Thomas Lane is a litigation partner in the firm’s New York office who focuses his practice on complex business and commercial litigation, particularly in the new media and entertainment fields. Mr. Lane’s work frequently puts him at the forefront of precedent-setting intellectual property cases that shape the law governing media and emerging technologies, a practice balanced by regular retentions in large, complex “bet the company” litigation. He has represented traditional content owners and distributors, as well as high-technology companies and ISPs, on complex intellectual property liability issues. His experience in this area includes all aspects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the development, distribution, and use of technologies that push the boundaries of IP law.
Mr. Lane’s individual trial experience is extraordinarily extensive. Many of his cases have garnered significant national press coverage. For example, he was trial counsel in widely publicized copyright infringement cases brought against MP3.com, Napster, Inc., and Musicmaker Inc., and secured significant awards for his clients. He has litigated on behalf of numerous new media and entertainment companies and represented multiple musicians and artists, both for and against record labels.
One of Mr. Lane’s major clients, Yahoo! Inc., has relied on his legal skills to successfully defend it in several licensing and copyright disputes. In one such case, Mr. Lane successfully defended Launch Media Inc., a Yahoo! subsidiary, in a jury trial for a case in which major record labels claimed more than $2 billion in damages for copyright infringement. The jury returned a verdict in Yahoo!’s favor in less than an hour, a verdict which was upheld by the Second Circuit. In another instance, Mr. Lane reduced a judgment against Yahoo! by millions of dollars after our firm was hired to fight a multimillion-dollar order stemming from a case in which the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers sued Yahoo! over licensing fees. Mr. Lane also represented Yahoo! in its opposition to a class action settlement between Google and the Author’s Guild, Inc. and the association of the American Publishers, Inc. in connection with Google’s posting of copyrighted material.
Mr. Lane has secured major victories for another of his Internet-related clients, Veoh Networks. In a series of pioneering cases, Veoh Networks, a video-sharing Web site, was found immune from copyright infringement claims under the “safe harbor” clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Multiple parties sued Veoh Networks, including IO Group and Universal Music Group, for allowing third-party users to share copyrighted material on Veoh’s Web site. The cases have been widely regarded as precedent-setting and “fundamentally altering the landscape of video usage on the Web.”
Mr. Lane’s non-media representations have been as varied in type as they have been broad in exposure and complexity. His trial practice has included cases involving trademark infringement, trade secrets, banking, class action, hotel and hospitality, securities fraud, professional liability, and unfair competition matters. He has prosecuted civil claims on behalf of the U.S. Government and the City of New York, the national bank of Liechtenstein, and numerous other entities, Fortune 500 companies, and financial institutions. Mr. Lane’s international experience includes private litigation and arbitration that required the application of treaties, conventions, and foreign and domestic law on subjects such as the extraterritorial gathering of evidence, foreign sovereign immunity, recognition of foreign country judgments and foreign arbitral awards, and international conflicts of law. In sum, Mr. Lane has successfully litigated claims in the billions of dollars, in both domestic and international forums, at trial and on appeal, for varied and diverse clientele.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Lane served as a senior trial attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where for close to five years he investigated and prosecuted multiple homicide cases and a variety of violent felonies. Prior to joining Winston & Strawn, Mr. Lane served as deputy national chair for a large litigation firm, supervising and managing more than 100 attorneys.
Mr. Lane was recognized by Legal 500 in 2012 as a leading practitioner in the Intellectual Property: Copyright category.
Honors and Awards
Mr. Lane serves as an arbitrator for New York Civil Court and devotes considerable time to numerous pro bono matters and nonprofit endeavors. He currently serves on Winston & Strawn’s diversity committee as well as the firm's pro bono committee, and has been honored for his pro bono efforts by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (2009) and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (2006). Mr. Lane also serves as cochair of Winston's New York hiring committee.
Mr. Lane received an A.B. in English from Hamilton College in 1988. He received a J.D., cum laude, from Tulane Law School in 1991. He also studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, England, and at the Inns of Court, London, England.
Speeches and Publications
Mr. Lane regularly lectures and writes about trial techniques and strategy.
In October 2010, Mr. Lane spoke at PLI’s Intellectual Property Law Institute on a panel, “Copyright Internet Issues” which addressed recent judicial decisions and developments in copyright law.
In September 2010 in New York and in November 2010 in Nashville, Tenn., Mr. Lane spoke at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ Entertainment Law Conference Series on a panel, “After YouTube and Veoh: Have Courts (or Congress) Failed Creators or Struck the Right Balance?” which addressed recent judicial decisions interpreting the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown safe harbor and business, enforcement and legislative options for all stakeholders.
In August 2010, he co-authored “California, New York’s Different Approaches, Viewed Through Pending NCAA Student Athlete Licensing Litigation: The Right of Publicity Goes Digital,” published in the New York Law Journal.
In May 2010, Mr. Lane was a panelist at the Continuing Legal Education conference held during the 2010 NARM Convention in Chicago. His presentation, titled “ISP Liability After Grokster And Veoh: Are Consumers or Creators Striking Out?,” discussed his litigation of the landmark Veoh case in which a court determined that Veoh Networks qualified for safe harbor protection from copyright liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In 2009, he coauthored “Arista Records v. Launch Media, Inc.: Second Circuit Grapples with Interactivity,” published in the Winter 2009 edition of New York State Bar Association Bright Ideas.
In December 2008, Mr. Lane coauthored “Free With Registration: Digital Millennium Copyright Act — California Ruling May Influence Viacom’s Suit Against YouTube,” which was published in the New York Law Journal.