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Musical Mandates

A brief list of laws concerning music: practicing, publishing, and performing.
by

Alan Smith

on 7 January 2014

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Transcript of Musical Mandates

Contracting
There are a few major cases in which musicians must sign contracts:

Labels/Agents - Artists must sign contracts for their representation

Venues - Musicians must sign contracts assuring their attendance and performance at concerts
Termination and Breach
Record labels often make their contracts have only short lifetimes. This allows them to release artists if they have lost fame, or if they make decisions they do not approve of. When these contracts expire, firms have the option to resign the artist, or release them. Another way that a firm can release their artist if they breach their contract. For example, Disney has strict rules on the things their employees say and do. Doing something not allowed in the conract can cause a termination, and sometimes firms must be refunded for their efforts.
Conclusion
Intellectual Property
Record labels, such as Syco/Columbia Records, always copyright their artists' work. This is important, as lacking, anyone could profit from their work. Even small artists must copyright their work as it is easily stolen. Record labels, though, can handle this process for artists signed to them. These labels must also deal with trademarks that allow them to retain their logo, and must renew them yearly, along with any trademarks their artists have, such as 1D's logo:
Operation of Law
All municipalities, except for Dallas, Texas, have zoning laws. Record labels, in general, must be located in commercial zoning, and must not cause a disturbance.
Environmental Action
Not pertaining much to manufacturing, many music labels don't have much of environmental policy, although many municipalties do have laws pertaining to noise pollution:
http://www.epa.gov/air/noise.html

Also, many entertainment corporations are in support of the environmental movement, such as Disney's Friends for Change and strict environmental policy:
http://thewaltdisneycompany.com/citizenship/policies/environmental-policy
Musical Mandates
Trade Dress
Many artists, to maintain their fame, tend to dress certain ways, must sometimes get trademarks on the way they dress. For example, Lady Gaga and Madonna are widely regarded as some of the most ridiculous singers that have existed. As they use this as a selling point on their albums, and is important to their fame and popularity, it is trade dress.
Publishing
The publishing of musical work is very important, as it is the basis of musical jobs, and the only way to make money in the music industry. At only $.99 or $1.29 per individual song, publishing is not where most musicians make their millions. After acheiving fame, venues will pay hundreds of thousands for performances, and publicity, in magazines, is lucrative, although these stories must avoid libel, or selling false stories causing the defamation of people for legal purposes.
As you have seen, there are many legal barriers that musicians must put up with to be succesful. Not just fame and glamour, this industry is cut-throat, and the only way to get ahead is to take legal action, signing contracts and making agreements. Allowing people to voice themselves almost freely, as music is often censored, this is a great outlet for expression.

Financial Statements:
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/news/qfhh7c00000gpdcn-att/CFS.pdf
Syco/Columbia/Sony Records
Damages:
If you download a song from the internet, you would be breaking statutory law. This would be the cost of a $.99 to $1.29 song. If you posted said site, without legal written consent, you could face $150K to millions of dollars of statutory damages.
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