Lisa A. Alter


Lisa A. Alter’s practice is focused primarily in the area of copyright law, with a particular emphasis on music copyright issues. She advises a number of prominent major and independent music publishing companies, as well as equity investors, in copyright and transactional matters. She represents clients in transactions involving the acquisition and sale of significant music assets, negotiates and closes complex stock and asset purchase agreements, and conducts in-depth copyright due diligence in connection with the acquisition, sale and/or administration of music copyright catalogues.

Ms. Alter’s clients also include a large number of bespoke songwriters, recording artists and producers as well as musical estates comprising the successors to many of the great American songbook composers and lyricists. Among her clients are numerous inductees into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and are the recipients of Grammy and Ivor Novello awards. In addition to advising her clients on a wide variety of transactional and licensing matters, Ms. Alter has gained a formidable reputation for her work in the area of termination of transfers in accordance with the United States Copyright Act and the recapture of music publishing and master recording copyrights.

Ms. Alter lectures frequently on copyright issues at professional and music industry meetings in both the US and the UK. She serves as a Visiting Professor at Yale Law School where she teaches a course on The Law and Business of Music. In addition, she has written numerous articles addressing music publishing and copyright matters and is the author of “Protecting Your Musical Copyrights” which is widely relied upon in the music publishing industry.

  • Best Lawyers, Copyright and Entertainment Law – Music (2021-2023)
  • Best Lawyers, Entertainment Law- Music "Lawyer of the Year" (2023)
  • Top Music Lawyer, Billboard (2018-2023)
  • Legal Impact Report, Variety (2021-2023)
  • "Best Law Firms," U.S. News & World Report (2021-2022)
  • Dealmakers Impact Report, Variety (2020-2022)
  • Power List, Billboard (2020, 2022)
  • Dealmakers of the Year, New York Law Journal (2021)
  • “New York Power Lawyers”, The Hollywood Reporter (2021)
  • Band 1 Ranked Lawyer in Media and Entertainment: Music - New York, Chambers USA (2019-2021)
  • New York Metro Super Lawyers (2018-2021)
  • Executives of the Year, Women In Music, Billboard (2018-2020)
  • Dealmakers Directory, Billboard (2020)
  • New York's Top 20 Entertainment Attorneys, The Hollywood Reporter (2020)
  • New York Women's Impact Report, Variety (2020)
  • New York Dealmaker's Elite, Variety (2017, 2018)
  • Recognized Practitioner, Chambers USA (2018)
  • Panelist: “EASL MBLC 2020 Conference: Music Industry,” (Webinar, 2020)
  • Panelist: “The 2019 Gold Rush is in Music Catalogs: The Outlook for Music Asset Transactions and Strategies in Mitigating Risk”, EASL - Music Business Law Conference (New York, NY 2019)
  • Panelist: “Money on the Table: Trends in Copyright & Music Publishing Acquisitions”, Music Business Association (Nashville, Tennessee, 2018)
  • Panelist: “Reclaim Your Copyright”, Entertainment & Technology Law Conference (New York, NY, 2017)
  • Panelist: “Termination Rights and Related Issues”, New York State Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law Section: Annual Music Business and Law Conference (New York, NY, 2016)
  • Panelist: “The Ins and Outs of Copyright Terminations”, American Bar Association (Webinar, 2016)
  • Speaker: “Music Licensing Issues”, Practicing Law Institute: Advanced Copyright Law Annual Review (New York, NY, 2016)
  • Presenter: “Terminations of Transfers in the Music Industry”, City Bar Association – Entertainment Law Committee (New York, NY, 2016)
  • Moderator: “I Want It Back – Termination of Grants of Copyright”, American Bar Association at the Americana Music Conference (Nashville, TN, 2015)
  • Panelist: "Deconstructing Digital: An Overview of US Licensing and Royalty Collection Practices”, PRS for Music (London, UK, 2015)
  • Moderator: “The Beginning or the End? The Impact of US Termination Rights on the UK Music Industry”, PRS for Music (London, UK, 2015)
  • Panelist: “International Licensing of Music: From BC to AD (From Before the Change to After Digital)”, Music Business Association: Entertainment & Technology Law Conference (New York, NY, 2014)
  • Presenter: “The Terminators: An Update on the Termination of Transfer Provisions in the U.S. Copyright Act”, Association of Independent Music Publishers (New York, NY, 2014)
  • Presenter: “U.S. Copyright Termination: Implications for U.K. Songwriters”, British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) (London, UK, 2013)
  • Presenter: “U.S. Copyright Termination”, Music Publishers Association (London, UK, 2013)
  • Panelist: “A New Beginning in the End: Termination Rights in Sound Recordings”, American Bar Association (Webinar, 2012)
  • Panelist: “Termination of Transfers of Copyright”, The 10th Annual San Francisco MusicTech Summit (San Francisco, CA, 2012)
  • Panelist: “Creators v. Corporations: Copyright Termination and Royalty Accounting After the Eminem Case”, National Association of Recording Merchandisers Entertainment and Technology Law Conference (New York, NY, 2011)
  • Speaker: “Implications of U.S. Copyright Terminations for U.K. Authors and Publishers”, Featured Artists Coalition/Music Management Forum (London, UK, 2011)
  • Panelist: “Hot Blooded: The Debate Over Sound Recordings as Works Made for Hire”, Copyright Society of the USA Annual Meeting (New York, NY, 2011)
  • Panelist: “The Ins and Outs of Copyright Terminations”, American Bar Association (Webinar, 2011)
  • Admitted to practice in New York, California and New Jersey
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section
    • Intellectual Property Law Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industry
    • Intellectual Property Law Committee
  • Copyright Society of the USA
  • International Association of Entertainment Lawyers
  • Planned Parenthood New York City, Board Member
  • Adolescent Girls Legal Defense Fund, Advisory Board Member
  • Girls Learn International, Co-Founder & Advisory Board Member
  • New York University School of Law, J.D. (1981)
  • Wesleyan University, B.A. (1978)

Protecting Your Musical Copyrights

Download our useful and frequently sought out guide to copyright law as it pertains to musical compositions and sound recordings, including detailed information regarding the statutory termination provisions of the US Copyright Act and helpful charts outlining the applicable timeframes during which the recapture rights provided for thereunder may be exercised, as well as practical tips for musical estates, music publishers, and other content owners.