Entertainment industry attorney Jay Rosenthal has died. He was 61.
The Association of Independent Music Publishers’ Teri Nelson-Carpenter, national chair and Los Angeles chapter president; Alisa Coleman, New York chapter president; and John Ozier, Nashville chapter president, issued a joint statement about his passing on Saturday (Nov. 2).
“The AIMP mourns the loss of a true friend to independent songwriters and music publishers,” the statement reads. “Jay Rosenthal was more than an attorney to most of us. He passionately represented the causes for independents championing the way on major issues that deeply impacted the community. Jay was an important educator providing detailed knowledge at our Washington roundups and his experience and expertise to our executive board. He will be deeply missed by family, friends and the community of songwriters and music publishers.”
Rosenthal, whose professional biography describes him as a “self-proclaimed music junkie,” grew up in a musical household and first set his eyes on a career in music, with a focus on blues and jazz piano, before embarking on a career as an entertainment lawyer.
He was most recently a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp (MSK), where he had been providing services for clients in the entertainment and copyright industries since 2015. He represented talent, production companies and trade associations, focusing on public policy, transactional and litigation matters in the movie and music industries.
Before joining the MSK team, Rosenthal was senior vice president and general counsel at the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), where he counseled on copyright policy and reform and worked at length with independent music publishers across the United States. Rosenthal developed and implemented the NMPA Late Fee and Modernization Programs and worked with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other organizations on anti-piracy matters.
Prior to that, he held positions at Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, where he was a partner; the Recording Artists’ Coalition (RAC), where he served as general counsel; and the U.S. Copyright Office, as a copyright examiner. Among his many professional endeavors, Rosenthal also lectured as an adjust professor of law at Georgetown and George Washington University.
Rosenthal’s family suggests that donations in Jay’s name may be made to Songwriters of North America (SONA) — which is setting up the SONA Jay Rosenthal Songwriter Action Fund — and the American Cancer Society.
“We are devastated to have lost one of our most dedicated yet unsung heroes,” SONA’s Michelle Lewis says. “It is in his honor, thanks to an incredibly generous and gracious gesture by the Rosenthal family, that we have created the SONA Jay Rosenthal Songwriter Action Fund. Your contribution will help songwriters continue to fight for what Jay always fought for: for protection, for fairness, for a voice. Thank you for helping us honor him in this way.”