Entertainment Law Initiative®

The Entertainment Law Initiative was established by the Recording Academy® to encourage discussion and debate around legal affairs in the ever-evolving music industry and how they impact creatives and the greater music community. In partnership with the nation’s top entertainment law practitioners and schools, the initiative offers year-round networking and career development events for professionals and cultivates the next generation through connection and educational opportunities for students.

Keep an eye on this page for announcements about upcoming ELI professional and student events, online programs, and other opportunities.

Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest

Submissions for 2025 are now open! Deadline is November 8th, 2024!

The annual ELI Writing Contest challenges law students to identify and research a pressing legal issue facing the music industry today and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. A nationwide panel of music law experts judge the papers in a blind process to select one winner and two runners-up.

See Official Contest Rules for entry requirements and full prize packages.

You can also check out a Writing Contest Info Session from Fall 2023 featuring past winners. Check it out on our YouTube page here.

2024 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Olivia Fortunato, Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY

“Post-Mortem Right Of Publicity And Technological Advancements”

Runner-Up: Matthew Citron, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA

“BMI’S For-Profit Model And Consent Decree Regulation”

Runner-Up: Emily Cohen, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

“A “Perfect Storm” For Reworking The Copyright Test” 

2023 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Aron Lichtschein, NYU School of Law, New York, NY

“Tickets To Ride: NFTs And The Future of Concert Ticketing”

Runner-Up: Gina Maeng, Georgetown Law School, Washington, D.C.

“Keep Calm And Rock On: A Federal Crowd Management Law For The Live Music Industry”

Runner-Up: Amanda Sharp, University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, CA

“Addressing The Music Industry’s Biggest Broken Record: Why Blockchain, Smart Contracts, And NFTs Are An Unmatched Solution To The Music Industry’s $424 Million Unmatched Royalty Problem”

2022 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Sona Sulakian, USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA

“Protecting The Artist: Licensing In An AI-Generated Music Market”

Runner-Up: Chelsea Cohen, LMU Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA

“Welcome To The Metaverse: Solving Old-World Licensing In A Whole New Universe”

Runner-Up: Michael Harrigan, Stetson University College of Law, DeLand, FL

“Beyond A Reasonable Doubt: How Blockchain Technology Can Shift The DMCA’s Burden Of Notification Away From Copyright Owners”

2021 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Sophia Sofferman, University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL

“It’s My [Recapture Right], And It’s Now Or Never…”

Runner-Up: Evan Biegel, St. John’s University School of Law, Queens, NY

“Tuning The Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Musical Work Infringement”

Runner-Up: Alberto Vargas, University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL

“Bare Responsibility Or Reasonable Opportunity? In Defense Of A Defendant-Conscious View Of ‘Access’ In A Digital Age”

2020 Winner & Runners-Up

Winner: Christopher Chiang, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

“Copyright Protection Designed for Music’s Illusory Innovation Space: A Sliding Scale Framework of Broad to Thin Protection”

Runner-Up: Graham Fenton, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

“Taming The Ticket Market: How A Closed Ticketing System Can Beat Back Scalpers And Recapture Lost Revenue”

Runner-Up: John Gilbertson, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, IA

“Play It Again, Sam: The Free-Market Case For Government Intervention In The Music Streaming Sector”

For all inquiries or to be added to the ELI mailing list, please contact ELI@recordingacademy.com

Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY® Week Event

The 26th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event was held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 in Los Angeles at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel.

The Recording Academy again congratulates our 2024 ELI Service Award honoree, Michael Kushner, and our 2024 ELI Writing Contest winner and runners up (see below). Also, big thanks to our keynote speaker Michelle Jubelirer, along with other speakers and presenters Julie Greenwald, Laurie Soriano, and Stephanie Yu. See a video recap of the event here.

Inside The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Gala

Join us for the 2025 event and other ELI activity! For sponsorship, individual ticket, or ELI Writing Contest or other information please email eli@recordingacademy.com

The Recording Academy thanks our Entertainment Law Initiative sponsors for their generous support of our 2024 event:

Platinum Plus Silver
First Horizon Music, Sports & Entertainment American Bar Association (ABA)
Pryor Cashman LLP BMI
Counsel LLP
Platinum Covington & Burling LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Eisner, LLP
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP Global Music Rights
Sony Music Entertainment King Holmes Paterno & Soriano LLP
Sony Music Publishing PeerTracks
Spotify Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy Worob & Averill, LLP
Universal Music Group Sound Royalties
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP SoundExchange
Apple Bronze
Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian, LLP Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association
Fox Rothschild LLP Boyarski Fritz
Greenberg Traurig LLP Concord
Jenner and Block Consilio
LaPolt Law PC Greenspoon Marder LLP
Loeb & Loeb LLP Latham & Watkins LLP
Michelman & Robinson LLP Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP
Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light LLP NBCUniversal
Proskauer Rose LLP Reed Smith LLP
Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder, LLP Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sidley Austin Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Warner Music Group The Zia Firm PLLC
Warner Records Warner Chappell Music
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
23-24 Entertainment Law Initiative Executive Committee 23-24 Entertainment Law Initiative Advisory Council
Laurie Soriano (Chair) Ken Abdo
Kris Ahrend Jay Cooper
Sandy Crawshaw-Sparks John Frankenheimer
Susan Genco Jeff Harleston
Renee Karalian Joel Katz
Michael Kushner Chuck Ortner
Dina LaPolt Don Passman
Wade Leak Michael Reinert
Angie Martinez Ron Wilcox
Tanya Perara
Julian Petty
Leron Rogers
Henry Root
Bobby Rosenbloum
Julie Swidler
Jeff Walker
Robert Windom
Stephanie Yu

The annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event gathers professionals and creators alike to celebrate, hear from industry leaders and allies, and acknowledge achievements of music business trailblazers through the ELI Service Award, an accolade presented to a legal professional or entity who has demonstrated commitment to advancing and bettering the music community through service. See below for recaps of past events:

How The Entertainment Law Initiative’s “The Evolution Of The Record Contract” Panel Analyzed The Essentials Of Record Deals

Click the link below to watch ELI’s fall 2022 collaborative panel with GRAMMY U:

How Independent Artists Can Protect Their Work

Inside The 2023 Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event: Heartfelt Hilarity & A Dedication To Helping The Music Community

How The Entertainment Law Initiative Tackles Today’s Leading Law Issues & Fosters The Next Generation of Legal Innovators

23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Honors Black Entertainment And Sports Lawyers Association, Discusses Future Of Music Industry

2019 Entertainment Law Initiative Event With Dina LaPolt, Tina Tchen, Steven Tyler & More