Eminem court case may raise pay for digital downloads

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 by stacyepps

Eminem court case may raise pay for digital downloads.

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Bob Marley Family Loses Lawsuit Over Hit Records | Billboard.com

Posted in Copyright, Legal, Music on September 15, 2010 by stacyepps

Bob Marley Family Loses Lawsuit Over Hit Records | Billboard.com.

Bob Marley’s family lost a lawsuit seeking the copyrights to several of the late Jamaican reggae singer’s best-known recordings.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said the UMG Recordings unit of Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group is the rightful owner of copyrights to five albums that Marley had recorded between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records.

The albums “Catch a Fire,” “Burnin’,” “Natty Dread,” “Rastaman Vibrations” and “Exodus” were recorded with Marley’s band the Wailers. They include some of Marley’s best-known songs, including “Get Up, Stand Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “One Love.”

Marley died of cancer in 1981 at age 36.

Friday night’s ruling is a defeat for Marley’s widow Rita and nine children who had sought to recover millions of dollars in damages over UMG’s effort to “exploit” what they called “the quintessential Bob Marley sound recordings.”

L. Peter Parcher and Peter Shukat, who are lawyers for the family, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. UMG spokesman Peter LoFrumento said the company is pleased with Cote’s ruling.

Marley’s family accused UMG of intentionally withholding royalties from their company Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd, and ignoring a 1995 agreement assigning them rights under the original recording agreements, court papers show.

It also accused UMG of failing as required to consult with them on key licensing decisions, including the use of Marley’s music as “ringtones” on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile phones, the papers show.

But Cote concluded that Marley’s recordings were “works made for hire” as defined under U.S. copyright law, entitling UMG to be designated the owner of those recordings, for both the initial 28-year copyright terms and for renewals.

“Each of the agreements provided that the sound recordings were the ‘absolute property’ of Island,” Cote wrote. “Whether Marley would have recorded his music even if he had not entered the recording agreements with Island is beside the point.”

She added that it was irrelevant that Marley might have maintained artistic control over the recording process. What mattered, she said, was that Island had a contractual “right” to accept or reject what he produced.

Cote also denied the Marley family’s request for a ruling upholding its claims over digital downloads, citing ambiguity in a 1992 royalties agreement.

She directed the parties to enter court-supervised settlement talks, and scheduled an October 29 conference.

The case is Fifth-Six Hope Road Music Ltd v. UMG Recordings Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-06143.


(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Derek Caney)

SoundExchange: New Artist Checklist | Future of Music Coalition

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 by stacyepps

SoundExchange: New Artist Checklist | Future of Music Coalition.

Register your copyrights Copyrights to your original creative works exist as soon as you fix the sounds or words or notes to a medium (written down or recorded). But to secure additional legal rights, you must register your copyrights with the US Copyright Office. Electronic registrations can be processed much more quickly than mailed registrations. Also, sound recording and music composition recordings can be registered together, which, if you own both, is cheaper than doing them separately.

Draft an agreement between band members In the glow of the creative process, it’s easy to forget to put things in writing. Write out an agreement in case issues come up at a later time (and they often do). The agreement should address the rights and responsibilities of the band members including who owns what percentage of the business, what property is owned or controlled by the business (including the band name, web site, and equipment) and who funds the bands and looks after its finances. Break out the percentage of ownership rights of each track – who wrote it? How will you split royalties? Discuss what will happen if band members depart, or new members join. Again, we suggest you consult a qualified attorney, to see if and when incorporation or a formal partnership would be recommended to help protect your assets. At any stage, it’s important to have some kind of written agreement in place.

Trademark your name and logo The US Patent and Trademark Office oversees trade and service marks. Make sure no one else owns the rights to your name and/or logo and if not, be sure to register it. It may be your only way to prevent someone from claiming he or she owned the name first, or claiming to be you later. Registrations can be made in different “classes” to cover recordings, live performances, merchandise and other classes, so make sure you cover the bases. Registration costs can add up in a hurry, but a band or artist name and brand may become one of your biggest assets, so it’s well worth it to protect it early.

Form a company (or companies as necessary) for your label, songwriting/publishing, touring, merchandising, etc.) It’s important to look at your work as a small business, not just a creative hobby, and to get all your legal protections in place. Forming a company, partnership, sole proprietorship or LLC and keeping separate financial records can help ensure that you’re compliant with taxes and can protect your interests. A consultation with an entertainment attorney and/or an accountant is strongly recommended.

Pick a songwriting Performing Rights Organization and register – ASCAPBMI or SESAC If you’re a songwriter or publisher with a song copyright, you’re entitled to collect royalties from public performances of your musical compositions (for instance, the royalties that you are entitled to receive when the songs you wrote are played on the radio). ASCAPBMI and SESAC take care of this kind of licensing, collect fees from them and pay them to you. They all cover the same copyright, so you only need to affiliate with one. Check out their websites and see which might be best for you.

Register with SoundExchange If you performed on and/or own the masters of a sound recording, you can collect royalties from anyone who streams that track digitally (webcasters, satellite or Internet radio, etc).SoundExchange is the only organization designated by the US government to collect and distribute these royalties, so register now to claim your money. It’s totally free.

Arrange for Distribution Set up an account for digital distribution with an aggregator like IODAINgroovesTuneCoreThe Orchard or similar companies which allow you to make your music available to the public for digital downloading at popular sites like iTunesAmazon and others. Be sure to properly enter all metadata accurately during this process since it will propagate everywhere after that. Understand the obligations, splits and commitments you make by entering into an agreement so that you know how it may limit other opportunities.

Embed metadata about each track into each digital file If a music service opens your file or pops in your CD, and sees ‘Track 1’ and ‘Artist Unknown,’ you could miss out on royalties. While services and webcasters are supposed to report all the tracks they play, they’re busy, and you need to make it as easy as possible. Many millions of dollars have been earmarked for “promo only,” “self-released” and “artist unknown.” Include, at the very least, the artist or group name, copyright holder or label name, and track and album titles, and the ISRC number, if available. Most mastering software includes the ability to embed this data, and online services are available.

Buy/register your website address and social network domains Start your online marketing and fan building by registering and creating your domain names. It’s common practice for vendors to buy up domains in hopes they’ll be able to jack up the price to sell them back to you when you need them, so pin down the names as soon as you can. Also, create your band’s official profiles on the various popular social networking and sharing sites such as MySpaceFacebookTwitteriLike and YouTube.

Check out organizations and associations which may benefit you There are lots of groups out there doing great things for musicians. Not all of them will be right for you, but a few of them may be. Consider unions like the American Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represent a wide variety of musicians and performers, at all stages in their careers. Check out what groups like The Recording Academy and musicFIRST are doing to protect your work. There are also payment funds, including the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies and the AFM & AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, which may have funds to offer for certain kinds of work you’ve done. Many regional and local organizations are also available, and many of these groups offer member benefits and discounts on services you may use. Educate yourself about all the associations which may be open to you, and find out what choices can help you advance your career.

Build your web presence Use your site and social network profiles to sell merchandise, display a photo gallery, and dispense news updates and tour events. Keep the information fresh and interesting. Cross-link and expand your social network communications to drive fans to your website. Consider periodic email or other mass-blasts to keep your audience informed. Be authentic and consistent.

Get health and equipment insurance You want to be able to rock on for years to come, so don’t take any risks. When you’re on the road or at gigs, equipment can disappear, so find affordable but adequate insurance. In addition to private companies, some labor unions and organizations, offer health plans, but do your research to find the right plan for you. Check out the Health Insurance Navigation Tool (HINT) program—a good place to start looking, and get some free advice.

Build your team and assign responsibilities (merchandising, bookings, social media, accounting, licensing, publicity, email management, etc.) Build your business by having the right helpers in place. Assign those tasks to the person or group best suited to them. Many online enhancements or replacements for hired help are available (SonicBids,CDBabyTopSpinReverbNationRumblefishFanBridgeNimbit and others) which allow artists to take on many of these tasks themselves.

Create great music! There is no substitute for creative productivity. This is what artists do. So create often and let your audience know what you’ve been up to. It’ll take a lot of work, but before you know it, you could be living the dream.

Taking the Pulse: survey on health insurance and musicians | Future of Music Coalition

Posted in Music on May 11, 2010 by stacyepps

Taking the Pulse: survey on health insurance and musicians | Future of Music Coalition.

Taking the Pulse: a survey on musicians and health insurance

In 2002, Future of Music Coalition conducted an online survey to gauge the level of health insurance among working musicians. Of the nearly 2,700 respondents, 44 percent of them did not have health insurance.

As a response, we launched the HINT project, which has been providing musicians with personalized, artist-friendly advice about their health insurance options since 2005.

With the health care now a national issue, FMC is re-launching the survey from March 1 – April 7, 2010.Musicians, songwriters and composers: Click here to take the survey.

In 2002, Future of Music Coalition conducted an online survey to gauge the level of health insurance among working musicians. Of the nearly 2,700 respondents, 44 percent of them did not have health insurance.

As a response, we launched the HINT project, which has been providing musicians with personalized, artist-friendly advice about their health insurance options since 2005.

With the health care now a national issue, FMC is re-launching the survey in March 2010FMC wants to know:

  • How many musicians are insured?
  • Has the number increased or decreased over the last eight years?
  • What are the factors that make it difficult for musicians to get insured?
  • Do musicians know about the plans offered by some unions and professional organizations?

The Taking the Pulse survey, which will be open from March 1 through April 7, 2010, assesses the level of health insurance among working musicians, asks key questions about artists’ access to coverage and their understanding of the current health insurance landscape.

Musicians, songwriters and composers:  Click here to take the survey
It should take you about 10 minutes to complete. Your answers are anonymous and confidential.

Why FMC is doing this research

With health care now a national issue, it’s important that we understand how many musicians are currently insured, and the factors that make it difficult for musicians to get insured. The data will help us understand what can we do to ensure that this vital segment of the public isn’t falling through the cracks.

FMC’s 2002 study has been cited in a number of related reports and press articles. With a damaged national economy and meaningful health care reform still elusive nearly a decade later, the issue of health care coverage for artists is ever more urgent. Musicians, who contribute greatly to our nation’s cultural and economic well-being, too often go without coverage in order to pursue their craft. This new survey seeks to look once more at those factors that prevent musicians from obtaining coverage.

Help us with outreach

During the month of March, FMC will engage directly with musicians and reach artists through partnerships with music service organizations to encourage thousands of musicians to take the short survey. You can help by encouraging as many musicians as possible to take survey by posting information about it on your blog, your MySpace account, your Facebook page, or as a Twitter update. Sample text and links are below.

Paragraph version for your blog or newsletter

Are you a musician or songwriter? Do you have health insurance? The nonprofit Future of Music Coalition is conducting an online survey during the month of March to assess how many musicians have health insurance. Click here to participate in this survey. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/musicianshealthinsurance

Your answers are anonymous and confidential, and the survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. We urge you to participate so we can really understand the needs of our music community.

Twitter or Facebook status update

Are you a musician or songwriter? Do you have health insurance? Take this survey and tell us about it. http://bit.ly/amOAbi

If You Post Your Works on Social Networking Sites, Pay Close Attention to Your Privacy Settings Options

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps


If You Post Your Works on Social Networking Sites, Pay Close Attention to Your Privacy Settings Options

Recently, a Nevada photographer found that social networking privacy settings may not seem so cool. She found a photograph of hers she had posted to her profile used in an ad by a sunglasses company she had never heard of. Although this may seem like blatant infringement (as she thought), whether it is may depend on permissions you give to third parties without even knowing it.

The web has been abuzz recently about this issue (a popular example being a husband whose wife’s picture popped up for a dating site ad), and the sites and advertisers have been pointing the fingers at each other. Regardless, artists should be particularly mindful of the risks and benefits posting pictures may create—and that means clicking on and actually reading those links at the top or the bottom of home page entitled “Privacy” or “Settings” or “Terms of Use.”

How this can happen.
The issue is not about posting pictures online; it’s about access. Our artist thought she was protected. She, like many artists, uploaded many of her photographs into an account she had with one of the many picture hosting websites, and she had a creative commons license for pictures on that website. The problem arose when she set up her account so pictures she posted would also automatically post to her profile on a social networking site. Although the creative commons license covered the pictures on the first site, her privacy settings allowed advertisers access to the photos when they posted on her profile.

Tailored Advertising.
In order to make advertisements more tailored to an individual user, social networking sites are utilizing user’s photos to help promote sites, companies, etc. to that user’s friends. In addition, third party advertisers are also gaining access through applications and using photos for their ads (an activity social networking sites claim violates their policies).

Should I run to a computer and change my settings?
Maybe, but not necessarily. The catch is that the default settings can be different sites can be different, even within the same site. For example, social networking sites may require that you affirmatively give a third party access to your profile when you download an application. That same site, though, may have a default setting which gives it open access to your photos (search “social media privacy settings” to find a lot of information on the difference between the two). Therefore, you should understand the privacy options and defaults for any site on which you post your works.

But, whether you want your pictures used depends on your circumstances. On one hand, you may risk giving up control of your work. What right you give an advertiser depends on how the privacy settings are worded. This is especially true for applications which often grant access and possible use of your entire profile. Often, you have no say in what companies may use your works or in what way, and you may not even know who the companies are (especially for access through applications). As our photographer found, she had never heard of the company that was using her photograph. If you have an established portfolio, these uses may also dilute your works’ reputation and could lead to a reduction in the price people are willing to pay for your works.

On the other hand, this may give your works greater exposure. After all, any publicity is good publicity, especially for an up and coming artist. Our photographer found out about the use because a friend was impressed how a company had picked up her photograph. Plus, some companies are willing to negotiate usage rights if the photograph is a good fit for their ads.

from: http://www.artlawteam.com/2009/08/articles/social-networking-1/if-you-post-your-works-on-social-networking-sites-pay-close-attention-to-your-privacy-settings-options/print.html

Sound Accounting – Taxes and the Touring Musician by Alyson Miller, CPA

Posted in Music on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps
In light of tax season, although it is a bit late, it is important to know what expenses you can write off on your taxes. So many of us artists, pay expenses associated with shows and touring and many of these are deductible. Please do not neglect to handle your taxes, even if it seems small now, the IRS will come back and get you later. We have seen this happen to many times before!

Sound Accounting – Taxes and the Touring Musician by Alyson Miller, CPA

Posted by Alyson Miller
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Alyson Miller is a CPA who provides specialized accounting and tax services to music and entertainment clients.  She is the founder of Alyson Miller, CPA PLLC a rock and rollaccounting, tax, and business management firm. She has years of music business experience working for both independent and internationally recognized artist and songwriters, record labels, publishing companies and music distributors.

Musicians can save themselves some money and reduce their tax bill if they know what to look for when it comes to filing taxes.   There are many deductions that are specific to being a self-employed musician.

If you are self-employed (i.e., you don’t receive a W-2 from an employer) you will file your income and allowable expenses on a Schedule C as an attachment to your 1040.  The net of the Schedule C is then reported on page 1 or you 1040.

Always keep receipts for everything along with other documentation that you may have such as tour schedules. Here is a list and brief description of the typical allowable expenses.

Travel Expenses

The location has to be far enough away that is it inconvenient to return home otherwise expenses are considered commuting expenses and they are not deductible.

Allowable expenses include:

  • Hotels
  • Airfare
  • Phone calls to home
  • Rehearsal space rental
  • Tips
  • Local transportation like taxis at your destination

Meals

  • Meals associated with overnight travel
  • Meal expenses incurred while discussing or conducting business

You are only allowed a deduction for 50% of the meal costs and the IRS requires a receipt and documentation on who, what, where, and why you incurred the meal expense.

Equipment

  • All equipment (guitars, amp, strings, etc.)
  • Repairs and maintenance on equipment

Any item that generally costs more than $500 is depreciated over 5 years.  What this means is that you can take one-fifth of the costs as an expense each year for 5 years.  You may be able to take a 179 deduction which means you can take the entire cost as an expense in the year you purchase the item.

Vehicle Expenses

There are two methods allowed for vehicle expenses.  You can choose one or calculate both and choose the one that gives you the biggest deduction.

Method 1 – keep actual receipts for:

  • Gas
  • Repairs & maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Property Tax

The IRS also allows a depreciation deduction for your vehicle under this method.

Method 2

  • Keep mileage log of every mile traveled
  • Use standard mileage deduction for each mile traveled (55 cents for 2009; 50 cents for 2010)

Home Office or StudioIf you have a room in your home used exclusively for your business such as a studio you may be able to deduct it.  You can take a percentage of the square footage and apply it to:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage Interest
  • Utilities
  • Property Taxes

Health Insurance

  • Premiums that you pay as a self employed musician are fully deductible on the front page of the 1040.

Other Items

  • CD’s and music downloads
  • Concert tickets
  • Music publications
  • Wardrobe

Don’t get greedy with these items!  Wardrobe must be used exclusively on stage.

Always consult your tax professional about your individual situation.  One size does not fit all so finding a music business accountant is always preferable.

from: http://www.knowthemusicbiz.com/index.php/BIZ-BLOG/BIZ-BLOG/Sound-Accounting-Taxes-and-the-Touring-Musician-by-Alyson-Miller-CPA.html

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Some Upcoming Events to Take Note of…

Posted in Music on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps

41st Annual GMA Dove Awards

April 21, 2010 |   Nashville, TN

The GMA Dove Awards is Christian/Gospel music’s biggest night of the year, where top artists from every style of gospel music come together for a night of music and celebration as the GMA hands out awards in 43 categories and bestows the industry’s highest honor—the Dove Award.  Among the artists scheduled to appear are Casting Crowns, TobyMac, Natalie Grant, Donald Lawrence, Jason Crabb, and MercyMe.  Although SoundExchange pays digital performance royalties to many 2010 GMA Dove Awards nominees, unclaimed digital performance royalties to 2010 GMA Dove Awards nominated artists, producers, and songwriters represent $115,000.

ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo

April 22 – 24, 2010 |   Los Angeles, CA

The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO provides a unique opportunity for songwriters, composers, publishers, producers – and those in the industry that support them – to come together in an unprecedented way to share their knowledge and expertise.  The innovative programming offered to attendees has grown to include celebrity Q&A’s, master classes, songwriting and composing workshops, publisher and business panels, one-on-one sessions, DIY career building workshops, showcases and performances, song feedback panels, state-of-the-art technology demos as well as leading music industry exhibitors.  SoundExchange will be sponsoring this year’s Expo and Neeta Ragoowansi, Director, Artist and Label Relations, will be on hand to spread the word about digital performance royalties to attending artists and industry professionals.

Q2Y10 Webinar for Artists

April 27, 2010 |  http://tinyurl.com/SXAWebinarQ2Y10

SoundExchange & The Recording Academy® will come together to present “Q2Y10 Webinar for Artists,” a webinar designed to improve the lines of communication between SoundExchange and the artist community and provide artists with relevant information about their digital performance royalties and activities in Congress that will affect their career.  The Recording Academy® Vice President of Advocacy & Government Relations, Daryl P. Friedman, will be on the call as a special guest to discuss the latest advocacy issues.  All artists who are interested in attending this webinar should register online at http://tinyurl.com/SXAWebinarQ2Y10.

The Music Business Convention

May 14 – 17, 2010 |   Chicago, IL

The National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ (NARM) Annual Music Business Convention is a meeting ground for the most knowledgeable and influential people in the business—a diverse collection of labels, distributors, retailers, online sellers, mobile operators, and music enthusiasts attend the conference each year.  This year, SoundExchange has signed on to co-sponsor the convention’s 2-day Crash Course (May 14-15) which features educational presentations and panel discussions focused on the independent sector in the emerging digital world.  The Crash Course is a must for independent music labels, artists, technology companies and students who wish to remain current in the transforming music economy.

San Francisco MusicTech Summit

May 17, 2010 |   San Francisco, CA

The SF MusicTech Summit brings together visionaries in the music/technology space, along with the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce.  SoundExchange is excited to be a part of the discussion on the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to deal-making environment.

New Music Seminar – NYC

July 19-21, 2010 |   New York, NY

Earlier in the year, SoundExchange sponsored the Los Angeles installment of the New Music Seminar.  In response to the overwhelming success of the West coast counterpart, the Seminar has been stretched to three days.  The informative event will feature more visionaries speaking on new movements and opportunities that will give you an edge in these exciting times.  Attendees can look forward to workshops on how to make more money right now, mentoring sessions with important industry leaders, and more networking than ever.  Our friends at New Music Seminar are encouraging SoundExchange members to attend by offering a very special discount on registration—use special code NMSNY10 at checkout and enjoy two registrations for the price of one!