Join Richard Stim for an in-depth discussion in this video Artwork, part of Music Law: Managing a Band's Business.
- As you're probably aware, it's illegal to use artwork without permission from the copyright owner. In reality, many bands get away with this activity because the copyright owners never learn about the use. But that approach will not always work, particularly if sales increase or if your band's record is featured in the press, or is distributed by a pop record label. That's why major labels and large independent labels insist on obtaining rights for all artwork on an album. Your band should obtain the rights for all artwork before having it published or posted.
In that case, you use a simple written agreement where the photographer or artist either assigns all rights or gives you a license, preferably exclusive, so that your band can use the art on an album cover or website. When artwork includes a person's recognizable image, your band must also obtain a release from the model, that is the person in the artwork. That's because under state laws, a person can prevent the use his or her image when it is used for commercial purposes.
This is known as the right of publicity. There are some exceptions. For example, you can usually use photos of people in large public gatherings, such as the crowd at an outdoor show. The easiest way to avoid problems with models is to obtain the permission of the model with a model release agreement, a simple statement in which the model consents to the use of his or her image in the artwork and related promotional material.
It starts with what it means to be the manager of a band, and what types of business structures are available for bands. Once you've decided on a business structure, you can create a band partnership agreement that covers voting rights, postbreakup scenarios, new members, and terms for resolving disputes. Richard also exposes potential sources of disputes, like ownership of the band name, songs, equipment, and recordings. He includes advice on negotiating solid band contracts and managing financial basics: taxes, income, cash flow, and bookkeeping. Finally, he'll address how to protect your work, including your copyrights, band name, and songs, and explains how to find a lawyer—and save money on attorney fees.
DISCLAIMER: This course is taught by an attorney (or other instructor) and addresses US law concepts that may not apply in all countries. Neither LinkedIn (including Lynda.com) nor the instructor represents you and they are not giving legal advice. The information conveyed through this course is akin to a college or law school course; it is not intended to give legal advice, but instead to communicate information to help viewers understand the basics of the topic presented. The views (and legal interpretations) presented in this course do not necessarily represent the views of LinkedIn or Lynda.com.
- Putting together a band partnership agreement
- Working out ownership disputes
- Limiting band liability
- Protecting your copyrights and band name
- Hiring a lawyer