Ask a Music Lawyer: Is the Poor Man’s Copyright Enough to Protect Your Songs?

A work that meets the standards of originality is considered to be copyrighted under United States law when that work is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression,” (17 U.S. Code §102) which means that the work is put into a physical medium that can be reproduced, like writing it …

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Is It Ever Worth It to Give Up Copyright Ownership of Your Songs? A Music Lawyer Explains.

By:  Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. Retaining ownership of the copyrights may be one of the most important decisions in an artist or writer’s music career. The person who owns the copyrights is the one with the control over how those works are used and also the one entitled to the …

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How Much Should an Attorney Cost?

  By:  Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net An attorney’s advice could make the difference for you between a successful and a nonexistent music career. Legal fees aren’t cheap, but they’re a worthy expense in your career progress. The cost of attorneys does vary due to a variety …

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Why Posting a Cover Song on YouTube is Copyright Infringement

by Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. New artists trying to get discovered will frequently cover famous songs and upload videos of them performing these songs on YouTube. Many artists do not realize that without securing the proper permissions, posting a cover song on YouTube is actually copyright infringement. User-generated cover song …

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What Does “In Perpetuity” Mean?

There are certain contract terms that come up regularly in music and entertainment contracts and people often ask me what these common terms mean. One of the most common is the phrase “in perpetuity.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the definition of “in perpetuity” is “… that a thing is forever …

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How Do You Prove That Someone Stole Your Song?

A lot of musicians email me claiming they have great cases for copyright infringement. Copyright infringement does happen, but there are more people who think they have a case than those who actually do. (Please note that I am not a litigator and the below explanation is only a general overview of the …

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Do You Need a Music Publisher?

Some musicians have music publishing deals, some musicians have their own publishing companies, and some have both. For many independent musicians, owning their own publishing companies often means nothing more than just having name for publishing matters rather than a fully functioning entity. Musicians often ask me the difference between handling …

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How to Get Legal Help if You Can’t Afford a Music Attorney

Hopefully you’ve read my most recent article where I explained how to choose the right attorney for you. Even though you now know what qualities to look for in an attorney, you may still wonder whether hiring one is possible if you are on a tight budget. As I discussed last time, don’t …

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Do You Own It or Just Share in the Income?

People often get confused with the various income streams present in the music industry and in addition, how those income streams interact with copyright ownership. A person who owns all or a portion of a copyright will also share in the income from a composition, master recording, etc.  However, people that …

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