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Overview of Music Law and Business Issues

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Presentation on copyright licensing uses and artist representation.

Presentation on copyright licensing uses and artist representation.


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  • 1. Overview of Music LawOverview of Music Law and Business Issuesand Business Issues Donald R. Simon,Donald R. Simon, J.D./LL.M.J.D./LL.M.
  • 2. MeMe • 9 years teaching business and9 years teaching business and legal issues to aspiring artists.legal issues to aspiring artists. • Teaching legal and biz courses atTeaching legal and biz courses at The Art Institutes Int’l - KC.The Art Institutes Int’l - KC. • Prior to becoming an attorney,Prior to becoming an attorney, worked in radio, television,worked in radio, television, and performed as a musician.and performed as a musician.
  • 3. MeMe • Board MemberBoard Member, KCVLAA, KCVLAA • Advisory Committee MemberAdvisory Committee Member,, Midwest Music FoundationMidwest Music Foundation • Co-Owner/General CounselCo-Owner/General Counsel,, Mudstomp RecordsMudstomp Records
  • 4. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • The music business is multi-The music business is multi- layered and complicated.layered and complicated. • It can be profitable, but alsoIt can be profitable, but also perilous.perilous. • For example, licensing…For example, licensing…
  • 5. The Music BusinessThe Music Business ““The music business is aThe music business is a cruel and shallow moneycruel and shallow money trench, a long plastictrench, a long plastic hallway where thieveshallway where thieves and pimps run free, andand pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.good men die like dogs. There’s also a negativeThere’s also a negative side.”side.” ~~Hunter S. Thompson~~Hunter S. Thompson
  • 6. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • If you have any hope of makingIf you have any hope of making a living out of doing somethinga living out of doing something that you love, you have to startthat you love, you have to start thinking of your musicalthinking of your musical endeavor in terms of a business.endeavor in terms of a business. • You are not just an artist, youYou are not just an artist, you are anare an entrepreneurentrepreneur!!
  • 7. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • But as with any entrepreneur, youBut as with any entrepreneur, you will be confronted by and willwill be confronted by and will have to deal with tons of legalhave to deal with tons of legal and business issues.and business issues. • These issues may not be directlyThese issues may not be directly related to writing and performing,related to writing and performing, but are nonetheless important.but are nonetheless important.
  • 8. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Common Legal/Business IssuesCommon Legal/Business Issues:: • Copyright*Copyright* • Music Publishing*Music Publishing* • Recording Agreements*Recording Agreements* • Licensing Agreements*Licensing Agreements*
  • 9. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Common Legal/Business IssuesCommon Legal/Business Issues:: • Group Name (Trademark)Group Name (Trademark) • Band Agreements/LLCsBand Agreements/LLCs • MerchandisingMerchandising • Selecting Good Representation*Selecting Good Representation*
  • 10. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Common Legal/Business IssuesCommon Legal/Business Issues
  • 11. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • CopyrightCopyright:: • A form of legal protection given toA form of legal protection given to many kinds of creative worksmany kinds of creative works including songs, recordings, poems,including songs, recordings, poems, films, TV shows, software, andfilms, TV shows, software, and commercials.commercials. • For the musicians, CRs protect bothFor the musicians, CRs protect both songs (notes and lyrics) and theirsongs (notes and lyrics) and their respective recordings.respective recordings.
  • 12. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • 2 Kinds of Music Copyrights2 Kinds of Music Copyrights:: 1.1. Song (notes and lyrics)Song (notes and lyrics): typically: typically owned by a songwriter or by aowned by a songwriter or by a music publishing company; andmusic publishing company; and 2.2. RecordingRecording: typically owned by a: typically owned by a recording company (or the artistrecording company (or the artist themselves, if unsigned).themselves, if unsigned).
  • 13. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • 2 Kinds of Music Copyrights2 Kinds of Music Copyrights:: • The CRs in songs and recordingsThe CRs in songs and recordings createcreate 2 different revenue streams2 different revenue streams in the form of royalties from musicin the form of royalties from music publishingpublishing andand from record sales.from record sales. • These different revenue streamsThese different revenue streams come from various licensecome from various license agreements.agreements.
  • 14. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • 2 Kinds of Music Copyrights2 Kinds of Music Copyrights:: MusicalMusical WorkWork MusicalMusical WorkWork SongSong (Notes/Lyrics)(Notes/Lyrics) Songwriter/PublisherSongwriter/Publisher SongSong (Notes/Lyrics)(Notes/Lyrics) Songwriter/PublisherSongwriter/Publisher RecordingRecording Artist/Recording CompanyArtist/Recording Company RecordingRecording Artist/Recording CompanyArtist/Recording Company
  • 15. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: ““Music Publishing”Music Publishing”
  • 16. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • The business of exploiting a song,The business of exploiting a song, such as in film, TV, video games,such as in film, TV, video games, ringtones, greeting cards, andringtones, greeting cards, and even karaoke machines.even karaoke machines. • And collecting money from suchAnd collecting money from such uses, usually in the form of auses, usually in the form of a license fee.license fee.
  • 17. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Common Publishing Licenses:Common Publishing Licenses: • Synchronization (Film/TV/Adv.)Synchronization (Film/TV/Adv.) • Videogram (DVDs/VHS/Etc.)Videogram (DVDs/VHS/Etc.) • Performance (Clubs/Rest./Broad.)Performance (Clubs/Rest./Broad.) • Mechanical (CDs/Compilations)Mechanical (CDs/Compilations)
  • 18. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Songwriters typicallySongwriters typically own the CRs in theown the CRs in the songs they write andsongs they write and earn money fromearn money from license fees for thelicense fees for the commercial use ofcommercial use of their songs.their songs.
  • 19. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Publishing can be lucrative forPublishing can be lucrative for musicians who write their ownmusicians who write their own songs.songs. • Music publishersMusic publishers: find uses for: find uses for songs; issue licenses; asongs; issue licenses; administerdminister legal protection;legal protection; collect publishingcollect publishing revenue; and pay you.revenue; and pay you.
  • 20. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Common Publishing Deals:Common Publishing Deals: • Single songSingle song • Exclusive songwriterExclusive songwriter • Co-publishingCo-publishing • AdministrationAdministration • CollectionCollection
  • 21. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Important distinction to remember:Important distinction to remember: • Publishing incomePublishing income does notdoes not come fromcome from CR ownership in recordings.CR ownership in recordings. • It comes from ownership of the CRs inIt comes from ownership of the CRs in thethe songssongs..
  • 22. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Once publishing rights have beenOnce publishing rights have been secured from the songwriter, if asecured from the songwriter, if a licensee is interested in using alicensee is interested in using a pre-existing recording of a song,pre-existing recording of a song, they must also acquire athey must also acquire a MasterMaster Use LicenseUse License..
  • 23. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: • Acquiring a Master Use License isAcquiring a Master Use License is technically not part of musictechnically not part of music publishing, but is an important partpublishing, but is an important part of the process.of the process. • A Master Use License is where non-A Master Use License is where non- songwriting members can makesongwriting members can make some money.some money.
  • 24. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Music PublishingMusic Publishing:: ““Music Publishing”Music Publishing”
  • 25. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements
  • 26. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • There is probably no subject in theThere is probably no subject in the music biz more frequently discussed,music biz more frequently discussed, yet more misunderstood, than theyet more misunderstood, than the subject of recording contracts.subject of recording contracts. • Recording contracts can be painfullyRecording contracts can be painfully long and complex.long and complex.
  • 27. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • It is important to readIt is important to read through and understandthrough and understand all the contract’s termsall the contract’s terms and conditions BEFOREand conditions BEFORE signing it.signing it. • The devil can be in theThe devil can be in the legalese.legalese.
  • 28. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • A little dangerous to attempt toA little dangerous to attempt to discuss generally and briefly thediscuss generally and briefly the subject of recording contracts, duesubject of recording contracts, due to the complexity of the subject.to the complexity of the subject. • For every general statement whichFor every general statement which can be made, there are numerouscan be made, there are numerous exceptions.exceptions.
  • 29. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • Typical recording contract sections:Typical recording contract sections: 1.1. Term (# of albums or time duration)Term (# of albums or time duration) 2.2. TerritoryTerritory 3.3. ExclusivityExclusivity 4.4. Artist royalties (for the performer(s))Artist royalties (for the performer(s))
  • 30. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • Typical recording contract sections:Typical recording contract sections: 5.5. Mechanical royalties (for songwriter(s))Mechanical royalties (for songwriter(s)) 6.6. Costs/RecoupmentCosts/Recoupment 7.7. Ownership of the MastersOwnership of the Masters 8.8. Dispute resolutionDispute resolution
  • 31. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • Although artists have long beenAlthough artists have long been frustrated with the traditional recordfrustrated with the traditional record industry, there have been no viableindustry, there have been no viable alternatives until recently.alternatives until recently. • The Internet and digital recordingThe Internet and digital recording technology has getting your musictechnology has getting your music out there much easier.out there much easier.
  • 32. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Recording AgreementsRecording Agreements:: • This is not to say that labels willThis is not to say that labels will cease to be powerful or the one-cease to be powerful or the one- sided nature of recording contractssided nature of recording contracts will suddenly change.will suddenly change. • Nonetheless, there are alternativesNonetheless, there are alternatives and possibilities for artists todayand possibilities for artists today which were impossible to imaginewhich were impossible to imagine before the onset of the Internet.before the onset of the Internet.
  • 33. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Selecting Good RepresentationSelecting Good Representation ‘
  • 34. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Selecting Good RepresentationSelecting Good Representation:: • It can tough for artists to go at itIt can tough for artists to go at it alone.alone. • Need people around to help protectNeed people around to help protect business interests and intellectualbusiness interests and intellectual property, and sometimes protectproperty, and sometimes protect them from themselves.them from themselves. • Artist free toArtist free to create and performcreate and perform..
  • 35. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Selecting Good RepresentationSelecting Good Representation:: • Artist (Personal) managersArtist (Personal) managers • Business managersBusiness managers • AttorneysAttorneys • Booking agentsBooking agents
  • 36. The Music BusinessThe Music Business Questions? Questions?
  • 37. Recommended ReadingRecommended Reading
  • 38. Recommended ReadingRecommended Reading
  • 39. The Music BusinessThe Music Business ““We don’t like their sound andWe don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.”guitar music is on the way out.” ~~Decca Recording Company~~Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles (1962)rejecting the Beatles (1962)
  • 40. ThankThank You!You!
  • 41. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Releasing Your Own RecordsReleasing Your Own Records:: 1.1. Inter-band agreement or LLCInter-band agreement or LLC 2.2. InvestorsInvestors 3.3. Distribution and Promotion StrategyDistribution and Promotion Strategy 4.4. Mechanical LicensesMechanical Licenses 5.5. Sampling ClearancesSampling Clearances
  • 42. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Releasing Your Own RecordsReleasing Your Own Records:: 6.6. ““Work-For-Hire” AgreementsWork-For-Hire” Agreements 7.7. Producer AgreementProducer Agreement 8.8. Production CreditsProduction Credits 9.9. Liability Releases/PermissionsLiability Releases/Permissions 10.10.Copyright Notices for SongsCopyright Notices for Songs
  • 43. The Music BusinessThe Music Business • Releasing Your Own RecordsReleasing Your Own Records:: 11.11.Copyright Original MaterialCopyright Original Material 12.12.Register Original Songs with a PRORegister Original Songs with a PRO 13.13.Trademark Notices/RegistrationsTrademark Notices/Registrations 14.14.Obtain a BarcodeObtain a Barcode 15.15.Registering with SoundScanRegistering with SoundScan