Why You Need a Music Lawyer

Musicians create music as a career choice, and the songs those individuals produce are their products. Under many laws, the songs have protection that prevents outsiders from using them without adequate rights to do so. Some artists who are new to the music industry may not understand their rights. 

Attorneys provide clarity for musical artists and help the individuals seek damages when their rights are violated. Under some circumstances, a lawsuit or legal claim is filed to collect profits generated from the illegal use of the music. By reviewing the reasons musicians need an attorney, these artists discover effective ways to protect their music from unethical use.  

Intellectual Property Rights 

Musicians generate profits from their music and songs, and this intellectual property must be protected. If another party is making money from the artist’s efforts, the musician is losing profits. Under intellectual property laws, the individuals can seek damages if the profits go to another party illegally.

The artists have the right to define how their product is used, where the music is streamed, and how the profits from these assets are distributed. If anyone streams the music or generates profits without having the appropriate rights, the owner can start a legal claim through a Beverly Hills Music Lawyer

Protection Under Trademark Laws

Trademark laws apply to the individual’s logo, brand, and music. When intellectual property that is registered and protected under a trademark is used illegally, the owner can seek damages. In most cases, trademarks are not transferred to other users unless the individual is promoting the musician. Even then, the promoter must be advertising events the artist is involved in.  

Copyright Infringement Cases

With more music and lyrics appearing online, musicians can seek damages according to how their copywritten materials are used. Any instance in which another party uses the songs, music, or lyrics for financial gain is a violation of the law. The only exception is when the owner provides permission via a contract and outlines how the other party can use their product.

An example of copyright infringement is using an artist’s song, music, or lyrics in a commercial without obtaining permission first. Once the violation is discovered, the owner has the legal right to seek damages from the offending party and get all the profits or proceeds that came from using the product illegally.  

Violations of Non-Disclosure Agreements

When working with a musical artist, the staff could overhear details about the creation of the person’s music or other information. If the musician hires these workers, most legal representatives recommend that they obtain a non-disclosure agreement from their workers and staff.

With the agreement, the staff is restricted from releasing any details about the individual without permission. The inner workings of the business must remain private and shouldn’t be leaked to the press or other parties. The agreement prevents the staff from discussing any information or events they witness as part of the employment. 

Setting Up Contracts

Musical artists enter into contracts with record labels and other organizations that use their music. Attorneys recommend that the individuals have the contract reviewed by a legal representative before signing it.

Clauses and terms in the contract could become confusing and present difficulties for the individual. A review of the contract identifies terms that could benefit other parties more than the artist. An attorney helps these individuals assess their rights as outlined in the document. If changes are needed, the attorney can negotiate a better contract for the musician.  

Distribution Issues for Musicians

Contracts with record labels and streaming services define how the individual’s music is distributed and sold. Fewer artists these days have orders for CDs that are distributed through music stores like they once did. Most music is sold and distributed through music apps that charge a fee for downloads or access to the music. When defining the rights of the artists, the contract must provide payments for the music when it is released originally and royalties for additional uses. These contracts require an attorney to protect the interest of the artist today and in the future.  

Negotiations for Using Music in Motion Pictures

Movie production companies generate music for a film’s soundtrack. Before adding any of the music to the film, the companies must get permission from the artist and forge a contract for using the songs. The artists receive a payment for the use of their products in the film.

Whenever copies of the movie are sold, the musicians receive a percentage of the sales. When the soundtrack becomes available for streaming or downloading, the musician receives a payment from every service that offers their songs. When negotiating the terms of use, the musicians must set up a contract that defines all restrictions and limitations that apply.  

Breach of Contract Claims

A breach of contract occurs at any time that either party doesn’t fulfill their contractual obligations. If a record label doesn’t record, promote, and sell the musician’s product as stated in the contract, this is a breach of contract. If there are clauses in the contract that specify a certain payment amount, the record label is contractually obligated to pay the musician regardless of the commercial success of their album. 

The artist themselves could be a defendant in these claims if the individual doesn’t fulfill all obligations listed in the contract. If either circumstance arises, the musician needs an attorney to represent them in court.  

Musical artists have legal rights and ownership of their products. Music is protected under copyright laws, and any elements that are registered trademarks such as a band name are also protected under the laws. All music, lyrics, and songs created by the artists are classified as intellectual property. The illegal use of the artist’s intellectual property could lead to legal claims for copyright or trademark infringement. 

The ways the music can be sold or distributed are outlined in a contract, and any violation could be deemed a breach of contract. Musicians who need help with enforcing their rights or contracts get help by contacting an attorney now. 


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