Four Latham & Watkins partners have been named Top Music Lawyers by Billboard – Sy Damle, Andy Gass, Jonathan West, and Joe Wetzel. Billboard’s list recognizes lawyers at “key companies and law firms [who] are on the front lines of the music industry’s legal battles and deals.” Billboard also notes how, “in a time of unprecedented economic and social upheaval, attorneys throughout the music industry have kept business on course, helped clients cope with the pandemic — and vigorously joined the call for racial justice.”
Damle, Gass, and Wetzel were recognized for representing the radio industry in a series of high-stakes litigations, including the recently settled rate-setting litigation against BMI, an ongoing Copyright Royalty Board proceeding that will set rates paid to record labels for internet radio, and antitrust litigation against Global Music Rights. The team is also representing a group of digital streaming companies and the radio industry in connection with the US Department of Justice review of the ASCAP and BMI antitrust consent decrees. In addition, Billboard noted that Damle saw that the “pandemic was affecting the ability of streaming services to comply with aspects of the Copyright Act. He helped draft a provision of the CARES Act that allowed the Copyright Office to adopt emergency regulations suspending those requirements.”
West was recognized for his representation of both celebrities and companies in connection with negotiating agreements and advising on copyright and licensing matters within the music industry. Notably, he advised Ithaca Holdings on their acquisitions of Big Machine Records and Atlas Music Publishing including analyzing and advising on recording and publishing agreements for top artists, overseeing the music asset diligence, and the negotiation of music-related provisions of the Asset Purchase Agreement and related documentation.
Billboard also highlighted that Latham lawyers in multiple domestic and international offices advised pro bono client Global Citizen on licensing and broadcasting issues for the One World: Together at Home concert, which raised $128 million for healthcare workers and coronavirus relief efforts.