Jan 13 2011

Music Publishing Industry Law (2 units)

The music publishing industry supplies a basic component of several other entertainment industries (films, television, commercials, live performances).

This course focuses on four main areas: first, acquiring rights in musical compositions via agreements such as co-publishing, administration, sub-publishing, and purchase; second, Copyright law provisions that limit a publisher’s acquisition of rights in musical compositions; third, exploiting rights in musical compositions via licenses such as mechanical, synchronization, and public performance and the revenue streams generated from such licenses; and finally, protecting musical compositions via offensive and defensive claims/litigation and settling disputes.

The goal of this course is to provide attorneys - whether in-house working for a music publisher or private practice representing the interest of songwriters - with the tools to navigate and understand the music publishing industry’s various agreements, rights, revenue streams, business practices, and Copyright law essentials.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Music Publishing Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft an offer letter for a co-publishing agreement;
  • make comments on a long-form co-publishing agreement;
  • draft a “Termination of Transfer” notice as dictated by the U.S. Copyright Law Statute and related regulations;
  • research and report back song-writer and song information at the websites of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and the Harry Fox Agency; and
  • draft a cease and desist letter on behalf of a writer/music publisher.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • This course includes four open-book drafting assignments (10% for assignments 1, 3, and 4 and 20% for assignment 2 – for a total of 50% of the overall course grade) that simulate drafting typical of in-house counsel at a music publisher or by private practice entertainment attorneys that work in music publishing and an open-book final examination (that counts for 50% of the overall course grade).
  • All of the drafting assignments and the final examination will be graded based on criteria applicable to “real world” work product. This includes, but is not limited to: general organization; ability to clearly identify and address the appropriate legal and factual issues; application of relevant statutes; spelling; grammar; punctuation; and the quality of the advice to your client. Each drafting assignment (including the final examination) will be weighted as follows: 75% for the application of the assignment instructions based on the exhibits, the reading, and the lecture, and 25% for drafting organization, clarity, style, and overall impact.
  • In addition, students will be required to search various websites (e.g., ASCAP and BMI, The Copyright Office, and The Harry Fox Agency) for specific information about musical compositions or songwriters, and submit such information as an assignment. Although these Internet research assignments will not be graded, students are expected to make a good faith effort to locate the required information and submit such information in order to be allowed to move into the next module.