Songwriter Charged Up Over Stadium Tune

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Songwriter Bobby Kent wants to cash in on his catchy jingle. (Published Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011)

    Who knew that someone actually wrote and copyrighted the ubiquitous "da da da da da da, charge!" cheer that virtually every stadium uses? He exists, his name is Bobby Kent.

    You've never heard of Kent, but you've definitely heard his most famous composition, which he wrote in the late 1970s when he worked for the San Diego Chargers as the team's music director.

    "And we played it on every first and third down when the Chargers had the ball, " Kent explains. "We'd play da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da, going up the scale to get to da da da da da da da, charge, and the whole crowd went, 'charge!'."

    Sports fans instantly recognize it. You'll hear parts or all of it at the games of whichever team is your favorite. It even has an official name: "Stadium Doo Dads."

    So does Kent beam with pride when he hears his work on so many telecasts of games? Not exactly.

    "I get angry," he says, "I get very angry because I'm supposed to be paid for it."

    Kent copyrighted and then registered his composition with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) years ago, but says he didn't know until a couple of years ago that he was owed royalties.

    Kent's attorney, Richard Wolfe, says ASCAP dropped the ball.

    "ASCAP takes the rights from us, they give rights to all of the teams and all of the leagues, all the users of music, so they get the money from the teams and stadiums, they should've given Bobby his share, but they didn't," Wolfe said. "ASCAP has not properly tracked the stadium usage of the song."

    So Kent fired ASCAP last year, and his lawyer notified virtually every team in pro sports to stop using Kent's composition unless they pony up for a licensing fee: $3,000 bucks and you can use the tune as much as you want for a year. Only one team, the Los Angeles Lakers, agreed and signed a licensing agreement.

    "I love Kobe Bryant," Kent says, laughing.

    One other entity which occasionally uses Stadium Doo Dads also agreed to a licensing agreement with Kent: NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

    Kent and Wolfe are suing ASCAP, and the next step, they say, is to start suing the teams who they say are stealing Kent's composition. Wolfe has sent letters to dozens of pro sports teams.

    "They ignored us, they won't ignore our federal lawsuit," Wolfe said.

    With copyright laws on his side, Kent could see a slam dunk, home run, touchdown (or insert your own sport analogy) of a pay day in his future.