|Copyright, Trademarks, & Publishing
Directory of sites containing information specifically dealing with
music law, including publishers, copyright, trademark and entertainment law services.
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Hiring a Music Attorney: Some Insider Tips
If you are seeking a career in the music business, there
will most likely come a time when consulting with an attorney will be
helpful. As an attorney myself for over twenty years, I have observed
over the years many attorneys working with their clients, and I have seen many
attorney-client relationships work and not work. I want to discuss here, completely candidly, what I believe what you
should know about hiring an attorney and working successfully with that
attorney. Article by Bart Day.
Music Law and Copyright Law...
selection of useful, "ready made" contracts
from Artist Management Services. Includes a Band Member Agreement, Song Publishing Contract, Sponsorship, Sound
Services Contract and more. Updated 04/11/2005.
American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. An association of over 200,000 composers, songwriters,
lyricists and music publishers, ASCAP's function is to protect the rights of its members by licensing and paying
royalties for the public performances of their copyrighted works. Updated 04/11/2005.
Band Partnership Agreement (Example & Template)
Here you'll find a link to a template for a Band Partnership Agreement that will help you
craft your own Agreement. Added 05/26/2011.
Broadcast Music Incorporated, a music performing rights organization that represents songwriters (even when they
happen also to be performers), as well as film, television, musical theatre and classical music composers and,
of course, music publishers. BMI collects money from the businesses that use music in the course of their day and
then pays out that money as royalties to the composers and publishers of the songs and compositions they play.
New York's Lowest Priced Law
never used their services, we can't
necessarily vouch for these
guys. However, the price is
right, and if you're in need
of legal services, here's someone
worth researching. To quote
the web site, "No suits & ties. Real low fees. Great legal rep.
A different kind of music law firm. We know that young musicians and new
businesspeople can't afford to blow their limited funds on a lawyer. Not when
there are videos to shoot, equipment to buy, merch to produce, and parties to
That's why our fees are about 70 to 80% lower than the
average at only $79 per hour. With us you get the same experience and better
service without any pretense." Updated 5/4/2011.
Lawyers For The Arts
Founded in 1974, CLA provides lawyer referrals, dispute resolution services, and a resource library to artists
of all disciplines and arts organizations. Their lawyer referral service can provide you with a brief half-hour
consultation for $35 (for non-members) in numerous areas of law, including copyright, contract drafting, incorporation,
mediation and arbitration. CLA also holds a number of workshops focusing on the music business available throughout
southern California. If you need an entertainment lawyer, and quick, CLA is a good place to start. Updated 5/4/2011.
a tax preparation service devoted
to artists and musicians. So
when that time of year comes
around and you need help figuring
out your taxes, determining
what to deduct, how to file,
whether you files as a "business"
or anything else, check in with
Fox for assistance. They can
provide anything from simple
advice to doing the entire preparation
and tax filing for you. Added 07/21/2005.
of Music Coalition
This fascinating web site features numerous
articles and commentaries on the state of the music industry, technology and
the evolving debate over intellectual property rights. One of the stated goals
of the Coalition is to educate musicians about critical issues shaping the
industry. You'll find a large selection of articles, a library of important
books, research areas, newsletters, and ideas for how you can participate in
the debate. Sign up for the newsletter to remain updated on what’s happening on
the legal side of the entertainment world. Updated 10/14/2010.
The Harry Fox Agency,
Want to use a copyright protected song but you're confused about who to contact and how to go about it? The HFA
licenses the largest percentage of music in the United States for CDs,
digital services and music downloads. Once
you register, The HFA's easy to use
licensing system takes you step by step through the process of licensing songs for use in recording, performance,
film, or digital
downloads and tells you exactly what you need to do and what it will cost you. Updated 10/14/2010.
Hall: Attorney's at Law
Heraty Hall is
a law firm that specializes in serving the needs
of artists and professionals in the entertainment
industry. Clients include musicians, record labels, artist
management companies, writers, composers, licensing companies, a PR firm, and more.
They draft and negotiate contracts, form LLCs, consult on business issues, advise clients of their legal rights,
and help companies organize and define themselves. They pride themselves on" providing quality low-cost legal
representation to those who would otherwise not have access to it." Added
Johnson & Moo, Attorneys at Law
To quote the web site: "Our primary practice areas are music law, entertainment law, and... we aim to use our extensive experience and creativity to help serve our
clients better. We value our clients... and strive to make each of our clients feel as if he or she is our only client. Entertainment contracts can be complex and intimidating and
therefore it's important to have an attorney on your side who is
thoroughly familiar with them. Kamal Moo, partner at Johnson & Moo, has spent several years in the music
industry as an artist manager and is now drawing on his practical
experience to help provide his entertainment law clients with the best
guidance possible." On the site you'll find links to information on copyright registration, management contracts, music licensing, production agreements and publishing and recording contracts. Added 5/4/2011.
for Recording Artists and Songwriters
Here are a few articles from Ivan Hoffman, Attorney At Law, on issues that effect the recording artist and songwriter.
Articles include The Six Potential Traps In A Recording Contract, Recording Contract Royalties, Owned and Controlled Licenses,
Contract Exit Strategies and others. Added 06/20/2002.
Your Music Overseas
If you are an artist or indie label, one way to significantly expand your
universe is to license your master recordings to record companies outside the
United States. Article
Day. Added 01/29/2004
& Wong - Entertainment Law
& Won is a full service global entertainment law firm specializing in music law, the
music business and the music industry. At their web site you'll find a wonderful
selection of articles on some
of the legal topics that concern
musicians most: royalties, agents,
film/tv licensing, group partnerships,
publishing, and so much more.
Their client list is quite impressive,
and their consultation rates
very reasonable too. Great content.
of Music Publishers
Looking for a publisher's contact information? The Music Publishers' Association's directory contains contact information
for publishers, both domestic and foreign, and copyright administrating offices. A very complete listing and an
an excellent resource. Added 11/26/2002.
Need assistance getting permission to use that cover song on your CD? Want to license music for your film or video?
The Parker Music Groups, AKA MusicClearance.com is in the business of locating publishers and copyright owners
for the purpose of negotiating song licensing rights and fees for their clients. Check out their credits for a
very impressive list of clients. Updated 04/11/2005
This site, an extension of the Law Office of J.
Scott Rudsenske, offers an assortment of pre-made music business contracts for
the artist, record label, manager, producer and publisher. Contracts are
available in packages, or individually. Once you select, and pay for the
contract (most range from $20-$40), you may immediately download it. Updated
Music Law: Free Legal Advice
Here you'll find answers on nearly every aspect of music law
- including copyrighting your music, royalties, protecting your band name, music publishers, recording contracts
and agreements, getting perimission to use a song, and many other topics. Very useful. Added 06/03/2003.
Here's another resource for those of you searching for templates for music contracts and legal forms for the music
business. Purchase complete contract packages, or purchase each form individually. Band/Artist contract pages includes
and Artist Management Contract, Band Performance Contract, General Partnership Agreement, Recording Artist Contracts,
Tour Sponsorship Agreement and many others. All forms are provided in HTML and Word formats. Added 10/03/2002.
Music Publishers' Association
This web site is an excellent resource on all things copyright/publishing related, but is particularly useful if
you are seeking the publisher or copyright owner of a particular song. Their Copyright Search Center provides a
step-by-step guide to finding the copyright holder or publisher for a piece of music. MPA also provides generic
forms you can use to request permission to make use of songs in your projects. Reviewed 09/26/2002
Intellectual Law and Resources Links
A very complete directory containing not only links, but general information on the basics of copyright and music
law. You'll find notes on trademarks, mechanical royalties, an analysis of recording contract clauses and more.
Also, written in plain English, so little guesswork involved. A great place to find basic music law information
quickly. Updated 04/04/2003.
Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution (U.S.)
Thinking of setting up your own Podcast? It would be wise to know your legal boundaries. This guide covers copyright issues, special rules, using your own content, incorporation of others' audio recordings, interviews, licenses you'll need and more. Updated 10/14/2010.
Public Domain Music
Need to find out if a song you want to perform or record is in the public domain? Then check out this public domain
information project. You'll find numerous articles on public domain works and copyright information as well as
public domain song lists, research resources, tips, and a well documented FAQ. Updated 10/14/2010.
Recording Industry Association
The RIAA is a trade group that represents most of the corporate music industry. Its
member companies comprise about 90% of all sound recordings manufactured and
sold in the U.S.. While some artists view the RIAA as the "enemy,"
representing big money and big business, the company does in fact provide a
wealth of information on what’s happening in the industry. The RIAA site is
regularly updated with information on new technologies, copyright law, freedom
of speech, licensing, royalties, market data and more. Hanging out at the RIAA
site you definitely get a different perspective - the business perspective -
and that’s a perspective you ought to know. Updated 10/14/2010.
Your Own Record: A Legal Checklist
For artists who are releasing their own record for the first
time, without the involvement or assistance of a label, the process can be a little intimidating. It can be easy
to miss some key legal details in the process. Here, therefore, is a very basic checklist of issues to be considered
when releasing a record. Updated 10/14/2010.
Russell Law: Legal Services for Creative People
Elizabeth T. Russell is the author of Art Law Conversations: A Surprisingly Readable Guide for Visual Artists. Art Law Conversations achieved finalist status in ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Book of the Year awards, earned a rating of "Essential" from CHOICE Magazine and was named to CHOICE's 2006 Outstanding Academic Titles. Elizabeth is also the Art Law columnist for Art Calendar, a national business magazine for visual artists. As a writer she particularly enjoys taking complicated issues and explaining them in understandable terms for nonlawyers. Practice areas include Copyright and Trademark, Contracts, Arts and entertainment, Internet law, Nonprofit law and general business. Added 12/12/2007.
Schroder Fidlow, PLC
Schroder Fidlow, PLC is a unique law firm that provides full-service legal advice and counsel to clients in the entertainment industry and in the performance and visual arts based in the United States and around the world. Located in Virgina, Schroder Fidlow’s mission is to provide effective legal representation and guidance to our clients in a cost-efficient manner. They pride themselves providing New York/Los Angeles quality entertainment & arts law services WITHOUT the New York/Los Angeles high billing rates and fees. Added 06/06/2007.
Tips For Selecting
an Entertainment Attorney
Sooner or later you will need legal counsel as a musician, songwriter,
label owner or industry careerist and it's important to know how to select the best counsel for your needs. Here
are a few tips to help you with the screening process. Updated 10/14/2010..
U.S. Copyright Office
The U.S. Copyright Office's web site is surprisingly user friendly. You'll find all
the forms you need, plus all the information you could want on basic copyright law. Updated 10/14/2010.
What to Do When Someone Steals Your Song...
One of the big concerns musicians often express is the fear that someone will hear their song, record their own version, and then take it to the bank. Is this really a reasonable fear? And what should you do if you hear a song on the radio, Internet or tv that sounds just like your song? That's one of the many questions answered in this excellent interview with copyright attorney Robert Clarida. Added 02/02/2011.