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Heather M Morado

Heather Morado’s Answers

9 total

  • Can an agent legally add a Sunset Clause?

    I am a music recording artist who is up and coming. My agent charges me a commission, but has also added a Sunset Clause that would be in effect for 16 months after our contract is up, saying I would pay him commission for events that he didn't he...

    Heather’s Answer

    Mr. Parron is correct that a sunset provision is one of many negotiable terms in management agreements. The rationale behind this type of provision is that the manager’s efforts to help develop an artist’s career may continue to bear fruit after the expiration of the management agreement. One potential compromise could be to provide that the manager’s commission gradually decreases over the length of the sunset term. In any event, you should definitely hire an entertainment lawyer to advise you regarding all aspects of your management agreement.

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  • For an original song, do both the producer (beatmaker) of the track and the lyric writer (artist) get 100% of publishing?

    According to BMI, a song is split into 200%. The writers' share (including the songwriter/artist and producer) which= 100% and the publishers share which= 100%. In my case, the producer (beat maker) and I (artist) have no deals with any publishing...

    Heather’s Answer

    The total copyright ownership in a composition totals 100%, not 200%. Generally, the writer's share is 50% and the publisher's share is 50%, for a total of 100%. Traditionally, a co-publishing agreement in an arrangement under which the writer gets 100% of the writer's share (i.e., 50%) and 50% of the publisher's share (i.e., 25%) for a total of 75% (writer) 25% (publisher). Since neither the producer nor the artist are signed to publishing deals in your example, you can both self-publish and retain all of your respective ownership in the copyright, depending on the agreement between the two of you. If you have not already done so, I highly recommend that you retain an entertainment lawyer to draft a written agreement between the two of you regarding copyright ownership.

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  • How do I fight against a suit for allegedly infringing on copyrights?

    Allegedly on 10/23/2012 at 11:08:28 am GMT on a IP address assigned to my address, I supposedly uploaded or downloaded a movie without permission from Riding Films INC. If I have not provided enough information please let me know.

    Heather’s Answer

    It sounds like you are claiming that you did not illegally upload/download the film. If you have an unsecured wireless network, or you allow others to access your network (such as roommates), it's possible that someone else could have made an illegal download. Usually in these types of cases, the copyright owner sues thousands of "John Does" in a single lawsuit, and then serves subpoenas on internet service providers to obtain the identities of the alleged infringers. Generally, the most cost efficient way to resolve these cases is to negotiate a settlement payment to the copyright owner. You will likely have more bargaining leverage in negotiating a settlement if you hire an attorney. However, depending on the particular facts of your case, you may have other options. You should definitely hire an attorney to properly advise you.

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  • I have begun writing a novel, and require my fictional characters to interact with deceased public figures, such as John Lennon

    Is it possible to do this legally? The "Rock Stars" and perhaps the odd scientist, such as Carl Sagan will be "goodies" , and there shall be nothing bad written about them, or will they speak anything derogatory about anything other than other fic...

    Heather’s Answer

    While it appears from your post that you are concerned about violating defamation laws, these are not applicable because you can't defame the dead. You can, however, violate the right of publicity of a deceased person. Right of publicity laws vary from state to state, so you will first need to determine whether under a particular state's law, if the right was descendible upon the character's death. Further, certain state laws also provide exemptions from particular uses of rights of publicity. For example, in Washington state (where Carl Sagan died), the right of publicity does not apply to use in a literary work, as long as the use does not inaccurately claim or state an endorsement by the celebrity. Since the answer to your question is fact-dependent and beyond the scope of this forum, you should contact an attorney to properly advise you.

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  • Can we use someone else character in our own game, If we did all the art independently and not using original name?

    We are making small independent parody game with lot of characters from movies , anime and games . But all art was made by our own artist and we are not using any original names . So or characters are only have some visual similarity in fact .

    Heather’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with with my colleagues that a consultation with a lawyer is not a luxury, but a necessity. I would also add that in addition to potential copyright and trademark infringement problems, to the extent that any of your characters are based the image, likeness, or persona of a celebrity, you could also be subject to claims for misappropriation of the right of publicity. Also, keep in mind that even if you can make a cogent argument that your actions are permissible as parody or satire, that will not prevent you from being sued, which will likely be costly and unpleasant. For an example of a similar case, please see my attached blog post about the creators of a game called "Joustin Beaver" which was intended to be a parody of Justin Bieber. Although this case never proceeded to trial on the merits of the parody defense, needless to say, the creators of the game are no longer in business. I would caution you to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

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  • Are there ASCAP/royalties/copyright exceptions for VERY small ventures or not-for-profit ventures?

    We are a small, amature, not-for-profit, cultural heritage group who sings classical music. We would like to record an albumn for sale as a fund raiser. We purchase ALL our music and are very sensitive about copyright laws, etc. I believe most ...

    Heather’s Answer

    This area of the law is complicated - to begin, there are two copyrights to consider, one is the copyright in the underlying composition; and the other is the copyright in the the actual performance of the composition. For example, assuming you are referring to J.S. Bach (the famous German composer that died in 1750), his compositions are no longer subject to copyright. However, your group performance of his composition will create a separate copyrighted work. At a minimum, you should have a written recording agreement among your group members, even if you are performing solely public domain compositions. To the extent you are performing other compositions that may be subject to copyright protection, you should talk to a lawyer to determine whether you need appropriate licenses from the copyright owners. Purchasing sheet music does not give you the right to distribute recordings of copyrighted compositions. The complexity of your question is beyond the scope of this forum, and you should hire an attorney to guide you through the process, to ensure that you don't violate copyright laws.

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  • Can I use my school's name on products for sale?

    I go to private college and wanted to make an item to sell for our sororities philanthropy week with my universities abbreviated name. If I put my schools abbreviated name can I get in trouble for selling the product, is that copyright or tradema...

    Heather’s Answer

    If you don't have a license to use the university's name in connection with the sale of merchandise, it could form the basis for a claim of trademark infringement. However, as a practical matter, given that you are a student of the university and your proposed sale of merchandise is small-scale, there's a good chance that the university might grant you permission if you ask. Good luck.

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  • How do I properly terminate a management contract?

    I have a 2yr contract with an entertainment manager (I'm an actor). We had had a discussion on parting ways but decided not to. I then found out that I had been removed from all of the casting sites, and am not listed on their roster. In other...

    Heather’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorneys' recommendation that the first step should be to review the applicable termination provisions in your management agreement. For example, agreements will often require that in the event of an alleged breach, the non-breaching party must give the other party notice of the alleged breach and an opportunity to cure the breach within a specified time period. You will want to make sure that you adhere to the procedure to effect termination according to your original agreement. If your manager is failing to adhere to his or her obligations under the agreement, you may have a claim for breach of contract. However, since contract law is complicated and your options depend on your particular facts and circumstances, you should hire an attorney to properly advise you.

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  • How much of a person's 'likeness' can I use in a book?

    A large portion of my plot centers around a real person. I have changed their name, but am worried that the likeness is too similar. I don't know if they are considered a 'celebrity' or not. They have a biography about them. I have not read th...

    Heather’s Answer

    Depending on whether the person you portrayed is a public figure, and also how the person and the interview are portrayed, you could be vulnerable to claims for defamation and copyright infringement. You should hire an entertainment lawyer to review your book and advise you regarding any potential legal liability.

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