Music law has played a major role in shaping the discipline of the music industry. With many musicians opting to be professional, the involvement of lawyers has shaped the business side of the art. This has encouraged most of upcoming musicians to seriously invest in their talent. Law basically protects the rights of musicians; who are able to patent and gain generous profits from their products. Their associates- who include producers, sound engineers, instrumentalists and many others- also gain by earning their cut from the royalties. To get a deeper understanding on this topic, we have compiled a list of subtopics which reveal how lawyers work in the music industry.
- IdentityThe first step of becoming a musician, or of starting your own record label, is to come up with a name. The name simply acts as a unique identity tool, which your clients will be able to identify you with. Unfortunately, some opportunistic musicians attempt to steal the name of other musicians in order to gain popularity. This is the part where lawyers come in. They assist in legal name registration.
In the identification part, one is also allowed to patent their unique style of music. In such a case, a record label studio or a musician is protected from opportunistic copycats. In some rare cases, producers even go to the extent of patenting their unique genres.
Protection of website domains is also necessary. Opportunists may even create your own website and force you to purchase the domain. In short, a lawyer will simply ensure that your identity, as an artist or a producer, is highly protected.
- AgreementsMusicians work with a big team, which do most of the jobs behind the scenes. There is usually a team of voice coaches, producers, directors and back ground vocalists behind every professional music artist.
In some cases, these associates are not paid up front since they believe in earning more from long term contracts. Each individual is entitled to a portion of the profits made. Lawyers assist in signing of contracts and ensuring that no bridging of a contract takes place.
- Copyrights and mechanical rightsGood music spreads and sells easily. Musicians get to make money from online and hard-copy sales. However, there are numerous pirates out there who just wait for a free copy or even who do illegal duplication. Lawyers ensure that the musicians’ sales remain high by assisting musicians in copyrighting their music.
On the other hand, mechanical rights are simply protecting your music from being misused’ by an external party. Movies and advertisements sometimes use music without the permission of the legal owner. In such a situation, lawyers assist artists in the protection of their content.
- MerchandiseMerchandise is a strong tool for maintaining a relation with your clients. Fans will obviously want a celebrity musician’s t-shirt or chain. When an external party creates its own merchandise and uses your name to push its sales, you will obviously need an experienced lawyer to take the pirate to court.
- LawsuitsMusicians face many lawsuits due to singing controversial content and even due to facing many other forms of accusations. An artist may face accusations like illegally sampling music or bridging of contracts. That is when the lawyer comes in handy.
There are still many more other ways in which lawyers can get involved, but the above subtopics are the most common ways. In case you are an artist, we would recommend for you to have your own personal lawyer. Click here for more information about copyrighting music.