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Categotry Archives: Record Labels

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How to Protect Your Music and Avoid Legal Pitfalls

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Categories: Business, Copyright, Infringement, Law, Legal Issues, Music Industry, Music Publishing, Record Labels, Royalties, Trademark, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed for My Music Masterclass about how musicians can protect their music, avoid some common legal pitfalls, and more.  The video is available for a temporary stream or permanent download HERE.

My Music Masterclass is a fantastic website where users can view exclusive masterclass sessions with the top touring musicians and industry professionals.  (Registration required and there is a small fee for the streams and downloads.)

You can view a preview of the full video below.  This video is packed with a lot of information and I hope it helps artists to further understand and take control of their careers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me so I can help you to protect your music and grow your career.

Stream or download the full video here!

This preview video is also available on YouTube – please like, comment, and share it!  (Subscribe to my YouTube channel here.)

The information contained in this video and any linked resource is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice by Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. or My Music Masterclass. The content is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. This video is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between you and Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. and you should not act or rely on any information in this video without seeking the advice of an attorney.   YOUR USE OF THIS INFORMATION IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND RISK OF LOSS RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THIS INFORMATION. ERIN M. JACOBSON, ESQ. AND/OR MY MUSIC MASTERCLASS WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RELATING TO THE USE OF THIS INFORMATION.

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Gershwin Heirs Sue Warner Music

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Categories: Legal Disputes, Music Industry, Record Labels, Royalties, Tags: , , , , , , ,

In breaking news today, George Gershwin’s heirs are suing Warner Music for $15 million.  According to the article, the Gershwin estate conducted an audit of Warner in 2007 and found fault with Warner’s licensing and registration practices in regards to the Gershwin catalog.  The full article gives an example from the suit complaint as to how various commissions were taken off the top by foreign agents.

These types of issues come up often.  A good attorney will know to build certain precautions into the contract language to limit many of these commissions and make sure you have adequate audit rights.  Audits are expensive, but they can often be worth it by revealing accounting discrepancies and getting artists the money they are due.

If you are considering signing a contract involving payments and royalties, make sure you have a music or entertainment attorney review it carefully and keep tabs on the companies!  Contact me if you need assistance with a matter like this.

 

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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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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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