Dallas/Fort Worth

Will Play for Tips: Legal Tips for Musicians/Artists/Songwriters at 35 Denton


SATURDAY, MARCH 9TH at 35 Denton3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (UNT on the Square)

Will Play for Tips: 5 Legal Tips for Musicians/Artists/Songwriters

Join the Dallas Bar Association Sports & Entertainment Law Section for a panel presentation on March 9 from 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. Denton, TX 76201.This introduction to legal issues in the music business panel will help you answer questions such as Who owns my song? Do I need a lawyer? How do I protect my brand? That's "fair use," right? and Can't we all just get along? Join us for a discussion covering copyright law, trademark law, business structure for the band and other music business legal basics.Participants in the panel include:

Tamera H. Bennett

, Bennett Law Office, PC/Farm to Market Music, LLC; 

Catherine Hough

, Ferguson Law Group;

Evan Stone

, Law Offices of Evan Stone;

Kevin Harrison

, Kevin Harrison Law.

Free and open to the public. 1.5 hour MCLE pending.

In the Mix Denton Networking Event March 8, 2013

In the Mix Denton

Kick off 35 Denton 2013 networking with the people who make music happen in Denton and the DFW area. In The Mix Denton is a networking opportunity for artists, producers, engineers, songwriters, attorneys, accountants, managers, booking agents and members of The Recording Academy® (the "Grammy®" folks).

Join your hosts, Recording Academy Texas Chapter Board Members, and learn how you can be involved in The Recording Academy.To RSVP, click here.

Popeye Compared to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by Tamera H. Bennett Thank you to the Ask Before You Act blog for including my blog posts on their site each month.

The news is out that beloved sailor Popeye became part of the public domain in the EU on January 1, 2009. Before folks start scrambling to start reproducing Popeye t-shirts, posters, films and cartoon strips, we need to take a look at exactly what has become public domain.

Read more here.

IP Blog Roundup: Serious With A Dash of Fun

by Tamera H. BennettDecember 9, 2008


I just posted over at the Ask Before You Act blog links to blogs that addressed serious IP issues last week with fun subject matter.

For a little light reading ...  click on over.

Change.gov: Creative Commons Is Not A Copyright

by Tamera H. BennettDecember 3, 2008



President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has licensed the site Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, giving visitors more freedom to use content from the site.

Change.gov was previously copyrighted under an "All Rights Reserved" notice.

What gets me is how often folks misstate and interchange "creative commons" and copyright. The statement "change.gov was previously copyrighted under an "All Rights Reserved" notice" somehow makes it sound as if the very nature of the copyright in the content has changed. It has not.

The copyright protection afforded to the content at www.change.gov is the same today as it was last week. What has changed is the scope in which third parties can use the content on the website. The underlying "bundle of rights" that are vested in the copyright claimant pursuant to 17 U.S.C. Sec. 106 have not changed, but the copyright claimant has now offered third parties greater access to use the copyright protected works so long as appropriate attribution is provided.

Remember, Creative Commons Licenses do not give you copyright protection. The licenses available from Creative Commons are simply that ... licenses to help you define the rights and obligations by which other people can use your works.

Copyright protection arises at the moment of creation -- when you fix an original work in a tangible expression. Follow through with a copyright application to gain additional protections. You do not have to use a Creative Commons License to license your works to third parties. Creative Commons is simply one option available to you.

Image used courtesy of www.change.gov.

Who Pays the Songwriter Under First Sale Defense?

by Tamera H. BennettAugust 20, 2007

Universal Music Group sued Troy Augusto for copyright infringement based upon Mr. Augusto’s offering for sale and selling of musical compact discs marked “Promo Only.” Mr. August secures promotional compact discs from various sources and then sells them on eBay.

Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 109(a), musical compact discs/tapes/albums can be sold or otherwise disposed of by the party in possession of the compact disc, without authority from the copyright owner. The big question raised in the lawsuit and other articles reporting the lawsuit revolves around the marking of the compact discs as Promo Only along with other legends regarding not selling the CD’s overriding the language of § 109(a).

Here is my question for the day that has yet to be addressed: Who pays the artist, producer, music publisher/songwriter and yes even the record label when “promo only” copies are sold?

Assume I am a music publisher. I will issue a license to Universal for one of their artists to record one of my songs. I will include language in the license similar to the following:

…provided, however, that no such royalty shall be payable with respect to promotional Phonorecords sent to disc jockeys, reviewers, and the like, which are clearly marked “Promotional Records Not For Sale” and which are not being distributed by Licensee for resale.

In my scenario, as the publisher I consent to a certain number of promo copies being manufactured and distributed and agree not to collect a royalty for those copies.

Suddenly, with the proliferation of online retailers such as Augusto, more and more royalty free recordings are moving in the marketplace without payment to the songwriter, publisher, artist, producer and label.

What is the solution? I am not sure. As much as I would like to see Universal prevail in this case and have a court announce Augusto’s action constitute copyright infringement, I do not think that is going to happen.

With a huge percentage of record labels providing digital content to radio stations and promoters, I wonder exactly how many promo copies are even pressed these days. Maybe this issue will resolve itself as fewer and fewer actual compact discs are made.