The Copyright Cafe® is a boutique Entertainment and Intellectual Property law firm based in the heart of Nashville’s historic Music Row.
Founded in 2002, we have developed just the right blend of services to complement the unique legal and business needs of our clients. We handle contracts, negotiate licenses, protect copyrights, register trademarks and develop business strategies. We also manage and negotiate sales and purchase transactions related to music and other intellectual property rights and royalties.
Our goal is to help clients build enduring careers and vibrant assets. We look forward to serving you!
meet the team
attorney + founder
Raised in the birthplace of Delta Blues and Kermit the Frog, Richard spent his early years exploring the beaches and backroads of southern Mississippi. He always had a deep appreciation for the sound and story of music, and tried his own hand at organ, clarinet, bass and even placed 2nd in a local talent show with his 80s rap group. But the stories that captured his imagination the most came from times of sharing good home cooking around the family table. Gathered here were an eclectic array of guests, including bestselling authors, southern rockers, famous painters and even some outlaws. These are the moments that planted seeds for his own journey.
For the past 30 years Richard has served in the entertainment industry. After high school, he began working with bands and theatre groups that traveled behind the Iron Curtain as it was falling. While studying at Middle Tennessee State University, he launched out as a recording engineer, working on projects for Grammy, CMA, Dove and Stellar award-winning recording artists and producers, as well as on notable national advertising campaigns.
Moving from the creative to the legal side of the business, he attended Franklin Pierce Law Center to focus on intellectual property law. This led to seasons of interning with the Recording Industry Association of America, consulting with the Library of Congress, managing legal affairs for a “dot com” entertainment technology company, serving as director for an independent record label and music publisher, becoming a published author, teaching as an adjunct professor for entertainment and intellectual property classes, and founding the Copyright Cafe in 2002.
Richard serves a flavorful range of clients from all corners of the globe that include recording artists, songwriters, producers, entertainment executives, record labels, music publishers, authors, speakers, hall-of-fame athletes, government agencies, non-profits, tech companies and start-ups.
He has also developed a strong practice serving clients with the purchase and sale of complex entertainment assets. Richard has negotiated and closed over 80 notable transactions related to music, film, television and other intellectual property rights and royalties.
When not negotiating deals you can most likely find him with his wife sharing southern hospitality and lively conversations with an eclectic group of friends and family.
Still want to know more? Check out his LinkedIn.
Some might say that Dean was born with a guitar in his hand, and that may not be far from the truth. Hailing from southern Indiana, some of his earliest memories include playing music with his uncles and neighbors on the back porch of the family farmhouse.
In addition to his deep love for music, Dean has a strong grasp of the business and legal side of entertainment. While attending Belmont College of Law, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Belmont Law Review, worked as a research assistant for Belmont’s Dean Alberto Gonzales, and clerked for Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Graduating Belmont University College of Law magna cum laude, Dean is also a published author. His insightful article on copyright termination issues related to songwriters was published in the prestigious Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA.
Dean worked with the Copyright Cafe throughout law school as a summer associate and officially joined the team following graduation. In addition to understanding the creative mind, he brings a valuable working knowledge of copyright termination, trademarks and catalog transactions to the practice.
Apart from work, you may run across Dean exploring woodland trails with his wife and rambunctious gold retriever, or gathered with friends around an evening fire sharing their favorite songs.
For more on Dean, check out his LinkedIn.
*Dean is currently licensed to practice under supervision in the State of Tennessee, pending bar examination results to be released December 2020.