Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer: Nathan Burkan and the Making of American Popular Culture

Front Cover
Univ of California Press, Jan 15, 2020 - History - 408 pages

Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer is the lively story of legal giant Nathan Burkan, whose career encapsulated the coming of age of the institutions, archetypes, and attitudes that define American popular culture. With a client list that included Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Frank Costello, Victor Herbert, Mae West, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, Arnold Rothstein, and Samuel Goldwyn, Burkan was “New York’s Spotlight Lawyer” for more than three decades. He was one of the principal authors of the epochal Copyright Act of 1909 and the guiding spirit behind the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (Ascap), which provided the first practical means for songwriters to collect royalties for public performances of their works, revolutionizing the music business and the sound of popular music. While the entertainment world adapted to the disruptive technologies of recorded sound, motion pictures, and broadcasting, Burkan’s groundbreaking work laid the legal foundation for the Great American Songbook and the Golden Age of Hollywood, and it continues to influence popular culture today.

Gary A. Rosen tells stories of dramatic and uproarious courtroom confrontations, scandalous escapades of the rich and famous, and momentous clashes of powerful political, economic, and cultural forces. Out of these conflicts, the United States emerged as the world’s leading exporter of creative energy. Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer is an engaging look at the life of Nathan Burkan, a captivating history of entertainment and intellectual property law in the early twentieth century, and a rich source of new discoveries for anyone interested in the spirit of the Jazz Age.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Nathan the Wise
1
part one leg shows and longhairs
7
Immigrant Passages
9
The Pittsburgh Troubles
17
To Victor Belong the Spoils
24
part two a river of nickels
33
Tin Pan Alley
35
Canned Music
45
The Jazz Singer
183
part six twenty days in january 1927
197
Rumrunners
199
The Bindlestiff
206
New Yorks Spotlight Lawyer
214
part seven the naked city
225
Loves Undertaker
227
Nightstick Censorship
239

Mr Burkan Goes to Washington
54
The TwoCent Solution
65
part three bending the firmament
77
Entracte
79
The Lone Star
84
Charlie in the Harem
97
The Price of a Good Time
107
part four fleeting ephemeral and fugitive
119
The Gospel of Performing Rights
121
Shanleys Cabaret Extraordinaire
130
The Music Tax
140
The Ether Toy
151
part five chief justice of celluloidia
167
The Silent Screen
169
The Big Bankroll and the Little Flower
250
part eight modern times
261
New Deal Days
263
Gloria
274
Blue Bloods Meet the Hoi Polloi
286
Twilight of the Music Trust
301
Exeunt
316
Acknowledgments
325
Chronology
327
Notes
331
Selected Bibliography
375
Index
385
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2020)

Gary A. Rosen has practiced intellectual property law for more than thirty years and is Adjunct Professor of Law at the Kline School of Law at Drexel University. He is the author of a book on popular music and copyright, Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein, and he writes a blog on law and popular culture called Jazz Age Lawyer (www.jazzagelawyer.com).

Bibliographic information