Join Richard Stim for an in-depth discussion in this video Protecting copyrights, part of Music Law: Managing a Band's Business.
- Once your band finishes an original song and records it, two copyrights are automatically created. A song copyright, initially owned by the songwriters, and a sound recording copyright that protects the performance of the song, and is initially owned by the band. Your band obtains the copyrights automatically. And although it is not mandatory, you can obtain additional benefits, and officially list your band as copyright owner by registering at the Copyright Office.
If your band partnership owns the copyrights to all of the songs, and if the band partnership also owns the sound recording, there is a method to register both song copyrights and sound recording copyrights at one time. I explain how to do this in my course Copyrighting Your Song, and special instructions for this type of application are also available in circulars 56 and 56a from the Copyright Office website.
However, separate copyright applications must be used if individual songwriters, not the band, claim authorship and ownership of the songs. You can file using the Copyright Office's electronic filing system, eCO, or by using the paper applications, form SR for sound recordings, form PA for songs. The fees are $55 for electronic filing, and $85 for print applications. Before filing, you should be certain about the copyright ownership, because the registration makes a public record of your claim, and you don't want to declare someone as owner of your music if they are not.
Again, registration is not mandatory. It primarily provides benefits if you are involved in a dispute. Therefore if your songs are not getting play on the internet or terrestrial radio stations, or not selling more than 1,000 copies, you may want to wait on registration.
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