Rob Monath’s practice focuses on the protection and development of intellectual property. Rob handles legal and business matters involving copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and related areas for a wide range of clients in music, publishing, arts, entertainment, business, health care, education, government and non-profit organizations.
Rob has developed a particular reputation for his work in publishing and media. He presently acts as music publishing administrator for Tony Award winner Billy Porter, Grammy nominated arranger and music director, Joseph Joubert, ASCAP Concert Music Award recipient Joseph Jennings and 60 Minutes-profiled British composer John Rutter. Rob also represents a number of publishers and producers, including Quimbee, North Valley Media Productions and ECS Publishing. Other representative clients include Texas Christian University, The Stuart Hine Trust (for the hymn How Great Thou Art) and ECS Publishing.
Rob has negotiated many high profile licenses and agreements with top entertainment, media and publishing companies, such as Big Machine Records, Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, Simon & Schuster, Pearson, Oxford University Press, Hal Leonard, the Public Theatre, Paramount Pictures, the BBC, PBS and all major U.S. television networks. Specific film and television projects for which Rob has licensed music include The Royal Wedding (William and Kate), Jackie Gleason’s The Wool Cap (TNT Movie of the Week), Nixon (Oliver Stone), Glee, and Dick Clark’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Based in Raleigh, Rob’s firm has developed an impressive roster of North Carolina clients, including the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the Roanoke Island Historical Association (The Lost Colony), SAS Institute, Rack Room Shoes, Comporium Communications (Rock Hill), Charlotte Plastic Surgery, Grubb Properties and the City of Raleigh.
Rob is honored to have been recognized and named to Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite for Intellectual Property and North Carolina Super Lawyers.
Peer recognition is also reflected in Rob’s election to the Board of Managers for the Carolina Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law Association and to the Council for the Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Rob has also been invited to present CLE programs on a variety of intellectual property topics, and he is a frequent speaker and lecturer. Rob is a published author, and his By The Book: A Simple Copyright Compliance Method for Musicians and Music Professionals has become a leading and indispensable guide in its field.
Rob is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in English and Law. He has taught business law at N.C. State University and clerked at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Active in the Episcopal Church, Rob served on the vestry and as senior warden of St. Luke’s in Salisbury, as a trustee of the St. Luke’s Foundation and as a delegate to the North Carolina Diocesan Convention. He currently serves as a kitchen volunteer at Christ Church in Raleigh.
Rob enjoys composing music, photography, cooking and outdoor recreation.
Representative Presentations, Articles, and Publications
When a Business Uses Music — When are Music Licenses Needed and What Legal Issues Should be Considered?, presented as a live webinar through Strafford Publishing. Summer 2020. Atlanta, Georgia.
The Relationship of Copyrights to Other Types of Intellectual Property, presented (virtually) to the Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Spring 2020. Raleigh, North Carolina.
Copyrights, Trademarks and Your Business: Protecting What Belongs to You, Respecting What Belongs to Others, presented to the North Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Fall 2019. Raleigh, North Carolina.
Advanced Topics in Publishing and Copyright Law, presented as a series of seminars to the faculty, students and staff of Texas Christian University School of Music. Winter 2019. Fort Worth, Texas.
General Intellectual Property Considerations in Estate Planning, presented to the Durham-Orange Estate Planning Council. Fall 2018. Durham, North Carolina.
IP Issues for Local Governments, presented as a live webinar to the membership of the International Municipal Lawyers Association. Summer 2018. Rockville, Maryland.
Negotiating Music Licensing and Structuring Deals, presented as a live webinar through Strafford Publishing. Summer 2018. Atlanta, Georgia.
Protect Your Brand and Protect Yourself, presented to the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. Spring 2018. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Creating and Preserving Valuable Rights in Products, Brands and Proprietary Content: The Critical Role of the Business Attorney, presented to the Business Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Winter 2017. Pinehurst, North Carolina.
By the Book: A Simple Copyright Compliance Method for Musicians and Music Professionals, Revised Second Edition. Fall 2016.
Branding, Alternative Revenue Streams and Performing Groups, presented to the International Bluegrass Association Annual Business Conference. Fall 2016. Raleigh, North Carolina.
Keeping it Legal, featured clinician, Virginia Wesleyan College Sacred Music Conference. Summer 2016. Virginia Beach, VA.
Copyright Law Year in Review, presented to the Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Spring 2016. Greensboro, North Carolina.
County Trademark and Licensing Issues, presented to the North Carolina Association of County Attorneys Winter Conference. Winter 2016. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Copyrights, Trademarks and Related Intellectual Property Rights: An Essential Primer for General Practitioners, presented to the Tenth Judicial District Bar. Winter 2015. Raleigh, North Carolina.
Music Streaming Royalties, featured panelist, Duke Sports and Entertainment Law Society Fifth Annual Symposium. Winter 2015. Durham, North Carolina.
Sourcing Public Domain Content, presented to the Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Spring 2013. Greensboro, North Carolina.
Advising Clients Regarding Copyright Termination, presented to the Carolina Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law Association. Spring 2012. Charlotte, North Carolina.
Digital Rights—A World Perspective, featured panelist and speaker, Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association. Summer, 2011. London, England.
Copyright Issues in the Digital Age: Practical and Legal Issues, presented to the National Association of Schools of Music. Fall 2009. San Diego, California.
Copyright and Fair Use in Academics, presented to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Music Faculty. Fall 2009. Greensboro, North Carolina.
Intellectual Property Issues for Filmmakers, featured panelist and speaker, Charlotte Film Festival. Fall 2009. Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tap Dancing Your Way Into Grand Rights, featured panelist, Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association. Spring 2009. Washington, DC.
Representative Clients by Industry
Publishing, Media and Entertainment
Broadway Inspirational Voices
C. Alan Publications
North Valley Media Productions
Noteworthy Christian Music
The Stuart Hine Trust
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway
Carolina Fitness Equipment
Charlotte Plastic Surgery
Hinnant Family Vineyards
Operation 36 Golf
QuitSmart Stop Smoking Resources
Rack Room Shoes
Government, Non-Profit and Religious Organizations
Apseed Early Childhood Education
Chamber of Commerce of the Outer Banks
City of Raleigh
City of Salisbury
North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association
North Carolina League of Municipalities
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Foundation
Texas Christian University
Wayne County Tourism Development Authority
Areas of Practice
Types of Work Product
We prepare copyright registrations, federal and state trademark applications and prosecutions, advisory opinion letters, notices of copyright termination, due diligence protocols, intellectual asset management plans, trademark usage policies, and many other types of documents.
Created model dramatic music performance licensing guidelines for determining when a specific orchestral concert program constitutes a theatrical adaption requiring separate grand rights clearance.
Terminated and re-licensed the copyright to one of the most widely performed hymns in the world.
Developed and implemented an integrated trademark-copyright-ordinance protection regime for restricting unauthorized use of a municipal seal.
Types of Work Product
We draft many types of agreements, including publication, recording, band, joint venture, independent contractor, consulting, commissioned works, rights options, merchandise licensing, music licensing, trademark co-existence, re-licensure of terminated copyrights, works-for-hire, video production, non-disclosure, letters of intent, deal memoranda, life story rights, internet, author collaboration, assignments, endorsement, and name and likeness rights.
Negotiated and concluded a major 360 record label deal.
Prepared a joint venture agreement between an arts organization and a public television station for a program series.
Drafted a customized SaaS agreement for a national rail services company.
Types of Work Product
We have been actively engaged in dispute resolution including federal copyright and trademark infringement actions, trademark opposition and cancellation proceedings, mediation, cease and desist notifications, and domain name dispute proceedings.
Mediated full settlement of complex federal copyright infringement action involving popular decorative product line distributed through national home improvement store chain.
Litigated Dawson v. Hinshaw Music, Inc., 905 F. 2d 731 (4th Cir. 1990), including oral argument at the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and filing of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.
Resolved a trademark cancellation proceeding for a national food product mark through entry into a trademark license and co-existence agreement.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC,
B.A., English, Phi Beta Kappa, 1982.
The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey,
North Carolina State Bar
All North Carolina State and Federal Courts
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Supreme Court