Student Wins The GRAMMY Foundation’s 17th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative

Third-year law student Brian Oliver won The GRAMMY Foundation’s 17th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative, a prestigious writing competition sponsored by The Recording Academy.
3L Brian Oliver (left) with Kenneth Abdo

3L Brian Oliver (left) with Kenneth Abdo Photo courtesy of The Recording Academy®/, Photo by Michael Buckner © 2015

“I am sincerely humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Oliver, who is working on a joint degree in law and music business and entertainment industries. “If anything, this award is a testament to the quality of intellectual property law and entertainment law instruction at the University of Miami.”

Oliver’s winning entry, “One Album Warrants One Award: Harmonizing the Statutory Damages Schema with the Unbundled Recorded Music Industry,” encourages courts to reconsider the way they have been awarding statutory damages in connection with digital musical albums.

As the winner, Oliver received a $5,000 scholarship, an all-expenses paid trip to the GRAMMY Awards, held on February 8th, and the opportunity to present the paper at a high-profile entertainment law luncheon during GRAMMY Week. “I am truly grateful for my GRAMMY Week experience; it is one I will never forget,” said Oliver. His essay will also be published by the GRAMMY Foundation, the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, as well as in a major law review or journal.

Oliver “stumbled upon” this topic while researching another issue for Professor David Nimmer’s Applied Topics in Advanced Music Copyright Law class in Spring 2014, and thought it could be interesting to explore at a later date. “Then, after reexamining the issue towards the end of last semester in Professor Serona Elton’s [of the Frost School of Music] Advanced Topics in the Music Industry course, I thought this would be a fun paper to write over winter break.”

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies, Oliver serves as the President of ‘Canes Records, a student-run record label at the University of Miami which has released 25 albums in the 20 years since its inception.

At Miami Law, he is Staff Editor of the International & Comparative Law Review, a member of the Society of Bar and Gavel, on the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board, a member of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, and has served as a Writing Dean’s Fellow, for multiple semesters. Additionally, he has worked as a student attorney at Miami Law’s Children & Youth Law Clinic, and as a Business and Legal Affairs Intern for Warner Music Group, among other things. Currently, Oliver is a law clerk at Longo & Alach LLP, a high-volume entertainment law firm, located on Miami Beach.

The GRAMMY Foundation, in concert with some of the nation's most prominent entertainment attorneys, established the Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) in 1998 to promote discussion and debate about the most compelling legal issues facing the music industry today. ELI also endeavors to support future careers in entertainment law by seeking out the nation's top law students and giving them invaluable networking and educational opportunities.

“Music is something that has always been very special to me,” said Oliver. “And I look forward to using my law degree to protect, support, and celebrate it.”

More on entertainment law at Miami Law