What Every Band Needs To Know

Last week, Brooks Pierce participated in CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference in Nashville.  We hosted legal clinics, served as mentors,  gave out free copies of our Musician’s Legal Handbook, and presented a legal workshop on band agreements.

Our legal workshop covered important legal issues for bands to consider.  Here’ s a description of our presentation:

Music Law 101:  What Every Band Needs to Know

Most bands don’t begin their musical journeys expecting to have disputes. But good bands do go bad, and disputes over songs, band names, finances, and other creative and business matters occur regularly.  Brooks Pierce attorneys Coe W. Ramsey, Thomas Varnum and Amanda Whorton will discuss important legal issues for band members to consider, including ownership of the band’s songs and recordings, protection and use of the band’s name, rights to band income, partnerships and accounting claims, whether your band should incorporate, determining who are the “members” of your band, and whether you should have a formal band agreement among the band members and with side musicians. This insightful and relevant workshop will cover copyright law, trademark law, contract law, partnership and corporate law, and other relevant laws to help your band gain the tools it needs to avoid messy legal disputes down the road.

Copies of the slides from our presentation are available here.

Music Law 101: Who Owns the Copyright in a Song?

After your band has written and recorded a song, who actually owns the song?  This simple question does not necessarily have a simple answer.  How many people were involved in the writing process?  Were there other people involved in the recording process?  Did you hire a producer?  Did you use other background vocalists or musicians in the studio?  Did you use “work made for hire” agreements with individuals involved in the process?  Do you have a band agreement?  The answers to these and other important questions help determine who actually owns the copyrights in any given song. Continue reading “Music Law 101: Who Owns the Copyright in a Song?”

Former Band Member Sues The Roots

Frank “Knuckles” Walker, a musician and percussionist best known as a former member of the band The Roots, recently filed a lawsuit against his former band members and others.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

According to Walker’s complaint, he was a member of The Roots for 17 years and was terminated from the band in May 2017.  Walker alleges that he was unfairly compensated and that the other band members terminated him from the band in order to exclude him from future income.  Walker also alleges that after expelling him from The Roots, the band continued to use his likeness and images in concert posters and on the band’s website and social media without Walker’s permission.

Continue reading “Former Band Member Sues The Roots”