Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

Lionel S. Sobel

Lionel S. Sobel

Professor of Law

B.A., 1966, University of California, Berkeley; J.D., 1969, University of California, Los Angeles; Member, California State Bar


Phone: (213) 738-6756
Office: BW325

Lionel Sobel has established a reputation as one of the top scholars in entertainment law through his highly regarded publications, distinguished teaching career and experience in private practice. He is a tremendous resource for practitioners as well as his students, and says, "In the classroom, I give free rein to the enthusiasm I feel for the subject."

Professor Sobel is the author of major texts on the law and business of the entertainment and sports industries. He has testified on issues ranging from antitrust laws in major league baseball to international licensing practices in the motion picture, music and computer software industries before the U.S. House of Representatives, California Senate, California Assembly, and U.S. Tax Court.

In 1975, after working as a litigation associate for Loeb & Loeb, Professor Sobel formed his own firm, Freedman & Sobel, where he focused his practice primarily on business counseling and litigation, and copyright and trademark law. He became a full-time law professor in 1982 when he was appointed to the faculty at Loyola Law School where he taught copyright, trademark, entertainment law and other subjects for 15 years, and in 1997-98, served as a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. In 2003 and 2004, he was a lecturer at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at Boalt Hall where he was named a Distinguished Scholar. He has also taught international entertainment law and international copyright law in the University of San Diego Law School summer program in London and Florence.

Originally a member of the advisory board for Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, Professor Sobel directed the law school's international entertainment law summer program in England from 2004 through 2008. Since January 2005, he has been a member of the full-time faculty where he now teaches tax law and is known for his "open and energetic" teaching style.


Books and Chapters


"The Law of Ideas" in NIMMER ON COPYRIGHT (LexisNexis, 2007)

INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT LAW (Praeger Publishers, 2003) (with D. Biederman)

LAW AND BUSINESS OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES, 3rd ed. (Praeger Publishers, 1996) (with D. Biederman, et al.)

"Entertainment Law" in THE OXFORD COMPANION TO AMERICAN LAW (K. Hall and S. Clark, editors; Oxford University Press, 2002)

"Live Musical Performances" in KOHN ON MUSIC LICENSING, 3rd ed. (A. Kohn and B. Kohn, editors; Aspen Publishers, 2002)


"DRM as an Enabler of Business Models: ISPs as Digital Retailers," 18 BERKELEY TECHNOLOGY LAW JOURNAL 667 (Spring 2003)

"Why the Digital Piracy War Has to Be Fought," 27 DGA MAGAZINE 36 (November 2002)

"Royalties from Abroad," 23 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 4 (March 2002)

"The Nuts, Bolts, and Politics of the Evolution of Music Law," 1 SEDONA CONFERENCE JOURNAL 235 (2000)

"Pursuing the Home Court Advantage in International Trademark Litigation," 19 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 4 (August 1997)

"Retroactive Copyright Protection for Recordings, Japanese Style: An American Diplomatic Triumph . . . Complete with Anomalies and Ironies," 18 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 4 (February 1997)

"The $90 Million Question: How Big is Michael Ovitz's Severance Package from Disney?" 18 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 3 (December 1996)

"Legal Hurdles to 'Strategic Visions' in the Entertainment Industry: A Look at the Time Warner - Turner Broadcasting Merger," 18 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 5 (October 1996)

"A New Music Law for the Age of Digital Technology," 17 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 3 (November 1995)

"Pursuing the Home Court Advantage in International Copyright Litigation," 17 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 3 (September 1995)

"Back from the Public Domain - Congress Restores Copyrights to Many Foreign Works," 17 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 3 (August 1995)

"Bootleggers Beware: Copyright Law Now Protects Live Musical Performances," 17 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REPORTER 6 (July 1995)

Creator, iPhone Application, Survey of Federal Income Tax and SCALE Federal Income Tax courses; Chair, ABA Forum Committee on the Entertainment & Sports Industries, 2007-2009