As record labels take Internet companies to court to determine how music will be distributed and paid for, a new instructional tape points out that there are many existing laws songwriters and artists must take into account if they want to succeed in the music business.
The Musician's Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Music
Law covers questions about ownership and copyright of songs and recordings; choosing a band name and maintaining rights
to it; choosing the best business setup; duties and rights of personal managers, business managers and talent agents; advantages
and disadvantages of union membership; how record labels and music publishers are organized; negotiating recording and songwriting
contracts; and calculating royalties from record sales and other uses of music.
Written by music attorney Joy R. Butler
and published by Sashay Communications of Arlington, Va., the instructional package consists of two cassettes (with a running
time of three hours) and a 62-page booklet that summarizes the points made on the tapes, lists additional reference sources
and provides a glossary of common music-law terms. The suggested retail price is $29.95.
To prevent the tapes from
sounding like a dry lecture on law, the information is scripted in a question and answer format that uses the voices of two
narrators, an artist and a legal expert.
Although there is nothing here that applies only to country music, Butler
does refer to the group Shenandoah in pointing out the financial hazards of using an unsecured name.
package is no substitute for a music attorney, but it does point out the situations in which one is needed.