Join Richard Stim for an in-depth discussion in this video Who owns your band's name?, part of Music Law: Managing a Band's Business.
- Many famous bands, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Megadeth, Talking Heads, The Beach Boys, and The Doors, have all sued their former band mates to prevent the use of the band's name. It's easy for your band to avoid similar aggravation by deciding ahead of time who owns the name. Usually this comes down to whether the band as a whole owns the name or whether specific individuals in the band own it. And which band members if any, can continue to use the name of the band in the event that members leave or the band breaks up.
Some simple solutions are: The name is owned by one or more members, and only a band that includes that member or members can use the name. Or the name is the exclusive property of the band as a group and not owned by any individual member. And any member who leaves the group has no right to use the name. If the group eventually breaks up, that is all off the band members go their own way, then nobody can use the name. There's no requirement that you use either of these approaches.
Feel free to arrive at your own creative solution, but if no solution is determined and a dispute arises, you'll be subject to default legal rules rather than your agreed upon procedures. By the way, the person in the band who thought up the name does not get any special ownership rights. Trademark law, the area of law that controls band names and logos, doesn't reward creators of trademarks. I talk more about band names and how to choose and protect them in another video.
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