The Recording Academy®, the organization behind the Grammy awards, named Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M. student Sophia Sofferman, winner of this year's Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition for her paper "It's My [Recapture Right], And It's Now or Never…"
The annual Entertainment Law Initiative's Writing Competition invites law students to write a 3,000-word paper on a compelling legal topic facing the music industry today. Sofferman's entry explores the implications stemming from musical artists who may be precluded from recapturing their sound recordings because their loan-out companies executed the assignment of copyright. It proposes three unique approaches for authors to utilize in attempting to reap the benefits of their loan-out company – while preserving their recapture rights — affording musical artists and recording companies greater clarity in the future.
In concert with some of the nation's most prominent entertainment attorneys, the Recording Academy established the Entertainment Law Initiative to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry today.
“I’m sincerely honored and humbled to have my work recognized by the Recording Academy,” said Sofferman. “Researching this issue was an enlightening experience as I’m passionate about music law and am always looking to challenge myself by exploring creative solutions. I’m grateful for Professor Harold Flegelman, director of the entertainment track, for fostering innovative thinking and encouraging students to reach their full potential.”
The 2021 entertainment track candidate received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Union College in New York and her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in New York, where her law review comment, “Climate Change Negotiations and Doha, Qatar,” was published in the 2014 edition of the Pace International Law Review.
“It’s important for creatives to be understood and supported by attorneys who protect their work,” said Sofferman. “Music speaks to my heart and soul. It has the power to inspire and connect multitudes of people globally. I plan to devote my professional career to helping musicians by developing dynamic legal solutions.
“Hence, I sought the growth opportunity in the EASL Program, which employs innovative and holistic approaches in entertainment law. Miami Law celebrates students with unique paths, backgrounds, and goals. I chose to pursue my LL.M. Degree in Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law at Miami Law because of the practical courses, renowned professors, and alumnae I had conversations with who attested to the remarkable education,” she said.
Available only at the University of Miami School of Law and taught by prominent faculty and practicing attorneys, students study a Master of Laws degree to focus on entertainment, arts, and sports law that in today's world are expanding, converging, and at times, intersecting. Hands-on, practical learning teaches high-value skills, which can provide the tipping point for attorneys contending for jobs in very competitive areas.
Road to the Recording Academy Award
The Connecticut native, licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey, came to Miami Law with diverse experiences, from a federal judicial internship to practicing federal and civil litigation at a boutique law firm in New York City, to an internship in the fall of 2020 at the New York City entertainment law firm, Ivko LLC. In between is an impressive collection of production work in music and television, including touring the country with musician Joe Walsh, when he opened for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 2017.
At the core, a lawyer practicing in the entertainment industry provides legal advice, counsel, and representation to companies and individuals engaged in such areas as TV, movies, music, radio, theater, publishing, digital media, and video games.
The areas of law most frequently associated with the field are intellectual property, contracts, corporate, employment/labor, securities, international, taxation, immigration, and litigation.
“I could not be prouder of Sophia or happier for her,” said Flegelman. “She is one of the strongest students the EASL Program has ever seen; and, not surprisingly, she is this year’s recipient of the Endowed Scholarship funded by alumnus and prominent music executive Joseph Weinberger.”
The 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation will take place virtually March 12, during GRAMMY Week 2021. The event, this year honoring the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, gathers the nation's most prominent entertainment attorneys to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry.
“The EASL Program can hardly take credit for Sophia’s paper, but we are dedicated to providing our students with an environment in which such scholarly endeavors can flourish,” said Flegelman.