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Sara L. Edelman is a partner in the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions and Intellectual Property Practice Groups of Davis & Gilbert. Her practice is focused on advising media companies, advertising agencies, and advertisers on all aspects of copyright, trademark, right of publicity and false advertising law. In addition, Ms. Edelman regularly reviews and provides advice concerning the creation and production of advertising materials and drafts and negotiates a wide variety of agreements including talent contracts, music licenses, voiceover agreements, sponsorship agreements, consulting agreements, photographer agreements and licenses for other creative content.

Ms. Edelman also has considerable experience resolving complex issues and disputes involving claims of copyright infringement, violations of the rights of publicity, misappropriation of idea and false advertising, and is often involved in disputes before the National Advertising Division, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the National Arbitration Forum, and other adversarial proceedings related to these areas of law.

Ms. Edelman’s clients include entertainment, fashion and media companies, artists and musicians. She represents, among others, The Donna Karan Company, TED Conferences, Laird + Partners and TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Ms. Edelman was recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of intellectual property: copyright in 2019 and 2020. She has also been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in copyright law (2021).

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Successfully represented a well-known food products company and its advertising agency, in an action brought by the estate of an NFL Films announcer.  The estate claimed that a "sound-alike" voiceover in commercial violated the announcer's right of publicity and caused consumers to believe falsely that the announcer endorsed its product.
  • We represented a major computer company in a copyright infringement and right of publicity action in which the plaintiff asserted that our client was liable for a third party software developer's allegedly unauthorized use of her photograph as the icon for one of its "Apps."
  • Represented a major drug manufacturer and its advertising agency in a defamation and right of publicity action in which the plaintiff, a model, alleged that her picture (along with a fictional biography) was used without her consent in advertising to promote a drug used to treat HIV.
  • Advised a national advertising agency on the development and execution of a complex campaign involving user-generated content and social networking platforms.
  • Represented a major fashion company in a talent agreement for the use of talent's image in a worldwide advertising campaign.
  • Negotiated a television distribution agreement on behalf of a leading content provider.
  • Structured and negotiated a deal for the acquisition of numerous domain names allowing the client to launch a new branding campaign and product.
  • Advised a leading advertising agency on a viral campaign involving significant copyright and parody issues.
  • Successfully represented a national advertising agency in defeating a copyright claim brought by a leading artist who claimed that an advertising campaign infringed his copyright rights in a series of photographs.
  • Advised a major apparel company on issues involving FTC endorsement guidelines and bloggers.
  • Represented a leading advertising agency and its client in a complex copyright and misappropriation of idea dispute brought by a freelance art director.
  • Successfully represented a television production company in a dispute alleging misappropriation of idea and breach of contract in connection with two episodes of a television show.
  • Successfully represented a major wireless company in a proceeding before the NAD.
  • Successfully defended a premier consumer products company and global advertising agency against copyright infringement and misappropriation of idea claims brought by a filmmaker in connection with an advertising and marketing campaign.
  • Successfully represented a prominent composer in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Universal Music, Dr. Dre and Eminem concerning a track on The Marshall Mathers LP.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an independent advertising agency dismissing copyright and misappropriation of idea claims concerning national advertising campaign.
  • Successfully dismissed a copyright and trademark suit against a leading worldwide advertising agency and its client involving the display of an artist's mural in a television commercial based on demonstrating that defendants used only minor portion of the mural and that plaintiff's work did not function as a trademark.
  • Successfully prosecuted trademark infringement action on behalf of book publisher in which the publisher of a competing line of books agreed to change the name of its line of publications.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Recent Cases in Copyright Law,” Brand Activation Legal Webinar, April 9, 2019

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, “#Goals: Using Social Media Without Getting Sued,” Trends in Marketing Communications Law (7th Edition), 2020

Co-Author, “That Post Could Cost You: Copyright Infringement Claims Continue for Social Media Posts,” Trends in Marketing Communications Law (7th Edition), 2020

Co-Author, "American Graffiti," Intellectual Property Magazine, September 2019

Co-Author, "Supreme Court Settles Circuit Split on When a Plaintiff May Sue," Trends in Marketing Communications Law (6th Edition), 2019  

Co-Author, "Photo Retouching: Changing Expectations for Fashion and Beauty Advertising," Trends in Marketing Communications Law (5th Edition), 2018

Co-Author, "Expert Q&A on Right of Publicity Claims," Practical Law, April/May 2017

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

New York City Bar Association, Copyright and Literary Property Committee
International Trademark Association

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York
U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

EDUCATION

Boston University, J.D., 1993
Barnard College, B.A., cum laude, 1990


REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Successfully represented a well-known food products company and its advertising agency, in an action brought by the estate of an NFL Films announcer.  The estate claimed that a "sound-alike" voiceover in commercial violated the announcer's right of publicity and caused consumers to believe falsely that the announcer endorsed its product.
  • We represented a major computer company in a copyright infringement and right of publicity action in which the plaintiff asserted that our client was liable for a third party software developer's allegedly unauthorized use of her photograph as the icon for one of its "Apps."
  • Represented a major drug manufacturer and its advertising agency in a defamation and right of publicity action in which the plaintiff, a model, alleged that her picture (along with a fictional biography) was used without her consent in advertising to promote a drug used to treat HIV.
  • Advised a national advertising agency on the development and execution of a complex campaign involving user-generated content and social networking platforms.
  • Represented a major fashion company in a talent agreement for the use of talent's image in a worldwide advertising campaign.
  • Negotiated a television distribution agreement on behalf of a leading content provider.
  • Structured and negotiated a deal for the acquisition of numerous domain names allowing the client to launch a new branding campaign and product.
  • Advised a leading advertising agency on a viral campaign involving significant copyright and parody issues.
  • Successfully represented a national advertising agency in defeating a copyright claim brought by a leading artist who claimed that an advertising campaign infringed his copyright rights in a series of photographs.
  • Advised a major apparel company on issues involving FTC endorsement guidelines and bloggers.
  • Represented a leading advertising agency and its client in a complex copyright and misappropriation of idea dispute brought by a freelance art director.
  • Successfully represented a television production company in a dispute alleging misappropriation of idea and breach of contract in connection with two episodes of a television show.
  • Successfully represented a major wireless company in a proceeding before the NAD.
  • Successfully defended a premier consumer products company and global advertising agency against copyright infringement and misappropriation of idea claims brought by a filmmaker in connection with an advertising and marketing campaign.
  • Successfully represented a prominent composer in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Universal Music, Dr. Dre and Eminem concerning a track on The Marshall Mathers LP.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an independent advertising agency dismissing copyright and misappropriation of idea claims concerning national advertising campaign.
  • Successfully dismissed a copyright and trademark suit against a leading worldwide advertising agency and its client involving the display of an artist's mural in a television commercial based on demonstrating that defendants used only minor portion of the mural and that plaintiff's work did not function as a trademark.
  • Successfully prosecuted trademark infringement action on behalf of book publisher in which the publisher of a competing line of books agreed to change the name of its line of publications.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Recent Cases in Copyright Law,” Brand Activation Legal Webinar, April 9, 2019

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, “#Goals: Using Social Media Without Getting Sued,” Trends in Marketing Communications Law (7th Edition), 2020

Co-Author, “That Post Could Cost You: Copyright Infringement Claims Continue for Social Media Posts,” Trends in Marketing Communications Law (7th Edition), 2020

Co-Author, "American Graffiti," Intellectual Property Magazine, September 2019

Co-Author, "Supreme Court Settles Circuit Split on When a Plaintiff May Sue," Trends in Marketing Communications Law (6th Edition), 2019  

Co-Author, "Photo Retouching: Changing Expectations for Fashion and Beauty Advertising," Trends in Marketing Communications Law (5th Edition), 2018

Co-Author, "Expert Q&A on Right of Publicity Claims," Practical Law, April/May 2017

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

New York City Bar Association, Copyright and Literary Property Committee
International Trademark Association

BAR ADMISSIONS

New York
U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

EDUCATION

Boston University, J.D., 1993
Barnard College, B.A., cum laude, 1990