Frank Sinatra, Warner Music in Love and Marriage
Speaking of Proskauer, the firm had a good day. Partner Michael Woronoff negotiated a deal (with associate Elizabeth Collins) for the family of Frank Sinatra to form a joint venture with Warner Music Group to manage global licensing of music, film and merchandise involving the late entertainer's work, name and likeness. The new entity, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, will "own Sinatra's recordings from the Reprise era as well as a treasure trove of films, television specials and unreleased footage, photos and audio recordings."
Sinatra's Reprise years constitute his work in the 1960s, when rock music was on the rise and the Chairman of the Board was on the decline. The singer's best known work — and perhaps most valuable assets — were done for Capitol Records in the 1950s. EMI acquired Capitol in 1955 and now control much of Sinatra's work. Recently, EMI hired Saatchi and Saatchi to figure out how to better exploit its back catalog, including work by Sinatra.
But Ole Blue Eyes is still Ole Blue Eyes, and the new partnership will control his image and likeness across all media. WMG plans to greatly expand the legendary crooner's presence online. The label was represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner (and THR Power Lawyer) Ruth Fisher with help from Scott Knutson and Andrew Hirsch.
Managing intellectual property assets for musicians with cross generational appeal has become quite the rage in recent years, from Elvis Presley to the Grateful Dead. Even without full control of the back catalogue, Ol' Blue Eyes is now open for business.