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Admitted to Practice

  • New York, 2002
  • Massachusetts, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2012
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 2011
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 2012


  • Arabic
  • Spanish

Samuel M. Bayard

Sam Bayard focuses on media and intellectual property law, assisting clients in a range of matters, including libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, right of publicity, and First Amendment litigation. In addition to his litigation practice, Sam advises television, film, internet, magazine, newspaper and book-publishing clients on pre-broadcast and pre-publication legal issues. He provides counseling for television programs, feature films, and other content produced or distributed by Amazon Studios, Netflix, Facebook Watch, HBO, Showtime, VICELAND, Comedy Central, MTV, Funny or Die, Propagate Content, Avalon Television, Above Average Productions, and iTV Studios, with an emphasis on fair-use analysis and libel review for comedy programs, documentaries, and scripted shows. Among many other productions, Sam has counseled "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," "The Daily Show," "Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas," "Billions," "The Romanoffs," "Too Old To Die Young," "Transparent," "The Chris Gethard Show," "The First 48," "Desus & Mero," "Workaholics," "Lore," and "Chiraq." Sam previously was a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where he focused on free-speech issues of importance to online media.

Representative Experience

Elias v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al.

Defended Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely in libel suit brought by three fraternity brothers against Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely arising out of article "A Rape on Campus." Amicably settled. (S.D.N.Y. 2017)

Eramo v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al.

Defended Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely in libel suit brought by University of Virginia Dean Nicole Eramo arising out of an article “A Rape on Campus.” Amicably settled after three week jury trial in October 2016 ended with $2 million verdict against Erdely and $1 million verdict against Rolling Stone. (W.D. Va. 2016)

Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al.

Defended Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely in libel suit brought by the UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi arising out of article "A Rape on Campus." Amicably settled after demurrer granted in part dismissing claims based on post-publication statements. (Va. Cir. Ct. 2017)

Keel v. Axelrod et al.

Obtained dismissal of Lanham Act and unfair competition claims brought by Frank Keel, a political and media consultant, against David Axelrod and Penguin Random House over Axelrod’s political memoir, "Believer: My Forty Years in Politics." (E.D. Pa. 2015)

Agence France Presse v. Morel

Represented Getty Images, as well as The Washington Post and CBS in earlier stages, in litigation arising from wire service Agence France Presse's use of photographs of Haitian earthquake posted on Twitpic, a social networking application. AFP licensed the images to Getty Images, who licensed them to CBS, The Washington Post and other news outlets. A motion to dismiss resulted in dismissal of Morel’s Lanham Act claims. Summary judgment and other pre-trial motions significantly narrowed the scope of available relief on the remaining (copyright and DMCA) claims. Following a jury verdict for Morel at trial on those claims, defendants won post-verdict motions, overturning the jury’s verdict on one of the DMCA claims and denying Morel’s claim for attorneys' fees in its entirety. (S.D.N.Y. 2015)

NYP Holdings, Inc. v. New York Post Publishing Inc., et al.

Representing NYP Holdings, the publisher of the New York Post, in trademark infringement and unfair competition action. On November 17, 2014, Judge Marrero of the District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision regarding a preliminary injunction he had granted on October 31, 2014 in favor of NYP Holdings and the Post. Judge Marrero found that defendant Steven Hoffenberg’s use of the website “” to publish news content, and his plan to distribute a free newspaper using the name “New York Post Publishing, Inc.,” were likely to confuse consumers and to harm NYP Holdings’ name and reputation. (S.D.N.Y. 2014)

Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc.

Represented Electronic Arts in defense of a putative class action brought by Hart, a former college quarterback, on behalf of all college football players, arising out of the purported use of their likenesses in EA’s successful NCAA Football video game series. The Federal District Court in New Jersey granted EA’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action, finding that the video games were entitled to full First Amendment protection. See 2011 WL 4005350 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2011) reversed in split decision before the 3rd Circuit. Related actions arising out of Electronic Arts’ "NCAA Football and Madden Football" video games in the 9th Circuit. See 717 F.3d 141 (3d Cir. May 21, 2013)

Oleniak v. Slaton, et al.

Defended book publishers and authors in libel suit arising out of memoir-style book about one author’s search for her birth parents. The plaintiff alleged that, among other things, the book falsely identifies him as the author’s birth father. Successfully secured dismissal on ground that the challenged statements are protected opinion based on disclosed facts and not capable of a defamatory meaning. (N.Y. App. 2015)

Seaton v. TripAdvisor

Represented TripAdvisor in libel suit arising out of online ranking of the "Dirtiest Hotels" in America. Obtained dismissal with prejudice on basis that ranking, based on data compiled from user reviews, is subjective opinion. 2012 WL 3637394 (E.D. Tenn. 2012). The 6th Circuit affirmed. 728 F.3d 592, 2013 WL 4525870 (6th Cir. 2013)

Bouchat v. Electronic Arts Inc.

Represented Electronic Arts in copyright infringement action brought by amateur artist over use of former Baltimore Ravens team logo in EA’s Madden NFL video games. Case was settled. (D. Md. 2011)

Rakofsky v. The Washington Post Co., et al.

Successfully obtained dismissal of defamation action against Jeanne O'Halleran, a commenter on a 'hyperlocal' community website in Georgia. The defamation lawsuit arose out of a criminal trial in Washington, D.C., which culminated in the withdrawal of defense counsel Joseph Rakofsky and a mistrial. Rakofsky subsequently sued about 80 defendants, all of whom commented or published commentary on his representation of his client in the criminal trial, for libel and other claims. The Court granted O’Halleran’s motion to dismiss based on the fair report privilege, lack of jurisdiction and other grounds. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015)

Rakofsky v. The Washington Post Co., et al.

Represented the Washington City Paper, its parent company, and reporter, in a lawsuit arising out of a criminal trial in Washington, D.C., which culminated in the withdrawal of defense counsel and a mistrial. Defense counsel in that case sued about 80 defendants for libel and other claims based on their publication of news articles and commentary on his representation of his client in the criminal trial. The court granted our motion to dismiss based on the fair report privilege, lack of jurisdiction and other grounds. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015)

Datz v. Milton et al.

Represented photojournalist Philip Datz in a civil-rights lawsuit against Suffolk County Police Sergeant Michael Milton and the County of Suffolk for violation of Mr. Datz’s First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Mr. Datz, a professional photojournalist, was arrested by Sergeant Milton for filming a scene of police activity from a public street, in the presence of other bystanders. The confrontation was captured on video by Mr. Datz and was widely circulated following the incident. Mr. Datz has brought federal civil rights and state-law claims against Sergeant Milton, as well as a Monell claim against the County of Suffolk and its police department. Amicably resolved; settlement included changes to department policy and training explicitly recognizing First Amendment right to record police activity. (E.D.N.Y. 2014)

Unterberg v. President Jimmy Carter, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Lead counsel representing defendants in connection with putative consumer fraud claims arising out of the publication of "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Action withdrawn after sanctions motion served. (S.D.N.Y. 2011)

Willagirl LLC v. The Wella Corporation

Represented The Wella Corporation in a trademark infringement suit arising out of Willagirl LLC’s proposed use of the “Willa” trademark on hair care, skin care, and related beauty products. (S.D.N.Y. 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)

In re Erwin Arnada

Represented 17 publications and media freedom groups in submitting amicus curiae brief to Supreme Court of Indonesia urging reversal of criminal indecency conviction of Erwin Arnada, the former editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia magazine. (2011)

Pre-broadcast and production counseling and IP advice for various television series and pilots

Regularly provides counsel on rights, pre-broadcast, advertising, and promotions issues, and related services for television networks, production companies, and other content services including: Amazon Studios, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central/Viacom, Turner Broadcasting (TNT, truTV, Turner Sports, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network), VICELAND, Fusion, AMC, A&E, El Rey Network, Pivot/Participant Media, Legendary Television, Lionsgate Television, Funny or Die, SuperDeluxe, Abso Lutely, ITV, Magical Elves, Left/Right, Titmouse Studios, Red Bull Media House, LeVision Entertainment, LinkedIn, Shed Media, Entertainment One, Blumhouse, South Park Studios and others. Representative projects include "@midnight," "Tosh.0," "South Park," "Cold Justice," "Unlocking the Truth," "Billions," "The Affair," "Ray Donovan," "Orange is the New Black," "Ballers," "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," "Last Week Tonight," "Chumel con  Chumel Torres," "The Man in the High Castle," "Transparent," "I Love Dick," "Stranger Things," "Nathan for You," "The Eric Andre Show," "Rick and Morty," "With Bob and David," "American Playboy," "Throwing Shade," "Manuscript," "Grand Tour," "Desus & Mero," "Weediquette," "Hamilton's Pharmacopeia," and "Triumph’s Election Special 2016." (Ongoing)

Pre-distribution and production counseling and IP advice for motion pictures, documentaries, and video games

Regularly counsels the producers of feature-length films, documentaries, and video games regarding right of publicity, life rights, copyright, trademark, and defamation issues, often on projects that tackle sensitive topics and involve substantial fair use issues ("Spotlight," "Funny or Die Presents Donald J. Trump’s The Art of the Deal," "Anomalisa," "Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman," "Virunga," "Finding Vivian Maier," "Prophet’s Prey," "Deliver Us From Evil," "West of Memphis," "Tales of the Grim Sleeper," "South Park:  Stick of Truth," "South Park: Fractured But Whole," "Whitney: Can’t I Be Me?"). Representative clients include Netflix, Amazon Studios, Cross Creek Pictures, Disarming Films, Funny or Die, South Central Films, Participant Media, Ravine Pictures, Legendary, and South Park Digital Studios. (Ongoing)

Pre-publication review for print media

Provide pre-publication review for newspapers and magazines, including  the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, the New Republic, In Touch, Life & Style, and US Weekly, and legal vetting of manuscripts for book publishing clients, including St. Martin’s Press, Farrar Straus & Giroux, and Henry Holt & Co. (Ongoing)

Additional Qualifications

  • Fellow, Assistant Director, Citizen Media Law Project, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 2007-2010
  • Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., 2008-2010
  • Litigation Associate, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York, N.Y., 2002-2004
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Lewis A. Kaplan, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, New York, N.Y., 2001-2002

Professional & Community Activities

  • New York City Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Pre-Publication Review Committee of the Media Law Resource Center
  • Co-founder, Online Media Legal Network (pro bono legal assistance for online journalists and other digital media creators)

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "New York Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2012
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