Jay Rosenthal, a veteran music attorney, has died, it was announced on Sunday, November 2. Rosenthal was a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP and based in Washington D.C. His age and cause of death are unknown.
Rosenthal also served as General Counsel for the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), whose president and CEO David Israelite wrote: “The music publishing and songwriting industry lost a true friend and champion today. Jay Rosenthal dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of creators. As [NMPA] General Counsel, Jay was instrumental in protecting the copyrights of all songwriters and publishers. As my friend, I have never met a man more kind, gentle and patient. Everyone loved Jay. He always had a smile and a positive outlook. He was a dedicated husband, father and law professor. We will miss him dearly.”
Rosenthal was a native of Maryland whose mother was a professional singer in the 1940s and 1950s. An aspiring musician, Rosenthal went on to take a stab at concert promotion while attending American University. During his time at Antioch School of Law, he pivoted to music lawyer taking a job as a copyright examiner in the United States Copyright Office (USCO).
“Commodification of copyright” became a rallying cry for Rosenthal who went on to work at the NMPA and played a vital role in creating milestones changes in copyright law.
A statement by the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) read: “The AIMP mourns the loss of a true friend to independent songwriters and music publishers. 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 is survived by his wife Rae and children Evan and Shira.
A memorial service will be held on Nov. 5 at Bnai Shalom in Olney, Maryland.