Lil Wayne is making headlines again for allegedly stealing beats. Because I see this kind of mixup happen far too often, I’d thought I use this opportune moment to address the importance of contracts and copyrights. But before I go there, let me lay out the conflict among the parties involved.
A lawsuit was filed in L.A. by rapper Rich Rick. Rick claims that he bought a beat some years ago that’s used in Waynes song “How to Love” from a group of producers who call themselves the Drumma Boyz. Rick then Read the rest of this entry »
Ghostwriting in hip hop goes back as far as the first hit hip hop single, “Rappers Delight”, by the Sugar Hill Gang. Lemme give you a short history lesson. Grandmaster Caz was an emcee managed by Big Bank Hank, a member of The Sugar Hill Gang. Caz was a member of the Cold Crush Crew. This is the crew Jay-Z refers to in Izzo; “I’m overchargin niggaz for what they did to the Cold Crush”. Caz wrote the lyrics to Big Bank Hank’s verse in “Rappers Read the rest of this entry »
In this video, Maggie Lange, an attorney and Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music, explains the work for hire provision of US copyright law, and how it affects and does not affect the ownership of sound recordings made under a recording contract.
This is part 2 of a 2 part post written by, entertainment attorney, Hillel Frankel on the importance of copyrighting your songs. You can view part 1 here.
Some quick copyright registration tips:
a) You can file all of the songs from an album (or group of recordings) on one copyright form and pay only one fee as long as: 1) the songs are all by the same writers (note: does not matter if the song splits are different as long as the same people wrote each of the songs) and 2) You list the Title as the album name and the song titles under “Alternative Title(s)” (note: Print out the form and type the song titles in by hand if they do not fit on the space provided on the PDF form, or use the CON continuation sheet).
b) If the songwriters are different for different songs, you can still group them together based on which songs do have the same writers. If each song has a different set of writers you need to file a new form for each song. Sorry can’t really save you the funds there. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a post from my entertainment attorney, Hillel. He’s been protecting the rights of artists for years, given me a wealth of knowledge and is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to generate income doing something I love. His services aren’t cheap but if you don’t have your ass covered in this biz, you’ll pay for it one way or another. www.copyright.gov/eco/ Copyright Your Songs by Hillel Frankel
Songwriters need to protect their work. You would not pitch your billion-dollar reality show to MTV without protecting it would you? Well maybe you would, but remember, when you record and send out samples of your songs they can be spread all over the world in the amount of time it takes to upload an MP3. That dude in Russia who wants that American pop sound can re-record your song and get his US partner (that he pays in petrodollars) to pay the $35 filing fee and register the song first with the US Copyright Office, and you are shit out of luck and out of a hit song. Sure you could try and sue some day when the song is a hit for Sergey Putin. Just try and get a lawyer to represent you in a copyright claim using the CD of the song you mailed to yourself via U.S. post as evidence. If you came to me I would charge you a $10,000 retainer just to get started. That’s a bit more than the $35 filing fee, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »