Sy Damle is one of the nation’s foremost practitioners in copyright law, with a particular focus on copyright rate-setting and software copyrights. Mr. Damle is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice. He also serves as an advisor to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Copyright, and regularly writes and speaks about cutting-edge copyright issues. Mr. Damle focuses his practice on high-stakes copyright litigation and regulatory matters.
Mr. Damle joined Latham after serving as General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the US Copyright Office. In this role, Mr. Damle was responsible for the agency’s litigation, regulatory, and other legal work. While at the Copyright Office, Mr. Damle played a central role in every significant copyright case to reach the Supreme Court, addressing areas as diverse as software copyrights, fee awards in copyright actions, and the scope of the safe harbors in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In addition, Mr. Damle led the Office’s first comprehensive regulatory revision effort in decades, concluding over 20 rulemakings, and helped lead two rulemakings under the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. He was also responsible for overseeing the work of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which establishes royalty rates and terms for major segments of the copyright industry. In that role, he wrote and issued binding opinions addressing novel questions of copyright law that govern CRB proceedings. Mr. Damle also regularly advised Congress on novel copyright issues, including by drafting and reviewing legislation.
Previously, Mr. Damle served as an appellate attorney for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In his role at the DOJ, he appeared as lead counsel in more than 40 appeals, focusing on intellectual property, administrative law, and constitutional matters. He was responsible for the defense of rate-setting determinations of the CRB in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also wrote briefs in a number of high-profile Supreme Court cases, including Cable News Network v. CSC Holdings, addressing alleged copyright infringement by remote DVR services, and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, addressing pleading standards. Mr. Damle also served as senior counsel in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mr. Damle’s work has been recognized by leading publications, including the National Law Journal, which has named him one of the top 40 Under 40 minority lawyers in the United States, and as one of DC’s Rising Stars.
Mr. Damle is a member of the Copyright Society of the USA, and serves on the board of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court.
Mr. Damle earned his JD from the University of Virginia, where he graduated first in his class. He holds systems engineering and business degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a software developer and information technology consultant prior to attending law school. He also served as a clerk for Judge Sandra L. Lynch of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
- Advisor, American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law, Copyright
- Panelist, “USPTO and Copyright Office Address,” Corporate IP Counsel Forum, March 2018
- Speaker, “Google v. Oracle and Computer Software Interoperability/Copyright,” Columbia Law School, March 2018
- Interviewee, An Interview with Sy Damle: General Counsel and Associate Register of the US Copyright Office, Landslide, a Publication of the ABA Section Intellectual Property Law, November/December 2017
- Keynote Speaker, Los Angeles Copyright Society Meeting, November 2017
- Panelist, “Intellectual Property, Private Law, And The Supreme Court,” The George Washington University Law School, March 2017
- Panelist, “The Future of Music Licensing,” NAB Radio Show, October 2015