I am pleased to announce that my new book, Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer: Nathan Burkan and the Making of American Popular Culturewill be published by the University of California Press on January 6, 2020.

COVER JPGAdventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer is a lively narrative exploring the coming-of-age of institutions, archetypes, and attitudes that define American popular culture. The story unfolds through the career of legal giant Nathan Burkan, whose clients included Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Frank Costello, Victor Herbert, Mae West, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, Arnold Rothstein, and Samuel Goldwyn. Burkan was one of the principal draftsmen of the epochal Copyright Act of 1909 and the founder and guiding spirit behind ASCAP—the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

Burkan’s groundbreaking work laid the legal foundation for the Great American Songbook and the Golden Age of Hollywood, as the entertainment world adapted to the disruptive technologies of recorded sound, motion pictures, and broadcasting. It is a story with continuing resonance for the digital revolution of today.

The book tells stories of dramatic and often uproarious courtroom confrontations, scandalous escapades of the rich and famous, and momentous clashes of powerful political, economic, and cultural forces from which the United States emerged as the world’s leading exporter of creative energy.

“Gary Rosen is a born storyteller, and this is both a first-rate story and a previously untold one.”—Peter Jaszi, coauthor of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright

“The book reads like a literary novel with engaging characters and an intriguing plot. Rosen gives a clear and moving picture of Nathan Burkan’s character, both his flaws and virtues. In the course of tracing Burkan’s career, Rosen provides fascinating historical background that includes such colorful characters as Victor Herbert, Charlie Chaplin, and Gloria Vanderbilt.”—Philip Furia, author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley

“A lively, in-depth, and unprecedented portrait of Nathan Burkan, one of the most famous American lawyers of the twentieth century and a pioneer of intellectual property law. Rosen presents Burkan as situated at the eye of a legal and cultural storm created by the advent of entertainment culture that Burkan’s legal brilliance and panache did so much to shape.”—Robert Spoo, author of Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain

“Known to legal scholars as the ‘Moses of American copyright law,’ Nathan Burkan was much more. Burkan represented an A-list of celebrity clients in causes ranging from copyright infringement and criminal defense, to high-society divorce and custody battles, touching nearly every legal cause célèbre in the first third of the Twentieth Century. Rosen brings Burkan’s story to vivid life in a meticulously researched, well-paced biography.”—Kevin Parks, author of Music & Copyright in America: Toward the Celestial Jukebox

Available for preorder now on Amazon and through IndieBound.

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