Cary Sherman

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Cary Sherman
Cary H. Sherman

Alma materCornell University
Harvard Law School
OccupationChairman & CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America
Years active2011 - Present

Cary Sherman is Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, an organization representing the nation’s major music labels. The trade group’s member companies are responsible for creating, manufacturing, or distributing approximately 85 percent of all legitimate[dubious ] sound recordings sold in the United States.


Sherman graduated from Cornell University in 1968, and Harvard Law School in 1971.[1]


Sherman was hired as general counsel for RIAA in 1997. Throughout his tenure, Sherman has helped guide the industry’s efforts to facilitate new ways for fans to access music and to ensure that music creators are properly compensated as streaming media became the dominant format of the business. He was instrumental in the enactment of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act in 1995, which along with his work on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, established a new right for artists and labels to be compensated by digital music services. That right has since become the core legal foundation obligating streaming services to pay royalties for their subscription services – services that have become the primary catalyst for growth in the business. His work involved coordination and regulation of the industry's business, policy and legal objectives while his obligations remain primarily in technology, government affair issues, licensing and enforcement of rules and regulations. In 2010, Sherman helped the RIAA secure a $105 million settlement from LimeWire for copyright infringement.[2] Sherman replaced Mitch Bainwol as CEO in August 2011.[3][4]

Sherman is a strong advocate of SOPA and PIPA. Following the defeat of the bills in January 2012, Sherman penned an op-ed in The New York Times critical of the bills' detractors and their motives.[5] The opinion piece was criticized.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

An amateur musician and lyricist, he is a member of the Board of Levine Music in Washington, D.C., where he recently served as Chairman. Sherman also serves on the board of the Anti-Defamation League, and has served on numerous other boards, including the Copyright Society, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, The Computer Law Association, The Computer Lawyer, and BNA Records' Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal.


  1. ^ "RIAA 'Executive Bios'". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  2. ^ Hau, Louis (January 26, 2012). "Billboard Power 100: Cary Sherman".
  3. ^ Sisario, Ben (August 8, 2011). "Sherman Takes Over at Recording Industry Group". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Martinez, Jennifer; Boliek, Brooks (August 8, 2011). "RIAA names Cary Sherman its CEO". Politico. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Sherman, Cary (February 7, 2012). "What Wikipedia Won't Tell You". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Masnick, Mike (February 8, 2012 or February 10, 2011.). "RIAA Totally Out Of Touch: Lashes Out At Google, Wikipedia And Everyone Who Protested SOPA/PIPA". Techdirt. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ Anderson, Nate (February 8, 2012). "RIAA still raging against Google, Wikipedia for "misuse of power" in SOPA battle". Ars Technica.