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Music isn't just a hobby for FindLaw.com Sr. Writer Corey Licht, the newest member of the Consumer Core Content team. While Licht's musical creations are a labor of love, it was the intersection of music and technology that brought him to the legal profession in the first place. Licht said he took an interest in the law in the early 2000's, when Napster and other controversial file-sharing sites came under fire for copyright infringement.
Napster was shut down by court order in 2001, giving rise to legitimate digital music services. Licht, meanwhile, continued to stake out his niche.
"I've always been involved in music and writing, so when these new forms of digital distribution became widespread, I became interested in the legal implications of their use," said Licht, who currently spends much of his free time producing hip-hop music (i.e. "dropping beats") for Bay Area rappers.
Licht writes and edits for FindLaw.com’s consumer-friendly Learn About the Law (LATL) section, having transitioned from the Blog team. As a blogger, he covered criminal, bankruptcy, and personal injury law within a variety of metropolitan areas. He admits (and others on the blog team would agree) that the fast-paced nature of news reporting and multiple daily deadlines "wears you out" after a while.
While there was some crossover, he welcomes the new gig and said he really enjoys helping people learn about their rights and legal options. He also noted how LATL's broad coverage has enriched his own understanding of the law.
"As lawyers, we're often pretty specialized in our knowledge or areas of expertise. With the [LATL] team, however, I cover a different aspect of the law every day and I'm constantly learning,” he said.
After earning his law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, with an emphasis on intellectual propery law, Licht took an internship with Monarch Global Music Publishing in San Francisco. At Monarch, he helped draft "synchronization" agreements (among other types of contracts) that enabled its clients to capitalize on their music outside of CD or MP3 sales, such as film or television productions.
"Anytime you hear a Led Zeppelin song in a car commercial or a pop song in a teen movie, there’s a synchronization license behind it," Licht explained. "A huge percentage of the money artists make comes from these types of licensing deals."
He also interned at Fox Sports in Los Angeles, right next to a number of film and TV sets. Right outside his office were several blocks of fake building facades built to resemble New York City, he recalled.
Licht has quickly established himself as an indispensible member of the content team, always good-natured and with a sharp eye for detail. He said he plans to continue developing his writing skills and would like to expand LATL's intellectual property and media law resources. Who knows, he may someday become a prominent hip-hop producer and quit his day job. We hope that day is a long way off.