Charles B. Ortner, a partner in the Litigation Department, focuses his practice on the entertainment and media industries. The matters which Chuck has handled, as a litigator or as a counselor and strategic advisor, cover virtually the entire entertainment and media legal and business landscapes, including copyright, trademark, false advertising and unfair competition, contract disputes, libel and slander, privacy, internal corporate investigations, defense of class actions, senior executive contract negotiations and terminations, securities law litigation, and significant business transactions, including mergers and catalogue acquisitions.
Chuck has served as the National Legal Counsel to the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. (The GRAMMY® Award organization), and has represented many leading entertainment and media industry institutions, including: Bertelsmann A.G.; SONY/BMG Music Entertainment (including The RCA Records Group, Arista Records, J Records and Jive Records); Sony Music Entertainment; BMG Music Publishing; Universal Music Group (including Interscope Records and Island/Def Jam); Warner Music Group (including Warner Bros. Records, Elektra Records, Maverick Records, Atlantic Recordings and Warner/Chappell Music); EMI (including Capitol Records, EMI Records, Virgin Records and EMI Music Publishing); Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures; Hasbro, Inc.; Sega; Palm Pictures; Windup Records; Blackground Records; Ken Ehrlich Productions; and Primary Wave Music Publishing. Chuck has also represented many of the top personal managers in the music industry.
Chuck has represented many of the world's most successful recording artists (including Madonna, U2, Shania Twain, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Sting, The Police, Janet Jackson, Green Day, Ke$ha, The Eagles, Bon Jovi, John Legend, Bonnie Raitt, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Maroon 5, Joss Stone, My Chemical Romance, Matisyahu, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, Meat Loaf, Collective Soul, Lauryn Hill, and Rob Thomas/ Matchbox 20), renowned record producers (including Phil Ramone, Rick Rubin, Jermaine Dupri, and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds) and leading entertainment industry executives and entrepreneurs (including Clive Davis, Jimmy Iovine, Chris Blackwell, Russell Simmons, Clive Calder, Robert Sillerman and Antonio “LA” Reid).
Named by The Hollywood Reporter as an industry “Power Lawyer,” Chuck is recognized as one of the top entertainment lawyers. Chambers USA, a leading independent lawyer rating service, has described Chuck as a "legendary music expert [and] one of the premier lawyers in the copyright world," and reports that he "is lauded by clients as a 'really brilliant strategist...'." Chuck also is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Expert Guides to the World’s Leading Lawyers for Technology, Media and Telecommunications Law, New York Super Lawyers and Lawdragon. He has been an invited speaker at bar association and continuing legal education programs, law school classes and seminars throughout the United States, including Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Columbia University School of Business, Boston University School of Law, Brooklyn Law School and the Annenberg Foundation.
Chuck was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Board of Trustees of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for an initial six-year term in 2010, and was reappointed by President Obama for an additional six-year term in 2016. Chuck is a member of the Board of Directors of the Grammy Museum, the Born This Way Foundation (Lady Gaga’s charitable foundation), and the Board of Trustees of the T.J. Martell Foundation for cancer research. He previously served as member of the Board of Directors of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, as president of the Kanye West Foundation (a charity devoted to educational initiatives) and as a member of the boards of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Hollywood Bowl Committee, Americans For The Arts (one of the nation’s preeminent arts advocacy organizations), and the board of Carnegie Hall. Chuck was awarded the Grammy Foundation’s Service Award for his contributions to the betterment of the entertainment industry, and the Recording Academy’s President’s Merit Award in recognition of his "tireless dedicated service and counsel” to the Grammy Awards organization and its more than 20,000 recording artists, songwriters, producers and other members of the music industry.
Chuck served as an Aide to John V. Lindsay, Mayor of the City of New York, and as an Assistant to Whitney North Seymour, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.