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    July 18, 2011  
Captain Law

Who would you like to see in Legal Bisnow NYC? Send suggestions to our legal editor, Jeff Gamsey.

Captain America is coming soon to theaters near you (July 22). We met with Arent Fox entertainment law tour de force Ross Charap, who not so long ago helped creator Joe Simon recover an interest in the copyright.
Arent Fox entertainment law tour de force Ross Charap
Above, we snapped Captain America (left) with an as yet unidentified comic book character (a gift from Joe). Ross tells us he repped Joe against Marvel in a successful bid to get Joe a piece of the action generated by the blue superhero in ‘02. The favorable settlement, Ross says, will pay Joe a percentage of royalties when the movie is released. Ross, whose practice is now 70% transactional, 30% litigation, spent the first 25 years of his career in-house at ASCAP, working on over 4000 infringement cases. Within just three years of moving to BigLaw, he had over $1M in billables, and his practice continues to grow, especially given his entertainment, music, and copyright practice’s fit with Arent Fox’s strong trademark and patent group.
Arent Fox entertainment law tour de force Ross Charap

Ross shows us a golden record of the disco hit A Fifth of Beethoven, a deal toy from his work selling the rights to the work to Bug Music. Also cookin’ is a multimillion dollar acquisition of the US and Canadian rights to several songs in the catalog of “an unnamed band that started the British Invasion," on behalf of a private investor. Ross’s practice also involves a lot of antipiracy work for the National Music Publishers’ Association and famously repped them in their successful effort to take down OLGA, the Internet’s first monopoly of online guitar tabs and chords. In doing so, he angered many amateur musicians and even received a picture of a bullet in the mail with a caption: “Is this copyrighted too?” Defiantly—he’s from the Bronx—he responded with a note that said, “This picture may be.” He’s been repping musicians, songwriters, and publishers for 38 years and says that P2P file sharing and a lack of respect for content owners’ property is hurting the biz. The best way to deal with these problems, he says, may be by instituting a $10-$15 monthly fee at the Internet onramp (ie, ISPs), and divvying up the billions among content owners.

Arent Fox entertainment law tour de force Ross Charap

Here’s a photo of Arent Fox’s Bronx Bomber on a baseball card issued by the Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford Fantasy Camp. Ross experienced his “thrill of a lifetime” meeting his childhood hero at the camp when he was 40, but the most interesting moment, he says, was meeting the man he’d always dreamed of being: Mickey Mantle Jr. After hearing what it was like to grow up in the shadow of a Hall of Famer, he tells us he quickly and sadly changed his mind. 

Dewey's Housing Buff
Dewey & LeBoeuf global real estate practice chair Stuart Saft
Landlords, co-ops, and condos are feeling a financial punch thanks to major issues impacting the cost and availability of housing. According to Stuart Saft, who chairs Dewey & LeBoeuf’s global real estate practice, real estate taxes have skyrocketed, on top of expensive City mandates for owners, like discontinuing use of Nos. 4 and 6 heating oils and the unknown expenditures that will come with new energy benchmarking requirements. There’s also a question of what the City will do in regards to timing and fines if these mandates are not followed. Another: the City Council bill on living wages, which will increase costs for both owners and retail tenants in mixed-use buildings. “How do you maintain affordable living while the City keeps increasing costs?” Stuart asks.
Dewey & LeBoeuf global real estate practice chair Stuart Saft
Addressing second-hand smoke has been a burden for landlords and non-smokers, particularly in post-war buildings with older central HVAC systems. Some landlords have even restricted smokers (so painter Cornelis Kruseman’s pipe-smoking subject may need to find another window). And lastly, limits on financing available—especially with new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rules—are keeping home sales locked, with no solution in sight. Even though banks are somewhat more flexible, it’s still an economic problem. But there are green shoots, Stuart says: he’s working on new offering plans for condo conversions, and he is also beginning to discuss new construction plans due to the continuing shortage of housing. He has four offering plans being submitted to the AG for review. After all, he says, there are 9.5M people living in NYC and 3.1M housing units; between ‘98 and ‘08, building permits to build 140,000 units of housing were issued, far less than what is needed.

Nevrivy Patent Law Group’s Mike Sullivan

Is it easier to burn calories or churn through every precedent-setting patent law opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit? Nevrivy Patent Law Group’s Mike Sullivan chooses to do both. He’s a former Ironman triathlete who now uses his gym time to read Federal Circuit cases while on the elliptical.  He says he began in ’03 and created his 2000-page, comprehensive IP Law Outline now downloadable for free at www.iplawoutline.com. He tells us the hardest thing about working on The IP Law Outline was the rapid-fire rate which the Federal Circuit issued IP law opinions, occasionally producing a backlog of opinions for him to sort through. The goal of the outline, he says, is to make patent litigation more predictable, and the reception since he launched online has been great, frequently receiving emails from around the world, including recent ones from India, Israel, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand.

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