THE STRATEGIC GOAL: to understand and leverage the rights you have as a musician in your music so you can promote, license, sell, and protect your creative works

REFERENCE PAGE: IndieGuide.com/Rights

Table of contents

Section: Business Formation
Three Reasons Why You Should Establish Your Band As A Legal Business Entity
The Number One Reason Why You Should Have A Band Agreement
The Top Ten Considerations Your Band Agreement Should Cover
How To Establish Your Band As A Business
Top Tools For Organizing Your Band’s Business

Section: Copyright
The Top Three Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The Law And Technology
How To Copyright Your Music
The Top Nine Things You Can Do When You Own The Copyright In Something
Debunking The Top Seven Myths Of Copyright
What Every Musician Should Know About The Two Types Of Copyrights In Music: The Composition And The Sound Recording
Three Ways You Can Divide Up The Author/Publisher Roles
How To Determine Songwriter Own Ership Percentages And Keep Track Of Who Owns What In Your Music
What Every Musician Should Know About Work For Hire And Copyright
The Seven Registrations You Should Do For Every Composition And Sound Recording To Ensure You’re Protected And Paid What You’re Owed
How To Register The Copyright Of Your Composition And Sound Recording With The Copyright Office
How To Copyright Text, Artwork, Photos, Images, Graphics, And Video With The Copyright Office
How To Register With A Pro For Song-Performance Royalties
How To Register With A Pro For Sound-Recording Performance Royalties
How To Register ISRC Codes For Your Sound Recordings (And Why)

Section: Uses, Licensing, And Making Money
The Top Six Ways You Can Use The Copyrights In Your Composition (And License Those Uses To Others)
The Top Five Ways You Can Use The Copyrights In Your Sound Recording (And License These Uses To Others)
How To Protect Your Rights In Music Licenses: Four Smart Negotiation Points To Use
How To Use Your Rights To Promote Your Music
What All Musicians Need To Know About Acting As Their Own Publisher And Licensing Their Music
How To License Your Music Through Music Aggregators And License Agencies
What Musicians Need To Know About Music Publishers And Music Administrators
How To Make Money Writing Songs For Others (And Negotiate Your Rights)
How To Get Music Into Video Games

Section: Clearing Rights
How To Clear Cover Songs For Playing Live
How To Clear Cover Songs For Recording
How To Clear Cover Songs For A Video
How To Record Other People’s Songs For Free
How To Clear Rights For Samples And Loops (And How To Get Some For Free)
How To Clear Video Owned By Others To Use In Your Videos
How To Clear Photos, Images, And Graphics Owned By Others So You Can Use Them

Section: Merchandising Rights
What Every Musician Needs To Know About Merchandising Rights

Section: Trademark
What Every Musician Needs To Know About Trademark
The Top Five Things To Know About Trademark Law
How To Trademark Your Logo And Name (And In Which Classes)
How To Register Your Trademark With The Trademark Office

Section: Contracts And Transactions
Top Four Tips To Save Money When Engaging Attorneys

Section: Other Issues: Taxes, Insurance, Work Visas, And More
Other Issues: Taxes, Insurance, Work Visas, And More

Links and extras

Section: Business Formation
Three Reasons Why You Should Establish Your Band As A Legal Business Entity

From the section: As Tony van Veen, CEO and president of Disc Makers and CD Baby says, "Half of ‘music business’ is ‘business.’ "

The Number One Reason Why You Should Have A Band Agreement

From the section: "If you choose to establish a formal business, you’ll end up putting together a legal agreement that outlines in advance how the business will operate and everyone’s rights and responsibilities. "

The Top Ten Considerations Your Band Agreement Should Cover

From the section: "You’ll want to talk to your attorney to create an agreement that covers all your needs."

How To Establish Your Band As A Business

From the section: "Outlining what everyone’s rights and responsibilities are in an agreement is part of the process of forming a business."

Music Law: How to Run Your Band’s Business, by Richard W. Stim

The Top Tools For Organizing Your Band’s Business

From the section: "There are a variety of tools and Web services that can help you manage your band as a business."

Bandize
Indie Band Manager
Quickbooks
Sage 50
Mint

Section: Copyright
The Top Three Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The Law And Technology

From the section: "While some think of copyright as a single right, it isn’t. "

How To Copyright Your Music

From the section: "All the music you create, any videos you make, and any text you write on your blog or Web site is copyrightable. "

The Top Nine Things You Can Do When You Own The Copyright In Something

From the section: "...you’ll be looking for ways to let others use your work in exchange for money, licensing it to them for specific purposes."

Debunking The Top Seven Myths Of Copyright

From the section: "Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about copyright—from the idea you can "copyright" your work by mailing it to yourself to "the right of fair use" protecting you from infringement claims."

What Every Musician Should Know About The Two Types Of Copyrights In Music: The Composition And The Sound Recording

From the section: "...you actually create two copyrights in one ...."

Three Ways You Can Divide Up The Author/Publisher Roles

From the section: "If you register your music with the copyright office, you’ll need this ownership information on hand."

How To Determine Songwriter Ownership Percentages And Keep Track Of Who Owns What In Your Music

From the section: "For every sound recording you make—whether it’s a studio, acoustic, live, or demo recording—you will need to keep track of the author, publisher, and sound recording owner for each composition and recording."

A free Split agreement from us.

What Every Musician Should Know About Work For Hire And Copyright

From the section: "...you’ll want to be aware of this provision since it’ll affect all the rights you have ..."

The Seven Registrations You Should Do For Every Composition And Sound Recording To Ensure You’re Protected And Paid What You’re Owed

From the section: "If this seems complicated, it’s because the system is made for labels and music publishers rather than musicians who do everything themselves. But ...you need to register them properly so that you can get paid for all the royalties that you are owed. "

US ISRC 

How To Register The Copyright Of Your Composition And Sound Recording With The Copyright Office

From the section: "Registering your composition with the copyright office makes a public record of your copyright claim. It’s a way to declare to the world that you’ve created a song and confirms the date of creation by a recognized authority."

US Copyright Office Electronic Registration
Canadian Intellectual Property Office

How To Copyright Text, Artwork, Photos, Images, Graphics, And Video With The Copyright Office

From the section: "..if you want to ensure additional protection, you can register them with the copyright office as well."

How To Register With A PRO For Song-Performance Royalties

From the section: " Becoming a member at any of these PROs allows you to register information about your songs (usually online) so the PRO knows which songs to track in their surveys."

ASCAP
BMI
SESAC
SOCAN

How To Register With A PRO For Sound-Recording- Performance Royalties

From the section: "...ensure you get any money that might be owed to you for the performance of your recordings...."

CCLI

How To Register ISRC Codes For Your Sound Recordings (And Why)

From the section: "PROs use the ISRC codes to determine if your music has been played."

ISRC
US ISRC Assignment Rules
SoundExchange

Section: Uses, Licensing, And Making Money
The Top Six Ways You Can Use The Copyrights In Your Composition (And License Those Uses To Others)

From the section: "There are a variety of ways you can exploit your copyright and make money from your song."

CARP
ASCAP
BMI
SESAC
SoundExchange

How To Protect Your Rights In Music Licenses: Four Smart Negotiation Points To Use

From the section: "Taking these factors into account can help you reserve the rights you have in your song so that, if a new technology comes along, the licensee will need to come back to you to make a new deal."

How To Use Your Rights To Promote Your Music

From the section: "Uploading music to your Web site and shackling its use doesn’t encourage people to discover it."

Creative Commons

What All Musicians Need To Know About Acting As Their Own Publisher And Licensing Their Music

From the section: "Getting licensing deals for your music when you own all the rights can result in a significant amount of money."

Making Music Make Money: An Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Music Publisher, by Eric Beall.

How To License Your Music Through Music Aggregators And License Agencies

From the section: "Sometimes production and advertising companies rely on music aggregators to find music."

Vimeo Music Store
Wild Whirled
NOMA Music
AudioSocket
Magnatune
Taxi
PumpAudio

What Musicians Need To Know About Music Publishers And Music Administrators

From the section: "When you negotiate a deal, you will want to be aware of the rights and provisions the publisher wants for promoting your music. "

How To Make Money Writing Songs For Others (And Negotiate Your Rights)

From the section: "Music made to order for television shows, films, commercials, the theater, and video games is big business with professional songwriters...."

How To Get Music Into Video Games

From the section: "...there’s a lot of video game development going on, including a vibrant indie game industry, and all of the video game makers need music. Connecting with developers and video game houses is the key. "

The Fat Man
Game Developer's Conference
Gamedev
IndieGame Music

The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness

Section: Clearing Rights
How To Clear Cover Songs For Playing Live

From from the section: "Lynyrd Skynyrd can’t stop you from playing 'Free Bird,' even though they, and everyone else in the room, may want to."

How To Clear Cover Songs For Recording

From the section: "...no one can stop you from recording a cover version of a well-known song—you just need to pay for the mechanical right to copy the song."

Copyright Office on Clearing Rights
Harry Fox
Limelight

How To Clear Cover Songs For A Video

From the section: "Although the law makes it relatively easy to clear cover songs for recording and distribution, clearing cover songs for a video is handled differently."

How To Record Other People’s Songs For Free

From the section: "Not all songs require licensing. ..."

Beatnik Turtle's Irish Songs
PD Info

How To Clear Rights For Samples And Loops (And How To Get Some For Free)

From the section: "Whenever you incorporate any samples and audioloops in your music, you need permission from the sound recording owner."

How To Clear Video Owned By Others To Use In Your Videos

From the section: "...just like music, permission is needed when you don’t own video clips and want to use them in your videos."

How To Clear Photos, Images, And Graphics Owned By Others So You Can Use Them

From the section: "Don’t get caught using other people’s copyrighted images in your own materials."

Section: Merchandising Rights
What Every Musician Needs To Know About Merchandising Rights

From the section: "Music labels often try to take a cut of merchandising rights. Bands that hold on to these rights typically sell them for an advance (and possible royalties) to a merchandise company that handles everything from design to order fulfillment."

Section: Trademark
What Every Musician Needs To Know About Trademark

From the section: "Since musicians now reach a global audience, protecting your band name and brand is more of an issue than ever."

The Top Five Things To Know About Trademark Law

From the section: "Trademark law is not copyright law."

How To Trademark Your Logo And Name (And In Which Classes)

From the section: "As an indie musician you do it all: you sell products (which are covered under trademark) and perform music (which is covered under a service mark)."

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Canadian Intellectual Property Office

How To Register Your Trademark With The Trademark Office

From the section: "Trademark registration is more complicated than copyright registration...."

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Canadian Intellectual Property Office

Section: Contracts And Transactions
Top Four Tips To Save Money When Engaging Attorneys

From the section: "Musicians enter into signed agreements all the time—for recording studios, gigs, CD duplication, equipment rental, and more, not to mention most of the online ser vices we talk about...."

Section: Other Issues: Taxes, Insurance, Work Visas, And More
Other Issues: Taxes, Insurance, Work Visas, And More

Music Law: How to Run Your Band’s Business, by Richard W. Stim
Free Culture