For an artist working in the entertainment industry, it is important to have a competent legal representative by your side in most aspects of the business. In many cases, a failure to seek representation on your behalf can be a roadblock that stands in the way of developing a successful career. Missing out on a knowledgeable legal perspective can also lead to headaches and then heartbreaks later on.
While there are thousands of attorneys who may be interested in accepting your business, you should always consider hiring an experienced attorney who has spent years learning the ins and outs of the entertainment industry.
To achieve the most advantageous outcomes on their clients’ behalf, a lawyer will need to have extensive knowledge and familiarity with the laws and practices that govern the entertainment sector.
A skilled entertainment attorney can handle all of your music-related work, including trademarks, copyright matters, and drafting, as well as negotiating clauses within industry contracts, recording contracts, distribution agreements, and sponsorship agreements.
An experienced lawyer can also guide a musician through the process of seeking a foreign visa and other immigration-related matters that can ease their travel to other countries. Along with this, a legal professional can also handle the paperwork associated with work authorization for clients’ appearances and performances.
A knowledgeable Music Lawyer In NYC can also cater to the legal and business needs of the artist. Some of the other things a lawyer can do on their music clients’ behalf include engaging in contact with talent managers, motion picture companies, booking agents, decision-makers of music companies, and record labels. A musician should also be aware of the changes and updates to the music laws that are relevant to their work in order to better understand the industry.
Music Law 101: Music Modernization Act
The laws that govern music licensing had been untouched for quite some time before the implementation of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The MMA made essential modifications to the Copyright Act and created a new entity called the Mechanical Licensing Collective.
The U.S. Copyright Office designated the Mechanical Licensing Collective to administer the processes relating to mechanical royalties. This also applies to royalties on interactive streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify.
Musicians need to understand all of the aspects under the MMA that relate to deadlines and other requirements. This can help safeguard the rights of the people to whom the royalties belong. Some of the primary changes in the MMA include:
Music Licensing Collective: Under the MMA, modifications to Section 115 specify a compulsory licensing process for the providers of music on digital platforms. The song-by-song licensing has been modified to a blanket licensing arrangement.
Before the MMA came into existence, song-by-song licensing needed digital music providers to recognize, serve notice on, and provide payments to all of the copyright owners for every song played. This was a complicated task and many attorneys filed lawsuits on artists’ behalf against the providers of digital music that allege the noncompliance issue in the licensing of songs.
Collect it or leave it: The MMA sets new deadlines for payment of royalties, as there were previously billions of dollars that were not paid to the musicians as mechanical royalties. This was occurring because many of the digital platform services providers had been unable to locate the musicians to whom the payments were due.
It was the responsibility of the artist to contact the digital music service providers if they had any unpaid royalties. Through the Music Licensing Collective, the entity will work to ensure that the databases of artists will be maintained and their musical works will also be registered. This is how they will be given a fair amount of compensation for their work.
Necessary Strategy a Musician Must Follow
A musician needs to abide by all the rules and regulations that are relevant to the music industry. This will help ensure that they are receiving the maximum benefits from their intended work. This will also protect their work from infringement.
Always Consult an Entertainment Attorney Before Signing a Contract
Some inexperienced artists simply sign any contract that crosses their path without even reading it or understanding the nature of the document. They also may not understand the meaning of different terms in the practical sense. A musician may also not realize that all the agreements into which they enter are negotiable and should involve discussions on every important point before signing.
You should always take time to think about how to proceed further and consult an Entertainment Lawyer before signing any contract. An attorney can help you fully understand all the legal terms of the agreements and let you know whether it is in your best interest to sign.
Always obtain a license to use anybody’s music that does not belong to you.
If an artist is using someone else’s work without a license, then they may be held liable for infringement. An artist should seek proper rights to use a sample before including it in their work. This will save you thousands of dollars that you will pay later as liability without obtaining a license for using someone else’s work.
Always follow the rules and regulations specified by the federal government and the state.
An artist should always consider working with a tax professional to ensure that they comply with state and federal laws. Many individuals need to file a yearly tax return for state taxes and federal taxes.
Always thoroughly search before choosing a company name, and consider hiring a qualified attorney to do this.
If you want to make your musical journey a successful one, then you need to do your due diligence. The business name, social media handles, website domains are all opportunities that exist for you to create marketing works under your specified name.
It is critical not to choose a name that is quite similar to anyone else’s name, as doing so can lead to various issues for you down the line. You should work closely with an intellectual property attorney who is well-versed in such matters before making any final decisions.