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Erin M. Jacobson - Music and Entertainment Attorney, Los Angeles, CA

Erin M. Jacobson is is an experienced deal negotiator and a seasoned advisor of intellectual property rights who protects artists, songwriters, music publishers, and other music professionals. Her clients include Grammy and Emmy Award winners, independent artists and companies, and distinguished legacy catalogues, as her knowledge of both classic music and current industry practices places her in a unique position to protect and revitalize older catalogues. She handles all types of music industry agreements, with an emphasis on music publishing. In addition to being named a Super Lawyers Rising Star and one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, Ms. Jacobson is a frequent author and speaker, and has been featured in publications, including Billboard and Forbes. She also is on the Board of Directors for both the California Copyright Conference (CCC) and the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP).

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New from my clients – Uncle Shammy!

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Categories: Clients, Tags: , , , , ,

Please check out the commercials for my client Uncle Shammy, a new shammy cleaning cloth perfect for cleaning your smartphone, iPad, digital devices, and even eyeglasses.  I’ve already been using Uncle Shammy to get my digital camera’s screen crystal clear, and it works great!  You can buy an Uncle Shammy at your local convenience store and it will soon be available online.  The commercials were also scored by my client, Scott Van Orden.

Check the videos to see what Uncle Shammy is up to now!

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Mechanical Royalty Rate Stays at 9.1 Cents

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Categories: Business, Music, Music Industry, Music Publishing, Record Labels, Royalties

The Copyright Royalty Board has chosen to keep the statutory mechanical royalty rate at 9.1 cents.

The mechanical royalty rate is the royalty paid for reproduction/manufacture/distribution of a composition on records and sometimes other media.  The origin of the “mechanical” is that it is a royalty paid to mechanically reproduce the composition on a record.  It’s not done mechanically anymore, but the principle is the same.

The record labels always want the mechanical royalty rate to be lower, so they can pay less to the publishers.  On the other hand, the publishers understandably want the rate to be higher so that they can make more money.  Thus, this new decision by the CRB is a victory for publishers.

In addition to keeping the statutory mechanical rate at 9.1 cents, ringtones will remain at 24 cents.  The CRB also came out with new revenue sharing rates for publishers regarding some newly-created royalty categories, mostly having to do with the cloud, lockers, and interactive services.

You can read more detail in Billboard.

© 2012 Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. All Rights Reserved. If you like this article and want to share it, please provide a link to www.erinmjacobsonesq.com or a direct link to the post for others to read it.

This site is not intended or offered as legal advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. If they are considered advertisements, they are general in nature and not directed towards any particular person or entity. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., and you or any other user. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The law may vary based on the facts of particular circumstances or the law in your state. You should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel. No person should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the contents of this site. Unless expressly stated otherwise, no document herein should be assumed to be produced by an attorney licensed in your state. For more information, please click on the “Disclaimer” section in the top menu of this site.

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A Short Overview of My Article “360 Deals and the California Talent Agencies Act: Are Record Labels Procuring Employment?”

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Categories: Articles, Legal Issues, Music Industry, Record Labels

(Full article in the Articles tab.)

Many record labels are using 360 Deals to maintain revenue during the continuing uncertainty of the music industry.  Instead of making money mostly from record royalties and the exploitation of master recordings, 360 Deals allow the labels to either own or to share in the profits from all areas of artists’ careers, including: music publishing, live touring, merchandising, sponsorships, endorsements, websites, fan clubs and their associated ads, literary rights and acting.  Record labels have an incentive to solicit opportunities for artists in these areas because they share in the profits.  However, labels’ actions to create opportunities for artists may rise to the level of procuring employment in violation of the California Talent Agencies Act.

The California Talent Agencies Act (the “Act”) requires any person (including any company) who procures employment for an artist to become a licensed talent agent or agency by the California Labor Commissioner. See Cal. Lab. Code § 1700 et seq. (2008). Any person who is not licensed as a talent agent or agency is prohibited from procuring employment for the artist.  However, neither the Act nor any other analyses I have found actually define procurement.  Based upon my research, I created a definition of “procurement,” which is featured in the full article linked below.

In the music industry, as opposed to the television and film industries, music agents secure live performance engagements while managers handle all other aspects of the artists’ careers. Manager’s activities to secure employment opportunities for artists run in violation of the Act because most managers are not licensed talent agents.  Now with the popularity of 360 Deals, record labels are often pursuing some of the same opportunities that a manager would, such as securing sponsorships and endorsements, positions on tours, co-branding opportunities, and various other opportunities as outlined in the article.  These actions are also in violation of the Act since the labels are not licensed as talent agents or agencies.

The scope of violations can run across various aspects of an artist’s career, including live touring, merchandising, sponsorships and endorsements, fan clubs, video games, and so on.  The consequences of a lawsuit against a record label for violating the Act could void the entire 360 Deal, or sever the offending areas of the contract and cause the record label to relinquish all commissions earned from the illegal activity.  Backlash from artists and accompanying litigation in this area is just getting started, but there is definitely more to come.

Click below to read the full article:

“360 Deals and the California Talent Agencies Act:  Are Record Labels Procuring Employment? ” by: Erin M. Jacobson Published in Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, A Publication of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, Vol. 29, No. 3, Fall 2011

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New article published!

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Categories: Articles, Law, Legal Issues, Music Industry, Record Labels, Tags: ,

I am pleased to announce I have a new article published in the current issue of Entertainment and Sports Lawyer magazine.  If you would like to read the article, please click the link below.  There is also a link under the Articles section of this site.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments.

“360 Deals and the California Talent Agencies Act:  Are Record Labels Procuring Employment? ” by: Erin M. Jacobson Published in Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, A Publication of the ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, Vol. 29, No. 3, Fall 2011

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Client Edgar Allan Poets at top of Roadrunner Records chart

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Categories: Clients, Music, Tags: , , , , , ,

My client, Edgar Allan Poets, is currently on the top of the rock charts on the Roadrunner Records A&R page!   Please visit their page to check out the band’s music, as well as leave a great review and vote for them!

Here is the video for the band’s song “Cryptic Code”

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UMG pays artists $0.08 on a music download

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Categories: Business, Music, Music Industry, Record Labels

Digital Music News has posted some charts from Chuck D.’s lawsuit of how UMG calculates artist download royalties.  According to these charts, a UMG artist is paid $0.08 on a $0.99 download.  Why is this so low?  Part of the reason is that UMG takes a “container charge” deduction for these downloads.  A container charge is basically code for a “packaging deduction,” or in other words, the deduction labels would take for the cost of packaging (jewelcases, etc.) on actual physical product like CDs.  Why is UMG taking a packaging deduction on digital downloads that have no packaging?  Because they can.  They also take several other bogus deductions to make this entire calculation ridiculous.  I’m not saying every UMG deal is like this, but at least this one is.

On the other hand, artists distributing through TuneCore get $0.70 on a $0.99 download.

And people wonder why my clients like to be, and why I advise them to be, DIY.

View the accounting charts here.

© 2011 Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. All Rights Reserved. If you like this article and want to share it, please provide a link to www.erinmjacobsonesq.com or a direct link to the post for others to read it.

This site is not intended or offered as legal advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. If they are considered advertisements, they are general in nature and not directed towards any particular person or entity. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., and you or any other user. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The law may vary based on the facts of particular circumstances or the law in your state. You should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel. No person should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the contents of this site. Unless expressly stated otherwise, no document herein should be assumed to be produced by an attorney licensed in your state. For more information, please click on the “Disclaimer” section in the top menu of this site.

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Hangover II will be released on schedule

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Categories: Copyright, Film, Infringement, Legal Disputes, Tags: , , , , , ,

The judge in the Hangover II dispute has ruled that the movie will be released in theatres as scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

While the injunction to block the film’s release was denied, the film’s DVD release could still be stopped at a later date.  The copyright infringement suit is also allowed to proceed.  Judge Perry who is presiding over the case has commented that Whitmill has a good chance of succeeding on the merits of the copyright case.

Whitmill asked Warner Bros. for a $30 million settlement (finally, some settlement talks!), but it is predicted that number will decrease substantially now that the injunction has been denied.

More details here.  It will definitely be interesting to see how this case progresses.

© 2011 Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. All Rights Reserved. If you like this article and want to share it, you may provide a link to www.erinmjacobsonesq.com or a direct link to the post for others to read it. You may not reprint this article without written permission from Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

This site is not intended or offered as legal advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. If they are considered advertisements, they are general in nature and not directed towards any particular person or entity. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., and you or any other user. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The law may vary based on the facts of particular circumstances or the law in your state. You should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel. No person should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the contents of this site. Unless expressly stated otherwise, no document herein should be assumed to be produced by an attorney licensed in your state. For more information, please click on the “Disclaimer” section in the top menu of this site.

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Hangover II Dispute Continues…

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Categories: Copyright, Film, Infringement, Legal Disputes, Tags: , , , , , ,

Warner Bros. has asked the judge presiding over the Hangover II case not to enjoin (stop) the release of the movie.  (Article here.)  Warner Bros. claims Whitmill, the tattoo artist, would not win on the merits of the case because (amongst other reasons) he did not dispute the tattoo appearing in the first movie and it’s use in the sequel is a parody falling under the fair use defense.  While applying the tattoo on Ed Helm’s face for comedic value in the sequel may be a parody, is it really enough to be considered transformative?  In the 2 Live Crew case regarding Roy Orbison’s song “Pretty Woman,” the court ruled new value was added to “Pretty Woman” by updating the material with a more modern attitude.  Here, the tattoo has been given more comedic value, but it is unclear whether a court would view that as enough to be transformative.   It is also unclear as to what effect the film will have on the market value of the tattoo.  Are people going to flock to tattoo parlors to have their own facial version of this tattoo?  In addition, the entire tattoo was used in the film, which is being released for commercial (i.e. money-making) purposes.  Both of those weigh against a finding of fair use, so it will be interesting to see how the court will rule on fair use grounds.

There is also some discussion about copyrighting tattoos — the artwork is copyrightable, but that doesn’t mean the artist can have control over the tattoo-wearer’s body.  As previously posted, Whitmill has an agreement with Tyson in which Whitmill retains all ownership in the tattoo’s artwork.  I have not seen that document, so my question is — did that document also grant Tyson the right to reproduce, distribute, display and adapt the tattoo; allowing Tyson to use the tattoo in any way he saw fit since, after all, it is on his face? It would be hard for Tyson to not automatically do these things since he is filmed and photographed on a regular basis and the tattoo is freely visible at most times.

This suit is a great way for Whitmill to get some publicity, but why stop the release of a movie that will yield millions of dollars?  If Whitmill’s goal is increased publicity, being the man who stopped the release of a highly-anticipated film would not be the kind of publicity I would want.  Getting a settlement payment with points on the backend would be much more profitable.

Hangover II is set to open next weekend, so a decision should be forthcoming shortly.  Do you think the film’s release will be stopped?   Please let me know your thoughts in the comment thread.

© 2011 Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. All Rights Reserved. If you like this article and want to share it, you may provide a link to www.erinmjacobsonesq.com or a direct link to the post for others to read it. You may not reprint this article without written permission from Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

This site is not intended or offered as legal advice. These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. If they are considered advertisements, they are general in nature and not directed towards any particular person or entity. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., and you or any other user. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The law may vary based on the facts of particular circumstances or the law in your state. You should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel. No person should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the contents of this site. Unless expressly stated otherwise, no document herein should be assumed to be produced by an attorney licensed in your state. For more information, please click on the “Disclaimer” section in the top menu of this site.
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