Ross J. Charap

For more than 45 years, Ross has focused his practice on the music business. His clients - composers, songwriters and recording artists, and independent music publishers rely on him for their transactional, licensing, and litigation needs.
Ross Charap

Ross specializes in helping his clients recapture their US copyrights and buy and sell valuable music assets.  He and his team perform due diligence, negotiate and draft purchase or sales agreements and ensure that, upon closing, the respective parties receive that to which they are entitled.  To date, Ross and his team have closed music asset transactions worth over $800 million dollars.

Client Work

During his 25 years as in-house counsel at ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), Ross was privileged to work with many of the legendary songwriters who wrote the Great American Songbook.  It’s no surprise that Ross represents the families of many famous songwriters of that era, 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 wrote “Stardust” and “Moonlight Serenade” among many others; Leroy Anderson, composer of “Sleigh Ride;” Rube Bloom who wrote “Fools Rush In” and “Give Me The Simple Life;” Sam Lewis who wrote classics like “My Mammy” and “ Five Foot Two Eyes  Of Blue (“Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”) and Sylvia Moy of Motown fame who wrote “Uptight” and “My Cherie Amour” for and with Stevie Wonder, among other big hits.

Ross and his team represent other notable clients in all genres, from the Rolling Stones to Jessye Norman, the famed international “Diva”, to Larry Smith, the “Quincy Jones of Hip Hop” who wrote for Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC and Whodini.

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

  • Billboard 2023 Top Music Lawyer
  • Chambers USA, Media & Entertainment: Music - Band 1, 2022
  • Super Lawyers Magazine 2008-2020, Listed in New York for Intellectual Property, 2008-2019, Listed in New York for  Entertainment & Sports, and Business Litigation
  • Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, “Copyright Law Enters the Digital Age: The Music Modernization Act Is Now Law,” January 2019
  • Big Apple ComicCon, Panelist, “The Legacy of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby,” March 11, 2017
  • Super Lawyers Magazine, “Captain America’s Lawyer,” October 2016
  • Women In Music, Speaker, “Sounds like Copyright Infringement,” November 19, 2015
  • The Duke Sports & Entertainment Law Society 3rd Annual Sports & Entertainment Law Symposium, Speaker, “Copyright Reversion,” January 2013
  • New York City Bar Association, Entertainment Law Committee, Speaker, “Termination of Sound Recordings Created After January 1, 1978,” May 2010
  • New York State Bar Association, Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Section, Committee on Young Lawyers, Speaker, “The Realities of Negotiating a Music Publishing Agreement,” December 2006
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2017-2024), Listed in New York for Copyright Law, Entertainment Law – Music
  • The Legal 500 - Intellectual Property: Copyright (2023)
  • Finance Monthly, 2015 Deal Maker of the Year

Professional Activities

American Intellectual Property Law Association, Former Member of the Board of Directors; Copyright Law Committee, Former Chair

American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, Broadcasting, Sound Recordings, and Performing Artists Committee, Former Chair

Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA), Member, Former Trustee, Former Officer

Previous Work

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.

Life Beyond the Law

In another life far, far from ArentFox Schiff and the law in general, Ross was an actor and director in and of many theatrical productions, appeared in movies and commercials, and did voiceovers for Japanese anime’.  He and his wife, Michele, dote on their two beautiful grandsons, Laurence and Cassius.

  • Bar & Court Admissions
    • New York Bar
    • Supreme Court of the United States
    • US District Court, Eastern District of New York
    • US District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Education
    Cornell Law School, JD
    Columbia University, BA



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