Nancy E. Wolff


New York

New Jersey




Experienced in copyright, trademark and digital media law, Nancy E. Wolff offers full legal support to a wide range of traditional and digital media clients, including individual creators and multimedia companies of all sizes.

She advises clients in areas of intellectual property, copyright and trademark, and has been named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America 2020 for her work in trademark law. Because of her in-depth knowledge of copyright, trademark, privacy  and publicity law, she provides guidance on best practices in using content, and offers pre-publication review of books, documentaries, films and television series. Nancy counsels on creative deal structuring, the acquisition and sale of properties and collections, and reviews licensing and services agreements. Nancy is Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation group and represents clients in state and federal court, as well as in mediations. She has successfully reached fair settlements through amicable dispute resolutions throughout her career and is a strong and dedicated advocate for her clients when the enforcement or protection of her clients’ rights requires legal intervention.

She represents trade associations in advocating for changes to Federal copyright law and  the protection of various licensing industries under state publicity laws.

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Courts for the Central and Northern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • Mediation Training, New York City Bar, City Bar Center Basic Mediation Training: Conflict Resolution Theory & Techniques. 30.5 hours of CLE, 6 Role Plays
  • Rutgers University School of Law, JD
    • Rutgers Law Review, Business Manager and Editor
  • University of Maryland, mgna cum laude, BS



  • Foster v. Svenson (sale and promotion of photographic prints fall outside of New York Civil Rights Sections 50-51 and do not require written consent; N.Y. App. Div 1st Dep’t)

Drafted amicus briefs on behalf of industry organizations in:

  • Experience Hendrix, LLC v (in support of rehearing en banc, review of decision upholding WA state right of Publicity statute as applying to those domiciled outside of WA; 9th Circuit)
  • Shirley Jones v. Corbis Corporation (whether display and offering for sale of images violate CA right of publicity; 9th Circuit)
  • Perfect 10, Inc., v. Visa International Service Association (secondary liability of payment processors under federal copyright and trademark law; 9th Circuit)
  • Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc (compliance with DMCA Notices; 9th Circuit)
  • Brammer v. Violent Hues (fair use in connection with photograph copied and displayed to illustrate commercial website; 4th Circuit)
  • WNET v. Aereo (legality of broadcast television retransmission over the Internet; briefs during certiorari and merits stages at U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Brief Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (standard for awarding attorney’s fees in copyright cases; briefs during merits stage at U.S. Supreme Court)
  • Oracle v. Google (fair use regarding use of computer code integrated into mobile phones; Federal Circuit)
  • Viacom v. YouTube (secondary liability on the Internet; 2d Circuit)
  • Authors Guild v. HathiTrust (legality of mass digital book scanning; 2d Circuit)
  • Fox News Network v. TVEyes (fair use regarding digitization of content for purposes of news aggregation; 2d Circuit)
  • Cambridge University Press v. Patton (fair use regarding university duplication of copyrighted scholarly and academic works; 11th Circuit)
  • Brief, Maloney v. T3Media, Inc. (intersection of First Amendment protection of artistic works and right of publicity; 9th Circuit)
  • Authors Guild v. Google (fair use of digitized books; U.S. Supreme Court)

Speaking Engagements

Nancy is frequently asked to speak throughout the United States and Europe on issues relating  to copyright, trademark, and publicity as it relates to the licensing of digital media.

Recent speaking engagements include:

  • “Comparative Copyright Law: Key Differences Between Canada, US and EU,” Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) Webinar, May 14, 2020
  • “CASE Act Introduction,” ABA Day Online Panel, April 22-23, 2020
  • “Paparazzi & the Law,” Fordham Law School’s Media & Entertainment Symposium, February 18, 2020
  • “Catching Up on the CASE Act,” Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA) Midwinter Meeting, February 14, 2020
  • “CASE Act,” Columbia Law School Current Issues in Copyright Seminar, January 28, 2020
  • “Copyright Changes,” The Photo Society Winter Rendezvous, January 15, 2020
  • Panel on EU Copyright Directive, 2019 Centre of the Picture Industry (CEPIC) Congress, June 6, 2019
  • “Content Licensing Tips,” 2019 ABA-IPL Annual Meeting and Intellectual Property Law Conference, April 10, 2019
  • Participant, U.S. Copyright Office Public Roundtable on Section 512, April 8, 2019
  • “Hyperlinking and Right of Public Display,” Columbia Law School Kernochan Center Spring IP Lunch Talk Series, March 12, 2019
  • “What is Art? Answers from the Copyright Office,” 2019 Federal Bar Association (FBA) Art Law and Litigation Conference, February 7, 2019
  • “Fair Use Case Studies,” 2019 DOC NYC PRO, November 15, 2018
  • “Hot Topics in Legal,” 2018 Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) Annual Conference, October 21, 2018
  • “Distributing Content Across Multiple Platforms,” Practising Law Institute (PLI) Technotainment” 2018, October 15, 2018
  • “Copyright v. Fair Use: Rights v. Remedies,” 2018 Federal Bar Association (FBA) Annual Meeting and Convention, September 13, 2018
  • Webinar, Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) Copyright in the “21 Century: Back to Basics,” July 17, 2018
  • “Understanding Risk: A Deep Dive into Employment Issues and Intellectual Property,” The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) Business Affairs Boot Camp, June 14, 2018
  • “Copyright Law: ISP Liability Including Linking and Embedding,” Fordham University School of Law IP Institute 26th Annual Intellectual Property Law & Policy Conference, April 5, 2018
  • “Wait! Wait! Don’t Sign That: A Writer’s Guide to Book Contract Basics,” 2018 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Annual Conference March 8, 2018
  • “Copyright for Photographers in the Digital Age,” Copyright Society of the USA, March 1, 2018
  • “New York Right of Publicity Law: Reimagining Privacy and the First Amendment in the Digital Age,” Cardozo Law School Arts & Entertainment Law Journal (AEJL), February 22, 2018
  • “Understanding the Legal and Business Environment Visual Artists Work In,” The Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic, the Journal of International Commercial Law, and CEPIC at Scalia Law Best Practices in Rights Clearance: A Symposium for Professional Visual Artists and Arts Lawyers, January 18, 2018
  • “Photographer v. Non-Photographer Panel,” Center for Art Law Art Law Mixer, November 29, 2017
  • Luncheon Presentation, “Making Copyright Work for Photographers: Thoughts on Current Copyright Reform” and Panelist, “Best Practices in Image Licensing,” TexasBar CLE 27th Annual Entertainment Law Institute, November 16, 2017
  • “Get Your Permissions Right. Copy That!,” Visual Connections New York 2017, October 25, 2017
  • “Legal Panel: Legal Developments You Need to Know,” 2017 Digital Media Licensing Association Annual Conference, October 23, 2017
  • “Legal Issues for Photographers,” 2017 Photographic Society of America (PSA) Conference, October 13, 2017
  • “Street Art & Property Rights: Legal Issues Involving Public Art & Real Property,” State Bar of Michigan Arts, Communications, Entertainment and Sports Section (ACES) Annual Meeting & Program, September 28, 2017
  • “Update Your Contracts: A Legal Workshop with Takeaway Contracts,” The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), July 25, 2017
  • “What Authors and Publishers Need to Know about Fair Use,”2017 BookExpo, June 1, 2017

Associations and Activities

  • Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA), Immediate Past President
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Intellectual Property Section; co-Chair, Copyright Section and member of Intellectual Property Section Task Force on Copyright Reform
  • Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), member
  • New York State Bar Association Media Section, member
  • Section 108 Study Group, convened by the Library of Congress, and charged with updating the Copyright Act, previous member

Representative Matters


  • Successfully defended a fine art photographer, Arne Svenson, in a right of publicity action, with a unanimous decision by the Appellate Division 1st Department upholding that photographs are expressive works entitled to full First Amendment protection and exempt from New York’s right of privacy law that requires written permission from the subjects
  • Represented clients in mediation hearings involving copyright infringement claims
  • Resolved several copyright cases for various image licensing companies involving images of graffiti and murals
  • Resolved numerous copyright infringement cases on behalf of publishers brought by copyright firms that file large volume of copyright cases
  • Successfully resolved a copyright case against an image library for claims of copyright infringement and removal of copyright management information involving images donated to the Library of Congress
  • Successfully represents leading TED Talk speaker and writer in terminating a speaker’s bureau agency agreement
  • Successfully negotiated settlements for alleged copyright infringement on behalf of several image libraries, bloggers and educational publishers
  • Successfully resolved copyright cases on behalf of manufacture of lace designs in various copyright infringement cases against retailers and distributors
  • Successfully defended claims on behalf of a major photo library by models asserting defects in releases
  • Successfully resolved copyright action involving an app developer and former licensor
  • Represented the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA), filing amicus briefs in various federal court matters involving the validity of copyright registrations in photographs, the ability to offer editorial images in an online environment without violating California publicity laws, the liability of ISPs and payment providers under the DMCA in hosting sites of pirated content, and the boundaries of fair use and visual images as it applies to appropriation art


  • Review publishing agreements for authors
  • Represents a popular children’s series book author to navigate publishing agreements with increased e-publication rights.
  • Represents National Geographic Photographers Group in negotiations with a major publisher, with respect to their assignment contracts
  • Counsel to the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) and created industry contract forms, copyright education programs and advocates on behalf of the members on copyright and right of publicity issues.
  • Represents creator of Fearless Girl statue in copyright matters
  • Represents image libraries in distribution agreements for editorial content
  • Represents DMLA at round tables convened by the U.S. Copyright Office on Section 512(c) of the Copyright Act
  • Counsel to PLUS Coalition, a non-profit organization developing standards in image licensing
  • Negotiated the license for a start-up to use the works of a Hollywood fashion legend.
  • Prepared and negotiated all the contracts for an international company that offers marketing and design templates, including the acquisition of the domain name for its brand, trademark registrations, entity formation, licensing agreements, white-label distribution, printing agreements, and website terms and conditions
  • Represents award-winning digital agencies that produce multi-platform online content for famous brands in contract negotiations, trademarks and  general counseling
  • Worked with a client in creating an iPhone app for model, property and talent releases for the stock photography and film industry
  • Represents a publisher of works relating to MBTI® testing in contract, copyright, and trademarks
  • Assisted several stock libraries in acquiring complementary image libraries
  • Provides counseling to heirs of artists and advice to artists concerning gifting, loaning, or selling collections to institutions
  • Prepare social networking policies and website terms and conditions
  • Represented an internationally renowned artist in her contract with Louvre Gallery and in the production of a film about the making of her work
  • Testified on copyright remedies before the Congressional Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet for the United States House of Representatives, 113th Congress, 2nd Session on July 24, 2014

Pre-Publishing Review

  • Vets manuscripts for publishers on subjects as diverse as the financial crisis; illegally paying college athletes; the making of the top selling rock album; a collection of works on graffiti artists; and the history of a legendary English rock band
  • Pre -pub review and fair use opinion letter for documentaries, TV series, podcasts and films for Errors and Omissions insurance purpose


  • “Lawyer of the Year – Trademark,” The Best Lawyers in America 2020.
  • Chambers & Partners USA, “Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets -–New York,” 2017-2020
  • Crain’s New York, “Notable Women in Law” honoree, 2019
  • Managing IP, “Top 250 Women in IP,” 2018/19
  • “Best Lawyer,” Copyright Law and Trademark Law, The Best Lawyers in America 2017-2020
  • New York Metro Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers, 2013-2018
  • “Top 50: Women New York” — Metro” Super Lawyers, 2015-2018
  • 2017 “Texas Star Award” recipient, TexasBar CLE
  • “Picture Professional of the Year,” The American Society of Picture Professionals, 2007

Pro Bono

  • Founding Legal Advisor, Copyright Alliance
  • Board Member, Photography Collections Preservation Projects
  • Board Member, The Foundation for Gender Equality