US—music law
Produced by Christiane Cargill Kinney, LeClairRyan
US—music law

The following IP practice note produced by Christiane Cargill Kinney, LeClairRyan provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • US—music law
  • Copyright considerations and registration
  • Music licenses
  • Work-for-hire agreements
  • Termination of transfer rights
  • Transfers on or after 1 January 1978
  • Pre-1978 works
  • Pertinent exceptions to the termination provisions
  • Addressing Gap Grants under the termination provisions
  • Renegotiating an existing contract or license
  • More...

This Practice Note was originally written for Lexis Practice Advisor®, in the US.

This Practice Note summarises copyright subsistence and registration in the US, the specific music copyrights in performing arts and sound recordings, infringement and the doctrine of fair use and US law in relation to work for hire and termination of transfer rights. It also describes the following music licenses: mechanical license, master use license, synchronisation (synch) license, public performance license, direct license, grand rights license and re-print license and discusses the relevance of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and the Music Modernization Act to music licensing. Exclusive recording contracts, multiple rights also known as 360 deals, online distribution contracts and live performance contracts are also covered.

Copyright considerations and registration

A comprehensive discussion of copyright law and music licensing could easily fill volumes far beyond the scope of this Practice Note section. Nevertheless, a basic overview of copyright law and how music licenses operate within the federal statutory scheme is necessary for a full understanding of the contracts covered in this section.

Simply put, copyright law provides protection for ‘original works of authorship’ that are ‘fixed in tangible form’, by conferring certain exclusive rights upon their creators. (17 USC § 101—a fixed work is one

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