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Edward J. Davis

Edward Davis is a litigator and counselor with particular interests in media and intellectual property law and complex commercial litigation. Many of his clients are in the digital media, television, publishing, and film industries. He also represents clients in finance, consumer products, and the visual and performing arts, and not-for-profit organizations. In addition to representing clients in litigation, he advises them on legal aspects of content creation and media operations and on transactions involving intellectual property rights. He has also been called on to conduct internal investigations for national and international organizations.

Ed is the author of articles and book chapters on media and intellectual property law and is a frequent speaker and continuing legal education instructor, especially on copyright, trademark, defamation, privacy and free speech issues, including media law in China.

Ed's clients include: Abrams Books,, AMC Networks, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bloomberg LP, Cablevision Systems, Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, Consumer Reports, The Daily Beast, Forbes Media, the Ford Foundation, IAC/InterActiveCorp, Madison Square Garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mobile Commons, The New Press, The Nielsen Company, The Onion, Participant Media, PEN American Center, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, The Public Theater, and Spotify USA.

Practice Highlights
  • Represents and counsels online information and entertainment services, television networks, magazines, newspapers, book publishers, and film clients on copyright, libel, privacy, press access, reporter's privilege, trademark, advertising and newsgathering issues
  • Represents several international not-for-profit organizations
  • Represents coalitions of media organizations, often as amici curiae, in significant First Amendment and intellectual property cases
  • Conducts internal investigations

Representative Experience

In re: National Security Letter; American Civil Liberties Union v. Clapper; and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency

Represented PEN American Center, the authors’ organization, as amicus curiae presenting the concerns of U.S. writers regarding the constitutionality of the use of National Security Letters that bar recipients from disclosing them and the mass collection of telephone metadata by the National Security Agency, in three separate cases. (9th Cir.; 2d Cir.; N.D. Cal. 2014-2015)

Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment

Successfully represented playwright David Adjmi in declaratory judgment action. Obtained a ruling on the pleadings that his original play, "3C," a parody of the 1970s television series "Three’s Company," does not infringe the copyright of the series. 97 F. Supp. 3d 512 (S.D.N.Y. 2015)

Picciano v.

Defended the owner of an online dating service in an action alleging negligence and false advertising. Action withdrawn after motion to dismiss filed. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014)

Company Doe v. Tenenbaum

Represented a coalition of news organizations as amici curiae in support of the unsealing of documents and docket entries in litigation in the District of Maryland between an anonymous company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) over a report of a possible product defect submitted for inclusion in the CPSC’s online database of consumer complaints. Sealing order reversed.  749 F.3d 246 (4th Cir. 2014)

BWP Media v. IGN Entertainment, et al.

Defended website in an action alleging direct and contributory copyright infringement of celebrity photos posted on message boards. Action withdrawn after motion to dismiss filed. (N.D. Cal. 2014)

Moss v. Associated Press, et al.

Defended three news organizations (The Daily Beast, Forbes Media, and the New York Post) in a defamation action brought by a business executive identified as a cyberstalker by a former girlfriend in court papers, interviews and media appearances. Motion to dismiss granted. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2014)

Johnson v., et al.

Defended online retailer in an action alleging infringement of copyright in a cult horror film. Case successfully settled. (S.D.N.Y. 2014)

Rosner v.

Defended Amazon against a claim of defamation based on a user review on an author’s Amazon book page. Dismissal affirmed and leave to appeal denied. (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., Ct. App. 2014-2016)

VL Enterprises v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Defended the consumer goods, television and publishing company in a trademark infringement action brought by a publisher and television producer over the mark AMERICAN TREASURE. Action successfully settled. (E.D. Tenn. 2013)

Green v. Cablevision Systems Corp., IFC in Theaters LLC, et al.

Defended distributors of the film “Savage Grace,” starring Julianne Moore, which was based on a true story, from a claim of libel brought by an art dealer who alleged that he was falsely portrayed in the movie. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2012)

Cantor Fitzgerald Securities v. Port Authority

Co-lead counsel for the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in negligence litigation arising out of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Represented Cantor Fitzgerald in seeking damages for its business interruption losses in jury trial on liability issues, and in appellate courts. (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., Ct. App. 1997-2011)

Vampire Vineyards v. Martha Stewart, et al.

Defended Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., and several national retailers in a trademark infringement action brought by a company selling wine under the trademark Vampire Vineyards challenging the use of 'Vampire Vineyards' as the name of a fictitious winery on Halloween novelty coasters and wine bottle labels. Action successfully settled. (C.D. Cal. 2010)

Carroll and Sham v. Ludwig

Won judgment on the pleadings for the composer and the lyricist/librettist of a musical based on the popular farce "Lend Me a Tenor" in a dispute over their right to proceed with a Broadway production. Appeal to 10th Circuit withdrawn and case settled. 2009 WL 151664 (D. Utah 2009)

H.M. Suharto v. Time Inc Asia

Represented 26 international media companies, non-governmental organizations, journalist associations and bar associations in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court of Indonesia to apply libel standards followed in other modern democracies and reverse a large libel judgment awarded to the former president of Indonesia against Time Magazine. Judgment reversed. (2009)

J.K. Idema v. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, et al.

Defended the Australian Broadcasting Corporation against claims of defamation and copyright infringement allegedly arising from a television program about plaintiff's credentials as a media expert on counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and related Web postings. Motion to dismiss granted; appeal to 2nd Circuit dismissed. 91 U.S.P.Q.2d 1281 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)

Milton H. Greene Archives, Inc. v. BPI Communications, Inc.

Won summary judgment establishing new protections for the use of publicity photos, and obtained a substantial award of attorneys' fees against the plaintiff for successfully defending claims of copyright infringement based on photos of Marilyn Monroe in a book about her film career. Affirmed by 9th Circuit on appeal. 2009 WL 766527 (9th Cir. 2009)

Tradition (North America) Inc. v. Bernhardt

Won dismissal of a defamation action against a broker and his attorney for filing a wrongful discharge case against an international financial brokerage firm and for speaking to a reporter about the allegations of illegal practices in the case, allegedly forfeiting the privileges that protect statements made in the course of litigation and “fair and true reports” of judicial proceedings. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2009) Read more

Atrium Group v. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Won dismissal of Lanham Act and unfair competition claims in a dispute over the publication of U.S. versions of Spanish books. Action subsequently settled. 565 F. Supp. 2d 505 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)

Ward v. National Geographic

Represented newspaper and magazine publishers as amici curiae in defense of rights to publish digital archives of periodicals. 284 Fed. Appx. 822 (2d Cir. 2008)

Association of American University Presses, et al. v. Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury

Represented a coalition of publishers' and authors' organizations challenging the application of U.S. trade embargoes to the publication of books and articles by authors in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan. Regulations thoroughly revised as a result. (S.D.N.Y. 2007)

Katonah Village Improvement Society v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Successfully defended the right of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to register 'Katonah' as a trademark for a line of furniture. Case settled. (T.T.A.B. 2007)

Al-Ghussein v. Palestinian National Authority

Secured the release of the reformist former Chairman of the Palestinian National Fund from house arrest by Yasir Arafat, winning the first ruling against the Palestinian Authority from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (2002)

In re Evans

Secured the protection of the reporter's privilege for an investigative journalist who became part of the story, running for the board of a company he was covering and testifying at regulatory hearings. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2002)

Lacoff v. Buena Vista Publishing

Secured First Amendment protection for statements on the covers of the 'Beardstown Ladies' investment guides in a class action alleging consumer fraud for erroneously reporting the ladies' stock-market returns. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2001)

Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences v. City of New York

Represented leading art museums and other cultural institutions across the country as amici curiae in the First Amendment litigation over the City of New York’s unsuccessful efforts to punish the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a controversial exhibition. (2d Cir. 2000) Read more

Spelling v. Gear

Defended a magazine against a major television producer's claims for libel and violation of the Lanham Act. (C.D. Cal. 2000)

Professional & Community Activities

  • Chair, IP Council, 2013-present; Judiciary Committee, 2004-2008; Chair, Committee on Copyright and Literary Property, 2001-2004; Committee on Copyright and Literary Property, 1998-2001; Secretary, Committee on Communications and Media Law, 1995-1998; Committee on Civil Rights, 1992-1995; Special Committee on Drugs and the Law, 1992-1997 – New York City Bar Association
  • Vice Chair, TTIPS, Committee on Media Law and Defamation Torts, American Bar Association, 1999-2003
  • Chair, Development Committee; Board of Directors, 1997-present – Legal Action Center
  • Chair, 2008-present; Member, 2006-present – Advisory Board, Pre-Law Institute, John Jay College
  • Board of Directors, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, 2000-2003
  • Administrator, Independent Judicial Screening Panel, New York County, New York Supreme Court, 2002

Professional Recognition

  • Received the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund "Defender Award," Dramatists Guild of America, 2016
  • Law Day Honoree, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2015
  • Received the Arthur Liman Public Interest Award, Legal Action Center, 2014
  • Received the Willard J. Wright Award, Davis Wright Tremaine, 2013
  • Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Intellectual Property: Trademark & Copyright (New York) by Chambers USA, 2008-2016
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in First Amendment Law by Best Lawyers, 2009-present
  • Selected to "New York Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2006-2015
  • Recognized for "outstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal services," by, "help[ing] New York City reach and assist victims of human exploitation," by the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, November 2011  
"So dependable - I can count on him at any time of the day." -Client Quote, Chambers USA 2016