judge John Paul Stevens of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He graduated, cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the law review, a member of the law school’s moot court team, co-recipient of the Adlai Ewing Stevenson Award and William Jennings Bryan Award.


  • Represented owners of broadcast TV programming in copyright litigation involving the unauthorized retransmission of that programming over the Internet, mobile devices and cloud computing technology -- WPIX v. ivi; CBS Broadcasting v. FilmOn; NBC Universal v. Barry Driller; Fox Television v. Aereokiller; Nexstar Broadcasting v. Aereo; American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo; 20th Century Fox v. Cablevision.
  • Served as lead counsel for a consortium of major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA and NCAA) in litigation, negotiations and multiple federal agency and Congressional proceedings involving disputes over billions of dollars in copyright royalties paid to retransmit broadcast TV programming pursuant to statutory licenses under the Copyright Act.
  • Advised major sports leagues and other owners of TV programming concerning issues involving the copyright laws and FCC regulations applicable to their telecasts; testified before Congress on their behalf.
  • Represented major sports leagues in WIPO proceedings concerning Internet piracy of broadcast TV signals and the adequacy of foreign copyright laws under international standards.
  • Represented various content owners on legal and issues (including best practices and business plans) involving the distribution of copyrighted content over new technologies and media.
  • Represented municipal governments before the FCC and federal courts in proceedings involving the regulation of cable television under the 1984 and 1992 federal Cable Acts, and served as lead counsel in litigation (DC Circuit and Supreme Court) challenging FCC preemption of cable television regulation.
  • Represented recording industry in litigation to set royalty rates and terms for the use of sound recordings by Internet and satellite services pursuant to compulsory licensing provisions of Copyright Act, and in litigation with radio broadcasters concerning copyright liability for streaming sound recordings over the Internet (Bonneville v. Peters).
  • Obtained Supreme Court review and argued before the Supreme Court in the seminal copyright work made for hire case, CCNV v. Reid, a pro bono case.
  • Represented NFL team in First Amendment challenge to cancellation of its trademark registration.
  • Authored several amicus briefs in the courts of appeals and Supreme Court on matters involving the proper interpretation of the Copyright Act, Cable Act and US Constitution, including MGM v. Grokster; Campbell v. Acuff-Rose; BellSouth v. Donnelley; Cablevision v. MPAA; NAB v. Quincy Cable; Turner Broadcasting v. FCC; Medlock v. Pledger; Capitol Records v. Thomas; MASN v. Time Warner Cable; Sony v. Tenenbaum; and CBS Broadcasting v. Aereo, Inc.


Sports Programming
Copyright, Culture, Art and Science in the Digital Age, USPTO Seminar, Alexandria, VA
Aereo Now: Digital Disruption or Business as Usual

Copyright Society of the USA (NYC Chapter), New York, NY

The Walt Disney Company, CBS Broadcasting

Client CLE Presentations on Copyright Issues


Chambers USA
Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secret (DC) (2014-2019)
Sports Law (Nationwide) (2008-2018)
Media & Entertainment (DC) (2010-2018)
The Legal 500 US
"Leading Lawyer" – Intellectual Property: Copyright (2011-2019)
Sports (2008-2010, 2014-2019)
The Legal 500 Hall of Fame
Copyright (US) (2018)


  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law, 1973, cum laude
  • BA, Northwestern University, 1970
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • US District Court, District of Columbia
  • US District Court, Southern District of New York
  • US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Government & Military Service
  • Assistant to the General Counsel, Office of the Secretary of the Army
  • Staff Counsel, Special Commission on the United States Military Academy
  • Judge Advocate General Corps (Army ROTC), US Army
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, The Honorable John Paul Stevens
  • Member, The Copyright Society of the USA

  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association

  • Member, Sports Lawyers Association

  • Member, American Bar Association: Forum Committee on Entertainment & Sports, Forum Committee on Communications, Copyright & New Technologies Committee

  • Member, DC Bar Association: Intellectual Property Law Section; Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Section


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