- 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), State Legislative Committee, and Internet Law Committee
- Colorado Broadcasters Association (past-Board of Directors)
- Media Law Reporter (BNA) (Editorial Board)
- Sturm College of Law, University of Denver, Adjunct Professor
- ACLU of Colorado (Legal Panel)
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America as one of the preeminent First Amendment lawyers in Denver and as the Denver First Amendment Law Lawyer of the Year in 2016 and 2014
- Recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer in Media and Advertising
- Recognized as a Lawyer of the Year 2011 and the 2015 Barrister's Best in Communications/Media Law 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
- Internet Law, in Recent Developments in Media, Privacy, Defamation, and Advertising Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Winter 2016) (with A. Kissinger and M. Kelley)
- As Body-Worn Cameras Proliferate, States' Access Restrictions Defeat Their Purpose, Communications Lawyer (Fall 2016)
- Cloud-Based Public Records Pose New Challenges for Access, Communications Lawyer (Winter 2015)
- A Little Birdie Told Me, “You’re a Crook”: Libel in
the Twittersphere and Beyond, Communications Lawyer (Mar. 2014) (with 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)
- 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)
- "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 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 also serves as the President of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Steve has taught media law at the University of Colorado and 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.
Hampers v. Denver Westword, LLC (Colo. Dist. Ct. 2017). Steve successfully defended Westword weekly newspaper in a defamation action brought by the former head of Emergency Medicine at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. The plaintiff claimed that Westword defamed him in two articles that reported a woman’s allegations that he harassed her six years ago. The court held that because the newspaper accurately reported the woman’s allegations, the challenged articles were substantially true.
Heying v. Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc. (Cal. Super. Ct. 2016). Steve, Ashley Kissinger, and Matt Schafer successfully defended the operator of an online news publication, Examiner.com, in obtaining dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute of libel claims brought by Hollywood celebrity Andrew Keegan. The court found that Keegan could not show the news report at issue, which discussed a government raid on his Venice, California-based church, was published with actual malice.
BWP Media USA v. Clarity Digital Group, LLC, 820 F.3d 1175 (10th Cir. 2016). Steve and several other LSKS attorneys successfully defended Clarity Digital Media Group, LLC, now known as AXS Digital Media Group, LLC, in obtaining an appellate decision affirming summary judgment on 75 copyright infringement claims brought by two photography licensing agencies. The claims were premised on celebrity photos that were posted to the Examiner.com website by paid third-party contributors. The Tenth Circuit held that the photos had been “stored at the direction of users” of the website, so Clarity was immune from all copyright infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
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 was substantially true.
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, 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