Must-Read Legal Tips For Musicians Forming a Band
IF THERE’S SOMETHING THAT’S NOT CLEAR TO YOU, DON’T SIGN!
Contracts often run for long periods of time so don’t be too cool (aka lazy) when reading it. Make sure you understand each word and each sentence. But it’s so technical, you say. You don’t have time for this, you say. Get a lawyer’s help! Actually, even if have all the time and even if you understand technical terms, get a lawyer’s help. Most, if not all, contracts use a different language that only lawyers understand so if you try to read it on your own, chances are there will be important things that you will overlook or misunderstand. It’s a puzzle you have to decode with a lawyer. Don’t just sign.
GET EVERY AGREEMENT IN WRITING
You can play cool as long as you want but make sure that when you have meetings or arrive at an agreement with a manager, supplier, etc, that you put everything in writing. You don’t have to get a lawyer every time. It will be a waste of money, time, and people will just see you as someone untrusting. Simply write down notes and e-mail it to each other. Ask them to read and agree to the notes. You can also record your conversation. The purpose of this is that it’s not good to rely on memory alone because all of us are busy individuals and would certainly not have the same recollection of things discussed. Memory fades, that’s the bottom line.
UPDATE THE CONTRACT RIGHT AWAY IF YOU AGREED ON MAKING CHANGES
The moment you agreed to make changes, make sure you update your contract because this can do more harm than good to you. The contract serves as the proof of how you do business together so if it’s not updated and you do something based on the new agreement yet your contract is not amended, you’ll be in deep trouble especially if you’re dealing with a scheming person.
GET TRADEMARK FOR YOUR NAME AND LOGO
To protect your rights in the band name and any graphics that you use for your band, make sure you have them trademarked. Registration gives you much more defined and potentially extensive rights. You won’t regret it especially if you’re already in the stage wherein you’re about to release an album.
DON’T SHRUG OFF THE BAND AGREEMENT
At first you start off in a very informal way- just practicing in the garage, having free gigs, etc. But soon you will start to earn and that will be tricky. Then someone will not show up or keep up with their commitments and it will get trickier. So once you start getting serious, you have to write a band agreement. Agree on your shares, your “rules”, your responsibilities, what happens when someone leaves the band, etc. Make sure it’s detailed and precise so it’s clear for everybody. This agreement will serve as your bible in case something
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