Alumni: Eric Gelwicks


Eric Gelwicks

JD 10

Associate Counsel and Manager, Business and Legal Affairs, Live Nation

IP Law Rocks!

Eric Gelwicks (JD 2010) has always been passionate about music. “I grew up in a household with a lot of records, music was played during meal times,” he says. He also paid attention to what was happening in the industry, as illegal downloading and content infringement cases made the news. “In college, I realized there was a way to combine my personal interest with a professional career,” he says, and that inspired him to explore his options at GGU Law School.

Intrigued by the relationship between creating content and leveraging evolving technology, he pursued IP Law. “I felt well-prepared (for practice) by practical classes,” he says, and he specifically mentions real-world projects that paralleled theoretical reading and internships that further supported what he learned in the classroom. For example, at Mevio, a startup podcast and video network, he was introduced to IP licensing and content distribution while working under the general counsel.

After receiving his JD (and the 2010 Academic Excellence in IP Law Award), Gelwicks spent four years developing his skills in both litigation and transactional work as an associate attorney with Owen, Wickersham & Erickson, a San Francisco–based firm that specializes in trademark and copyright law. His time at the firm was well spent. “It was good to get a foundation before going in-house to my dream job.”

Gelwicks landed that dream job in 2015: Associate Counsel and Manager, Business and Legal Affairs for Live Nation Merchandise. Live Nation produces concerts and events, coordinates tours, and manages ticket sales and merchandising around the globe for artists including Madonna, Rihanna, U2, and Foo Fighters. Gelwicks must be a jack of all trades, as any day’s to do list may include tasks involving artists’ rights, licensing, publicity and promotions, in-house general counsel responsibilities, and even working out trucking agreements and short-term leases with properties. Frequently that to do list gets pushed aside as issues pop up. “One tour can hit multiple continents, with different laws about employment and privacy,” he offers as an example.

As Gelwicks handles today’s IP issues, he’s intrigued by what he might face in the future, such as how artists will be paid royalties for online streaming and internet radio. Then there’s the challenge of enforcing rights as illegal downloading and bootlegging merchandise become easier. Counterfeiters, he says, can “jump from e-commerce platform to e-commerce platform without getting shut down—while we’re trying to prosecute them.”

But he also envisions positive developments. “Artists will have the ability to leverage technology and get their music out there, at lower costs, to fans around the world.”

It will be interesting, he says, to watch how IP law evolves in the music industry. Meanwhile, for Gelwicks, “No day is ever dull.”