John F. Stephens


John F. Stephens

Overview Overview Experience Credentials

John Stephens is the co-chair of Sedgwick LLP’s Cybersecurity and Privacy practice group. He focuses his practice on data privacy and digital marketing issues; media and entertainment litigation; live entertainment transactional matters, including music festivals and intellectual property licensing and transactions; and specialty insurance coverage and litigation. 

John’s entertainment and media clients include media entities, national and worldwide live entertainment and sports companies, magazines, television and radio stations, production companies, entertainment technology companies, computer technologies, online content and software providers and talent. Additionally, John represents clients in manufacturing and the financial and insurance industries. While in law school, John was a clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Brottman. 

Data Protection and Privacy

John advises companies across a broad range of industries on data protection and privacy laws, including retail, healthcare and technology companies. He ensures that clients meet obligations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, breach notification laws and other federal and state laws.  

He regularly helps companies formulate or revise privacy policies to comply with new laws or take into account new technologies or changes in business operations. He also advises companies on the data privacy and security implications of mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing arrangements and other transactions. 

John is experienced in protecting companies both before and after data breaches. His expertise includes minimizing the risk of a data breach and putting companies in the best position to respond if a breach occurs. Preventive measures include privacy and security assessments which help companies develop or improve data privacy practices and incident response plans. In the event of a breach, he provides rapid and comprehensive incident response under the protection of the attorney-client privilege. John has advised numerous companies in response to breaches, including management consulting, health care, and large multinational retail companies. John has assisted these companies in determining the source and scope of the breach, assessing regulatory compliance requirements, managing notifications and call centers, and conducting after-action review.

Intellectual Property  

John also focuses his practice on enforcement and litigation of copyright, trademark, trade dress, trade secret and false advertising matters. He is proficient at first amendment and defamation issues, all aspects of issues involving live entertainment events with emphasis on music festivals both foreign and in the U.S. He counsels clients on protecting intellectual property rights, as well as handles intellectual property transactions, such as software licenses, product licenses, rights-sharing agreements, and merchandising and branding deals.


John represents insurers in all aspects of coverage, including defense, preparation of coverage opinions, claims investigation, litigation and trial. He counsels insurers on claims-handling procedures and loss prevention and assists with drafting media and data privacy policies.


Published Decisions

  • Hydro-Mill v. Hayward, Tilton & Rolapp; 115 Cal.App.4th 1145; certified for publication (February 2004).
  • Peliculas Y Videos Internacionales v. Harriscope of Los Angeles, Inc.; 302 F.Supp.2d 1131 (C.D. Cal. 2004).

Presentations and Publications

  • Co-Author, “GDPR Deadline Is Fast-Approaching: Comply, or Risk €20M+ Penalties” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (October 2, 2017).

  • Author, “You Betcha: “It doesn’t make it a gotcha just because it got ya.” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (September 2017). 
  • Speaker, “Reduce Cyber Risk!” San Fernando Valley Bar Association Annual Judges’ Dinner (April 4, 2017).
  • Co-author, “Radio Frequency Identification: The Benefits + The Risks,” Law360, (July 12, 2016).
  • Author, “Binge... Off? FCC Net Neutrality Challenged by T-Mobile Program,” Legaltech News (January 21, 2016). 
  • Quoted, “What the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act Means for Organizations,” Legaltech News (November 3, 2015). 
  • Author, “When Hackers Take Your Digital Data Hostage,” The National Law Journal (October 5, 2015). 
  • Author, “The Rise of Cyber-Extortion, and How to Fight Back,” Corporate Counsel (September 23, 2015). 
  • Speaker, “The Internet of Things: Privacy, Security and Legal Implications,” Sedgwick webinar (July 16, 2015). 
  • Author, “Viewpoint: Net Neutrality Will Benefit Consumers and the Economy,” The Recorder (March 4, 2015). 
  • Co-author, “Does the EU’s Right to Be Forgotten Pose a Threat to Companies in the U.S.?” The Privacy Advisor (February 24, 2015). 
  • Interview, “What’s Next for Net Neutrality?” The Recorder (February 4, 2015). 
  • Author, “Turtles Copyright Battle Gets Sirius,” Daily Journal (December 8, 2014). 
  • Author, “The Turtles and Pandora Media Are Not ‘Happy Together,’” Daily Journal (November 5, 2014). 
  • Co-author, “FCC Axes Sports Blackout Rule, What Now?” Daily Journal (October 9, 2014). 
  • Author, “Public Comment Will Push FCC to Move on Net Neutrality,” Law360 (August 11, 2014). 
  • Co-author, “Can FCC Help Deliver the Dodgers to Hometown Fans,” Daily Journal (August 7, 2014). 
  • Author, “What to Expect from Growing AIA Patent Challenges,” Law 360 (June 30, 2014). 
  • Radio Interview, “Privacy Piracy” 88.9FM and (June 9, 2014). 
  • Author, “In Practice: The FCC and the Open Internet,” The Recorder (April 3, 2014). 
  • Author, “Wake Up Call for Mobile App Developers,” Daily Journal (February 14, 2014). 
  • Speaker, “Latest Developments in Marriage Equality,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association 17th Annual MCLE Marathon (January 17-18, 2014). 
  • Author, “FCC Indecency Standards Remain Murky,” Law360 Media & Entertainment (Dec. 18, 2013). 
  • Guest Lecturer, “Freedom of Speech, Obscenity and the Law,” Cal State University, Northridge (Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, 2013). 
  • Author, “Calls Grow to Unlock Our Phones,” Daily Journal (October 3, 2013). 
  • Author, “Legislation Key in Battle to Unlock Cell Phones,” Daily Journal (July 10, 2013). 
  • Author, “How Crowdfunding Could Impact Film Financing,” Law360 Media & Entertainment (May 6, 2013). 
  • Author, “America Invents Act Makes Significant Changes to U.S. Patent Law,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (April 2013). 
  • Author, “AIA’s ‘First to File’ Patent System Looms on the Horizon,” Daily Journal (February 28, 2013). 
  • Speaker, “IP 101,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Tarzana, CA (January 19, 2013). 
  • Author, “How Gender Disparities in Film Impact Juror Perceptions,” ABA TIPS Diversity Committee Newsletter (January 15, 2013). 
  •  Author, “FCC Approves Liberty Media’s Long-Awaited Sirius Takeover,” Law360 Media & Entertainment (January 7, 2013). 
  • Author, “Top 5 Media & Entertainment Cases Of 2012,” Law360 (January 4, 2013). 
  • Author, “FCC Rethinks Indecency,” Daily Journal (October 15, 2012). 
  • Author, “High Court Punts Free Speech Issues in FCC v. Fox,” Daily Journal (July 2, 2012). 
  • Author, “CBS’ Eight-Year ‘Wardrobe Malfunction,” Daily Journal (April 30, 2012). 
  • Author, “Viacom Keeps YouTube Fight Alive,” Daily Journal (April 17, 2012). 
  • Speaker, “Data Privacy and the Internet,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (April 13, 2012). 
  • Author, “Halftime Glitch: Giving the FCC the Finger — Literally,” Daily Journal (February 22, 2012). 
  • Author, “FCC Broadcast Indecency Case: Which Gets Protected — First Amendment or Children?” Daily Journal (January 23, 2012). 
  • Speaker, “IP 101,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Tarzana, CA (January 14, 2012). 
  • Author, “2011 Media Year in Review,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (January 2012). 
  • Speaker, “IP Year in Review 2011,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (December 14, 2011). 
  • Speaker, “Patent Litigation and Damages,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (September 9, 2011). 
  • Author, “Landmark Ruling To Be Destroyed by the F-Bomb?: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Broadcast Indecency Case,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (September 2011)
  • Author, “Warner Bros.’ LGBT Group Reaches Out to the Community,” Sedgwick’s EMBRACE – Diversity Newsletter (June 2011). 
  • Author, “Plumpy’nut: When IP and Human Rights Collide,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (May 2011). 
  • Speaker, “Intellectual Property 101,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (April 20, 2011). 
  • Author, “Attack on Net Neutrality, What Gives?,” Daily Journal (March 17, 2011). 
  • Speaker, “IP 101: What Every Practitioner Should Know,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (March 10, 2011). 
  • Author, “No More ‘Hon’? Hon Battle in Baltimore over Trademarked Endearment,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (February 2011).  
  • Speaker, “Intellectual Property Year in Review,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (January 21, 2011).  
  • Co-author, “2010 Media Year in Review,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (January 2011). 
  • Author, “Courts Favoring ISPs in Copyright Infringement Battles — The Shifting Tide,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (October 2010). 
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in Entertainment Litigation,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (September 24, 2010). 
  • Co-author, “Verizon-Google’s Proposal to Limit Net Neutrality Will Hurt Consumers,” Daily Journal (September 2010). 
  • Author, “The Shifting Tide: Courts Favoring ISPs in Copyright Infringement Battles,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (August 2010). 
  • Moderator, “Art and Law in the 21st Century,” American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (August 8, 2010). 
  • Co-author, “Net Neutrality: Opposing Sides Divided Over Meaning, Impact — Part 2,” San Francisco Daily Journal (June 2010). 
  • Co-author, “Net Neutrality: Opposing Sides Divided Over Meaning, Impact — Part 1,” San Francisco Daily Journal (June 2010). 
  • Co-author, “The Future of the FCC’s New Indecency Policy,” Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Los Angeles Lawyer (May 2010). 
  • Author, “Leading By Example: Diversity in Corporate America,” DRI’s For the Defense (May 2010). 
  • Co-author, “The FCC’s New Policy May Be Obscene,” Sedgwick’s Live Entertainment News (Spring 2010). 
  • Co-author, “Libel Tourist Attractions May Be Closing in the U.K.,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (April 2010). 
  • Speaker, “When You Turn 18,” California State University Northridge Academy, Los Angeles, CA (March 17, 2010). 
  • Co-author, “In the UK, Libel Tourist Attractions May Be Closing,” San Francisco Daily Journal (March 2010). 
  • Co-author, “Intellectual Property Law Committee: Merging Competency with Conscience,” American Bar Association’s The Brief (Winter 2010). 
  • Author, “2009 Media Year in Review,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (January 2010). 
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in IP for the Live Entertainment Industry,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, San Fernando Valley, CA (December 11, 2009).  
  • Speaker, “The Diversity Factor: Capturing the Competitive Advantage,” American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, San Diego, CA (October 8, 2009).  
  • Speaker, “Electronic Information: How to Find It, How to Protect it, and What to Do After the Worst Happens,” American Bar Association, Chicago, IL (August 1, 2009). 
  • Speaker, “Hot New Issues in Trademark Litigation,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (July 10, 2009). 
  • Author, “Swear Tactics,” Daily Journal (July 2009). 
  • Author, “Britain’s Speech Impediment,” Daily Journal, June 2009. 
  • Author, “Libel Tourism and the First Amendment: This Trip Will Cost You Plenty,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin, June 2009. 
  • Author, “Value on the Brain,” Daily Journal (April 2009). 
  • Author, “Valuing Intellectual Property Assets,” IP Today (April 2009). 
  • Speaker, “IP 101,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (January 17, 2009). 
  • Speaker, “Intellectual Property Year In Review,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, CA (January 9, 2008). 
  • Author, “Cross Words,” Daily Journal (December 23, 2008). 
  • Co-author, “Sprinkles Cupcakes Is Seeing Red ...Velvet, That Is!” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (November 2008). 
  • Author, “Technical Difficulties,” Daily Journal (October 31, 2008). 
  • Author, “Sword and Shield: New Media’s Legal Savior?” Valley Lawyer (October 2008). 
  • Co-author, “Online Privacy’s Disappearing Act,” Daily Journal (August 29, 2008). 
  • Moderator, “Ordering Liberty in an International Economy,” ABA Annual Meeting, New York, NY (August 8, 2008). 
  • Co-author, “An Obscene Limit on Speech,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (June 19, 2008). 
  • Author, “Keeping Piracy at Bay: Is YouTube’s Filter Sufficient Under Grokster?” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (June 2008). 
  • Speaker, “Deposition Workshop,” ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Midyear Meeting, Los Angeles, CA (February 8, 2008). 
  • Co-author, “2007 Media Year in Review,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (January 2008). 
  • Co-author, “Caught Without a License,” Marketing Law (November/December 2007). 
  • Co-author, “Pump Up the Volume: No Need to Mute Internet Radio, After All,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (November 2007). 
  • Author, “Anti-SLAPP Statutes: California Moves Toward the National Consensus,” TortSource (Fall 2007). 
  • Co-author, “Burnett v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation: The ‘Charwoman’ Is Swept Out of Court,” Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin (September 2007). 
  • Speaker, “Intellectual Property Valuation for Tax Purposes,” California Society Certified Public Accountants, Los Angeles, CA (August 14, 2007). 
  • Speaker/Program Co-chair, “Intellectual Property Insurance Coverage: How to Get It; How to Keep It,” ABA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (August 10, 2007). 
  • Author, “Blame It on the Boogie: ‘Electric Slide’ Inventor Sued,” IP Law360 ( June 7, 2007). 
  • Speaker, “Electronic Discovery: The New Rules,”  San Fernando Valley Bar Association Intellectual Property, Entertainment, & Internet Law Section Breakfast Program, Encino, CA (March 16, 2007). 
  • Co-presenter, “The Litigation Gamble: How to Increase Your Odds,” Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West 15th Annual Palm Springs Getaway Seminar, Palm Springs, CA (January 26-27, 2007). 
  • Author, “Sword and Shield: New Media’s Legal Savior?” Hollywood Reporter, ESQ. (January 11, 2007). 
  • Author, “2006 Media Year in Review,” Media Law Bulletin (December 2006). 
  • Co-author, “Courts Must Rein in FCC’s Harmful Indecency Enforcement,”San Francisco Daily Journal (November 14, 2006). 
  • Author, “The Juice Squeezed? Fred Goldman Sues for O.J. Simpson’s Publicity Rights,” Media Law Bulletin (October 2006). 
  • Quoted, “Designers Hitting Target With Suits Over Trademarks,” Los Angeles Business Journal (October 23, 2006). 
  • Speaker, “Presentation to the General Committee Board Meeting,” American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practices Section (TTIPS), Pinehurst, N.C. (October 22, 2006). 
  • Quoted, “Thought Leadership,” Inside the Minds: Winning Legal Strategies for Advertising and Marketing: Top Lawyers on Best Practices for Success, Aspatore Books, Boston (Summer 2006). 
  • Editor, “Conducting Discovery in an Electronic World: Electronic Data and Discovery,” Continuing Education of the Bar - California Civil Discovery Process, Chapter 4 (Summer 2006). 
  • Mentioned, “The I.P. Year in Review,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Encino, CA (December 2005). 
  • Speaker, “E-Commerce in the 50 States,” Conference on Past, Present and Future of E-Commerce, Internet Distribution and Competition Law, Boston, Massachusetts (October 2005). 
  • Speaker, “Jurisdictional Issues in E-Commerce,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, San Fernando, CA (April 2005). 
  • Author, “Media Insurance Policies,” Rutter Guide on Media Insurance (2005). 
  • Author, “Viva Los Compilaciones: Fair Use or Return to Sender,” ABA/TIPS Media, Privacy and Defamation Law Committee Newsletter (Winter 2004). 
  • Speaker, “10 Tips for a Successful Deposition,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, Breakfast at the Bar Series (March 2004).
  • Senior Editor, Sedgwick’s Media Law Bulletin.


  • California
  • 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.)
  • U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.)
  • U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.)
  • U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.)


  • B.S. (1990) Rutgers University (Accounting)
  • —  graduated in the top five percent of his graduating class; after graduation gained experience as an auditor with a “Big Five” accounting firm
  • J.D. (1995) Rutgers University
  • — graduated in the top 10 percent of his class; editor of the Rutgers Law Journal and published an article on constitutional law 


  • "AV" certified by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system 
  • Selected to Super Lawyers (2014-2016) and to “Rising Stars" (2005)
  • Most Influential Lawyers: Digital Media and E-Commerce Law list, Los Angeles Business Journal (2014)
  • Most Influential Lawyers: White Collar and Cyber Crimes Law list, Los Angeles Business Journal (2015)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • California Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
    • Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
      • Law and Public Service Committee — chair
      • Diversity Committee — chair (2010-2012)
      • Intellectual Property Committee — chair; co-editor of the committee’s newsletter (2009-2011)
    • TIPS Leadership Academy — one of 21 admitted of the American Bar Association (2009-2010)
  • National LGBT Bar Association (2015) — Board member 
  • Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), National Board of Directors — co-chair and treasurer (2010-2013) 
  • San Fernando Valley Bar Association Board — trustee (2009-2011); co-chair of the Intellectual Property Section (2005-2012); current chair of the Diversity Committee
  • National Association of Television Program Executives  
  • Lambda Legal 
  • Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN) — former steering committees member 
  • University of Southern California (USC) — visiting professor (2012-2015), teaching classes in Media, First Amendment and Privacy at the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism
  • Sedgwick Law internal committees
    • Media Entertainment and Sports Group — chair
    • Live Entertainment Task Force — chair
    • Los Angeles Inclusion and Diversity Committee  — chair; Inclusion and Diversity Committee’s Pipeline Subcommittee — chair
    • E-Discovery Committee — Los Angeles Representative
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) — designated as a Certified Information Privacy Professional, United States (CIPP/US)