Tom Player and Quinton Sheer have seen the highs and lows of being in the music and acting world, and now they are fighting the good fight to make sure entertainers don’t get screwed over. In this episode, the attorneys of Player Law will answer all of the most burning questions you have as an artist and musician.
Can't believe these guys give all this lawyer advice away for free. Kudos, @PlayerLaw! Click To Tweet
Your entertainment lawyer is your “Legal Quarterback.” Meaning: there is no such thing as Entertainment Law. It’s a bunch of different kinds of law all put together and can get into tax planning, family law, criminal law, etc… The best thing a lawyer can do for a client is to know their limitations and when to refer them to someone else. So in that way, they are like a quarterback on a team, helping you communicate with your agent, manager, publicist, etc…
If someone on your team says to use a specific lawyer, that can be a conflict of interest and could possibly be a shady deal. On the flip side, also don’t choose a team blindly without recommendation.
Ideally, you want to work with good people who know their own strengths and can say “here is who I recommend and here are three other people as well.” If a person can only recommend one person, that could be a shady deal. Someone who honestly says ‘I’m not the best with this but you should reach out to this person’ is usually trying to help and is in touch with their strengths.
Clients don’t have to take the first answer to anything. “No” is only the first part of a conversation. Ask lots and lots of questions. That means you’re taking the time to do it right, without waiting until it’s too late. Informed decisions and higher level of confidence.
Talk BEFORE you’ve signed a contract, or before you’ve done something that will take 10 times longer to undo. It’s like winding up Christmas Lights. Take the time to wind them around cardboard and you’ll be better next year. Otherwise, you’re left with a big ball of flaming crap.
Remember: Yes means maybe. Maybe means no. No means ask again later.
Answers about Entertainment Law
Band agreements are operating agreements – they set up expectations, who owns what equipment, etc… if you come to a lawyer not knowing what you want, it will take more time. if you draft something and then bring it in for review, you’ll save time and money.
Exit agreement/band dissolving: covers issues such as ownership of name, rights to use name, ownership of gear, etc… It’s better to address early on, possible in the band agreement. Also include whether you’ll settle disputes with mediation or sue and let the bodies fall where they may.
Manager agreement: if you don’t know what every single clause means, ask a lawyer. Don’t trust short documents. 2-4 page contracts leave a lot to be desired. You want to look at what’s NOT in the contract and a lawyer can help with that.
Licensing: room for negotiation depends on your clout as an artist. If you’re big, you’re good. If you’re indie, it’s probably cut and dry. But each contract is different so have someone look it over.
Copyrighting: you can if you know what you’re doing. if not, ask questions to a lawyer. Copyright BOTH versions of a song: the bones (structure) and the sound recording. If you collaborate, work out copyright splits immediately. Even an idea on a cocktail napkin to include later. (can also be included in your band agreement)
Disputing creative content: the rights to a band name are not from trademarking, they’re from use. If you can show claim before the other person, then you’re covered. If you plan to sue, you have to have registered the name.
Written agreement is always better. Ask for venue performance agreements. They might not send them so, at the very least, send an email outlining what you agreed upon verbally and whatever you talked about.
PlayerLaw.com | 844.752.9372
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for tuning in to my conversation with Tom and Quinton at Player Law!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for SOSstudio Session on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates, or visit ourpodcast download page! It’s free!
Thanks again for joining! Until next time!
(but you don't have to do this alone)
Occasional resources, tips, and tools for the independent recording artist so you never miss a beat.