Richard Dannay is counsel with Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C., in New York City. He practices in the areas of copyright, publishing and trademark law, as well as libel, privacy, publicity, and related matters.
Past president of The Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (1984 - 86) and one of its Honorary Trustees (1986 - ). Former chair of the New York City Bar Committee on Copyright and Literary Property (1992-95).
Presented the 37th Annual Donald C. Brace Memorial Lecture (Nov. 2007): “Copyright Injunctions and Fair Use: Enter eBay -- Four-Factor Fatigue or Four-Factor Freedom? (The Copyright Society of the U.S.A.); published at 55 Copyright Society Journal 449 (2008).
Author of “Factorless Fair Use? Was Melville Nimmer Right?” published at 60 Copyright Society Journal 127 (2013) in special issue honoring 50th anniversary of Nimmer on Copyright treatise.
He was lead counsel for the prevailing parties in the following reported cases:
- Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 448 F.3d 605 (2d Cir. 2006) (affirming summary judgment for defendant publisher that “thumbnail” reproductions of seven concert posters in Grateful Dead biography are transformative fair use).
- Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. Steinbeck, 537 F.3d 193 (2d Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 2383 (2009) (John Steinbeck’s son’s Sec. 304(d) termination notice invalidated; Penguin’s agreement for Steinbeck works, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, held valid, not “agreement to the contrary”).
- Silverstein v. Penguin Putnam Inc., 368 F.3d 77 (2d Cir. 2004) and 522 F. Supp. 2d 579 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) (compilation copyright for all of Dorothy Parker’s previously uncollected poems unenforceable because no creativity in “selection” of “all”; significant Second Circuit pre-eBay ruling on permanent injunctions).
- Williams v. Crichton, 84 F.3d 581 (2d Cir. 1996) (successful defense of copyright infringement suit against Jurassic Park novel and movie).
- Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and Boy Scouts of America v. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 996 F.2d 1477 (2d Cir. 1993), aff'g 808 F. Supp. 1112 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (successful defense of trademark infringement suit against “Pee Wee Scouts” children’s series, involving First Amendment issues).
- Arica Institute, Inc. v. Palmer and Harper & Row Publishers, 970 F.2d 1067 (2d Cir. 1992) (successful "fact estoppel" and fair use defenses).
- Adsani v. Miller, 139 F.3d 67 (2d Cir. 1998) (appellate security bond for “costs” includes potential attorney’s fees under Copyright Act; case of first impression).
- Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. American Buddha, 609 F.3d 30 (2d Cir. 2010), 16 N.Y. 3d 295 (2011) (on certified question), 640 F. 3d 497 (2d Cir. 2011) (NY long-arm jurisdiction ruling supporting fight of publishers and authors against online digital piracy).
- Newton v. Penguin/Berkley Pub. USA, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11597 and 2112 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (successful copyright defense of de minimis use where publisher quoted with attribution 95 words from nonfiction book about the “Cleveland Strangler”).
- Postlewaite v. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 411 F.3d 63 (2d Cir. 2005) (dismissal of law professor’s breach of contract suit against treatise publisher).
- Hoch and Marble v. MasterCard International and McCann-Erickson, 284 F. Supp. 2d 1217 (D. Minn. 2003) (successful defense of copyright infringement suit against series of baseball-related “priceless” television commercials).
- Adsani v. Miller, 1996 WL 194326 and 1996 WL 531858 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (successful defense of copyright infringement suit against author and publishers of “Princess Sultana” books, including recovery of full attorneys’ fees).
- Hudson v. Universal Studios, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86146 (S.D.N.Y. 2008), aff’d, 369 Fed. Appx. 291 (2d Cir. 2010) and Hudson v. Universal Pictures Corp., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11508 (E.D.N.Y. 2004), aff’d, 128 Fed. Appx. 178 (2d Cir. 2005) (affirming summary judgments for defendants that Eddie Murphy film Life did not infringe copyrights in plaintiff’s plays).
- Lazzarino v. Warner Bros. Ent., 2008 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 10281 (NY Sup. Ct. 2008) (dismissal of breach of contract claims against Universal Pictures and related defendants concerning movie The Bourne Identity).
- Perry v. McGraw Hill, Inc., 966 F. Supp. 233 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (dismissal of claim for breach of contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing in marketing of professional book).
- Ladany v. William Morrow & Co., 465 F. Supp. 870 (S.D.N.Y. 1978) (summary judgment dismissing libel and invasion of privacy claims by member of Israeli Olympic team concerning book about terrorist attack at Munich Olympic Games).
- Polakoff v. Harcourt Brace, 1978 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2941, 3 Med. L. Rptr. 2516 (NY Sup. Ct. 1978) (upholding jury verdict dismissing libel claim against novel, suspense thriller allegedly implicating plaintiff under his real name in assassination plot against American general modeled after George Patton).
Honors & Recognitions
“Richard Dannay continues to be regarded as 'a dean of copyright,' with sources also describing him as 'an encyclopedia of copyright law'."- Chambers USA 2019
- New York Super Lawyers, Intellectual Property Litigation 2006 to present. Also listed in “Top 100” NY Metro Area attorneys 2006 - 2012.
- Best Lawyers in America 1991 to present.
- Best Lawyers in New York 2005 to present. New York Magazine (March 1995 issue) “Best Lawyers in New York” (featured article).
- Best Lawyers 2013 New York City Copyright Law “Lawyer of the Year.”
- Chambers USA 2004 to present, New York Media & Entertainment Litigation and Intellectual Property.
- Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2006, 2010.
- Legal 500 (US) “Leading Lawyers” 2013 to present; “Hall of Fame” 2017 to present.
Community & Professional Activities
- Chair of Practising Law Institute’s annual Advanced Copyright Law program 1991 to present.
- Member, Advisers, American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law, Copyright project (2015 - ).
- Member, Legal Advisory Committee, College Art Association, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (2014 - 15).
- Panelist, Public Forum, “Copyright Fair Use: Has Transformative Use Gone Too Far?”, New York City Bar (March 11, 2014).
- American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law. Member of Council (1991 - 95). Chair of Copyright Division (1975 - 76, 1987 - 88).
- American Bar Association, Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries. Chair, Literary Publishing Division, 1991 - 97.
- PLI Copyright and Trademark Law for the Nonspecialist. Chair, 1994 - 2004.
- PLI Legal and Business Aspects of Book Publishing. Chair, 1981, 1986, 1988. Lecturer, 1979, 1984, 1997, 1998.
- Law Journal Seminars-Press, Negotiating Contracts in the Entertainment Industry, Lecturer, 1984 - 98.
- Member, The Grolier Club, 1991 -
- Schwab Goldberg Price & Dannay (1966 - 97)
- Richard Dannay chaired PLI’s program Advanced Copyright Law 2021: Current Issues on March 11, 2021. He has chaired this annual program every year since 1991.03.11.2021
- Richard Dannay will participate in a panel discussion of copyright fair use at the Aspen Institute Seminar on Strategy for Artist-Endowed Foundation LeadersRoy Lichtenstein Foundation, 05.02.2018
- Richard Dannay will participate in a panel on copyright fair use at the Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference of International Intellectual Property Law and Policy.04.06.2018
Harvard Law School (LL.B., 1964).
Harvard College (A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1961)
- New York
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- United States District Court for the Southern District of New York