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What do i need?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Pesticle, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. I just recorded a cd with my new band... and i was wondering what i have to do to legally sell copies of the cd?.... Or can i just go out and sell them on the streets?
  2. hmm nobody has a link or advice?
  3. RyansDad


    Jan 31, 2006
    Tolland, CT
    Are the songs on the CD your own or are they covers?
  4. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You should probably set up an LLC for your band.
  5. it is original music... and i dont know what an llc is? do you have a link or an explanation?
  6. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Lots of good info at Starpolish.com. Good advice for all areas of the music biz.
  7. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    Not sure why chaosMK suggested an LLC (which isn’t meant as a negative comment, I just don’t know why), but I do have some thoughts regarding agreements among band members which can be in the form of many entities including partnerships, corporations, and LLCs.

    The obvious first question is: do you even need an agreement (or entity)? The primary reasons to enter into a band agreement (or at least the ones that come to my mind at the moment ;-) include the following:

    1. Tax Planning issues.
    2. Personal liability.
    3. Clarity with respect to the myriad of issues that commonly arise in a band.

    I don’t do tax planning and personal liability is usually only important if you have significant personal assets or you are on tour. Therefore, guess what gets the bulk of my remaining attention?

    The most persuasive reason to enter into a band agreement, IMO, is the clarity it can provide. An agreement can flesh out problems before they become problems and can offer effective dispute resolution mechanisms when problems arise. However, most bands I know try to avoid band agreements because, if done properly, the can break up the band before they get started ;-)

    Below are SOME of the issues that should be addressed in a band agreement:

    1. Who controls the band name for purposes of recordings, merchandise, etc.? This is one of the most litigated issues in band disputes. Is the name an asset of the partnership or does one person own it and license it to the partnership? What happens if one (or more member) leaves, or if 2 of 4 people leave the band to form a new band, etc.?
    2. How are band members terminated? Is there a buyout, do they remain responsible for band liabilities, etc.?
    3. How are band members hired?
    4. How are representatives (e.g., an attorney, manager, etc.) hired/fired?
    5. Who can incur band expenses and how are they repaid?
    6. What contributions (financial/property/otherwise) are required from band members?
    7. How can the band agreement be amended?
    8. Are their spousal issues (e.g., spousal interests in the band created by community property laws thereby giving the spouse a say in band matters)?
    9. What happens upon the death, disability, etc. of a band member?
    10. Can a band member assign their interest to someone?
    11. How are disputes resolved?
    12. How does the money get distributed? Is everyone equal partners or do some members bring more “value” to the band? Historically, the “all for one approach” only tends to work when there isn’t much money at issue. It’s also problematic when there is one main writer.
    13. Are there special services, jobs, etc. that a certain member has?
    14. How are decisions regarding the band made?

    This list goes on, but I don't have time to. One interesting thing (to me, anyway) to note is that many bands operate under the general partnership law of their state without even realizing it and the consequences that flow from it. For example, general partners are usually liable for debts and liabilities arising from the negligent acts of all partners.

    Finally, while each band member should seek independent legal counsel, that’s not always possible. That gives rise to a conflict of interest for the attorney because the attorney's client is (or should be) the organization and not one of its individual members.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Also, please insert the ever-so-popular item:

    "All parties agree that Courtney Love will not take any of our earned monies"!

  9. gregelka


    Apr 25, 2006
    Topeka, KS
    ^haha isn't that true!^

    EDIT: I checked out that StarPolish site. GREAT! Thanks for the link!
  10. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
  11. jrduer


    Jun 27, 2005
    Georgetown, TX
    Great information, MA.

    I'm an attorney, as well, but not in the entertainment industry. I represent musicians when they get busted...

    Anyway, would you mind if I reposted your information on another musician forum?


  12. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    If you take a copy of your CD and seal it in a big envelope, then mail it to yourself, it's copyrighted. That's not the official way to go about things, but if it's dated and you don't break the seal on the envelope or anything, it's basically the same.
  13. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Nope. Even if you go with the certified mail route (which, consequently, is almost as expensive as copyrighting correctly), it's not anywhere near as legally binding as the proper method.

    If your music is worth protecting, protect it correctly.
  14. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004

    Before I'd put much faith in the so-called "poor man's copyright" process, I'd recommed a Google search using the terms "copyright" and "myth". Bottom line in the U.S. is that copyright subsists in any original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. To be sure, you would need to read court cases to fully understand what "original" means and what "authorship" means and so on. However, by way of general example, if a band records an original song in the studio, then copyright in the song attaches the moment the song is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" (i.e., you can play the recording back and people can hear what you recorded). Naturally, there are some important reasons to properly register a copyright, but copyright ownership itself isn't one of them.

    jrduer: Feel free to use the post info. In typically music industry fashion, I'd suggest you take credit for it ;-)

  15. jrduer


    Jun 27, 2005
    Georgetown, TX
    Thanks, MA. Didn't want to infringe your copyright!

  16. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I know that. I was told that a long, long time ago when I used to write a lot and was concerned with copyright stuff. What I'm talking about is more for peace of mind than anything else. Plus, if you record like we do (on karaoke machines and crappy four-tracks) it's good to be able to attach a date to something.

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