Kris Ahrend is the Chief Executive Officer of The Mechanical Licensing Collective, where he leads the organization in its mission to ensure songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers receive their mechanical royalties from streaming and download services in the U.S. accurately and on time. Under his direction, The MLC has already distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties to its Members since officially beginning operations in 2021.
Before joining The MLC, Kris served as the President of U.S. Shared Services for Warner Music Group (WMG), where he led the development and launch of WMG’s Center of Excellence for Shared Services in Nashville and oversaw the operations of fifteen different functional teams providing a variety of administrative, financial, and legal services to WMG’s U.S.-based publishing teams, record labels, and corporate divisions. Prior to launching the Center of Excellence, Ahrend served as the Head of Business & Legal Affairs for WMG’s catalog label, Rhino Records, in Los Angeles, and then led a large legal, financial, and administrative shared services organization within WMG that he helped to create.
Kris started working in the music industry in New York City, where he held positions in the Law Department at Sony Music and then the Business and Legal Affairs Department at Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
A graduate of Binghamton University in New York and the Washington & Lee School of Law, Kris began his legal career as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then spent several years in private practice, working in the New York office of the international law firm, Simpson Thacher.
Ahrend is a respected and recognized leader in the music industry. He was named to Billboard magazine’s 2022 Power List, and he also received an Indie Spirit Award in 2021 from The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) in recognition of his contributions to independent music publishing community.
Kris is a proud member of the Nashville business community, where he serves on the boards of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Downtown Partnership. A lifelong musician, Ahrend resides in Nashville with his wife, Karen, and two sons.
Steven J. Bell, Ed.D., is the associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University. He writes and speaks about academic librarianship and higher education, change readiness, educational technology, open education, design thinking and user experience. He is a nationally recognized advocate for open education and textbook affordability. He currently teaches courses in open education and design thinking to Library Science students at the San Jose State University Information School. He is author/editor of the books Learning from Crucible Moments: Lessons in Crisis Leadership and Academic Librarianship by Design. He authored two columns for Library Journal, “From the Bell Tower” and “Leading From the Library” from 2009 to 2019, and currently contributes a monthly blog post to the Charleston Hub. For additional information about Steven or links to his projects, visit http://stevenbell.info.
Jim Best is the Assistant Director of Merchandising & Inventory Planning at The Cornell Store, Cornell University. With over 20 years of experience in the campus store industry, Jim has been at the forefront of bringing new programs, products and technologies to the campus store market. He is a current board member of the Large Stores Groups (LSG), representing campus stores with sales over $9M and past president of the Northeast Campus Stores Association (NCSA). He holds a BS from Cazenovia College and MBA from Ithaca College.
Ann Chaitovitz specializes in domestic and international copyright law as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) at the USPTO, where she handles copyright and related rights issues in various international regions. She has more than 20 years of experience representing songwriters, publishers, recording artists, the U.S. government, and digital technology companies on music, technology, and copyright matters.
In between stints at the USPTO, Ann was the intellectual property (IP) attaché based in Lima, Peru. She advised U.S. government personnel and national IP offices, and coordinated the USPTO’s activities in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Previously, Ann was the executive director at the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), served as the national director of sound recordings at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and worked as a staff attorney at ASCAP, where she conducted copyright litigation on behalf of songwriters and publishers.
She holds degrees from Amherst College (B.A., cum laude) and New York University School of Law.
Ashima Dayal is a partner at Davis+Gilbert LLP. She has more than 25 years of experience guiding clients through legal challenges in their media and marketing activities. She works closely with book and magazine publishers, authors, filmmakers, consumer goods companies, advertising agencies, designers and other individual creative professionals to protect their content and defend their use of third-party material when disputes arise.
Before becoming a lawyer, Ashima gained invaluable television and film industry insight working for a network news division, a network marketing division, and an entertainment PR company. Her academic background in art history gives her an edge when advising clients on the risks posed by their art-infused creative content, and when defending copyright claims. Ashima has BA from Columbia University and a JD from Columbia Law School.
Internationally acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, and recording artist Jenny Douglas has toured and recorded with some of the world’s all-time greatest musical artists and musical acts, worldwide. Born in Chicago, Jenny was raised in Lexington, Kentucky and went on to study theater in college at Morehead University and Wright State University. Jenny has toured and recorded with a list of who’s who in the music industry including Pink, Toto, Cher, Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Rob Thomas, John Cougar Mellencamp, Patti Austin, and many more. Jenny has taught classes at USC and the School of Rock, and she has mentored many students in several New York City schools. Jenny’s singing is featured on multiple major music labels including Universal, Sony, Warner, BMG, and Virgin Records. She has performed live on all the major networks including on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Good Morning America, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, as well as a host of awards shows including MTV, American Music Awards, BET Honors Awards, MTV Unplugged, Country Music Awards, Grammy Awards, Billboard Awards, Live Nation, and more.
Cesar Fishman is the VP of Business and Government Affairs for Pex, the market leader in digital rights technology. With over a decade of experience in the policy and copyright space, Fishman has worked on Capitol Hill and with important stakeholders in the realm of intellectual property throughout his career. He most recently participated in the US copyright office’s STM hearings and spoke with Members of Congress regarding the SMART Copyright Act. Fishman holds a J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.
Nicholas P. Garcia is a Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge, focusing on net neutrality and broadband access and affordability. Before joining Public Knowledge, Nick served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Investigations Division of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, where he investigated and prosecuted cybercrime, fraud, grand larceny, and organized crime. He previously worked as a Legal Intern at Public Knowledge and as a Student Attorney for the Communications & Technology Law Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation.
Nick received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, his M.A. in Ethics and Society from Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education, and his B.A. in cursu honorum in Philosophy from Fordham University, where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society.
Corrine Irish is a Partner at Squire Patton Boggs. Her practice spans a variety of subject matters, including contract disputes, business torts, intellectual property enforcement and defense, constitutional law, and employment matters. Corrine also has significant experience representing companies and individuals in creative industries, including beauty, media, publishing and the arts.
Corrine previously served as a law clerk, first to the Honorable William G. Young of the US Court for the District of Massachusetts and then to the Honorable Barrington D. Parker of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Corrine is a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School and was an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School in 2008 and 2009. She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Christopher Kenneally is Senior Director, Content Marketing at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), where he develops content and programming covering publishing and research. He is host of Velocity of Content, a twice-weekly podcast from CCC. As an independent journalist, he has written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, and many other publications. He has also reported for WBUR-FM (Boston), National Public Radio, and WGBH-TV (PBS-Boston). He is author of Massachusetts 101 and The Massachusetts Legacy.
Rachel Landy is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Heyman Center at Cardozo Law School. Prior to joining Cardozo, Landy was on the public policy team at Google, where she managed YouTube’s response to legislative proposals relating to the platform’s business model, including the availability and monetization of music on YouTube. Before Google, Landy spent several years as a technology transactions attorney, advising emerging and established technology companies on commercial contract and intellectual property licensing matters. Landy is the author of Beyond the Work Product: A Guide to Relationship-Based Transactional Lawyering (American Bar Association, 2021). She received a Bachelor of Music in music business from New York University and earned her J.D. from UCLA School of Law.
David Leichtman is the Managing Partner of trial firm Leichtman Law PLLC. The firm was founded in 2017 to provide efficient trial and dispute resolution services to its clients. The lawyers in the firm have extensive experience trying cases in federal and state courts around the country in all areas of commercial and intellectual property litigation, and specifically in the entertainment and media industries as well as others. David also served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts from 2009-2018, where he remains on the Executive Committee of the board. He has been named a New York SuperLawyer every year since 2010. In 2016, The New York Law Journal selected him as a Lawyer Who Leads by Example for providing crucial pro bono legal services in New York. He is also a fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, a highly selective Trial Lawyer Honor Society, where he is also a founding member and the immediate prior President of its Intellectual Property Institute. For more information go to https://www.leichtmanlaw.com.
Will Page is the author of the critically acclaimed book Tarzan Economics: Eight Principles in Pivoting through Disruption. He was formerly Chief Economist of Spotify and PRS for Music, where he pioneered Rockonomics. At PRS he published work on Radiohead’s In Rainbows and saved BBC 6Music. At Spotify he helped redefine catalogue, uncovered the anatomy of a hit and articulated the global value of music copyright. A passionate communicator, Will’s work is regularly featured in Billboard, The Economist and the Financial Times, His lockdown collaboration with Twitch’s Rockonomics examines how live streaming will coexist with live music. More recently, Malbeconomics took stock of the twentieth anniversary of the 9.99 price point. He is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and a fellow at the Royal Society of the Arts.
Bill Rosenblatt is the program chair and co-producer of the Copyright and Technology conference, and a Trustee of the Copyright Society. He is a globally recognized authority on technology issues pertaining to intellectual property in the digital age. He has contributed to standards initiatives related to content identification, metadata, and rights. Bill has served as an expert witness in litigations related to copyright, digital media, security, and music business issues in the US, Canada, and Europe. He has testified in federal court, the Copyright Royalty Board, and the International Trade Commission. He has also testified before and advised public policy entities on three continents on digital copyright and technology issues.
Bill is an adjunct professor in the Music and Performing Arts Professions department at NYU. He is author of the book Digital Rights Management: Business and Technology (Wiley) and co-author (with Howie Singer) of the forthcoming Key Changes: The Ten Times Technology Disrupted the Music Industry (Oxford University Press). He has written for Forbes, Publishers Weekly, and other publications, and he has spoken at events ranging from Practising Law Institute panels in NYC to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Bill is not a lawyer but sometimes plays one on TV; and he plays guitar in the Copyright Society house band Crude Humble & Obvious. He holds a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, and he has had executive education in business and finance from NYU, Harvard, and USC.
Victoria Sheckler is the Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She helps develop strategy for industry-wide projects for the music industry and serves as corporate and compliance counsel to the RIAA. Before joining the RIAA, Ms. Sheckler was a partner at Hogan & Hartson, LLP. Ms. Sheckler represented clients in several industries in licensing, commercializing, acquiring or divesting intellectual property and related assets, as well as counseling clients on privacy, data security, and general corporate matters.
Ms. Sheckler graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, magna cum laude. Ms. Sheckler received her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The George Washington University.
Scott J. Sholder is a Partner and Co-Chair of the Litigation group at Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard. He focuses his practice on litigation, counseling, and dispute resolution in connection with entertainment, media, and intellectual property matters. Scott represents and advises clients across various industries in copyright, trademark, right-of-publicity, unfair competition, domain name, and commercial and business disputes, as well as defamation defense. He has appeared in federal and state courts around the country as well as administrative and arbitral tribunals and has handled cases from pre-suit negotiations through trial and post-trial procedures. His clients range from major media and entertainment companies and A-list talent to closely held and startup businesses and individuals in need of advice on intellectual property or guidance concerning brewing or existing legal conflicts.
A frequent writer and speaker on issues related to copyright and trademark in the entertainment and digital media space, Scott is a regular contributor to the CDAS legal blog as well as other major legal publications and has published several law review articles. He has also authored several amicus briefs in the Courts of Appeal and U.S. Supreme Court addressing important and cutting-edge issues in copyright law. He has a BA from American University and a JD from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Laura Stevens has been the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Cengage Group since 2018. In this role she is responsible for providing legal support for Cengage Group’s business operations, corporate governance, compliance and litigation. Laura and her team provide legal advice, contract negotiation support, dispute management and legal operational support for Cengage Group’s content licensing and acquisition activities. Under her leadership, the realigned Legal team has tackled longstanding challenges of the publishing industry, which enabled the launch of Cengage Unlimited, the industry’s first all-access subscription service, and helped propel the company’s rapid print-to-digital transformation. In addition, Laura founded the Cengage Group Privacy Office to promote industry-leading privacy standards for the responsible use of student data. Laura also serves as the executive sponsor for inclusion and diversity efforts at Cengage Group. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. in Political Science and Art History from the University of Rochester. She is based out of Boston, Massachusetts.
John P. Strohm is a Member of the law firm Frost Brown Todd in its Nashville office. Prior to
becoming a lawyer, Strohm was a professional musician and a member of well-known
alternative rock bands Blake Babies and The Lemonheads. He spent 12 years in private practice, primarily as Senior Counsel with Loeb & Loeb in Nashville representing music industry clients, including numerous artists including Bon Iver, Alabama Shakes, Phoebe Bridgers, Sturgill
Simpson, and Japanese Breakfast. He left private practice in 2017 to become President of Rounder Records, a label owned by Concord. He continued in his position with Concord until early 2022, eventually leading Concord Records and Concord Jazz in addition to Rounder. Strohm recently joined Frost Brown
Todd’s blockchain and technology practice, where his practice focuses on the intersection of music and emerging technology. He has taught Entertainment Law at two different ABA accredited law schools, and he continues to record and perform music as an independent artist.
Eva E. Subotnik is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship who joined the St. John’s faculty in 2011. She teaches Copyright Law, the Introduction to IP Survey, and Trusts & Estates. Professor Subotnik’s scholarship and research interests focus on issues of artistic intent that arise in the realm of copyright law and policy. She also focuses on particular intellectual property issues relating to the medium of photography. Professor Subotnik has written about the role of creator and user narratives in the context of originality and fair use determinations and about the intersection of authorship and testamentary intent. Prior to her appointment at St. John’s, Professor Subotnik was an Intellectual Property Fellow at the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School. She practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, where she was an associate in both the Corporate and Litigation departments.
Professor Subotnik received her B.A. summa cum laude from Columbia University in 1997 and her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2003.
Lily Todorinova is the Open Educational Research/Undergraduate Experience Librarian at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. In her role, she works with faculty and programs who are interested in redesigning their course offerings to be more affordable and accessible to students. Lily and her colleagues administer grants and OER authoring awards, as well as work with students to increase their understanding of the open scholarship landscape. Lily’s recent scholarship explores issues related to OER adoption and the role of academic libraries in promoting OER. She is also an instructor for the Open Education Network’s OER Certificate in Librarianship program.