Scott J. Sholder, Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation group, focuses his practice on litigation, counseling, and dispute resolution in connection with entertainment, media, and intellectual property matters. Scott represents and advises clients across various industries in copyright, trademark, right-of-publicity, unfair competition, domain name, and commercial and business disputes, as well as defamation defense. He has appeared in federal and state courts around the country as well as administrative and arbitral tribunals and has handled cases from pre-suit negotiations through trial and post-trial procedures. His clients range from major media and entertainment companies and A-list talent to closely held and startup businesses and individuals in need of advice on intellectual property or guidance concerning brewing or existing legal conflicts. Scott is a skilled advocate and understands the risks, benefits, and practical considerations inherent in these cases and knows how to make use of available leverage and industry knowledge to reach a favorable conclusion. He utilizes a principled yet practical approach to litigation with an eye toward efficient resolution in line with the client’s business needs and financial realities.
A frequent writer and speaker on issues related to copyright and trademark in the entertainment and digital media space, Scott is a regular contributor to the CDAS legal blog as well as other major legal publications and has published several law review articles. He has also authored several amicus briefs in the Courts of Appeal and U.S. Supreme Court addressing important and cutting-edge issues in copyright law.
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison: Litigation Associate
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit: Law Clerk to the Honorable Leonard I. Garth, U.S.C.J.
- United States District Court for the District of New Jersey: Law Clerk to the Honorable Peter G. Sheridan, U.S.D.J.
- U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Eleventh and Federal Circuits
- Seton Hall University School of Law, JD, Valedictorian
- Seton Hall Law Review, Executive Editor
- American University, BA
In addition to serving as a regular contributor to the CDAS IP, Entertainment and Media Law Blog, Scott often writes for outside publications. Recent articles include:
- This Is Not Another Fair Use Article: The Implied License and De Minimis Use Copyright Defenses, Landslide, November/December 2020 (co-authored with Sara Gates),
- Show the Tattoo: Video Game Company Free to Depict Inked Basketball Stars, Digital Media Licensing Association, June 18, 2020 (co-authored with Nancy E. Wolff)
- Ninth Circuit Holds First Amendment Tolerates Whiskey-Inspired Parody Dog Toys in Trade Dress Spat, Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), May 6, 2020
- Content in Quarantine: Copyright Best Practices During a Pandemic, LAW360 Intellectual Property, LAW360 Media & Entertainment, and LAW360 Coronavirus, May 1, 2020
- Copyright 2020 Law & Practice USA, Chambers & Partners (co-authored with Nancy E. Wolff, Sara Gates and Elizabeth Altman)
- Staying Safe in the Showdown over Digital Content Use Online,” GPSOLO (ABA, March/April 2019)
- Trends and Developments USA, Chambers Global Practice Guides Trade Marks 2018 (co-authored with Eleanor M. Lackman, Nancy E. Wolff and Joshua B. Sessler)
- TVEyes and the Future of Technotainment, Bright Ideas, NYSBA, Fall 2018
- The Good, the Bad, and the JPEG: Staying Safe in the Constant Showdown over Digital Content Use Online, Landslide, ABA, September/October 2018 (co-authored with Lindsay R. Edelstein)
- Determining a Reasonable Licensing Fee for Purposes of Copyright Damage Awards, Bright Ideas, NYSBA Spring/Summer 2018
- Brammer v. Violent Hues Productions, LLC: Long Live the Right-Click License?, MLRC MediaLawLetter, July 2018
- DMCA 2.0: A Potential Shift in Safe Harbor Jurisprudence, Law360 Expert Analysis, May 19, 2017
- Teachable Moments: A Year-in-Review of Best Practices in DMCA Compliance,”Inside, NYSBA Fall 2016
- “Photo prints are expressive works entitled to First Amendment Protection,” Intellectual Property Magazine, July/August 2015
- “Video Game Cases May Break New Right-Of-Publicity Ground,” Law360 Expert Analysis, Aug. 1, 2014
- Co-Author, “The Role of Volition in Evaluating Direct Copyright Infringement Claims Against Technology Providers,” Bright Ideas (published by the New York State Bar Association’s IP Section), Lead Article, Winter 2013
Drafted amicus briefs on behalf of industry organizations in:
- Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. – Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court during merits stage of second appeal concerning Copyright Act attorney’s fee awards; filed on behalf of The Copyright Alliance.
- Cambridge University Press v. Patton – Amicus Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit concerning fair use in the context of mass digitization of books; filed on behalf of the Authors Guild.
- WNET v. Aereo – Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court during certiorari and merits stage concerning legality of broadcast television retransmission over the Internet; filed on behalf of Copyright Alliance.
- Authors Guild v. HathiTrust – Amicus Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concerning legality of mass digital book scanning; filed on behalf of fifteen associations of independent authors’ organizations.
- “Can You Do That? Copyright Litigation for Unauthorized Derivative Works,” ABA Webinar, Oct. 22, 2019
- “Right of Publicity and Social Media,” ABA IP West Conference, Oct. 2, 2019
- “Online Tension between Owners’ Rights and User Rights: Enforcement and Responsibility,” IPIC 93rd Annual Conference, Sept. 27, 2019
- Moderator, “Small Ticket Items: Strategic & Ethical Considerations for Copyright Claims of Small Monetary Value,” CSUSA, September 12, 2019
- “Derivative Works and Copyright,” Strafford webinar, June 18, 2019
- Faculty facilitator, breakout session regarding copyright, trademark, and right of publicity, Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) Annual Conference, November 7, 2018
- “Think Like a Lawyer, Talk Like a Geek 2018: Get Fluent in Technology,” Practising Law Institute (PLI), October 11, 2018
- “Joint or Co-Ownership in Copyright: Works for Hire, Unique Considerations for Motion Pictures, Statute of Limitations, and Duration,” Strafford webinar, September 6, 2018
- “Famous and Furious: Beer, Video Games, and Fantasy Sports vs. Celebrity Likeness,” ABA webinar, August 29, 2018
- “Attorney’s Fee Awards in Copyright Litigation,” Mondo NYC, October 6, 2017
- “Drawing the Line: Investigating Your Client’s Copyright Claims and Defenses and Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls in Infringement Actions,” CSUSA, September 27, 2017
- “Right of Publicity Basics,” ABA webinar 2017
- “No ‘Blurred Lines’ in the Judgment,” ABA webinar, 2016
- “The Ethics of Enforcing Your Copyright,” CSUSA, October 14, 2016
- “Copyright Litigation Hot Topics,” New York City Bar Association, September 2014, 2015
- Moderator, Entertainment Litigation Strategies Panel, CMJ Business Law Seminar, October 2014
Associations and Activities
- Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA), Planning Committee
- American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Intellectual Property, inaugural Chair and current Vice-Chair; Right of Publicity Committee
- Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), Co-Chair of Media, Copyright & Trademark Committee
- New York State Bar Association
- New York City Bar Association
- Copyright and Trademark Litigation
- Defending legendary rock musician against copyright infringement claim related to a song performed during a famous MTV broadcast.
- Defending famous music star in a high-profile copyright infringement claim involving a record company’s logo.
- Defending major sports league and member team in a trademark dispute concerning the member team’s name.
- Defending Manhattan hotel owners and investors against trademark infringement claims brought by Nashville restaurant.
- Defending owners and operators of various pop culture news websites against copyright infringement claims by paparazzi photograph aggregators.
- Representing online travel booking website in trademark infringement action against competitor using website’s registered marks as search engine advertising keywords.
- Defended software developer in copyright infringement action relating to 3-D modeling apps; reached favorable settlement.
- Secured transfer of venue from California to New York in copyright infringement case resulting in favorable settlement.
- Secured favorable settlement on behalf of estate of legendary experimental jazz artist whose musical compositions were being exploited without permission or compensation.
- Digital Media, Media Defense, and Domain Name Disputes
- Providing counseling and legal defense on behalf of major social media and online news outlets against various copyright, defamation, and false light claims, including responding to claim letters, settlement negotiations, and litigation defense.
- Securing removal of infringing user-generated content on social media websites such as YouTube and Facebook through use of DMCA takedown procedures.
- Representing online content producers in disputes concerning linking of content.
- Defending operator of popular consumer complaints website against defamation claims.
- Secured dismissal with prejudice of federal and state lawsuits against major media company asserting claims of false light, infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference in connection with online articles and radio/video interviews.
- Securing the transfer of infringing domain names from cybersquatters on behalf of music artists, television/film talent, photographers, game designers, and fashion designers through UDRP procedures.
- Right-of-Publicity and Privacy Disputes
- Secured dismissal of a right-of-publicity claim against a fine art photographer by subjects of photographs, and affirmance by the New York Appellate Division First Department.
- Reached a favorable settlement for major stock content licensor in a lawsuit dealing with improper end uses of a photograph depicting the plaintiff which had been submitted with a falsified model release.
- Secured dismissal of right-of-publicity, breach-of-contract, and fraud claims against a photographer when photographs of model appeared on adult websites in violation of EULAs and without knowledge of the photographer.
- Handling disputes concerning model releases in connection with digital image licensing.
- False Advertising, Unfair Competition, and Trade Secret Cases
- Reached a favorable settlement for a manufacturer of home steam shower products against a competitor utilizing “bait and switch” sales techniques online.
- Represented website operator in suing former employee who removed proprietary information and trade secrets upon departure from the company; reached favorable settlement.
- General Media and Entertainment Litigation and Counseling
- Providing counseling and advice and engaging in settlement negotiations on behalf of film, digital media, and television producers dealing with various contract disputes with co-producers, financiers, directors, editors, and talent.
- Providing counseling and advice, and settling disputes concerning various commercial contract claims, including over unpaid commissions, fees, and royalties, improper termination, and unfulfilled advertising and marketing commitments.
- Secured partial dismissal and favorable settlement of breach-of-contract claims of former employee against website operator.
- Secured favorable settlement on behalf of publishing company involved in arbitration concerning the valuation of a minority member’s interest in an LLC.
- Pursued breach of contract claims on behalf of recording artist against former publicist, resulting in favorable settlement.
- Representing various media and entertainment companies in connection with third-party subpoenas for the production of documents and depositions.
- General IP Advice and Strategy
- Conducting trademark searches, clearance, and risk assessments.
- Registering trademarks with USPTO.
- Providing counseling in connection with various copyright issues, including assessing public domain status of works, fair use of copyrighted works, and protectability of new works.
- Named to “40 and Under Hot List,” Benchmark Litigation 2019
- “New York Metro Rising Star,” New York Metropolitan Area Super Lawyers, 2014-2019
- “Rising Star, Media & Entertainment,” Law360, 2018
- Short-listed for “Best in Media & Entertainment,” Euromoney Legal Media Group’s inaugural “Americas Rising Stars Awards,” 2018