Cynthia S. Arato

Cynthia S. Arato |

Cynthia is an experienced litigator with a practice focusing on intellectual property, media and entertainment, and commercial litigation. Cynthia has successfully represented major corporations and prominent individuals in copyright, trademark, defamation, right of publicity, false advertising, employment, contract, fraud, fiduciary duty, and royalty actions. She has particular expertise prosecuting and defending complex copyright class actions. Cynthia regularly advises clients on a wide range of intellectual property matters, including trademark and right of publicity issues related to advertisements and products. She was lead trial counsel for the Select Committee of Inquiry formed by the House of Representatives in Connecticut in connection with impeachment proceedings related to Governor John G. Rowland, winning a landmark ruling from that State’s highest court leading to the Governor’s resignation from office.

Before co-founding Shapiro Arato LLP, Cynthia was a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and at other firms of national reputation, including the boutique litigation firm of Parcher, Hayes & Snyder.

Cynthia’s clients include leading entertainment and media companies, major record companies, and artists and writers in the entertainment industry.

Representative Matters

  • Represented start-up venture, founders, and investors in alleged partnership, trade secret, and idea misappropriation case involving an automated shot tracking device for golf. Obtained dismissal of all intellectual property claims and favorable settlement on remaining claims after discovery.
  • Won summary judgment for defendants in rare ruling that use of a 35-second sample in a sound recording by the artist Drake was a fair use.
  • Represent one of the largest independent record labels in the United States in commercial litigation regarding the right to share in royalty earnings related to the recording artist Drake.
  • Won summary judgment for major record company dismissing breach of contract claim raising question of first impression regarding the statute of frauds and dismissing infringement claim regarding trademarked logo design. Obtained sanctions against plaintiff and his counsel for discovery abuses.
  • Represented prominent recording artist in trademark litigation regarding artist’s catchphrase.
  • Won rare ruling barring plaintiff from recovering monetary damages for alleged copyright infringement. The court rejected contrary rulings and held that even if plaintiff had a timely claim under the “discovery rule,” plaintiff was barred from obtaining a remedy for infringements occurring more than three years before suit was filed.
  • Represented, and continue to represent, major entertainment company and venue in commercial, defamation, and trademark matters.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice in case of first impression regarding the transfer of ownership and work-for-hire provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act in a ruling holding that a videotaped recording cannot satisfy the Act’s signed writing requirements.
  • Represented foreign publishing societies and publishers in successfully objecting to proposed settlement in the well-known Google Books class action. The court specifically cited Shapiro Arato LLP’s objections in its ruling rejecting the proposed settlement.
  • Secured rare dismissal with prejudice of infringement claim based on litigation abuses of plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel. Won affirmance of dismissal on appeal.
  • Represented major digital service providers and record labels in putative copyright infringement class action challenging exploitation of musical compositions contained in sound recordings being sold as digital downloads. Devised strategy leading plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss the case. Obtained dismissal of related class action alleging non-payment of contractual royalties in a ruling that also barred plaintiff’s counsel from obtaining discovery to identify a new named plaintiff.
  • Obtained temporary restraining order against former employees and employees’ new employer in trade secret misappropriation action on behalf of national placement firm.
  • Represented national not-for-profit in trademark dispute against competing not-for-profit using confusingly similar name. Successfully resolved the dispute pre-litigation in settlement that included, among other things, agreement by competing organization to cease use of confusingly similar name.

Professional Activites

  • Awarded Best in Media & Entertainment in June 2017 by Euromoney Legal Media Group Americas Women in Business Law Awards.
  • Named an Elite Boutique Trailblazer by the National Law Journal in August 2017.
  • Named one of the Top 50 Women in the 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers guide.
  • Named as a Recognized Practitioner in the Category of Media & Entertainment: Litigation – New York in the 2017 Chambers USA guide.
  • Recognized in Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America 2016 guide.
  • Firm named to the National Law Journal’s 2016 Litigation Boutique Hot List.
  • Named by Best Lawyers as Entertainment Law – Music Lawyer of the Year in New York City for 2015.
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in the specialty of Entertainment Law (2010-2014 editions).
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers in the specialty of Intellectual Property Litigation (2012-2017 editions).
  • Treasurer and Director, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
  • Chair, Copyright & Literary Property Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
  • Member, Committee on Media Law of the New York State Bar Association.
  • Member, Planning Committee of the New York Chapter of The Copyright Society of the USA.
  • New York Steering Committee, Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel (2011-2012; Chair 2012).
  • Speaker at numerous continuing legal education events covering copyright, law practice management, and privilege issues.