Mark Robinson, the former svp/general counsel at BMG best known for leading the team that won a landmark digital copyright case against internet service provider Cox Communications in 2015, has been named head of business and legal affairs at 300 Entertainment. In his new role, he will be reunited with several colleagues with whom he worked during a decade as vp/senior counsel at Warner Music Group, including former WMG evp and current 300 co-founder/CEO Kevin Liles.
"For me, to have an opportunity to come back and work with these guys who I came up through the industry with was like coming home," Robinson says about his appointment. "It's not often that you have that opportunity."
Beginning his career as an attorney at a private law firm, Robinson spent time at former CBS Records and Sony Music chief Walter Yetnikoff's Velvel Music Group and at E1/Koch Entertainment before arriving at WMG in 2004. At Warner, Robinson had a wide purview, working on business and legal affairs for WMG's corporate division as well as for Warner Nashville, Asylum Records, ADA, the Warner Sound, Artist Arena and the independent label group. It was there that he worked alongside Liles, Lyor Cohen, Todd Moscowitz and Roger Gold, the quartet who would go on to jointly co-found 300 in 2012. (Moscowitz and Cohen have since left the company.)
"As we continue to create the next great American record label, we keep in mind that you are only as good as your people," Liles said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "We are proud to bring aboard Mark Robinson as head of business and legal affairs. He is an exemplary colleague and partner and is the best in the business."
Robinson joined BMG in early 2014, working on its rights management, recorded music and publishing operations, and advised the company's acquisitions of Broken Bow Records (Jason Aldean), Vagrant (PJ Harvey, The 1975), S-Curve (Andy Grammer) and Rise (At the Drive In, Bouncing Souls).
But it was the litigation against Cox, which had been accused of not acquiescing to demands to remove copyrighted content uploaded by its users in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's safe harbor provisions that protects sites like YouTube from litigation over hosting user-uploaded infringing content, that won him widespread acclaim and a spot on Billboard's 2016 Digital Power Players List. In leading the legal team during that case, Robinson won BMG a $25 million verdict in a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for the music industry's battle against internet piracy and fight for copyright reform.
"Nobody else had fought an ISP like that, and I think we started the beginning of a tidal wave," Robinson says about that case. "We really broke through something that nobody had really challenged. It's going to be one of those seminal cases which I'm really proud of."
At 300, Robinson will have input over business and legal affairs, but also will be involved in matters pertaining to all parts of the independent company. "300 is a unique place -- and this is something that drew me here, too -- in that everybody does everything," he says. "Here, I'm sitting in every radio meeting, every marketing meeting, every creative meeting, so I get a full view of everything going on in the company."
While 300 has a busy year ahead -- they've already landed Hot 100 and Billboard 200 No. 1s with Migos' "Bad and Boujee" and Culture, respectively, and have releases from Fetty Wap, Meg Mac, Bailey Bryan and Cheat Codes, among others, on the horizon -- Robinson also arrives at a time of rapid change for the music industry, which is of particular importance for a digital-first, independent label like 300.
"Because we're so nimble and at the forefront of what's going on in the digital world, particularly streaming, it's just a super exciting place to be," Robinson says. "These guys are moving quicker than anybody I've seen out there, and they're breaking new artists and getting into new genres. Really, the challenge is catching up, because things are moving so fast."