Copyright tips from Luedeka Neely

The WDVX-travaganza featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard and Elizabeth Cook is coming up October 21 at The Standard on West Jackson Avenue. General admission tickets are still available. Luedeka Neely Group is a longtime supporter of WDVX and the Knoxville music scene and we thank them for their support of our annual event! These experts in copyright law and patents have this information to share. 

ray wylie 2        Elizabeth cook 2

Click here to buy your tickets today!

The WDVX-Travaganza would not be possible without the help of our sponsors. Luedeka Neely is a longtime supporter of WDVX and the Knoxville music scene. They would like to share some important copyright information with you! 

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Performers and other music industry folks need to be aware of the various types of copyright in music, so they know how to get a license to rights held by others and how to protect their own rights.

Types of music licenses:

–         Mechanical License – A mechanical license is what you need if you want to record and release a cover song, such as on a record or CD.  These are easy to obtain online from licensing agencies, such as Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (  Separate licenses are required for physical recordings (e.g., CD’s), downloads and streaming.

–         Performance License – If you want to do a live performance of a cover song in public, you need a performance license.  A performance license is also needed if you want to play recorded music in any public location, like at a concert, nightclub, or even background music in a store.  Typically, performance licenses are purchased by the venue from royalty collecting agencies like BMI or ASCAP, and they transfer a portion of the license fees back to the songwriter.  Thus, typically when you play at venues that regularly host music, the venue has an ongoing license and there is no need for the performer to obtain a license for the cover songs they perform.

–         Synchronization License – You need a synchronization license if you want to sync someone else’s song to visual media, like in a video, television show or commercial or movie.  These licenses are usually negotiated with a royalty collecting agency, and license fees are split between the songwriter and publisher.

–         Master Recording License – This is what you need if you want to use a recording made by someone else.  This license is usually granted by the record label or the recording artist.  For example, if you wanted to record a compilation album of songs recorded by Knoxville artists, you would need to determine who owns the master recording rights and go to each owner (typically the artist or their record label) to negotiate a license for each song.

There are several other types of music licenses that may affect a musician’s business.  Contact LN for guidance.

How about that cool band logo you paid your brother-in-law to design?  Who owns the copyright in that design?  Unless you have a written agreement that assigns the copyright and/or designates the design as a “work made for hire,” your bro-in-law probably owns it.  That is a result you probably didn’t intend, but it can be resolved with a proper copyright assignment document.

Likewise, if you are making a recording, you should have agreements in place in advance with the studio or the person doing the recording/mastering/producing.  You should also have agreements in place with all persons performing on the recordings (including band members and guests) that define ownership of the recordings and the compensation for all involved.

Your band logo may also be a trademark or service mark, depending on how you use it.  Awareness and protection of trademark rights are important to up-and-coming and established musicians as they develop their brand.  For example, LN assisted The Black Lillies in registering their band name as a service mark in the U.S. and internationally.  LN also helped AC Entertainment to register BIG EARS as a service mark for their genre-defying music festival that celebrates performance, film and the visual arts.   THE BLUE PLATE SPECIAL and TENNESSEE SHINES are services marks of WDVX that are federally registered with the assistance of LN.

You’ve probably heard the saying: “any publicity is good publicity.”  For many performers, this is generally true, but not always.  The “right of publicity” is a legal right that individuals have to control the commercial use their names and images.  LN can assist you in dealing with a situation where someone is using your name or image in a way that you consider not to be “good publicity.”

Please join Luedeka Neely and WDVX at the X-Travaganza!