areas of expertise
Toby Butterfield is a partner with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz in the firm’s Litigation and Intellectual Property Groups.
Mr. Butterfield has 20 years of experience litigating and counseling on copyright, trademark, defamation, software and digital media, and commercial matters. His clients include media and entertainment companies, major brand owners and designers and manufacturers of luxury goods. His recent work includes successfully representing book publishers in various copyright litigations, a major airline in a trademark dispute, obtaining a fair use dismissal of a case against theater producers for production of a parody play. He obtained injunctive relief for the owner and publisher of Business Traveller magazine in a trademark licensing dispute with a competitor, represented FilmOn, the Over The Top streaming media technology company, in a copyright case against it by all the major networks; and represented HIT Entertainment, Inc. — owner of Barney®, Thomas the Tank Engine™ and Bob the Builder® — in anticounterfeiting efforts which effectively shut down manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit adult costumes of those well known characters.He also counsels producers and publishers on pre-publication and pre-broadcast review of content.
Mr. Butterfield chaired the New York City Bar’s Committee on Entertainment Law and its Committee on State Courts of Superior Jurisdiction. He also chaired WNYC Radio’s Community Advisory Board and was the Administrator of the New York State Supreme Court Screening Panel for Democratic Party judicial candidates in New York County. He has appeared on BBC World News, Forbes TV, and been quoted by The New York Times, Forbes, and many other news and legal publications.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Butterfield was a partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. He is admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
awards & recognition
"Super Lawyer" for Intellectual Property Litigation since 2007
The Legal 500 for Intellectual Property: Copyright
Oxford University, the Inns of Court School of Law in London
New York University School of Law (LLM)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Past Speaking Engagements
September 16 2016
Toby Butterfield at the MLRC’s London Conference
September 28 2015
2014 MLRC/NAA/NAB Media Law Conference
Melissa Georges and Terri Seligman participate, respectively, on panels about "Publication Torts" and "Advertising & Commercial Speech: Native Advertising" at the 2014 MLRC/NAA/NAB Media Law Conference in Reston VA. Edward Rosenthal, and Toby Butterfield also attend. Frankfurt Kurnit sponsors the event.
September 17 2014
Entertainment Business Law Seminar
Toby Butterfield chairs the "Entertainment Business Law Seminar" in NYU's Helen and Martin Kimmel Center as part of the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival.
October 15 2013
CMJ Entertainment Business Law Seminar
Toby Butterfield chairs the "Entertainment Business Law Seminar" in NYU's Helen and Martin Kimmel Center as part of the 2012 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival.
October 19 2012
Fair Use and Permissions
Toby Butterfield speaks on Fair Use and Permissions at Practicing Law Institute Event: "Understanding Copyright Law in the Data Era 2012" in San Francisco via live webcast.
July 9 2012
Entertainment Business Law Seminar
Toby Butterfield chairs the "Entertainment Business Law Seminar" in NYU's Helen and Martin Kimmel Center as part of the 2011 CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival.
October 21 2011
news & press
Blue Man Group Can’t Toss Royalties Suit
Blue Man Group Fights Music Director Over Royalties From Billion-Dollar Show
Blue Man Group Looks To Ditch $150M Royalties Suit
Toby M.J. Butterfield is quoted in the Law360 article, "Blue Man Group Looks To Ditch $150M Royalties Suit."
Thirty-nine Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-nine Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition.
Blue Man Group Is Sued in Royalties Case
New Trade Secrets Law Calls for Changes to Handbooks and Certain Employment Agreements
As we noted in an alert last week, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 ("DTSA") creates a private right of action to sue in federal court for trade secret misappropriation, and provides for remedies including actual damages and attorneys' fees.
Was Anyone Hurt? - New Supreme Court Test Raises the Bar for Class Action Plaintiffs
There's good news for companies defending or girding for consumer class actions.
New Federal Law Expands Trade Secrets Protections
There's good news for companies that rely on trade secrets.
Geraldo Rivera Employment Dispute
Reuters quoted Toby Butterfield on Geraldo Rivera’s employment dispute with Cumulus Media. Frankfurt Kurnit represents Mr. Rivera.
Toby Butterfield featured in Nature
Luv N’ Care Files $10M Malpractice Suit Against New York Attorneys
Thirty-seven Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-eight Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition.
How To Protect Your Brand From Your Partner’s Opinions
Trump Litigations Pose Questions for Restauranteurs
Can chefs and restauranteurs avoid agreements with business partners whose post-deal statements or activities threaten to sully their brand? Here's what happened in two recently filed litigations on the issue, and some additional protections that business owners could incorporate into agreements.
How To Turn Your Firm Into An LGBT Diversity Success Story
Toby Butterfield was quoted by Law 360 in the article, “How To Turn Your Firm Into An LGBT Diversity Success Story”, which lists FKKS as a firm with one of the highest percentages of LGBT attorneys. View article.
Frankfurt Kurnit in The Legal 500 2015
The Legal 500, a London-based directory of leading lawyers, recommended Frankfurt Kurnit for Media, Technology & Telecom work (Marketing and Advertising) and Intellectual Property work (Copyright) in its 2015 edition.
Thirty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition.
Top Lawyers On What Songwriters Must Learn From ‘Blurred Lines’ Verdict
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane: Federal Aviation Administration Approves Use of Drones by Filmmakers
On September 25, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") granted applications by numerous companies for permission to use Unmanned Aerial Systems ("UAS").
Jameson Distiller Says Napa Winery Can’t Use ‘Jamieson’
Law360 listed Nicole Bergstrom and Toby Butterfield as counsel to Irish Distillers in Madison Vineyard Holdings LLC v. Irish Distillers Ltd. case number 3:14-cv-00900, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Gone But Not Forgotten – States Move to Expand Post-Mortem Rights of Publicity
Legal protection for individuals' rights of publicity continues to grow, even when the individual in question has died.
2014 Frankfurt Kurnit in The Legal 500
The Legal 500, a London-based directory of leading lawyers, recommended Frankfurt Kurnit for Media, Technology & Telecom work (Marketing and Advertising) and Intellectual Property work (Copyright) in its 2014 edition.
Tennis Assoc. Settles IP Suit Over ‘Venus And Serena’ Film
Law360 listed Toby Butterfield as counsel for filmmakers Maiken Baird and Michelle Major in a recently settled New York Federal Court suit.
Federal Court Says Supervisors May Participate in Tip Sharing
On November 21, 2013, the Second Circuit in New York issued a decision in Barenboim v. Starbucks, interpreting § 196-d of New York's Labor Law, which prohibits an employer, his or her agent or an officer of a corporation from retaining any part of a gratuity.
U.S. Tennis Association’s Lawsuit Over ‘Venus and Serena’ Doc Will Play On
Thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
‘Venus and Serena’ Filmmakers Say Fair Use Bars IP Suit
Media Entities Struggle with Court Interpretation of Twitter’s Terms of Service
Twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2012 NY-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers listed twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2012 edition.
Eighteen Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2011 New York-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers named eighteen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2011 edition.
The rise of eReader devices and eReader marketplaces provides more and more opportunities for online self-publishers. While these technologies have given a myriad of authors the joy and remuneration of publishing their work, they have also led to modern abuses – abuses that affect intellectual property owners and consumers alike.
Frankfurt Kurnit Adds New IP Litigation Partner
Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC added Toby Butterfield as a partner to the firm’s Litigation and Intellectual Property Groups. Mr. Butterfield formally joined the firm on August 19, 2011. New York Law Journal, Intellectual Property Today, IP Frontline Magazine and Law360 mentioned the news.
Third Circuit Rules Cropping Photo Credits Violates the DMCA
In its June Media Law Letter, Media Law Research Center published Toby Butterfield's article "Third Circuit Rules Cropping Photo Credits Violates the DMCA".
Counseling Content Providers in the Digital Age
Toby Butterfield authored "Defamation", the first chapter of Counseling Content Providers in the Digital Age for the New York State Bar Association.
‘Lick This’: Federal Circuit Reverses, Finding Photograph of Sculpture on Stamp is not Fair Use
Media Law Research Center pubished Toby Butterfield's article, "Federal Circuit to U.S. Postal Service: “’Lick This’: Federal Circuit Reverses, Finding Photograph of Sculpture on Stamp is not Fair Use," in its March Media Law Letter.
Are There Pirates in My Safe Harbor?
In its November Media Law Letter, Media Law Research Center published Toby Butterfield's article "Are There Pirates in My Safe Harbor?".
Reflecting on the Superman Copyright Termination Case
In its April Media Law Letter, Media Law Research Center published Toby Butterfield's article "Able to Terminate Transfers in a Single Bound - Reflecting on the Superman Copyright Termination Case".
The Tenth Circuit Imposes Constitutional Scrutiny on the Copyright Restoration Act
Media Law Research Center pubished Toby Butterfield's article, "Golan v. Gonzalez: The Tenth Circuit Imposes Constitutional Scrutiny on the Copyright Restoration Act", in its September Media Law Letter.
Second Circuit Finds Artist’s Latest Use of Another’s Photography To Be Fair Use
In its November Media Law Letter, Media Law Research Center published Toby Butterfield's article "If at First You Don’t Succeed - Second Circuit Finds Artist’s Latest Use of Another’s Photography To Be Fair Use".
Who Wins the Game of Metatag?
The New York Law Journal published Toby Butterfield's article "Who Wins the Game of Metatag?".