Legal Steps All New Artists Should Take from John Branca UCLA
Many experts, including attorneys, advise their clients to prepare to enter a “band agreement” as quickly as possible after a band is formed. This agreement will cover several complex business situations.
Some of the most important issues covered include hiring and firing, decision making, ownership of masters and songs, ownership and use of the band’s name, organizing an LLC, treatment of members who leave, and profits. One of the best reasons to enter into a band agreement when the band first starts is this is when most members will be getting along well. It would be hard to complete this agreement if the members are already arguing.
Some of the other considerations to keep in mind when forming a band can be found below. Knowing what to consider will help ensure your band is set up for success.
Sign a “Split Sheet” For Every Co-Written Song
A split sheet is a document that lists who owns what percentage of a song. It also specifies the credit that each person should have. You need to create split sheets for every song that more than one person creates. Every writer should sign it before shopping the song to a third party or trying to license it for use.
Register Masters and Songs with the U.S. Copyright Office
Registration is not required for copyright protection. According to the Copyright Act from 1976, copyrights occur when works are fixed in a tangible manner, and this means that registration isn’t a condition to have copyright protection. While this is true, registration does offer some benefits to the person who owns the copyright.
For example, with registration, you have a public record of your copyright claim. Also, you must register all work of U.S. origin if you plan to file an infringement suit. There are other benefits offered by registration, which can be seen on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website.
Keeping Your Music Career Simple
The music industry can be complex. The legal matters are vast, and knowing all of them can be virtually impossible. While this is true, an entertainment lawyer can help bands and individual band members protect their rights. It is best to engage the services of a legal representative early in the band’s life, which can help prevent complex and expensive legal issues in the future. With this information, you should have a basic understanding of how to protect yourself and your rights when starting a band.