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Marla Grossman

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Government Relations Attorney in Washington, DC

American Continental Group
1800 M Street NW, Suite 500 S
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-327-8100
Fax: 202-327-8101
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2021
Licensed in Washington DC Since: 1995
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas: Government Relations
Attorney Profile

Marla Grossman is known as one of the nation's preeminent government relations attorneys. As a Partner at the American Continental Group (ACG), Ms. Grossman helps clients predict trends in US federal policy which might affect their business and with strategic public policy planning and representation before the White House, federal agencies and Congress. 

Dubbed “The Influencer” by I AM Modern Magazine, the Washington Business Journal claimed, “Marla Grossman seems to turn everything she touches into gold” and named her one of the Washington DC area’s “Most Influential Business Women”.  Ms. Grossman has been called an “industry insider,” a “mover and a shaker” and “the real deal” by IP Watchdog, a “leading lobbyist” by the National Law Journal, an “IP Influencer” by Managing IP and “one of the most sought-after lobbyists in the capital and across the country” by the Expert Network.  Ms. Grossman has been selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyer List every year since 2013.

Before joining ACG, Ms. Grossman was a Partner at PCT Government Relations, a lobbying firm focused on intellectual property and technology public policy matters. Prior to that, Ms. Grossman was a Partner and Chair of the Internet Ventures Group of the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, which at the time was described by The National Journal as the top federal government relations firm in the US.

Earlier, Ms. Grossman served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she was instrumental in the development of policy positions and legislative initiatives for then-Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and current Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Patrick Leahy. Ms. Grossman helped coordinate legislative activities for Senator Leahy on intellectual property, Internet usage, entertainment, online gaming and technology, and was directly involved with legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Copyright Term Extension Act; Trademark Law Treaty Implementation Act; Domain Name Amendment Act; and US Patent and Trademark Office Reauthorization Act.

A Peabody Award winner, Ms. Grossman received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa). She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Yale Alumni Fund. 

White Papers

  • Washington Insiders Weigh In on What Mattered in 2019 (2019) - As the year draws to a close, we reflect on what mattered most in the world of intellectual property during 2019. It was a particularly active year on IP issues, with important events in the courts, Congress, and agencies. Below we have highlighted a few of the most significant activities.
  • Washington Insiders Say Farewell to 2020 and Look Ahead to 2021 (2021) - As we thankfully see 2020 fading into the rear-view mirror and all look forward to a hopefully much better 2021, we want to take a moment to reflect on what the past year brought us and how the stage is set for another very fluid and consequential year for intellectual property policy.
  • Patent and IP Wishes from K Street for the New Year (2017)
  • SESTA vs. FOSTA (2018) -  A Comparison of S. 1693 (SESTA) and H.R. 1865 (FOSTA)      Introduction: In 2017, the Congress introduced bills aimed at fighting online sex trafficking by amending Section 230 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934. The Senate bill, S. 1693, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (“SESTA”), was introduced by Sen. Portman (R-OH) on August 1, 2017, and was reported by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on January 10, 2018.  The House version, H.R. 1865, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (“FOSTA”), was introduced on April 3, 2017, by Rep. Wagner (R-MO), and an amended version was reported by the Judiciary Committee on December 12, 2017.  The Benefits of SESTA:While FOSTA adopts a more cautious approach to fighting online sex trafficking, SESTA provides a more robust and effective way of addressing the issue for the following reasons:   Since Section 230 already includes an exception for enforcement of federal criminal statutes, SESTA would amend Section 230 to also exclude civil or state actions under Section 1591 of Title 18, concerning the sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion. SESTA would then amend Section 1591 to include “assisting, supporting, or facilitating a violation of subsection (a)(1)” in the definition of “participation in a venture.” This would create a clear and cohesive enforcement regime that allows both civil and criminal actions for the facilitation of sex trafficking. Increased risk of civil liability would also arguably have a considerable impact on compliance; FOSTA, on the other hand, would create a new criminal statute criminalizing the intentional promotion and facilitation of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking. However, civil liability would only be available for aggravated violations or reckless disregard, and such liability would be allowed under Section 230 only if the promotion or facilitation of prostitution included “responsibility for the creation or development of all or part of the information or content” provided through any online service. Meeting this requirement would essentially require proving direct liability; FOSTA’s intent requirement imposes an unreasonable burden on the prosecutors to prove that the defendant had the requisite mens rea to abet sex trafficking; While SESTA establishes civil and state law liability for facilitation of online sex trafficking, it retains Section 230(c)(2)(A) protections for good faith monitoring and enforcement activities; SESTA also provides State Attorneys General the authority to enforce and bring actions under Section 1591, which would arguably enhance enforcement activities and reduce online sex trafficking.
  • The AMP Act Streamlines and Formalizes Royalty Payments to Producers (2018) - The AMP Act Streamlines and Formalizes Royalty Payments to ProducersThe Allocation for Music Producers Act (“AMP Act”), re-introduced by Representatives Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) in February 2017, guarantees fair payments to record producers by formalizing a longstanding SoundExchange policy of honoring so-called “letters of direction” that allocate royalties between artists and their producers. The AMP Act is part of a wider music licensing reform effort – together with the Music Modernization Act of 2017, the CLASSICS Act, and a market-based rate for artists from satellite radio – supported by 22 music organizations in the United States. The 1995 Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act established the right of performers to collect 45 percent of the royalties resulting from digital broadcast of their songs, However, while performers receive a direct payment of the royalty, producers, engineers, and other studio professionals were not granted a statutory share of the individual song’s royalty. Producers can only collect their portion of the royalties through a voluntary agreement established between the producer and featured artist called a “letter of direction.” This voluntary approach allows artists to instruct SoundExchange to pay the producers directly, streamlining royalty payments and allowing musicians and producers to focus on making great music. The AMP Act would formalize this approach and include record producers in the Copyright Act for the first time in history. The AMP Act would also allow producers of pre-1995 works to seek royalty payments, subject to permission from the artists or their heirs. In case the artist is not reachable, the Act would allow producers to collect a share of the royalties if there had been an attempt to obtain the permission by both the producer and SoundExchange and no objection was received. This provides an opportunity for producers of all musical works to get a fair pay for their work. The AMP Act allows musicians and producers to focus on what they do best – creating music for everyone to enjoy. It streamlines the royalty process and formalizes an already widely-used practice. It is uncontroversial, and the Congress should move swiftly to adopt it for the benefit of the American music community.  
  • CONGRESS SHOULD ENACT THE CLASSICS ACT (2018) - WHAT’S THE ISSUE?Based on an interpretation of state and federal copyright laws, some of the biggest digital radio services in the world believe they can use music recorded before 1972 for free. While today’s artists are paid royalties every time their recordings are played by digital radio services, the inspirational legacy artists who came before them, icons of American music — Motown acts, the legends of jazz and blues, and musicians who gave birth to Rock ’n’ Roll — earn nothing. Why? Sound recordings were not brought within the scope of federal copyright protection until 1972. Even then, sound recordings made before February 15, 1972, were covered only by a patchwork of state laws. Even though these recordings are protected by state law, some digital music services were using them without paying royalties or receiving permission.WHO’S BEING AFFECTED?Anyone who made or owns the rights to a sound recording made before February 15, 1972. This includes the classic artists of every genre whose work continues to inspire future generations of artists.WHAT’S THE IMPACT?Pre-1972 sound recordings represent close to 15% of what digital radio services play, and an even higher percentage of popular recordings in some genres. Some digital radio services’ convenient interpretation of the law cost artists and record labels, with recordings before 1972, over $64 million in royalties in 2014 alone. Multiple lawsuits were filed by artists and copyright owners in several states to reclaim these lost royalties. So far, those lawsuits have resulted in $300 million in settlements paid to music creators and rights owners by the services that had been withholding royalties, but these settlements do not create certainty in the law about the protection of recordings from this iconic era of music.HOW CAN WE FIX THIS?Classic artists and their record labels have filed lawsuits under Florida, New York and California state laws to protect their rights. But Congress can put an end to this unfair practice too, by closing the loophole. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act (H.R.1836), introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) includes provisions that would do just that for recordings played by non-interactive digital radio services. To memorialize the outcome of the negotiations they encouraged between music creators and digital radio services, Rep. Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Nadler (D-NY) introduced the CLASSICS Act (H.R.3301), an update to the pre-72 provisions of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act that would require all digital radio services to pay royalties for the use of sound recordings made before 1972. They were joined in this effort by all of the original cosponsors of Fair Play Fair Pay Act – Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R- TN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). The bill enjoys broad support from both music creators and digital service providers. Organizations that have joined SoundExchange in expressing support for the CLASSICS Act include: American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), RIAA, Pandora, the musicFIRST Coalition, the Internet Association, the GRAMMYs, SAG AFTRA, American Federation of Musicians, the Content Creators Coalition, the Future of Music Coalition, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and the Living Legends Foundation. Read the joint statement of support from Pandora, SoundExchange and RIAA here.
  • Trump on Copyright: How the Trump Administration will approach copyright law and potential copyright reforms (2017)
  • Passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Where It Stands, and What’s Ahead (2016)

About Marla Grossman

First Admitted: 1993, Maryland

Professional Webpage: http://www.acg-consultants.com/our-team/marla-grossman/

Educational Background

  • Harvard Law School, Cum Laude, 1993
  • Yale University, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, 1990

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member of the Washington DC bar., 2019

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Helped clients to secure $470 million earmarked for cultural organizations in the American Rescue Plan Act; with $135 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  , 2021
  • Represented multiple clients in their successful efforts to enact legislation that creates a small claims tribunal called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle small copyright claims, thus providing creators whose works have been infringed with an inexpensive and efficient remedy to address their rights. , 2020
  •   Obtained financial relief for independent creators and small creative businesses in the third COVID relief package. For medical and scientific publishing clients, ensured that the Commerce, Justice State Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Omnibus Appropriations Bill upholds important House CJS Appropriations Report language from earlier in the year, stating that “at least 90 days prior to making any changes to the Federal Government’s public access policies…the Committee directs OSTP to submit to the Committee a report on the costs and budgetary impact of such changes.”   OSTP’s report to appropriators must include a complete analysis of any newly created costs, including any potential new costs for grant recipients. , 2020
  • Succeeded in stopping a legislative effort to extend the Covered Business Method (CBM) patent program at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on behalf of an association client that believed such program violated the United States’ obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which mandates that patent rights apply without discrimination as to field of technology and that extension of this program was unnecessary in light of regular, post-grant proceedings that allow the USPTO to review any patent for validity.   , 2020
  • Successfully lead a coalition of creators to pass The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act, legislation that punishes large-scale criminal streaming services that willfully or for commercial advantage or private financial gain offers to the public illicit services dedicated to illegally streaming copyrighted material.    , 2020
  • On behalf of publishing clients, worked with CISA (Cyber-Infrastructure Agency, Homeland Security) to ensure their guidance regarding the identification of essential critical infrastructure workers, is favorable to the publishing industry, including the following in the definition of essential workers:   “Warehouse operators, including vendors and support personnel critical for business continuity . . . and customer service for essential functions."  “Employees necessary to maintain news and media operations across various media.” (emphasis added).  “Employees required in person to support Software as a Service businesses that enable . . . distance learning, media services . . .” , 2020
  • Worked with music, author and publishing clients, working alongside organizations spanning the creative industries, to score a major victory in securing financial help under the CARES Act (the “Act”) for music and publishing industry workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: (1) unemployment compensation expanded from traditional employees to include benefits previously unavailable to independent contractors, “gig” workers, and the self-employed, and (2) newly-available loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), including loan advances of up to $10,000, which are now also available to sole proprietors, independent contractors, and the self-employed. , 2020
  • Successfully worked with client to prevent unnecessary disruptions to the physical operations of their industry during the pandemic. In communications with the federal government, governors across the country and congressional leaders working from their home districts, worked to ensure that printing, warehousing, and distribution services are categorized as essential services under the language of state executive orders, permitting them to continue to operate in a responsible fashion pursuant to health and safety guidelines ., 2020
  • Secured national treatment for sound recording artists in Canada as a result of USMCA negotiations and work with the US Federal Government to encourage Canada to amend the Ministerial Statement Limiting the Right to Equitable Remuneration of Certain Rome Convention or WPPT Countries. , 2020
  • Succeeded in getting several provisions in the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, including provisions that:  -Express recognition that IP enforcement procedures must be available for the digital environment for trademark and copyright or related rights infringement. -Establish appropriate copyright safe harbors to provide protection for IP and predictability for legitimate enterprises that do not directly benefit from the infringement, consistent with United States law.  -Require a minimum copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years, and for those works with a copyright term that is not based on the life of a person, a minimum of 75 years after first authorized publication. Require full national treatment for copyright and related rights so United States creators are not deprived of the same protections that domestic creators receive in a foreign market. , 2019
  • Helped get a commitment by the President in his State of the Union address to protect American intellectual property through strong enforcement of our trade rules., 2018
  • Assisted publishing client in successful effort to be paid a licensing fee to supply headlines in Facebooks’ news section. , 2019
  • On behalf of two different clients - the Authors Guild and the Songwriters Guild of America - succeeded in defeating an amendment to slash National Endowment for the Arts funding by fifteen percent., 2018
  • Extension of Fast Track Trading Authority:  On behalf of several different clients, succeeded in getting the President of the United States to ask Congress for a three-year-extension of the “fast-track” trade negotiating authority and to ensure that Congress did not pass a resolution refusing it.  (The extension is “pre-authorized” meaning it became automatic once President Trump requested it -  unless either chamber of Congress passed a resolution to refuse it.), 2018
  • Successfully aided several clients in getting the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act enacted into law.  This legislation implements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, a landmark treaty that was adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in June 2013, and has since been ratified by over 37 other countries. , 2018
  • Led a client’s efforts to successfully obtain passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016, which federalized trade secret law in the U.S. so as to provide a federal private right of action for trade secret misappropriation. , 2016
  • Succeeded in getting several provisions included in the tax package that was enacted into law for client., 2017
  • On behalf of the Authors Guild, succeeded in preserving National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding in the 2017 budget.  In fact, lobbied successfully for modest funding increases, despites the President's original recommendation to zero out funding for both organizations., 2017
  • Successfully led the lobbying efforts of a non-profit group, Teens Against Trafficking, to pass Federal anti-sex trafficking legislation.  Teens Against Trafficking is a grassroots movement founded by teens for teens to provide education and tools to combat sex trafficking in the United States.  Ms. Grossman provided pro-bono lobbying services to the non profit to lead their successful efforts to provide justice for victims of sex trafficking and hold accountable websites that knowingly facilitate these crimes.  The bill, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (“FOSTA”), passed by the House of Representatives by a decisive vote of 388-25 and then passed the Senate  by a vote of 94 - 2.  Since being enacted into law, the US Department of Justice has been able to seize the website of one of the worst offenders of sex-trafficking, BackPage.com. (Backpage, for years, has been accused of accepting classified ads promoting prostitution which allegedly resulted in sex trafficking of both adults and minors.)  The US Department of Justice has since issued indictments against seven people who run the website. The indictment charges 93 counts of several different crimes including money laundering and running a website to facilitate prostitution., 2018
  • Succeeded in obtaining specific language for two clients in the draft Trans Pacific Partnership agreement on digital trade and intellectual property., 2016
  • Led efforts by the Copyright Alliance to get H.R.1695, Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, successfully passed by the House of Representatives, 2017

Honors/Awards

  • , Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2020
  • , Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2020
  • , Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2018
  • Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2015
  • Superlawyers of Washington DC, Superlawyers, 2017
  • , Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2014
  • Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2016
  • Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2019
  • , Super Lawyers of Washington DC, Super Lawyers, 2013
  • Excellence in Advocacy Nominee, Power Women in Advocacy, 2014
  • Distinguished Lawyer Awardee, Expert Network, 2017

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Volunteer for Birthday Cakes for Free, 2021
  • Chair of the Yale Alumni Fund Board of Directors, 2021
  • Pro bono advocacy for non-profit, Teens Against Trafficking (www.teensvstrafficking.com)  , 2021

Representative Clients

  • NewsCorp www.newscorp.com  , 2021
  • Reed Technology Information Services, www.reedtech.com  , 2021
  • Nike, 2021
  • Motion Picture Association of America, 2021
  • Copyright Alliance, www.copyrightalliance.org  , 2021
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association, www.ipo.org, 2021
  • SoundExchange, www.SoundExchange.com, 2021
  • Coalition for Patent and Trademark Information Dissemination, 2021
  • Songwriters Guild of America, 2021
  • RELX, www.relx.com, 2021

Industry Groups

  • Antitrust
  • Intellectual Property
  • Technology
  • Trade
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Office Location for Marla Grossman

1800 M Street NW
Suite 500 S
Washington, DC 20036

Last Updated: 6/8/2021

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