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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 publishing, television, film, consumer products and online information industries. He also represents clients in finance, education, and the visual and performing arts, and not-for-profit organizations. He advises clients in diverse fields on content creation and transactions involving the licensing or acquisition of 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, Amazon.com, AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE TV, IFC Films), The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bloomberg LP, Cablevision Systems, Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, Consumer Reports, the Ford Foundation, Kaplan, Inc., Madison Square Garden (MSG Network, Fuse), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Newsweek/Daily Beast, The Nielsen Company, The Onion and Pilobolus Dance Theatre.

Practice Highlights
  • Counsels national and regional television networks, magazines, newspapers, news services and film clients on copyright, libel, privacy, press access, reporter's privilege, trademark, advertising and newsgathering issues
  • Represents several international nonprofit organizations
  • Represents coalitions of media organizations, often as amici curiae, in significant First Amendment and intellectual property cases
  • Conducts internal investigations

Representative Experience

Adjmi v. DLT Entertainment

Representing playwright David Adjmi in declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling that his original play, "3C," a parody of the 1970s television series "Three’s Company," does not infringe the copyright of the original series because it is a fair use. (S.D.N.Y. Ongoing)

Company Doe v. Tenenbaum

Representing 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. (4th Cir. Ongoing)

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 national retailers in a trademark infringement action brought in the Central District of California by a company that sells 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 in the District of Utah for the composer and 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)

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.

Summary judgment decision established new protections for the use of publicity photos, contrary to a prior decision in a related case brought by the same plaintiff. Obtained a substantial award of attorneys' fees against the plaintiff for successfully defending a book publisher by establishing that photographs of Marilyn Monroe appearing in a biography were in the public domain. Affirmed by Ninth 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 an action for wrongful discharge alleging that an international financial brokerage firm had engaged in illegal trading practices and for speaking to a reporter about 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' books 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

  • 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-present – New York City Bar Association
  • Vice Chair, TTIPS, Committee on Media Law and Defamation Torts, American Bar Association, 1999-present
  • 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 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, 2008-2013
  • 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, 2006-2013
  • Recognized for "outstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal services," specifically, "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