Moot Court Team Wins Best Respondents' Brief
Southwestern's team of Britt Karp (SCALE II), Sholom Goodman and Genevieve Younce (both third-year day) won Best Respondents' Brief at the Pepperdine University School of Law National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition. The team also reached the semi-finals, finishing in the top four out of 26 teams from law schools throughout the country. Southwestern defeated competitors from DePaul University College of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School and George Mason University School of Law.
According to Professor David Fagundes, the team's faculty advisor, "Pepperdine annually hosts the nation's premier entertainment law moot court competition. This year's problem required participants to master complex statutory interpretation and policy issues relating to the Federal Copyright Act. All three team members demonstrated impressive mastery of this challenging subject matter. In both preliminary and elimination rounds, judges singled out oralists Sholi and Genevieve for their poise, professionalism and preparation, while Britt, the team's writer, received glowing praise from tournament directors for her first-place brief."
Younce explained that the brief was approached as a team effort, but gave the most credit to Karp, who served as the head writer and worked diligently to make the brief accessible to readers who were not necessarily copyright experts. Karp also finished the brief while she completed her SCALE finals. "Sholi did a ton of research and really worked hard to understand the problem from every possible angle so that we could include original and creative arguments," Younce said. "And I really worked hard to make sure the brief was presented well, and our language was clear. It was a great collaboration, and we're really proud of the result!"
Younce also credited Southwestern's faculty and alumni with helping the team prepare so well for the competition. "Our faculty advisor, Professor Fagundes, several other Southwestern law professors, and some alumni, as well, volunteered their time to judge our practice rounds, which gave us the opportunity to break down the issues even further with their feedback and thoughts," she said. "We would not have been able to do so well without their help! Once we reached competition, Professor Fagundes gave us detailed notes after every round so that we continued to improve throughout the competition."
The problem the team argued and wrote about focused on an artist suing a promotional company for copyright infringement. In an effort to recover losses after a record flopped, the promotional company began selling songs from the album on iTunes, even though the contract with the musician was to only sell physical copies. The artist sued the promotional company for copyright infringement. The problem focused on two emerging issues of copyright law: 1) does copyright registration occur once the application is received by the Copyright Office or after a certificate by the Office is issued and under section 504(c) of the Copyright Act and 2) how many awards of statutory damages are proper for the infringements of the songs in an album if an album is found to be a compilation.