About The Speaker
James G. Sammataro
James Sammataro is a partner at Pryor Cashman and co-chair of the firm’s Media + Entertainment Group. Billboard has repeatedly recognized him as one of the country’s top music lawyers and the “go-to” litigator in the Latin music space. Variety has billed James as one of the most impactful entertainment attorneys in Hollywood. Leading media entities, A-list celebrities, professional sports teams, and Fortune 100 companies trust James to represent them in delicate, high-profile disputes.
James Sammataro is a partner at Pryor Cashman and co-chair of the firm’s Media + Entertainment Group.
Billboard has repeatedly recognized him as one of the country’s top music lawyers and the “go-to” litigator in the Latin music space. Variety has billed James as one of the most impactful entertainment attorneys in Hollywood. Leading media entities, A-list celebrities, professional sports teams, and Fortune 100 companies trust James to represent them in delicate, high-profile disputes.
With two decades of trial experience in high-stakes copyright, trademark, defamation, First Amendment, rights-of-publicity, and non-compete matters, James has most recently prevailed in copyright infringement trials, securing: (i) a zero dollar defense verdict where infringement liability was admitted, and the plaintiff sought $8.3 million in damages; and (ii) a complete defense verdict plus an attorneys’ fees award in excess of $840,000.
James currently represents The Estate of Chris Cornell versus Soundgarden in a dispute over the band’s last album and Netflix in a defamation action involving Messiah. James has successfully:
- Secured dismissals from:
- copyright infringement claims against chart-topping songs, including Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” Future’s “Life is Good” (featuring Drake), and Lil Baby’s “MyTurn.”
- a right of publicity claim brought by Lindsay Lohan against Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Afrojack involving the hit song “Give Me Everything”;
- a defamation claim brought by Sean Penn against film director and television producer Lee Daniels; and
- lawsuits involving box-office films, including “Bombshell” and “Midnight Sun.”
- a putative class action lawsuit alleged against the San Antonio Spurs for violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
- Resolved disputes involving popular television shows, including “American Idol,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “The Real World,” “Road Rules,” “The Price is Right,” and “100 Latinos Dijeron”;
- Represented media companies in copyright infringement disputes, including Fremantle, Spotify, Universal Music Group, Sony, Amazon, Spanish Broadcasting System, The Orchard, Televisa, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Warner Bros.;
- Represented clients in royalty and profit participation disputes, including recording artist Enrique Iglesias, the television show “Making the Band,” and the artist Prince Royce; and more.
James guides major entertainment deals to fruition, managing both day-to-day and breakthrough transactions on behalf of television stations, radio stations, concert promoters, touring companies, production companies, and e-sports franchises. He also advises media companies on managing and defending their valuable intellectual property and counsels entertainment startups on negotiating talent, content, production, syndication, and distribution agreements.
James has shepherded the sprawling transactional documentation needed to successfully realize concerts and music festivals featuring Cardi B, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Shakira, Justin Bieber, Snoop Dog, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin and Rosalía, as well as the Broadway and off-Broadway productions for Rock of Ages, Alvin & The Chipmunks, Joplin, The Bodies Exhibition, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
The author of the definitive “Film and Multimedia and the Law,” James is frequently called upon to provide legal commentary on emerging trends and pivotal legal decisions for The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Deadline, Variety, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Entertainment Tonight, and USA Today.