I am honored to have been named once again to Billboard magazine’s “Top Music Lawyers” List for 2023!
You can view the full list here.
Categories: Honors and Awards, Tags: Billboard magazine, billboard top music lawyers, billboard top music lawyers 2023, billboard top music lawyers list, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., music attorney, music lawyer, top music attorney, top music lawyer, top music lawyers, top woman music attorney, top women attorneys, top women music lawyers
I am honored to have been named once again to Billboard magazine’s “Top Music Lawyers” List for 2023!
You can view the full list here.
Categories: Speaking, Tags: erin m. jacobson esq., independent songwriters, music publishers, songwriters
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. will be speaking on how independent songwriters and music publishers can protect their rights at the online, “Let’s Get Legal” summit by SyncIt Music. We will discuss the different parts of a “song”, the ownership and royalties of each.
SyncIt Music will pose various questions on this topic to Ms. Jacobson and there will be opportunity for Q&A. If any attendee cannot make the live session, a video replay will be available for a limited time.
Date/Time: June 10, 2022 at 10 AM PST
Save $30 with coupon code ERIN30.
Disclaimer: Note that the link above is an affiliate link, which means Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., A.P.C. may receive a commission from your registration, at no additional cost to you.
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., A.P.C. and Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. does not endorse any other speakers or sessions in this series, nor is this an endorsement of any company, including the company producing the event. If notice of this event is considered an advertisement, it is general in nature and not directed toward any particular person.
Categories: Articles, Music Contracts, Music Industry, Press, Record Labels, Tags: capitol records, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., Halsey, music attorney los angeles, music industry, music industry lawyer, music lawyer los angeles, the music industry lawyer, time, time magazine, top music attorney, top music lawyer
Erin M. Jacobson is quoted in Time magazine regarding artist Halsey’s TikTok leak of one of her songs that is unreleased by her record label.
Categories: Honors and Awards, Tags: billboard top music lawyers 2022, billboard top music lawyers list, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., top music attorney, top music lawyer, top music lawyers 2022, top music lawyers list
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. has been named to Billboard magazine’s 2022 Top Music Lawyers List. This will be the third time Erin has received this honor. Thanks to all at Billboard!
Categories: Articles, Interview, Music Industry, Music Industry Interviews, Tags: best female music lawyers, copyright terminations, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., female music attorney, female music lawyer, inspiring women, mbw, music business worldwide, music publishers, songwriters, top music attorney, top woman music attorney, top women attorneys, women in music, women in music industry, women music attorney, women music lawyer, women trailblazer
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. has been featured in the “Inspiring Women” interview series on Music Business Worldwide.
“It is a great honor to be featured in Music Business Worldwide, and also among so many other inspiring women in our industry,” says Jacobson.
Erin discusses her path to becoming a music lawyer, her innovative work with clients, her views on copyright terminations, fair pay, and the importance of songwriters and music publishers.
Categories: Articles, Music Contracts, Music Industry, Trademark, Tags: artist name, band name, band name dispute, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., LA Times, Los Angeles Times, morris day, Morris Day and the Time, music attorney los angeles, music lawyer, music lawyer los angeles, prince, prince estate, Randall Roberts, the time, top music lawyers, trademark, trademark dispute
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. is quoted in the LA Times article about the trademark dispute over the name “The Time” between the Prince Estate and Morris Day. As the Prince Estate’s letter to Day offers a license to the use of the name, Erin comments on how trademark licenses generally are structured.
Categories: Articles, Catalogue Acquisitions, Legal Issues, Music Catalogues, Music Industry, Tags: Aretha franklin, book, Eamonn forde, elvis presley, elvis presley estate, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., estate, estate plan, kurt cobain, leaving the building, music estates, music will, prince, top music attorney, top music lawyer, will
I am proud to announce I am quoted throughout a fascinating and original new book, Leaving the Building: The Lucrative Afterlife of Music Estates, by renowned music journalist, Eamonn Forde.
This is a very interesting book that takes an in-depth look at some of the most famous music estates, with commentary from industry experts regarding managing music estates, how the music is used, the problems they face, etc. This is definitely an insider look into a topic that the public usually doesn’t have access to, so pick up a copy if you are interested in this topic!
Categories: Honors and Awards, Music Industry, Tags: best music lawyer, Billboard, Billboard magazine, billboard top music lawyers, billboard top music lawyers list, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., the music industry lawyer, top female attorney, top music attorney, top music lawyer, top music lawyers list, top music lawyers list 2021, top woman music attorney, top women attorneys, top women music attorneys
Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. has been named to Billboard magazine’s “Top Music Lawyers List” for 2021. Ms. Jacobson was also recognized on this list in 2020.
The full article can be seen here.
Thank you to Billboard for this prestigious recognition!
Categories: Copyright, Music Contracts, Music Industry, Music Publishing, Tags: copyright, copyright law, copyright ownership, copyright registration, copyrights, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., music attorney, music attorney la, music attorney los angeles, music book, music business, music business attorney, music business book, music business lawyer, music contracts, music industry, music industry book, music industry lawyer, music law, music lawyer, music lawyer la, music lawyer los angeles, music publishing, music royalties, the music industry lawyer, top music lawyer
Don’t Get Screwed! How to Protect Yourself as an Independent Musician by Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. is now available in both print and ebook versions.
About the Book:
There’s a lot of confusing information in the music business: copyright, different types of royalties, how to get paid, and how to not sign over rights you shouldn’t. Now there is a single resource that explains these concepts in an easy-to-understand format.
Written by Erin M. Jacobson, one of the music industry’s top lawyers, this book is a plain English, straight to the point, primer on the topics you need to understand to make important decisions about your music career.
This book explains:
– what copyright really means and why you should register yours,
– the different types of royalties and how they actually apply in the real world so you can understand how and when your music earns money,
– how to collect the money your music earns,
– the contracts most needed by independent musicians and why they are important,
– traps to avoid, and
– real examples of mistakes musicians have made and how you can avoid making them too.
This book provides information from an industry insider that is not available in other publications, and is an empowering resource for new, upcoming, and seasoned musicians.
Click here to purchase a PRINT copy.
Categories: Articles, Copyright, Infringement, Music Industry, Trademark, Tags: copyright, copyright infringement, copyright law, copyright registration, Erin Jacobson, erin m. jacobson, erin m. jacobson esq., music attorney, music industry lawyer, music law, music lawyer, music lawyer los angeles, the music industry lawyer, United States Copyright, US copyright law
By: Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.
Music creators and rights owners ask me on a daily basis about whether their musical compositions and recordings are properly protected by copyright. Lately, there have been some companies popping up claiming to offer protection for musical works, and these companies are promoting misinformation that actively hurts music creators and rights’ owners. In this article, I set the record straight.
When a work created with sufficient originality to qualify for copyright protection and is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” it technically has copyright protection under the law. “Fixed in a tangible medium of expression” means that the work has been reduced to a physical format capable of being reproduced, such as writing it down, recording it on an audio or video recording, etc.
However, even though a work may have copyright protection when it is created, registering works with the United States Copyright Office provides certain benefits that one only has with a federal registration. These benefits include:
Let me emphasize two of these points again:
A person (or company) cannot sue in federal court for copyright infringement without a registration with the U.S. Copyright Office, and the date of creation listed on a federal registration certificate is the strongest evidence a court will consider.
The Nature of Copyright “Registration” Companies
To be clear, there are some companies that will provide the service of filing copyright registration applications with the U.S. Copyright Office on a creator’s behalf. While one should still do one’s due diligence on these companies to make sure they are experienced and will file the registrations correctly, the services these companies provide is not the focus of this article.
In this article, I am specifically talking about companies that offer “registrations” with their own service in order to “protect” a work. There are companies offering a “date stamp” – some of them even advertise an encrypted date stamp – to show evidence of the date of creation of a work. These companies charge just a few dollars per registration and make it appear that using their service will save the user a lot of money in comparison to the fees of the U.S. Copyright Office (currently ranging from $45-65 per application).
However, here is the problem:
First, as already explained, the date of creation listed on a federal registration certificate is the strongest evidence a court will consider. While a court may look at other outside evidence, there is absolutely no guarantee they will accept this evidence, and a court will still want the federal registration certificate. When I have inquired with these companies about whether they have any instances of a court accepting the registration they offer as valid, I have not received a response, and the fine print on these companies websites will state there is no guarantee their registration will be accepted as evidence by a court. In other words, the answer here is no.
Second, also as already mentioned, a federal registration certificate is required to pursue a copyright infringement claim in federal court. If one does not have a federal registration certificate and an infringement (or potential infringement) occurs, the owner of the allegedly infringed work will then have to immediately register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office in order to pursue the claim, AND, will have to rush the application to pursue that claim timely. The Copyright Office calls this rushed status “Special Handling,” and charges a fee of $800 to rush the application.
While someone thought spending less than $5 on a “registration” with a private company was saving money, that person would end up having to pay $845-865 just to obtain a federal registration to have the ability to defend an infringement for one work. If the person initially registered the work correctly with the Copyright Office, the fee would have been $45-65, and would have come with all the protections afforded by federal registration, saving that person $800 (plus the money already spent on the other “registration” company).
A Note about Trademarks
Trademarks, which in the music space mostly apply to band names and company names, have a little more leeway here because trademarks can gain protection by use “in commerce”, i.e. out in the marketplace. However, the same benefits outlined for federal copyright registrations apply to trademark registrations as well.
Therefore, while these trademark “registration” services provide an example of using a name at a certain time, they do not provide the good will that can only be built by using the mark in commerce, which could include performing under that name, selling music under that name, etc. Plus, one also cannot sue to protect a trademark in federal court with out a federal trademark registration.
Therefore, the same arguments above also apply here as to why these companies are a waste of money.
What if There Is No Federal Registration?
For both copyrights and trademarks without federal registrations, there may be some protections under state “common” law, however, these protections only extend within a certain state (hugely important in the case of trademarks especially), and provide a much lower level of protection than federal registrations.
Music creators and rights’ owners receive bad information all the time — from friends, other people in the business, and the internet. However, what really makes me mad is when companies – many of them owned by musicians or former musicians – make promises to music creators and rights’ owners under the guise of helping them, when really the “service” they provide does not afford the level of protection suggested and is profiting off the ignorance of music creators who are simply trying to protect their work.
Are these companies malicious in their intentions? Probably not. They probably just saw what they thought was a creative business idea. As I mentioned, the fine print usually indicates that these services only provide an indication of a date of creation and no guarantee of acceptance as evidence by a court, but let’s face it, almost no one is going to read the fine print. Independent musicians already working with smaller budgets do not need to spend money on worthless date notations when they should be putting their money toward receiving all of the benefits afforded by federal copyright registrations.
A person can file one’s own registration applications with the U.S. Copyright Office, and those on a budget may be able to file some applications containing multiple works (if certain conditions are met). However, because the details of such registrations can often become nuanced, one can also hire an experienced music attorney to assist with correctly protecting one’s works.
All music creators and rights’ owners deserve the real and true information on how to protect their works. The correct information is available and can be obtained with a little research or by working with professionals acting in accordance with the definitive procedures provided by U.S. Copyright Law.
Creators and rights’ owners owe it to themselves to protect their work correctly, rather than looking for a cheap solution that will ultimately leave them and their work unprotected when it counts.
This article does not constitute legal advice.