Gerdes Law

Gerdes Law

Clearance, Copyright, Trademark, Internet and Entertainment Law

Firm Overview

Ted Gerdes, principal of Gerdes Law, has extensive expertise in clearing and vetting a variety of media; providing sophisticated analysis of copyrights and copyright law; vetting, registering and maintaining trademarks; assisting creators with obtaining E insurance; and examining and clearing of titles, personality rights, and other rights that could give rise to lawsuits. In addition, Ted has particular experience handling the unique legal issues related to Internet media, non-fiction works, including documentaries, docudramas and various literary works, and transformational media. He is also adept at the careful drafting and negotiation of rights acquisition, licensing, and other related agreements.

Ted has seen the devastating and sometimes tragic impact lawsuits can have on the creative process. They can be an enormous drain of time, money, and emotion. Ted began his career defending infringement and other claims brought against producers, writers and other creators and began to ask: Could this have been avoided? With the creative background of a former journalist and musician, Ted began searching for a better way and found it by refocusing his practice on prevention. He now draws on his litigation background to help clients avoid these costly, time-consuming legal predicaments before they occur.

Drawing from the depth of his legal experience and knowledge, Ted often takes an intuitive and practical approach to legal issues. It is his "Zen and the Art of Practicing Law" philosophy that guides him to fashion legal solutions that will protect the integrity of, and help bring to fruition, a wide range of creative projects. Over the years, Ted has found that clients value his entrepreneurial focus and practical approach to the practice of law. He keeps things simple by listening intently to clients, answering all questions honestly, and providing results at a reasonable cost. Ted treats your problems as if they are his own.
Main Office

Main Office
8950 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 382
Beverly Hills  CA  90211

  • 310-746-5745

Ted F. Gerdes

Ted F. Gerdes possesses nearly 30 years of legal experience and currently assists clients throughout the United States and around the world in a variety of entertainment-related matters, including clearance and vetting, copyright, titles, trademark and E&O insurance. Ted's goal is to help his clients prevent costly litigation by performing thorough clearance on all projects and negotiating and drafting all of the necessary rights acquisitions and license agreements. Prior to founding his own firm, Ted served as outside counsel to producers, studios, advertising agencies, and authors, where he was involved in defending numerous important copyright and entertainment law cases involving films, television properties and music, including Buchwald v Paramount and Waits v Frito Lay. He now draws on that wealth of experience to prevent the same claims that he used to defend.
Mr. Gerdes's commitment to providing the best possible representation to each client has earned him Martindale-Hubbell's prestigious "AV" rating, indicating that peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards. Additionally, Los Angeles area law schools and industry organizations frequently invite Ted to speak about his areas of expertise. He has published numerous articles in major publications, including Los Angeles Lawyer, Billboard Magazine, New Technologies 101, and Music Connection. In addition, Mr. Gerdes has served as Chair, Board Member, and Special Editor of the Entertainment Law special editions of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, many of which earned the Western Publishing Association's prestigious "Maggie" Award.
A musician since age 10, Ted still finds time to play one of his several guitars and attend concerts. He has also loves his Nikon, a hold over from his days as a journalist, which he often carries with him, always looking for that perfect photograph. In recent years Ted has developed a reputation for his unique holiday cards featuring his original photographs, sent to friends and clients. For exercise he took up cycling. In 2008 he did the 100 mile Solvang Century, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


-J.D., California Western School of Law
-B.A., Music, State University of New York at Oswego

-Global Alliance For Transformational Entertainment Board of Directors, 2009-Present)
-International Documentary Association
-American Bar Association
-Los Angeles County Bar Association Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Section (Member, 1984-present; Chair, 1991-1992; Officer, 1986-1992)
-State Bar of California
-Los Angeles Copyright Society (Board of Trustees 2006-2008)
-National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
-Editorial Board, Los Angeles Lawyer (1984-1994) (Special Editor, Entertainment Law (1984-1994, Chair, 1989-1990)

Recent Projects (Partial List)
-"Never Say Never: The Elm Street Legacy" (Documentary)
-"8: The Mormon Proposition" (Documentary)
-"Behind the Burly Q" (Documentary)
-"Faire: An American Renaissance" (Documentary)
-"Blood Done Sign My Name" (Feature Film)
-"Younger Than That Now" (Book)
-"Solved" (Television)
-"Alpha Dog" (Feature Film)
-"The People Speak" (Documentary)
-"Humble Beauty" (Documentary)
-"Journey to Palomar" (Documentary)

-The Unbearable Likeness of Being: Recent Court Decisions Highlight the Tension Between Entrepreneurs' First Amendment Rights and Celebrities' Rights of Publicity, Vol. 25, No. 3, Los Angeles Lawyer, May 2002
-"Legal Tips for Interactive Multimedia Producers," Vol. 17, No. 13, Los Angeles Lawyer, May 1994
-"Shelly Duvall: Portrait of Multimedia Pioneer," Los Angeles Lawyer, May 1994
-"The Legal Do's and Don'ts of Producing for Interactive Technology," Billboard, August 7, 1993
-"Clearance Strategies for New Technologies," New Techniques 101, Los Angeles County Bar Association Entertainment and Intellectual Property Section Annual Symposium, 1992
-"Special Problems of Docudramas: No Short Cuts in the Clearance Process," Vol. 13, No. 2, Los Angeles Lawyer, April, 1990
-"The Trademark Behind The Curtain: The use of trademarks as metatags"
-"Music Biz By Degree: Era of the College Educated Executive," Music Connection
-"Catch 22: The Talent Agencies Act," Music Connection
-"Publishers vs. Administrators: Song Placement Over Paperwork," Music Connection
-"TV: Untapped Medium for Exposing New Artists," Music Connection
-"SRS: A Writer's Bridge to the Music Business," Music Connection
-"Performance Rights in Sound Recordings," ASCAP Sponsored Nathan Burkan Memorial Copyright Law Competition, Prize Winner

- See more at:
  • California Western School of Law