David Nimmer

Of Counsel, Irell & Manella LLP
Adjunct Faculty

  • A.B. Stanford, 1977
  • J.D. Yale, 1980

David Nimmer is of counsel to Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, California. He also serves as Professor from Practice at UCLA School of Law and Distinguished Scholar at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. In 2000, he was elected to the American Law Institute.

Since 1985, Prof. Nimmer has authored and updated Nimmer on Copyright, the standard reference treatise in the field, first published in 1963 by his late father, Professor Melville B. Nimmer. The U.S. Supreme Court has cited Nimmer on Copyright on numerous occasions, as has every federal appellate court, countless district and state courts, as well as courts confronting copyright cases in countries across the globe.

Widely recognized as a foremost expert in copyright law, Prof. Nimmer was named one of "The 25 Most Influential People in IP" by The American Lawyer. He has also been named the 2018 Copyright Law "Lawyer of the Year" and the 2013 Los Angeles Litigation Intellectual Property "Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America and one of California's "Top 10 Copyright Lawyers" by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal.

Prof. Nimmer represents clients in the entertainment, publishing and high-technology fields. He has twice served as co-counsel representing clients before the U.S. Supreme Court. On the first occasion, a unanimous decision in favor of his client drew the boundaries between copyright and trademark protection. In the second, another unanimous decision in favor of his client set the stage to compensate all freelance journalists in the country for their past articles.

He gave congressional testimony at the invitation of the House Judiciary Committee in 2014; on behalf of the United States Telephone Association in 1997; and on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters in 1992; he also delivered Parliamentary testimony on behalf of the Combined Newspaper and Magazine Copyright Committee of Australia in Sydney in 1993.

He received an A.B. with distinction and honors in 1977 from Stanford University and his J.D. in 1980 from Yale Law School, where he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Prof. Nimmer also served as the Chairman on the Committee on Intellectual Properties Litigation for the American Bar Association from 1989-1992.


  • Books
    • Nimmer on Copyright (by Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer). Matthew Bender (1985 - Present).
    • Copyright Illuminated: Refocusing the Diffuse U.S. Statute. Kluwer Law International (2008).
    • Cases and Materials on Copyright and Other Aspects of Entertainment Litigation Including Unfair Competition, Defamation, Privacy (with Paul Marcus and David A. Myers). 7th ed. Matthew Bender (2006).
    • Copyright: Sacred Text, Technology, and the DMCA. Kluwer Law International (2004).
    • The Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988. Matthew Bender (1989).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Introduction, in Chambers Global Practice Guide: Copyright , (2021-2022).
    • Security Measures and the Future of Fair Use, in The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright Limitations and Exceptions , (edited by Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Ng-Loy Wee Loon, and Haochen Sun, Cambridge University Press, 2021).
    • Volition in Violation of Copyright, 43 (1) Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts (2019). Full Text
    • Investigating the Hypothetical ‘Reasonable Royalty‘ for Copyright Infringement, 99 Boston University Law Review 1 (2019).
    • Fair Use and Fair Dealing: Two Approaches to Limitations and Exceptions in Copyright Law (with Balganesh, Shyamkrishna), in India as a Pioneer of Innovation, (edited by Harbir Singh, Ananth Padmanabhan, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, online edn, Oxford Academic, 2018).
    • Miriam's Oasis, 34 Touro Law Review 983 (2018).
    • Juries and the Development of Fair Use Standards, 31 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 563 (2018).
    • Innocence of Copyright: An Inquiry into the Public Interest, 63 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 367 (2016).
    • Software Copyright's Oracle from the Cloud (with Lothar Determann), 30 Berkely Technology Law Journal 161 (2015). Full Text
    • Copyright and the Fall Line, 31 Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal 803 (2013). Full Text
    • Is Copyright Property?; The Debate in Jewish Law (with Neil W. Netanel), 12 (1) Theoretical Inquiries in Law 217 (2011). Full Text
    • Billionaires, Dongles, and Marybeth, 59 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 49 (2010).
    • Queen Anne in the Emperor's Shadow, 47 Houston Law Review 919 (2010).
    • Pooh-poohing Copyright Law's 'Inalienable' Termination Rights (with Peter S. Menell), 57 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 799 (2010).
    • Copyright Law and the Restoration of Beauty, 47 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 553 (2010).
    • Judicial Resisance to Copyright Law's Inalienable Right to Terminate Transfers (with Peter S. Menell), 33 Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts 227 (2010).
    • Rabbi Banet's Charming Snake, 9 Hakirah, the Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought 69 (2009). Full Text
    • In the Shadow of the Emperor: The Hatam Sofer's Copyright Rulings, 15 The Torah u-Madda Journal 1 (2008-2009). Full Text
    • Access Denied, 2007 Utah Law Review 769 (2007).
    • Legalism Realism in Action: Indirect Copyright Liability's Continuing Tort Framework and Sony's De Facto Demise (with Peter S. Menell), 55 UCLA Law Review 143 (2007).
    • Unwinding Sony (with Peter S. Menell), 95 California Law Review 941 (2007).
    • A Modest Proposal to Streamline Fair Use Determinations, 24 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 11 (2006).
    • Copyright's "Staple Article of Commerce" Doctrine: Patently Misguided, 53 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 365 (2006).
    • Promises! Promises!, 119 Harvard Law Review Forum 74 (2006).
    • Repeat Infringers, 52 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 167 (2005).
    • On the Sony Side of the Street, 34 Southwestern University Law Review 205 (2004).
    • The Moral Imperative Against Academic Plagiarism (Without a Moral Right Against Reverse Passing Off), 54 DePaul Law Review 1 (2004).
    • Codifying Copyright Comprehensibly, 51 UCLA Law Review 1233-1387 (2004). Reprinted in 37 Intellectual Property Law Review 389-543 (2005).
    • Preexisting Confusion in Copyright's Work for Hire Doctrine (with Peter Menell & Diane McGimsey), 50 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 399 (2003). Full Text
    • Éloge du lisible, in Le Lisible et L'Illisible, (edited by Ysolde Gendreau, Éditions Thémis, 2003).
    • "Fairest of them All" and Other Fairy Tales of Fair Use, 66 Law & Contemporary Problems 263 (2003).
    • Appreciating Legislative History: The Sweet and Sour Spots of the DMCA's Commentary, 23 Cardozo Law Review 909 (2002).
    • Sound Recordings, Works for Hire and the Termination-of-Transfers Time Bomb (with Peter Menell), 49 The Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 387 (2001).
    • Back from the Future: A Proleptic Review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 16 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 855 (2001).
    • Assaying Qimron's Originality, in On Scrolls, Artifacts and Intellectual Property, (edited by Timothy H. Lim, et al., Sheffield Academic Press, 2001).
    • Copyright in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Authorship and Originality, 38 Houston Law Review 1 (2001).
    • Ignoring the Public, Part 1: On the Absurd Complexity of the Digital Audio Transmission Right, 7 UCLA Entertainment Law Review 189 (2000). Full Text
    • A Riff on Fair Use in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in 148 University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 673 (2000). Full Text
    • Puzzles of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 46 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 401 (1999). Full Text
    • The Metamorphosis of Contract into Expand (with Elliot Brown and Gary N. Frischling), 87 California Law Review 17 (1999).
    • Copyright's Millennial Turn, in Nimmer on Copyright, by Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, (Matthew Bender, 1999).
    • Adams and Bits: Of Jewish Kings and Copyrights, 71 Southern California Law Review 219 (1998).
    • Aus der Neuen Welt, 93 Northwestern University Law Review 195 (1998).
    • An Odyssey Through Copyright's Vicarious Defenses, 73 NYU Law Review 162 (1998).
    • Time and Space, 38 Idea 501 (1998).
    • Are We Running Through the Jungle Now or is the Old Man Still Stuck Down the Road? (with Paul Marcus), 39 William & Mary Law Review 65 (1997). Full Text
    • A Tale of Two Treaties, 22 Columbia-VLA Journal of Law & The Arts 1 (1997).
    • Brains and Other Paraphernalia of the Digital Age, 10 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 1 (1996).
    • Abend's Stepchild, 43 Journal of the Copyright Society 139 (1996).
    • The End of Copyright, 48 Vanderbilt Law Review 1385 (1995).
    • GATT's Entertainment: Before and NAFTA, 15 Loyola Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal 133 (1995).
    • Impossible Realities, in Nimmer on Copyright, by Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, (Matthew Bender, 1995).
    • Corcovado: Renewal's Second Coming or False Messiah?, 1 UCLA Entertainment Law Review 127 (1994).
    • Copyright's Trade Status: GATT and NAFTA, in Nimmer on Copyright, by Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, (Matthew Bender, 1994).
    • Home Audiotaping of Music: Digital Technology and the New Copyright Amendments, in Nimmer on Copyright, by Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, (Matthew Bender, 1993).
    • Nation, Duration, Violation, Harmonization: An International Copyright Proposal for the United States, 55 Law & Contemporary Problems 211 (1992).
    • Copyright Law of the U.S.A., in Copinger and Skone James on Copyright, Including International Copyright, (edited by by Skone James, et al., Sweet & Maxwell, 1991).
    • Refracting the Window's Light: Stewart v. Abend in Myth and in Fact, 39 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 18 (1991).
    • The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, C579 ALI-ABA 149 (1991).
    • Contributor, in Technologies for the 21st Century: On Multimedia, (edited by Martin Greenberger, Voyager Co., 1990).
    • The Impact of Berne on United States Copyright Law, 8 Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal 27 (1989). Reprinted in The Marketplace of Ideas: Twenty Years of Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal (edited by Peter K. Yu, Kluwer Law International, 2002).
    • Le Droit D'Auteur en Droit American, in Droit des Affaires by Yves Chartier, translated by Eric Laporte, (Presses Universitaires de France, 1989).
    • Copyright Ownership by the Marital Community: Evaluating Worth, 36 UCLA Law Review 383 (1988).
    • United States, in International Copyright Law and Practice, (edited by Melville Nimmer and Paul Geller, Matthew Bender, 1988-1998).
    • A Structured Approach to Analyzing the Substantial Similarity of Computer Software in Copyright Infringement Cases (with Richard Bernacchi and Gary Frischling), 20 Missouri St. Law Journal 625 (1988).
    • Criminal Copyright and Trademark Law: The Importance of Criminal Sanctions to Civil Practitioners, 1 Entertainment Law Reporter 3 (1987).
    • The Double Jeopardry Clause as a Bar to Reintroducing Evidence, 89 Yale Law Journal 962 (1980).
  • Other
    • Google v. Oracle Amicus Merits Stage Brief: Vindicating IP’s Channeling Principle and Restoring Jurisdictional Balance to Software Copyright Protection (with Menell, Peter S. and Balganesh, Shyamkrishna), U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 20-07 (January 10, 2020 ). Full Text
    • Mashups and Fair Use: The Bold Misadventures of the Seussian Starship Enterprise  (with Menell, Peter and Balganesh, Shyamkrishna), Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law No. 2220 (August 12, 2019). Full Text
    • Distinguishing Mayor McCheese from Hexadecimal Assembly Code for Madden Football: The Need to Correct the 9th Circuit's ‘Nutty’ Rule barring Expert Testimony in Software Copyright Cases  (with Menell, Peter S., and Green, Kevin), UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper (October 26, 2017). Full Text
    • Why the Ninth Circuit's Antonick v. Electronic Arts Case Is an Ideal Vehicle for Addressing the Circuit Split Over Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Software Copyright Cases (with Menell, Peter S., and Green, Kevin), UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper (October 11, 2017). Full Text
    • Aereo and Statutory Interpretation (with Peter S. Menell), L.A. Daily Journal (June 25, 2014).
    • Cyberspace's Anthem: Movie Review of Startup.com, 18 Computer & Internet Law 1 (2001).
    • What's Going On in Intellectual Property Law? (Panel Discussion), Proceedings of the Annual Meeting - American Society of International Law 256 (1999).
    • After "Feltner," How Will Juries Decide Damages? (with Jason Sheadby), The National Law Journal at C9 (Feb. 8, 1999).
    • Glut, 2 The Multimedia Law Reporter 9 (1996).
    • Groundhog 007, 21(3) New Matter (Fall 1996).
    • Second Wind, Los Angeles Lawyer (Nov. 1995).
    • Letter from the United States, No. 9 Informatierecht/AMI (November 1994). Lettera dagli Stati Uniti, Il Diritto Industriale n. 1/1995 (translated by Claudia Paoletti).
    • Studios vs. Writers: A Bend in Analysis, 11 Entertainment Law Reporter (September 1989).
    • Criminal Copyright and Trademark Law: The Importance of Criminal Sanctions to Civil Practitioners, 9 Criminal Law News (Summer 1989).  Reprinted in 9 Entertainment Law Reporter (June 1987).
    • The Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988: A New Era, Copyright World (May 1989).
    • Analyzing Substantial Similarity in Computer Software Infringement Cases, 6 The Computer Lawyer (1989).
    • Copyright Works: The Importance of Importation, 13 New Matter (Winter 1988).
    • Fee Simple: Debunking the Increasing Complexity in the Award of Attorney's Fees in Copyright Infringement Cases, 6 Entertainment and Sports Lawyer ((ABA), Spring 1988).
    • Advanced Issues in Copyright Ownership, in Current Issues in Entertainment Law (1088).
    • Arbitration and No-Contest Clauses in Copyright Contracts: A Critique of "Saturday Evening Post Co. v. Rumbleseat Press", 9 Entertainment Law Reporter (Feb. 1988).
    • Criminal Copyright and Criminal Contempt, in The Law of Gray and Counterfeit Goods (P.L.I. Publication, 1987).
    • Criminal Copyright and Trademark Law Update, 9 Entertainment Law Reporter (Sept. 1987).