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News & Publications

News & Publications

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THE MUSIC MODERNIZATION ACT

Posted on March 31, 2021 at 4:00 PM

*** For more information on this important piece of legislation, contact our office. *** 


Law Office of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.

817-778-8338


The Music Modernization Act (MMA) updates the copyright law to make statutory licensing more fair for creators and more efficient for digital music providers. It is divided into three key titles, outlined below:

 

Title I—Musical Works Modernization Act;

Title II—Classics Protection and Access Act; and

Title III—Allocation for Music Producers Act.


https://www.copyright.gov/music-modernization/


HOW TO SURVIVE LAW SCHOOL 101

Posted on March 31, 2021 at 3:55 PM

 

HOW TO SURVIVE LAW SCHOOL

by Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.

 

I am often asked how I survived law school. I can tell you, it wasn’t easy. I was not your traditional single, just-graduated-from-college, mid-20s student. I was 30, married, with 2 children.

 

But here’s the secret: PURE DETERMINATION. The truth is, for any student to graduate from law school (and pass the Bar Exam), you are going to need pure determination, passion, and an unwillingness to give up.

 

To be completely candid, I thought about quitting more times that I would like to admit - especially during that first semester. I was not alone in this notion, but the truth is that approximately 80% of all 1L students hide behind the facade that they “have it all together,” when in all actuality, they have also thought of quitting.

 

Below I have shared some things I learned along the way, as well as other things I would do differently. Looking back now through what I call my established, professional, post-law-school lenses, have a much different perspective. I hope that this shared insight will assist you in surviving all three tortuous years. *SMILE*

I have also added a few tips that will continue to assist you as you exit law school, take the Bar Exam, and move into your role as a licensed attorney.

 

1. Create a study schedule and stick to it.

You will have more studying than time. Create a study schedule and stick to it. Remember to include breaks for working out and spending time with family or friends. You will need to keep some type of “normal,” so time management is crucial to your success in law school. Be sure to incorporate some fun!

2. Spend time with family and friends.

The first year of law school is a tough transition. You will need the support of family and friends to finish strong. You will spend long hours in the library, outlining, and in study groups, discussing the same outlines over and over again. Schedule time to catch up with family via phone, have dinner with a friend, or go out on a Saturday night.

3. Keep healthy habits.

This sounds elementary; however, the habits you may have had in college will not suffice in law school. Law school is extremely demanding. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise, and don’t binge drink. You will need your stamina for the long haul.

4. Be true to yourself (don’t get caught up in the rat race).

The first year, you will consistently hear about the 1L competitions for Law Review, intern positions, the top 10%, and other honors. Do not get caught up in the race. Push yourself to do your best and focus your energies on becoming the best lawyer you can be – the rest will sort itself out. Some 1L students get too caught up in the race, and forget the reason they chose to study law. This type of thinking leads to selfishness, back-stabbing, and doing anything to get ahead. Carrying this mentality into your law practice could get you into trouble with your State’s ethics committee, should you choose to engage in the behaviors described above as a practicing lawyer. Your biggest competition is yourself and if you remember that, you will soar!

 

5. Throw all expectations out the window.

No matter what you thought law school was going to be like, look like – it never does. The sooner you get rid of all pre-law-school expectations, the happier you will be.

 

 

 

6. Find your people.

Like every other social event throughout life, this too will be a place where you will enter knowing virtually no one and will have to find your people. Don’t compromise yourself to fit into a group that is not “your people.” This will not work out well in the end. Stick with like-minded people, join organizations that interest you, and again, be true to yourself.

 

7. Buy Used Books.

I did not have a lot of money to spend on books, so I almost always purchased used books. I also searched the internet for outlines posted by law students around the country that coincided with the book used in a particular class. I then compared the class content with the borrowed outlines and built my own outlines from there.

8. Keep up with your outlines all semester.

Most law school exams are mid-semester and end-semester. It is critical that you and/or your study group keep up with all outlines over the course of the semester. You will not have time to outline an entire course during Thanksgiving break. Do yourself a favor and build outlining into your study schedule and you will find that studying for finals becomes a breeze (at least by law school standards). Additionally, I took several open-book finals in my 2L and 3L years. Impeccable outlines, tabbing, and constant review of these outlines will help you ace open-book finals.

 

9. Network, network, network.

You will have MANY opportunities to network with professors, law professionals, judges, and others who work in the legal industry. You must take EVERY opportunity to network. This is crucial to getting a job after graduation. Make the most of every opportunity and remember that people are watching you, so don’t be that person who constantly and disrespectfully challenges the law professor in first year Torts class.

 

 

 

 

10. Enjoy the ride!

Law school is a unique experience. It will be difficult. There may even

be tears. No matter how challenging things get, try to enjoy this time. It

will be over before you know it.

 

 

The Law of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For general information or to set up a consultation, email: [email protected]

Attorney Deborah E. Johnson’s website: www.entertainmentlawyerjohnson.com

*Sources listed in this article are included for information purposes only. The Law Office of Deborah E. Johnson does not personally endorse nor own the copyrights to the sources listed. All rights are reserved by each copyright owner, respectively.

**The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article or on this profile page should be taken as legal advice for any individual, case, or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. All rights Reserved. Copyright 2017.

 

 

 


5 Things an Indie Artist should know about Entertainment Law

Posted on March 31, 2021 at 3:50 PM

5 Things an Indie Artist should know about Entertainment Law

Written by Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.


 

1. Hire an Entertainment or Music Lawyer.

 

Many artists, especially independent artists, fail to see the importance of hiring an entertainment/music lawyer. Some artists feel that it is not in their budget or that it is not a priority. Hiring a music lawyer is of such importance that an artist should budget the cost just as any other budget item, like production fees, photography, video services, etc. A music lawyer is an investment in an artist’s career. Additionally, it will not cost the artist as much up front as it would later down the line, should the artist find himself in a precarious legal situation. My law office makes every effort to make services affordable for the independent artist and my fee scale consists of several flat fee items which allows the artist to easily budget for that cost.

 

What I tell clients is that you cannot afford not to hire a music lawyer. WHY? You are an artist! You are not trained in the law of music. Even if you are an artist that is music law savvy, your mindset is still that of an artist. Many great thinkers of our time use the mantra: “Stay in your lane.” This is great advice because we are all wired for a specific purpose. People who understand their purpose early, understand they also need to be trained for that purpose. Don’t get me wrong. I have met my share of educated artists; however, the artist’s mind is not constantly thinking of ways to protect their intellectual property while creating it. That is my job! A music lawyer will assist the artist in the protection and preservation of their intellectual property. Notwithstanding, the artist might be losing money without proper legal counsel. Music lawyers can and should assist with negotiations and contract review. They have your best interest at heart and they are detached emotionally from the situation; therefore, they can negotiate the best terms on your behalf. This allows the artist to be an artist while maximizing their dollar as an artist. You do your job - I will do mine. Do not wait until you are in dire legal trouble to hire your entertainment lawyer. Do it now and save time and money down the road!

 

2. Always copyright your music.

 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an artist is failing to properly copyright your music. Your music lawyer can assist with the copyrighting; however, many artists feel comfortable registering their own copyrights. The important point to remember here is – COPYRIGHT, COPYRIGHT, COPYRIGHT.

 

A copyright tells the rest of the world who owns an original work, as well as enabling its creator to bring legal action for infringement and expanding your rights and remedies under the law. Artists will often use or hear the term “poor man’s copyright.” This means to send the original work to yourself via mail. I do not recommend using the “poor man’s copyright” method because it is more difficult to prove in court, and you may not receive the additional protections provided under federal law when a work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office creates a time stamp of when the original work was created as well as the denoting the rightful owner. It is your most powerful piece of evidence should you discover that one has copied or unlawfully exploited your intellectual property. Once a piece of music has been created, the creator should seek to register the work with the copyright office as soon as possible. This is fairly inexpensive and well worth the money.

 

Artists should be aware that there are two types of copyrights. First, the artist can copyright what is traditionally called the Sound Recording (SR). Form SR should be used when registering a published or unpublished sound recording. This form is limited to the sound recording itself. Form SR can also be used when an artist is registering both the sound recording as well as the underlying work, as long as the claimant is the same for both. Form PA (Performing Arts) should be used when a claimant is registering the underlying work only, such as a musical composition or lyrics to a song.

 

Copyrights on registered works, registered after Jan. 1, 1978 are protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years. More information on copyrights can be located at http://www.copyright.gov/.

 

NOTE: Registration with the U.S. Copyright office may or may not necessarily provide copyright protection internationally.

 

3. Register with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO).

There are basically three major PROs: BMI, ASCAP, and SECAC. They all do basically the same thing – track, calculate, and pay the songwriter(s) for royalties earned. This is especially imperative if you are a singer/songwriter. Some PROs require a small fee to join, while others are by invitation only.

A PRO represents songwriters, music publishers, and composers. The PRO’s main function is to collect license fees on your behalf, when your music is played on radio stations, news media, internet, satellite, hotels, clubs, concerts, and other businesses. A percentage of those royalties are then forwarded to the songwriter(s). Songwriters should be aware that they may only affiliate with one PRO at a time - so choose wisely.

Songwriters should also consider setting up their own music publishing company. A music publisher’s sole purpose is to ensure that songwriters receive royalties when their compositions are exploited commercially. In contrast, there is no objection to registering will all three PROs simultaneously, as a music publisher (contrary to songwriter affiliation mentioned above).

These are the web addresses for BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC:

http://www.bmi.com/

http://www.ascap.com/

http://sesac.com/

 

4. Register with Sound Exchange (SE).

 

Sound Exchange is a fairly new service with its sole purpose to administer services to stream artist content. Translation: SE tracks and pays out to artists on digital performance royalties. Sound Exchange also collects and distributes those royalties back to the artist when the content is played on a non-interactive digital source. Do not confuse this service with that of a PRO. Further good news is that there is no fee to join Sound Exchange.

 

Below are a list of the benefits to joining Sound Exchange (borrowed directly from their FAQ page):

 

a. Maximize your revenue through foreign royalty collections.

b. Join the effort to fight for long-term value of music.

c. Conference and equipment discounts.

http://www.soundexchange.com

Additionally, this linked article about SE further demonstrates that is a growing service and provides helpful information in understanding how its service works.

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6228946/soundexchange-royalty-payouts-rise-again-is-poised-for

 

 

5. ALWAYS complete a Song Split Agreement when you are in the recording studio.


I cannot express the value and importance of song split agreements. Song split agreements delineate the songwriters’ percentage of ownership and contribution to a song, when a musical composition is created. Song split agreements should always be signed after a song is written/produced/recorded but before everyone leaves the studio. When split sheets are not signed in the studio, a musical composition’s authorship can be questioned or disputed. This can cause issues when copyrighting works and registering songs with PROs. Split sheets should include each of the songwriter’s names, authorship, percentage of contribution, and the name of their registered PRO for each song author. Publishing percentages can and should be included as well. Songwriters’ contribution percentages and publishing percentages may differ on the same split sheet. Basic song split agreements can be located online and/or my law firm can provide and explain a basic song split agreement for a small nominal fee.

 

The Law of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For general information or to set up a consultation, email:

[email protected]

 

Attorney Deborah E. Johnson’s website:

www.entertainmentlawyerjohnson.com

 

 

 

Why I Became and Entertainment Lawyer as featured in Lawyer'd Magazine (Spring 2018 Issue)

Posted on August 7, 2019 at 7:50 AM

Why did I become an Entertainment Lawyer?

In 2013, I made the difficult decision, and planted a foundation, to leave a well-

paying federal job and transition to a solo firm. My grandmother had months to

live, my first grandchild had just been born, and honestly, I felt stagnate,

professionally. In October of that year, my plans were thrust into full action,

ahead of schedule, and I was laid off from my cushy government job during

massive budget cuts. I decided to jump-start the Law Office of Deborah E.

Johnson, Esq. immediately, in a Dallas suburb.

Colleagues often ask me, “Why did you choose entertainment law?” The truth is -

it chose me. My best friend, who is also a lawyer, married a gospel recording

artist in 2011. Artists and others in the entertainment industry, knowing she was

a lawyer, sought her legal expertise; however, with a full-time position in another

legal field, she genuinely did not have the time or resources to field all of those

potential clients and legal issues. She and her husband heavily encouraged me to

start my own entertainment law firm. They said I possessed the intelligence, wit,

and personality for this unique field. I was hesitant at first, but the demands of

family and desire to spend more time with my children and grandchildren caused

me to consider it. After being laid off, I jumped right into the entertainment law

field.


I hit the ground running, with my mind geared towards mostly a transactional law

firm. I read every article and book I could get my hands on. I accelerated my

learning by attending entertainment law seminars and shadowing other lawyers.

At times, I found the field challenging because Dallas is not really known as a hub

for entertainers. Although Austin is considered a film and entertainment capital, I

quickly discovered that there were only a handful of entertainment lawyers in the

Dallas area.


Starting a new solo firm is challenging in itself, especially for a working mom. But

starting a new solo firm, in an area that is primarily dominated by men, and is

rarely practiced in your geographic region, with very little hands-on experience,

turned into my miracle.


The truth is I went to law school because I wanted to make a difference. What I

found was that much of the practice of law centered around making money,

when what I really wanted to do was serve my community and represent the

underrepresented.


What I discovered is that in any area of law, you can do just that. Once I hung my

shingle and the word started to get out that a new entertainment lawyer was in

town, independent artists, filmmakers, musicians, actors, and models all around

the State of Texas began to contact me for legal representation. The variety of

services I provide range from the very simply work-for-hire agreement, to the

extremely complex, such as representing a well-known recording artist who

desires to be released from a tremendously unbalanced and unfair recording

contract.


Second, I discovered that people are just people, and you can make a difference

anywhere. The truth is, starting a solo practice is challenging no matter what area

of law you choose. People need help in every area of law. They need your

expertise and education.


Last, in this process, I found a new love and commitment for my family. I found

joy in the luxury and flexibility of having my granddaughter crawl across my office

floor. I found balance in being able to travel to all of my son’s soccer games. I

found life – the way it was meant to be. And I will say this, as women, I do not

believe we can have it all, not all at the same time. I did sacrifice my path up the

career ladder with the six-figure salary to some extent. Yet, what I found was that

I could live on a smaller salary, and I could also provide some stability for my

family (which in the end, actually ends up saving you money in places you did not

expect).


So, how did I end up as a female lawyer in a field that is sometimes viewed as

irrelevant?

Truth - It chose me. Life chose me. Family chose me. And I would not change a

thing!


The Law of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For general information or to set up a consultation, email: [email protected]


You can also connect with Attorney Johnson on LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/deborah-e-johnson-esq-b52a628a/.


*The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article or on this

profile page should be taken as legal advice for any individual, case, or situation. This information is not intended to create, and

receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. All rights Reserved. Copyright 2018.

10 COMMON PITFALLS EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING

Posted on July 31, 2019 at 8:20 AM

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-common-pitfalls-every-author-should-know-deborah-e-johnson-esq- Follow me on #LINKEDIN

Written by Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.**

In this digital age, many authors are choosing to self-publish. While self-publishing opens the door of opportunity that many authors would never receive using the traditional publishing method, there are several pitfalls to self-publishing contracts that book authors should be aware of when seeking out services that will allow the author to authentically self-publish.

1. Is it a self-publishing, printing, or distribution service? (Know the difference.)

The digital world has completely transformed the art of book publishing. New companies are popping up offering all kinds of services to self-publishers--distribution, printing, editing, marketing, and even artwork for your book cover. It is important to understand what service you are contracting. Many printing companies vet themselves as self-publishing services, when really what they are providing is just printing. It is important to know the difference. Understanding legalese and asking copious questions before you sign an agreement is absolutely necessary. Seeking legal counsel is also highly recommended. Caveat: there is a rule in contract law called the parole evidence rule that could bar the testimony of oral agreements that were made prior to the written agreement. Therefore, it is extremely important that every term, every numerical value, every item discussed is included in the four corners of the written agreement.

2. Copyright ownership

You are the author and rightful owner of your work and your copyright. (The first task you should have completed once you finished writing your manuscript should have been to send it to the copyright office for registration – if you did not, please stop reading this article immediately and proceed directly to http://www.copyright.gov/). Any contract you sign should state that you will retain all copyright ownership of your manuscript. Look specifically for language on copyright ownership within the four corners of the document.

3. Editing services

Your manuscript should be professionally edited. Is this service included in your contract? If so, how much are you paying specifically for editing and what other services are included in the editing fee? Is the editing fee in line with market value? My experience is that most editing services that are included with self-publishing deals tend to be above market value. I highly recommend hiring a free-lance editor. You will have to pay for the editing services out-of-pocket – but hey, you are self-publishing. Everything you need to get your manuscript on the shelf of a big box retailer will require you to pay out-of-pocket to make it big without a traditional publishing deal!

One popular website that offers professional book editing services is: https://www.createspace.com./* However, book authors should complete their own thorough research and look for reviews written online before hiring a professional book editor.*

4. Marketing services

Marketing is going to be an important aspect of promoting your new book. Are the marketing services included in your self-publishing agreement? Is there an additional fee for marketing? Look specifically for and ask questions about the marketing plan. Many self-publishing companies offer marketing services for an additional fee, but you will need to know exactly what marketing services are included with that fee. If no marketing services are offered, I highly advise you to hire an independent marketing or PR expert to help promote your new book.

One popular website that offers marketing services for the self-publisher is: https://www.dogearpublishing.net.* Again, I cannot stress the importance of conducting your own research of the company you choose to work with, and be sure to read what others say about their services and their experience.

5. If what you really need is straight distribution

What I have discovered is that many companies whom call themselves self-publishing companies, are merely offering distribution services for a fee. If what you need is distribution to online outlets, as well as brick and mortar stores, I recommend that you seek out a straight distribution deal. If the company you are working with wants you to sign a self-publishing agreement, and the agreement appears to be for straight distribution, by all means have the title of the agreement changed. Beware of common pitfalls when seeking distribution, such as:

• Understanding which online and offline vendors the book will be distributed to.

• The percentage of royalties the company will require (keep) to distribute your book.

• Any additional hidden fees/costs.

• Accounting: who will administer the accounting and how often? When will I get paid and/or receive accounting statements?

• What is the term length (how many years are you bound to this contract)?

• Is this contract exclusive or non-exclusive?

6. Know the cost for each service up front

Every service you request should be quantified and written into the contract. Period. Contracts that allude to additional service fees that will be determined at a later date should never be signed. Further, if your contract does not specifically state every service with a quantifiable fee in the contract, you should probably walk away from that deal. Many companies tack on fees for services never agreed to and will take it from your royalty share. Watch for added fees on your accounting statement as well.

7. Length of contract

Most self-publishing contracts are for mere printing services and will not require you to sign an agreement with which the company holds you hostage for 1-2 years. If your contract states a term length, you need to find out what the term length pertains to. If the self-publishing deal includes distribution, what you are really giving the company is permission to distribute your book for a certain length of time. This language should be clear, and you should know exactly what you are agreeing to.

8. Beware of exclusivity clauses

If your self-publishing contact includes a clause that states “company has the exclusive right to….”, it is important that you understand exactly what right you have given exclusively to said company. I have seen distribution companies include this language in their contracts because they want to be the exclusive distributor of your product for a period of usually 1-2 years. A non-exclusive clause would denote that you have the right to self-distribute as well as promote the book to other online and offline vendors, yourself, or through other avenues and third parties.

9. Royalties

Understanding royalty rights should be your second most important concern as a self-publishing author. This is your paycheck, your hard earned cash. You have invested a great deal of money to self-publish. You have the right to earn a living from your manuscript, especially if it does well in the marketplace. Pay special attention to royalty clauses, which give the company the right to keep part of the royalties earned from the sale of your book. A straight-forward printing service should not request any of the author’s royalties. A distribution service, by contrast, may require 20-30% of the incoming royalties. But again, you need to ask the question – what am I paying this company to do? If they are retaining 30% of incoming royalties, what services are they providing to you, the author, for that 30% and for how long? If the company is requesting more than 30% - RUN the other way!

The other common issue that I encounter with authors seeking legal counsel is that they never see one penny of the their rightful 70%. You should ask for direct accounting and demand it if necessary. Accounting spreadsheets should be detailed and numbers should add up properly. Beware of excessive or hidden fees or items you never agreed to (i.e. excessive shipping fees).

10. Is digital conversion included

Most self-publishing authors are not aware that the digital version or e-version format of their manuscript is very different from the hard copy format. Consumers often prefer to download the e-version of books listed online. As an educated author, you need to confer whether or not this digital conversion of your manuscript is included with the service you have paid for. Again, beware of excessive fees for this service.

In conclusion, here are some important items worth noting:

• Leave no question unasked. Take nothing for granted.

• Anything without numbers need to be quantified.

• Ask lots of questions and remember the parole evidence rule.

• All important terms should be included in the four corners of the document.

• Seek legal counsel.

Self-publishing is a great tool for new authors, but can be a costly experiment if not executed correctly. Thoroughly research the companies you plan to work with. Understand your rights as an author. Hire a lawyer who understands the business. Because you have invested a lot of time and money in your manuscript, hiring a good attorney will be money well spent and time saved in entangled legal battles later.

The Law Office of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For general information or to set up a consultation, email:

[email protected]


5 THINGS EVERY INDIE ARTIST SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT LAW

Posted on July 24, 2019 at 2:20 PM

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-things-indie-artist-should-know-entertainment-law-johnson-esq- FOLLOW ME ON #LINKEDIN

Written by Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. 

1. Hire an Entertainment or Music Lawyer.

Many artists, especially independent artists, fail to see the importance of hiring an entertainment/music lawyer. Some artists feel that it is not in their budget or that it is not a priority. Hiring a music lawyer is of such importance that an artist should budget the cost just as any other budget item, like production fees, photography, video services, etc. A music lawyer is an investment in an artist’s career. Additionally, it will not cost the artist as much up front as it would later down the line, should the artist find himself in a precarious legal situation. My law office makes every effort to make services affordable for the independent artist and my fee scale consists of several flat fee items which allows the artist to easily budget for that cost.

What I tell clients is that you cannot afford not to hire a music lawyer. WHY? You are an artist! You are not trained in the law of music. Even if you are an artist that is music law savvy, your mindset is still that of an artist. Many great thinkers of our time use the mantra: “Stay in your lane.” This is great advice because we are all wired for a specific purpose. People who understand their purpose early, understand they also need to be trained for that purpose. Don’t get me wrong. I have met my share of educated artists; however, the artist’s mind is not constantly thinking of ways to protect their intellectual property while creating it. That is my job! A music lawyer will assist the artist in the protection and preservation of their intellectual property. Notwithstanding, the artist might be losing money without proper legal counsel. Music lawyers can and should assist with negotiations and contract review. They have your best interest at heart and they are detached emotionally from the situation; therefore, they can negotiate the best terms on your behalf. This allows the artist to be an artist while maximizing their dollar as an artist. You do your job - I will do mine. Do not wait until you are in dire legal trouble to hire your entertainment lawyer. Do it now and save time and money down the road!

2. Always copyright your music. 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an artist is failing to properly copyright your music. Your music lawyer can assist with the copyrighting; however, many artists feel comfortable registering their own copyrights. The important point to remember here is – COPYRIGHT, COPYRIGHT, COPYRIGHT.

A copyright tells the rest of the world who owns an original work, as well as enabling its creator to bring legal action for infringement and expanding your rights and remedies under the law. Artists will often use or hear the term “poor man’s copyright.” This means to send the original work to yourself via mail. I do not recommend using the “poor man’s copyright” method because it is more difficult to prove in court, and you may not receive the additional protections provided under federal law when a work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office creates a time stamp of when the original work was created as well as the denoting the rightful owner. It is your most powerful piece of evidence should you discover that one has copied or unlawfully exploited your intellectual property. Once a piece of music has been created, the creator should seek to register the work with the copyright office as soon as possible. This is fairly inexpensive and well worth the money. Artists should be aware that there are two types of copyrights. First, the artist can copyright what is traditionally called the Sound Recording (SR). Form SR should be used when registering a published or unpublished sound recording. This form is limited to the sound recording itself. Form SR can also be used when an artist is registering both the sound recording as well as the underlying work, as long as the claimant is the same for both. Form PA (Performing Arts) should be used when a claimant is registering the underlying work only, such as a musical composition or lyrics to a song. 

Copyrights on registered works, registered after Jan. 1, 1978 are protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years. More information on copyrights can be located at http://www.copyright.gov/.

NOTE: Registration with the U.S. Copyright office may or may not necessarily provide copyright protection internationally.

3. Register with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO).

There are basically three major PROs: BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. They all do basically the same thing – track, calculate, and pay the songwriter(s) for royalties earned. This is especially imperative if you are a singer/songwriter. Some PROs require a small fee to join, while others are by invitation only.

A PRO represents songwriters, music publishers, and composers. The PRO’s main function is to collect license fees on your behalf, when your music is played on radio stations, news media, internet, satellite, hotels, clubs, concerts, and other businesses. A percentage of those royalties are then forwarded to the songwriter(s). Songwriters should be aware that they may only affiliate with one PRO at a time - so choose wisely.

Songwriters should also consider setting up their own music publishing company. A music publisher’s sole purpose is to ensure that songwriters receive royalties when their compositions are exploited commercially. In contrast, there is no objection to registering will all three PROs simultaneously, as a music publisher (contrary to songwriter affiliation mentioned above).

These are the web addresses for BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC:

http://www.bmi.com/

http://www.ascap.com/

http://sesac.com/

4. Register with Sound Exchange (SE).

Sound Exchange is a fairly new service with its sole purpose to administer services to stream artist content. Translation: SE tracks and pays out to artists on digital performance royalties. Sound Exchange also collects and distributes those royalties back to the artist when the content is played on a non-interactive digital source. Do not confuse this service with that of a PRO. Further good news is that there is no fee to join Sound Exchange. Below are a list of the benefits to joining Sound Exchange (borrowed directly from their FAQ page):

Maximize your revenue through foreign royalty collections.

Maximize your revenue through foreign royalty collections.

Join the effort to fight for long-term value of music.

Conference and equipment discounts.

http://www.soundexchange.com

Additionally, this linked article about SE further demonstrates that is a growing service and provides helpful information in understanding how its service works.

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6228946/soundexchange-royalty-payouts-rise-again-is-poised-for

5. ALWAYS complete a Song Split Agreement when you are in the recording studio.

I cannot express the value and importance of song split agreements. Song split agreements delineate the songwriters’ percentage of ownership and contribution to a song, when a musical composition is created. Song split agreements should always be signed after a song is written/produced/recorded but before everyone leaves the studio. When split sheets are not signed in the studio, a musical composition’s authorship can be questioned or disputed. This can cause issues when copyrighting works and registering songs with PROs. Split sheets should include each of the songwriter’s names, authorship, percentage of contribution, and the name of their registered PRO for each song author. Publishing percentages can and should be included as well. Songwriters’ contribution percentages and publishing percentages may differ on the same split sheet. Basic song split agreements can be located online and/or my law firm can provide and explain a basic song split agreement for a small nominal fee.

The Law Office of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For general information or to set up a consultation, email:

[email protected]


How does your creative process work? Shy Speaks

Posted on July 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM

A common interview question for artist Is, “How does your creative process work?”

Well, I want to give you a small glimpse on how the bigger picture turned out…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhxa7glxVLY&feature=youtu.be&mc_cid=0463ca9a18&mc_eid=0b4310c531" target="_blank">Watch Short Video

I know that was a super quick snapshot. But it was a mouthful! When the 5-day Interactive Experience starts, there will be no walls between us! You will have full detailed access into my world and how Dear Everybody: The Live Band Mixtape was created!


Talk to you soon,

-Shy

shyspeaks.com

Copyright © 2019 ShySpeaks & Company, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

ShySpeaks & Company

12895 Josey Ln Ste 124-1088

Dallas, TX 75234-8301

The Guide For Every Screenwriter

Posted on July 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

ARTIST STEPHEN THOMAS RELEASES NEW SINGLE!

Posted on July 12, 2019 at 4:05 PM

SINGLE CAN BE PURCHASED ON ITUNES

Shy Speaks New Vlog!

Posted on July 6, 2019 at 2:05 PM

NEW! NEW! NEW!
VLOG 001

A Peek Behind a 90,000+ Attended Faith-Based Event

In this episode, follow along as I breathe in the reality of being a performer at the Texas Motor Speedway alongside some of the most influential faith-based artist & speakers of our time, like Andy Mineo, Jonathan Traylor, KB, Samuel Rodriguez, Tedashii, Grant Skeldon...who all make a cameo appearance). It was quite the experience to share Spoken Word poetry at this epic gathering!


https://shyspeaks.com/blog?mc_cid=8e820a7b39&mc_eid=0b4310c531" target="_blank">https://shyspeaks.com/blog?mc_cid=8e820a7b39&mc_eid=0b4310c531

Difference Between BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP*

Posted on June 18, 2017 at 7:50 PM

Stephen Thomas Announces His New Single Like It Or Not

Posted on February 14, 2017 at 8:00 PM

The new single which has gained worldwide attention with fans and music reviewers is available at all digital outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify.

 

Stephen Thomas one of the most exciting artists of recent years is pleased to announce he is set to release his latest single titled Like It Or Not, which will be released in January. The song will be available at all digital outlets online iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, and much more.

 

The song is set to release on 1.16.17 and the artist who has shared the stage with some big names in the music world has been on set filming a New Music Video to the New Single Like It Or Not. The New Single Like it Or Not is a very aggressive, passionate, and motivating record.

 

Like It Or Not has caused excitement amongst fans who were patiently waiting for his new release after his last successful tracks which included Search Me Lord, and Best Days which were played in more than 30 million homes worldwide.

 

Stephen Thomas who has teamed up with producer Tone Jonez, Artist E. Carter, and J. Robinson to produce the hit song Best Days that debuted No. 2 on the iTunes Charts, is currently working with director Will Thomas of Space Cherry Films that also filmed his last music video Best Days for his new music video "Like It Or Not."

 

 

The new single Like It Or Not was written from the heart. Stephen explained that the words in the song came from a place of reflection.

 

Stephen said: “I really felt the urge to write a record that has a verbally aggressive approach but in a good way. This New Single "Like it or Not" comes from a place of reflection. Throughout Stephen's career he's had people to come along side him and speak life to him, but he's also had people who said he couldn't do it. This single is for both of those people.”

 

The artist who has gained a reputation of reaching people’s hearts with his music and making people think about life explained: “I took a different approach with what I wrote for this song. I made it a song with many words of motivation, encouragement, and just that aggressive approach that you may want me to be one thing but I know that I'm looking to be better than what you want. I will be the best me that I can be and that me is not settling for anything less other than being a great man of faith, being successful, being great, being the best leader and role model from the older generation to the newest generation that I can.”

 

Like It Or Not has gained worldwide exposure with some music experts calling it one of the most inspirational songs of recent times. One thing that is certain, the new single will explode on the music scene in January when it is officially released.

 

Stephen Thomas has launched a tour called The L.I.O.N promo Tour.

 

Upcoming TOUR DATES:

 

Jan. 9 Huntington, WV

Jan. 27 Bluefield, VA

Jun. 7 Boston, MA

Jun. 8 Boston, MA

Jun. 9 Providence, RI

Jun. 10 Providence, RI

Jun. 11 Boston, MA

 

If you would like to bring Stephen Thomas and The L.I.O.N. Tour to your city email us at [email protected]

 

To find out what Stephen is up to, keep in touch with him through his official website http://Stephentmusic.com

 

About Stephen Thomas

 

Stephen Thomas is an artist has become one of the most exciting artists of recent times

 

Media Contact:

 

Website: http://stephentmusic.com/

Facebook: @Stephentmusic

Instagram: @stephentmusic

Twitter: @stephentmusic

 

Distributed by In2town Public Relations

 

 

Media Contact

Company Name: Like It Or Not

Contact Person: Stephen Thomas

Email: [email protected]

Country: United States

Website: http://Stephentmusic.com

 

 

Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. Frankly and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you are affiliated with this page and would like it removed please contact [email protected]

http://www.wave3.com/story/34167467/stephen-thomas-announces-his-new-single-like-it-or-not

 

Stephen Thomas Formally Known as Steve-O Announces His Return to the Charts with a New Single

Posted on February 25, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Stephen Thomas Formally Known as Steve-O Announces His Return to the Charts with a New Single and Sound That Has Excited the Music Experts

The singer has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. His previous music was described as unique, fresh and exciting. Stephen Thomas, previously known as Steve-O has decided to return to the music world with a new sound, a sound that has excited the music industry. Stephen's latest Music Video release Search Me Lord has received placement on Revolt TV (Sean Combs aka P. Diddy TV Network) playing in between 20 million - 30 million homes worldwide.

A much-missed artist who left fans wondering when he will return to the music scene has now announced his return. Stephen Thomas, who was known as Steve-O, is excited to share the news with his fans that he is bringing out a new single and sound. The artist, who has gained fans around the world and has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists in recent times, is set to release his new single called Best Days. The single, which Stephen has said will be a crossover into the Mainstream, has excited record producers.

The exciting artist explained his new single is about young people no matter their race, gender, or age that even as a Christian they can still live a great lifestyle. He said they could enjoy their life, have fun and still own a Nice Home, Have a nice ride, a boat, or even a plane and do the things they want to do in life.

Stephen said: "You don't have to go to the streets or sell dope just be creative, get educated, Channel your energy towards productivity & Keep God first & the sky is limit."

The artist is no stranger to success, he has been nominated for many awards since launching onto the music scene and has won the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, beating the likes of Lecrae, Deitrick Haddon, Tye Tribbett, Canton Jones, Uncle Reece, and many more. He is now delighted to let fans know he is back in the studio working on the new single. When asked about his new sound he replied: "it's still the same style but with a little more spice of Hip Hop and more of a CCM feel and don't be surprised if you hear some Pop as well."

He explained that he is now writing uplifting and inspirational music, where he is writing about real life issues including personal things that have happened to him as well as what's it like to be a Christian man. Fans will be pleasantly surprised with the new sound, new style and new look, and hopes his previous fans and new fans will join him on his journey with his new music.

Stephen has been quiet on the music front due to a serious car accident while some may have given up; the artist fought back from his serious injuries to do what he loves best, and that is to share his words and music with the world.

When asked how he feels after his accident, Stephen said, "I feel stronger, better, wiser, and I am ready to go harder than every before."

Stephen Thomas has shown, no matter what life throws at a person, people can overcome those problems and succeed. The singer, was determined to get better after his accident and carry on with what he loves to do and that is to sing. He wants his music to bring inspiration to people and show them, if they believe, they can overcome, and if they overcome, they can succeed.

The new single has been described as one of the most exciting releases of 2016, and fans are being warned to expect a huge surprise.

To find out what Stephen is up to, keep in touch with him through his Facebook page http://Facebook.com/1StephenT

About Stephen Thomas

Stephen Thomas is an artist who was previously known as Steve-O.

Media Contact:

Twitter: ImStephenThomas

IG: ImStephenThomas

Song Nominated as Best Collaboration Song of the Year

True Praiser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYAm2cn6s5U

Music Video Nominated for Best Rhythm & Praise Music Video of the Year

Search Me Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj8FAEyFpRA

Images

 

 


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