Photo of attorney Peter L. Skolnik

Peter L. Skolnik

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Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York
    • J.D. - 1987
    • Honors: magna cum laude
  • Columbia University
    • M.F.A. - 1968
  • Harvard University
    • B.A. - 1966

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York

Memberships

  • New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, President
  • New Jersey Media Lawyers Association, Chair
  • Media Law Committee, New Jersey State Bar Association, Former Chair
  • Copyright Society of the USA
  • American Bar Association: Intellectual Property, Communications and Litigation Sections
  • New Jersey Bar Association
  • New York Bar Association
  • Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), Defense Counsel Section

Honors

  • Included in Super Lawyers, New Jersey Monthly magazine, 2005 – 2016

PETER L. SKOLNIK concentrates his practice in the areas of media and entertainment law, First Amendment law, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, and complex civil litigation. He advises and litigates around the country for high tech companies, publishers, broadcasters, authors, artists and athletes, literary estates and arts organizations.

Significant Matters

Mr. Skolnik represented the Estate of Vladimir Nabokov successfully in a highly celebrated case involving infringement of the copyright to Lolita; successfully defended David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, through litigation and trial concerning early development of the enormously successful television series; successfully represented musician/songwriter Jason Van Dyke in copyright litigation against the band The Lumineers; and defended filmmaker Jamie Johnson against an invasion of privacy suit arising from his award-winning documentary for HBO, Born Rich, in which Mr. Skolnik appears. Mr. Skolnik litigates frequently against cults. For over a decade he mounted effective First Amendment defenses of cult expert Rick Ross, first in defamation litigation brought by Landmark Education concerning criticisms of Landmark’s “Forum,” and then in defamation, copyright and trade secret litigation brought by the cult NXIVM, whose leaders are now under federal criminal indictment. Mr. Skolnik has also litigated against a New York-Boston-based “study group” cult, and a Korean “church” cult. He has successfully negotiated contract matters for, among others, actress Ginnifer Goodwin, and prima ballerina Suzanne Farrell. Mr. Skolnik also litigated on behalf of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo to halt infringements of its trademark in Japan.

Mr. Skolnik’s media law practice includes representing media organizations in defamation actions and actions to obtain access to courtrooms and court records. He is a co-author of the New Jersey section in the Media Law Resource Center’s Annual 50-State Survey of Privacy and Related Torts. His trademark litigation practice includes enforcement of licensing agreements and restrictive covenants, the application of U.S. law to acts of infringement abroad and other issues.

Mr. Skolnik was named to the Super Lawyers list for 2005 through 2016 as seen in New Jersey Monthly magazine, and was profiled in the inaugural 2005 edition. A description of the selection process can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Peter is the President of the New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NJVLA) and Chair of the New Jersey Media Lawyers Association (NJMLA). From 2004-2010, he was an Adjunct Professor of International Copyright Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, has been an Adjunct Professor of Publishing Law at New York Law School, and was formerly both a successful theatrical producer/director and seven-term president of a national association of literary agents.

Practice

Litigation

  • Defamation defense
  • Invasion of privacy defense
  • First Amendment rights
  • Copyright and trademark infringement
  • Idea submission and ownership
  • Talent/management disputes
  • Contract disputes
  • Access to courts for televising proceedings

Counseling

  • Pre-publication/pre-broadcast review
  • Libel readings
  • Shield law/reporters’ privilege counseling
  • Copyright/trademark ownership, registration, and enforcement
  • International copyright issues
  • International trademark issues
  • Advice to foreign producers re U.S. practices and requirements

Transactions

  • Rights acquisition and licensing agreements
  • Production agreements
  • Domestic and foreign publishing licenses
  • Performance rights licenses to literary materials
  • Collaboration and ghostwriter agreements
  • Book distribution agreements
  • Author-agent agreements
  • Sales of publishing assets