Whether you are a songwriter, a film producer, a record company, a dancer, a booking agent, or a book publisher, you are a member of the entertainment industry, and you have legal needs unique to your profession: negotiation of contracts, protection of intellectual property, questions regarding compensation. Everhart Law Firm offers the following legal services to counsel you in your role in the entertainment industry:

  • Entertainment Contracts and Licensing: Negotiation, preparation, and review of contracts and licenses in all areas of entertainment, including music, visual arts, literary publishing, theater, dance, film, television, video, and digital media
  • Royalty and Compensation Issues: Advice regarding royalties and compensation under entertainment-related contracts
  • Minor Performers: Representation of minor performers and those that contract with them in matters unique to minors in the entertainment industry, including petitions for approval of minor entertainment contracts under the Tennessee Protection of Minor Performers Act and similar procedures in other states
  • Right of Publicity: Advice regarding issues related to each individual’s right to control and profit from the commercial use of his or her name and image

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a song and a recording of a song for purposes of copyright?

A song includes the music and lyrics. A recording, or a “sound recording,” is the unique one-time recording of a song. For example, the song “I Will Always Love You” was written by Dolly Parton. The song has been recorded by numerous artists, including Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston’s recording of the song is a “sound recording.” A song and a recording of a song are entitled to separate copyrights and may have different copyright owners.

Why do so many companies have policies of not accepting unsolicited copyrighted works, like my recording of my new song or my book manuscript?

These policies protect companies from claims of copyright infringement. Companies want to ensure the work is coming from a trusted, known, or recommended source before they listen to or read it.

A record company has offered to record my music in exchange for a large fee up front. Is this a good idea?

The general rule is that you should not have to pay a record company any fees up front. Reputable record companies typically are compensated through a percentage of the money made from sales of your recordings and not in a lump sum on signing your recording contract. You should consult a lawyer about any entertainment contract you are asked to sign.

What is a performance rights society

A performance rights society, including ASCAPBMI, and SESAC, collects license fees and distributes royalties on behalf of song publishers, composers, and songwriters for the public performance of their songs by others. Songwriters and composers may affiliate with only one society. Information about the different societies is located on their websites and should assist you in choosing the best one for you.

How do I protect my band’s name

A band name may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark if it is not being used by another band. A good way to check for the availability of a band name is to search Allmusic.com. You should reach a written understanding with your band members, your producer, and your record company as to ownership of your band name and provide in advance who will own the name in the event a member leaves the band.