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Valerie Lovely

Valerie Lovely’s Answers

9 total

  • What percentage should a Producer receive from Singer, Songwriter, Publisher, Engineer, and Manager in the Entertainment Ind.?

    Singer is both songwriter.

    Valerie’s Answer

    Working with a producer is a very copyright rich environment so having proper contracts drawn up to reflect exactly who owns the copyrights and who is entitled to royalty shares is important.

    What those shares are really depend upon what services the producer is providing. Are they just responsible for capturing a great performance? If so, generally, artists that are not signed to a label pay the producer a flat fee for their services in the studio and producer does not own any copyrights and the artists do not pay the producer royalties for the licensing and sales of the sound recordings.

    If the artist is signed to a label, producers do not obtain any copyrights but generally receive both a flat fee for their services and a percentage of royalties for the licensing and sales of the sound recordings. The range depends on the producers experience but usually averages around 3%.

    If the producer is also collaborating on songwriting, providing tracks, etc. whether to agree to split copyright ownership and/or songwriting royalties is a separate issue to negotiate. Often shares are decided based upon the producer’s actual input on a song-by-song basis after the song is completed but again - it should be drafted up in a contract so you really should seek out the advice of a trained attorney in this area.

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  • Do I have a right to sue for infringement of Copyright for public performance of my musical recording made in 1973?

    My music has been aired on so many radio stations and now it is freely distributed on you tube yet I get no form of royalty whatsoever. Do I have any right in law to get my royalties counting back from when they started playing my music on air?

    Valerie’s Answer

    The infringement issue has been addressed so I’ll focus on the royalties part of your question.

    If you wrote the song and own the song rights, then you may want to look into joining ASCAP or BMI (you may only join one) and filing the song with them so they can monitor and collect future public performances. They do not pay retroactively for public performances of songs.

    If you own the sound recording rights, then you may have some royalties that have been collected on your behalf for the relatively new right of public performance of digital audio transmissions. Check SoundExchange to find out if you have uncollected royalties and then look into filing with them so they can monitor and collect those royalties in the future.

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  • How do I dissolve a publishing company that I created through ASCAP?

    The company is in my name and under my SS number.

    Valerie’s Answer

    Like the other attorneys, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "dissolve a publishing company you created through ASCAP." You didn't really create a company through ASCAP. You created a publishing company (by giving it a name) and then had it join ASCAP as a publisher so that it could file songs and collect royalties.

    You've received advice on how to end a business so I'm adding another guess in on the ASCAP membership. If you want to end your publishing membership with ASCAP, you can do so. The easiest way to get more information would be to just call ASCAP and speak with someone about your specific membership.

    I've provided a link to the page where ASCAP provides information about your agreement with them as well as how to end it.

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  • What's the steps in to becoming a entertainment lawyer if I have to attend city college first. Is it possible?

    High school student.

    Valerie’s Answer

    Attorney Mauro's response is great. I would add that it would be helpful if the law school you attended had some focus on entertainment law (some do). You want to become familiar with the legal issues involved in this field to make you more attractive to a potential employer (or to open your own practice) so if there's a local chapter of the Volunteer Lawyer's for the Arts, seek an internship. Try to choose a law school with a clinic where you could get some hands on experience working with entertainment clients under the guidance of a faculty advisor. If the school doesn't have many entertainment law courses, seek out summer programs at other law schools that do, join the ABA's Entertainment Law section, or attend industry conferences where the legal issues of the industry will be discussed. Good luck!

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  • I had an event where I paid an entertainer to appear can I sue them.

    they said they missed their flight and I looked at the contract and missing their flight isn't an act of god

    Valerie’s Answer

    It sounds like you have a signed contract with the entertainer to perform for you. Usually, if the contract was drafted properly, in addition to a clause about force majeure (acts of God) there should be a section that addresses what happens if the entertainer does not perform as agreed due to their own issues (illness, missed flight, etc.).

    If you have asked the performer for a refund of the fee and they have refused, you may want to contact a local attorney to look over your agreement and to discuss your options both within the contract and under state law.

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  • Is it legal to sell a sheet-music transcription made from a royalty-free audio-jingle i found on the internet?

    According to the creator of the jingle, it may be commercially distributed on a "royalty-free" basis. Does that include the right transcribe it and sell the sheet music?

    Valerie’s Answer

    Without having all of the facts it’s hard to give a clear answer on a particular situation. Generally, when a writer posts a jingle and states that it can be commercially distributed on a royalty free basis they mean that people can use the jingle in their project and do not need to pay the writer royalties for the use. Often there’s a requirement for giving credit back to the writer so they benefit from getting their jingles out there under their name. It really comes down to what terms they posted along with that jingle.

    I agree with the other attorneys that a lawyer would be helpful for you in this situation. One could look at exactly what rights were granted on the site you found the jingle on and advise you accordingly. If necessary, they could contact the rights owner/s in the jingle and seek permission to make and sell sheet music. They could also make sure that you have the rights that you need properly documented.

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  • Copyright And Sheet music

    Let's take this scenario... A musician goes into a music store and takes one of the sheet music books and learns the music on a piano in the store and then leaves. Or let's say that a musicians with a great memory goes into a music and memorizes ...

    Valerie’s Answer

    It’s an interesting inquiry. For most of your scenarios, technically what you are doing does not cause any problems under copyright law if it’s for personal use. If you learn the song by looking at the sheet music and it’s in your head and you learn to play it - no problem. If you transcribe the song for yourself from your head - no problem. If you arrange the transcription for yourself - no problem.

    It’s really what your next step might be that could bring you into conflict with copyright law - for example if you make copies, distribute or sell the transcription or arrangement without getting the appropriate licenses first.

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  • Do my college drinking shirts fall under parody?

    I started a small operation (not even business) selling college drinking/parody shirts. Things have started picking up over the past few months and I want to check on possible legal issues before turning it into a full-fledged business. One ge...

    Valerie’s Answer

    You mentioned some of the factors that lean toward something being considered a trademark parody - that the parody is truly targeting (making fun of) the trademark, that people do not believe that trademark owner is the source of the parody goods, and that you are not in direct competition with the trademark owner. You may benefit from running your designs by an attorney with trademark litigation experience to see if they can provide any insight into the likelihood of your particular designs causing you any problems.

    The thing about trademark parodies is that it’s difficult to predict whether the trademark owner will sue and if they do sue it is likewise difficult to predict how the court will decide the case. It can take many years and substantial legal fees to get to a final ruling or for the parties to reach a settlement. There was a fairly recent revision of Federal Trademark law that seems to be more permissive of parodies but it takes time for enough trademark parody cases to make it through enough courts to provide a good indication of potential outcomes.

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  • Can local little league create original logos/script and name teams without fear of copyright suits?

    Our league is discussing renaming our teams to have more "original" names rather than the MLB team names like Red Sox & Yankees. Problem is that just about any name you can think of surely has a copyright somewhere ... Knights, Mustangs, Spinners,...

    Valerie’s Answer

    The big issue is whether people will be confused about who the name represents. Will someone load their family into the car, head out to the field expecting to see one team and a completely different team by the same name plays.

    The best names for trademark purposes are typically ones that are completely made up (Kleenex for facial tissue) or the pairing of unrelated words (Arctic Monkeys for a band). The more unique and random, the less likely there is another team out there using the same or a similar name. The team members might have fun coming up with the unexpected word pairings (Flying Mustangs, Robot Mustangs, Ninja Mustangs. . .you get the idea).

    As for logo designs, the logo itself would be protected by copyright law. By default, the person who designs the logo will own the copyright in that particular design. If you use the design without addressing ownership first you could be infringing on the copyright. When you use the design to represent your team (people see the logo - they think of your team) it is functioning as a trademark.

    There are so many areas that you will want to be sure to address when you set up the new names and logos; you should really have an in-depth conversation with an attorney about all of this. Maybe contact a nearby attorney who practices in this area and offer them naming rights in a team in return for some legal assistance. . .

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