Legal Issues In Registering Music Bands

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How to apply for a trademark for the music bands?

Entertainment lawyers perform several functions associated with the music, television, film and publishing industries. The lawyers working in entertainment industries handle contract negotiations, labor disputes, tax filings and slander cases and also problems associated with patent, trademark, and copyrights. Some entertainment lawyers also perform immigration problems for overseas clients who are tied up in the entertainment business. To know about the recent update by the Supreme Court on Copyrights and Trademark Law, Read Here.

Some states have not framed laws directly or associating to the entertainment field. However, New York and California have regulated this field extensively. One of the important parts of entertainment law is Music Law. It provides protection to people working in the music field. It includes employees and members who are governing the activities of musicians, record company executives and record producers. Several legal issues develop in the entertainment business, like:

  • Royalty issues: The issue will be developed due to the percentage agreed by the publisher or songwriter for their work.
  • Slander and libel: When the person negligently or intentionally makes false declarations against another person.
  • Copyright infringement: Multiple writers or authors claim ownership for the same task.
  • Compulsory cover license: It is the license which permits an artist to sell their album or cover legally for another song.
  • Recording contracts: It is a contract between people who are involved in music.

An image displaying the interlinking of Copyright, Patent and Trademark using CirclesPatent and copyrights

Copyrights safeguards music and several other original creations of authorship. By registering the copyright for music permits the songwriter or composer to pursue attorney’s fees and monetary damages from any person who utilizes the work in an unauthorized or prohibited manner. Music companies mostly take care of patent and copyrights for printed works and the record label takes care of copyrights and patent of sound recordings.

When the musician registers for patent or copyright, it safeguards their work for about 70 years or after her or his death. For instance, when the composer of the copyrighted music piece expires in 2017, the copyright remains valid and continues to safeguard the composer’s work until 2087. But when the work is performed by multiple composers, the copyright protection would be more than 70 years or after the expiry of the longest alive composer.

Copyright infringement is a disastrous reality for several artists. Musicians are mostly sufferers of copyright infringement. But still, the book authors are safeguarded against others by utilizing their work in some sort of public display. Several attorneys work and take their careers in the route of safeguarding the copyrights of various music companies. It is especially seen in regions such as Tennessee, Nashville, etc.

The laws that are managing copyrights remain complex and are usually misunderstood like the mistaken belief that is also referred to as Poor Man’s Copyright. Besides, there are several legal resistances to copyright infringement.

One of the most significant laws associated with music copyrighting is the Copyright Act of 1976. This law differentiates actual works from works created for hire. It also regulates when copyright protection terminates. For instance, anything that has been published before 1923 and remains in the public domain will no longer hold copyright protection.

A pictorial representation showing which business can apply for trademark.

Why do you need to have a band agreement and apply for a trademark?

Disputes are commonly seen in music and bands. One or several members feel disappointed when they do not get solos to perform. They also feel rejected when they could not make more money just like other band members.

It is necessary for the band to spend time and money to create a bond agreement at the starting stage of their career. This way, the band would not face legal issues which will stay as a great deal resulting in a fight among themselves most of the time. If not, issues may arise from the person who has the ownership, pays expenses and takes profits as well.

It is fun to remain in the band, but you have to remember that it is also a business. The band members need to pay the expenses, book performances, pay for recording studio, pay for book shows, pay for the CDs that should be manufactured, sold, marketed and more, create posters, pay for person who is offering space for rehearsal, pay for food, beer or pizza, and also pay for legal fees, permits and other license related matters.

The band members have to discuss how to draft the agreement, who should sign, who is responsible and who the main members are.

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