Ross Charap is a partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group. For more than 40 years, the focus of his practice has been music, representing collective licensing organizations, songwriters, music publishers, and recording artists in their transactional, licensing, and litigation matters. Ross also specializes in helping his clients buy and sell music assets, performing due diligence, and negotiating and drafting purchase or sales agreements. To date, Ross and his team have closed music asset transactions worth over a half billion dollars.
Ross spent the first 25 years of his career as in-house counsel at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), which licenses the non-dramatic public performances of its songwriter and music publisher members’ musical compositions in all media. Among his principal responsibilities were licensing the entire cable television industry, and dealing with members’ royalty and distribution questions and disputes.
After entering private practice in 1998, Ross did copyright enforcement work for The Harry Fox Agency (HFA), the licensing arm of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), including bringing lawsuits against small and large record companies that had failed to pay mechanical license fees to the publisher members of HFA. In 2006, Ross was asked by the NMPA to design and implement an anti-piracy program directed at the numerous websites displaying the copyrighted lyrics of the musical compositions owned by the members of NMPA, without authorization. Ross took down dozens of illegal sites using the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), helped to promulgate licenses for the lawful use of the lyrics and, thus, created a new stream of royalty income for music publishers which continues to grow every year.
Ross also represents many successful and famous songwriters, including seven members of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame: Harold Arlen and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg who wrote “Over The Rainbow” and many other great songs; Mitchell Parish who co-wrote “Stardust” and “Moonlight Serenade” among many others; Leroy Anderson, composer of “Sleigh Ride;” Rube Bloom who co-wrote “Fools Rush In” and “Give Me The Simple Life;” Sam Lewis who co-wrote classics like “Rock A Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” and “I’m Sittin’ On Top of The World,” and, most recently, the grandchildren of Duke Ellington. Ross has had great success in making sure that all of his clients and their families are paid their proper share of royalties generated by the exploitation of the wonderful songs they or their forebears have written.
Ross also guides clients through complex copyright issues such as the termination of decades old copyright grants and the recapture of the copyrighted works that were the subject of those grants. He is also well versed in the issues now confronting copyright owners and content distributors alike vis-à-vis the digital distribution of music. When not focused on music, Ross also represents playwrights and theatrical producers, authors of every stripe (he represents the grandchildren of Aldous Huxley), visual artists, television production companies and promoters of live events.