- Yale Law School (J.D. 1994)
- Stanford University (B.A. 1982)
- ABA Forum on Communications Law (past-Chair)
- Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (President)
- ABA Section on Torts, Trial and Insurance Practice (past-Chair of Media, Privacy and Defamation Law Committee)
- Media Law Resource Center, Newsgathering Committee (past-Co-Chair)
- Colorado Broadcasters Association (past-Board of Directors)
- Colorado Freedom of Information Council
- Media Law Reporter (BNA) (Editorial Board)
- Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, Adjunct Professor
- ACLU of Colorado (Legal Panel)
- Colorado Bar Association
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America as one of the preeminent First Amendment lawyers in Colorado and as the 2014 Denver First Amendment Litigation Lawyer of the Year
- Recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer in First Amendment and Media Law
- Recognized as a Lawyer of the Year by Law Week Colorado
- Colorado Press Association “Friend of the First”
- ACLU of Colorado “Sherman Award”
- Colorado Lawyers Committee Lawyer of the Year Award
- Recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as AV Preeminent
- A Little Birdie Told Me, “You’re a Crook”: Libel in
the Twittersphere and Beyond, Communications Lawyer (Mar. 2014) (with M. Kelley)
- Internet Law Developments, in Recent Developments in Media, Privacy, and Defamation Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Fall 2013) (with A. Kissinger, K. Larsen, and M. Kelley)
- “What Is Your Exposure for Information Posted to Your Website, Blog, or Social Media Page by Third Parties?,” in Internet Publishing: Perils and Practices (John P. Borger & Steve D. Zansberg eds., ABA Forum on Communications Law 2013)
- Transparency Out of Tragedy, Newsletter of the ABA Litigation Section’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee (Fall 2012/Winter 2013)
- Privacy Expectations in Online Social Media—An Emerging Generational Divide?, Communications Lawyer (Nov. 2011) (with J. Fischer)
- Expanded Media Coverage in Colorado Courts, The Colorado Lawyer (Sept. 2011) (with R. Verner)
- The Empirical Case: Proving the Need for the Privilege, White Paper on the Reporter’s Privilege, Media Law Resource Center (2004)
- "Survey of Colorado Defamation and Related Claims Against the Media," in Annual Media Libel & Related Law Survey (Media Law Resource Center) (with T. Kelley)
For nearly two decades, Steve has represented media companies, online publishers, and individuals in defending claims based upon content, fighting subpoenas, and seeking access to government information and proceedings. He represented the national news media in connection with coverage of the Aurora theater shooting case, the Oklahoma City bombing trials, and the Kobe Bryant rape prosecution, and he secured access to public records related to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the shooting at Columbine High School. Steve also litigates copyright and trademark matters.
Steve is an active leader in the national media law bar. He is the recent past-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law, and has chaired several other committees within the ABA and the Media Law Resource Center. Steve is a prolific writer on media law and is frequently called upon to speak on First Amendment and newsgathering issues.
Steve has taught mass media at the University of Colorado and law of the internet at the University of Denver’s Sturm Law College.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Steve was a freelance documentary producer at the public television station in San Francisco. Steve began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then joined the Denver office of Faegre & Benson, where he was a partner, before he joined LSKS when it opened its Colorado office in 2007.
Moses Cooley v. Joseph P. Kenda (Colo. Dist. Ct. 2014). Steve and Tom Kelley successfully defended The Discovery Channel in a suit arising from an episode of the documentary TV program Homicide Hunter, which depicted the plaintiff’s involvement in a gang-related altercation that resulted in a 14-year-old’s death. The trial court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s defamation, emotional distress, and invasion of privacy claims, finding that the program, despite taking artistic license with some details of the actual events, was substantially true.
Minden Pictures v. John Wiley & Sons, 2014 WL 295854 (N.D. Cal. 2014). Steve, along with Chris Beall and Mike Beylkin, successfully defended a book publisher against claims of copyright infringement brought by a stock photography licensing agency. The federal district court granted summary judgment to the book publisher, holding that the licensing agency lacked standing to sue over the photos at issue, which were owned by individual photographers who had granted the agency a nonexclusive right to license their images.
Spacecon Specialty Contractors v. Bensinger, 713 F.3d 1028 (10th Cir. 2013). Steve and Tom Kelley successfully defended a filmmaker on appeal after the plaintiff, a drywall contractor, challenged the district court’s award of summary judgment in a libel action arising from a documentary on the employment of migrant laborers. The court held that the film involved a matter of public concern and that the plaintiff had not offered sufficient proof of actual malice.
Fry v. Lee, 41 Media L. Rep. 2397 (Colo. Ct. App. 2013). Steve, Tom Kelley, and Mike Beylkin successfully defended The Denver Post and its reporter in a libel case brought by a former city council candidate based on a report that the candidate was “caught up in a plagiarism charge.” Colorado’s Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of all claims, rejecting the former candidate’s argument that her unintentional copying of a publication did not constitute “plagiarism” and ruling that the newspaper’s report was both substantially true and not defamatory.
Bustos v. A & E Television Networks, 646 F.3d 762 (10th Cir. 2011). Steve and Tom Kelley successfully represented A&E Television Networks in obtaining summary judgment on libel claims premised on the Gangland: Aryan Brotherhood program. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed, ruling that calling the plaintiff a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang when he "merely conspired with the Brotherhood in a criminal enterprise" is not actionable because it is substantially true.
- Steven D. Zansberg
- 1888 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
- Phone (303) 376-2409
- Fax (303) 376-2401
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Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado