Bands - Names and Agreements

Entertainment law and the music industry are very complex systems that require an experienced music law attorney. Here some types of issues that a new band or musician would need the guidance of an experienced music attorney.

Musical bands - jazz, rock or country for example - are partnerships. It is the best practice to have a written partnership agreement in order to avoid the disputes later. Issues such as who owns the band if the band breaks up or under what conditions a member may be fired - should be put in writing.

A band can also be a corporation. This limits personal liability and may have tax advantages. The corporation owns the band and agrees to provide the band's services in a "loan-out" agreement.

A band can protect its name or logo by registering a "service mark". The band must have performed nationally or had a recording sold nationally to get a federal service mark. If a band is local only it can still get state-wide registration by obtaining a service mark in its state. The registration is evidence of use of the name starting at a given point in time.

Before investing in the name (or logo) of a band the artist should research to see if anyone else is already actively performing under that name. A number of companies offer service mark searches.

Never sign anything without a consulting with an attorney, and specifically a music attorney with entertainment law success.

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