Ever since I could remember I have wanted to work in the entertainment industry. I have always been fascinated by the process that occurs behind the scenes in order to take a concept from an artistic idea in someone’s head to an actual product that people around the world can enjoy.
As an undergraduate and during graduate school I had the opportunity to work in various capacities in the television industry. During my 1L summer I worked in the legal department at Sony Music Entertainment where I was fortunate enough to garner experience and exposure to the legal and business side of a major record label, and during my 2L year I completed pro bono work at the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. At Seton Hall Law I am working towards completing the Entertainment and New Media Law track of the Intellectual Property Concentration and have had the chance to take several entertainment and IP related courses, in addition to completing a Journal Note on an entertainment law topic, and serving as the Vice President of Entertainment for the Entertainment & Sports Law Society. But I am always looking for ways to continue cultivating my legal analysis and considering the crossroad between the legal and entertainment industries on a deeper level.
In order to do this, I decided to submit an Article to The GRAMMY Foundation® 2017 Entertainment Law Initiative® Writing Competition, which was created by The Recording Academy® in order to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry today. I chose to write about a topic that was both timely, given the 2016 Presidential election, and of particular interest to me. In my Article, “Born to Run: Amending Right Of Publicity Statutes To Address The Use Of Music in Political Campaigning,” I discussed the legal rights and remedies for artists whose music is used without permission in political campaigns. As the law currently stands, there are no sufficient remedies. Copyright infringement is not enough: it is not just about paying a statutorily set royalty to be able to broadcast the song, it is about the message and the correlation between the political realm and the entertainment realm and the fact that this may incorrectly presume sponsorship and thereby an endorsement. And trademark infringement requires a commercial and economic nexus, which would be extremely challenging for potential plaintiffs. The right of publicity is a crossbreed moral and economic right that allows an artist to obtain ownership rights over his or her own identity and persona, and to dictate how it should or should not be used. By broadening right of publicity legislation to protect music in political campaigns, while also balancing competing interests of the First Amendment, artists would have the ability to associate or withhold association rights and claim misappropriation.
I was shocked to learn that my Article had been selected as the winner and that the award would be presented to me at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA at the 19th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation. As part of the scholarship award, I was flown to Los Angeles and invited to the GRAMMY Awards® at the Staples Center, the MusiCares® Person of the Year Gala honoring Tom Petty, the Grammy Nominee Reception, Grammy Pre-Telecast, and After-Party.
The whirlwind weekend provided me with the chance to network with entertainment attorneys who are currently working in the same industry that I hope to work in after graduating from law school, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend music’s biggest night and its accompanying events. It was an immense honor and privilege to have my work recognized by the Foundation and to be able to represent Seton Hall Law out in Hollywood!
Anyone looking to get involved in the competition next year can read more about it here.