Music & Entertainment Attorneys in San Diego, CA
Buche & Associates, P.C. is committed to supporting artists and the music industry by providing legal representation to musicians and music businesses. We represent clients with music related business, music related intellectual property and litigation.
We’re passionate about music and we are among the few law firms nationwide with extensive knowledge in areas of music law that include music-related patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Our team of California and Texas attorneys stay abreast of the ever-evolving laws covering music technologies, sound recordings, and intellectual property. We are also proud of our focus on litigation advocacy. It is not uncommon for our firm to work in teams with other law firms on music related cases, and on litigation matters. We are also members of the National Association of Music Merchandisers (“NAMM”).
Comprehensive, Legal Solutions for the Music Industry
Few industries are as complex — or as competitive — as the music industry. Music law is a highly specialized field that couples contract, copyright and other intellectual property laws. The music business is extremely competitive, and constantly evolving with new technologies. Buche & Associates, P.C. is familiar with this law and can help you negotiate the business complexities, minefields, and many nuances of music related contracts. We represent musicians and music business professionals.
Also, the firm prides itself on a focus on litigation advocacy. In those instances where litigation is necessary, we are willing and able to litigate aggressively on behalf of our clients in jurisdictions throughout the United States. The firm has represented world class guitar and amplifier companies in high stakes litigation across the country.
Our music attorneys specialize in:
- Music technology patent applications and enforcement
- Contract law, including representation in contract negotiation and modifications to existing contracts
- Copyright registration and copyright litigation
- Trademark search, registration and enforcement
- Business formation for music businesses or bands
- Business and Partnership disputes
- Music Business litigation
These are just a few examples of the extensive range of legal services we provide to the music industry.
Music-Technology and Related Patent Filings
We specialize in music technologies, and we’ve successfully secured a number of valuable patents on innovative technologies for our clients on a variety of instruments and sound augmentation technologies. Technology has dramatically changed the music business and the potential value of emerging technologies makes developers of unprotected technologies highly vulnerable to exploitation.
We have obtained a number of notable music related patents for our clients including:
- 9,934,762 (Pitch Changing Mechanism)
- 9,558,722 (Guitar Tuning System)
- 9,424,820 (Dobro Guitar)
- 9,240,172 (Foot Pedals)
- 9,209,850 (Protective Case for Sound Waves)
- 8,985,792 (Amplifier Knob)
- 8,674,205 (Media Stand)
- 8,618,395 (Chromatic Tambin)
- 8,586,850 (Pickup for Stringed Musical Instruments)
- 8,569,602 (Stringed Musical Instruments)
- 8,294,014 (Portable Stand)
- 8,242,342 (Percussion Instrument)
- 7,531,730 (Coated Instrument Guitar String)
- 7,518,057 (Guitar Finger Finding Apparatus)
- 7,485,792 (Effects Pedal)
- 7,437,801 (Caster)
- 7,420,107 (Guitar)
- 6,966,574 (Transport Cart for Music Equipment)
- D793,471 (Tuner Assembly)
- D781,954 (Guitar Pedal Board)
- D759,745 (Preamplifier)
- D746,253 (Preamplifier Design)
- D717,367 (Capo)
- D705,344 (Capo)
- D674,002 (Drum Key)
- D652,836 (Media Player Support)
- D647,917 (Re-locatable Support Surface for A Media Player)
- D619,559 (Mount for An MP3 Player)
- D617,669 (Bell and Tuning Fork Clapper)
- D604,961 (Guitar Stand)
Trademark Protection for Musicians, Music Products and Entertainers
Trademarks are critical to protecting your brand, material and identity, and as you know, branding is everything in the entertainment industry.
Our California Music and trademark lawyers have the experience it takes to ensure your particular brand is protected with trademarks that give you the tools you need to prevent confusion among consumers, stop the sale of copycat products and if necessary, seek a court order that awards you any profits or damages against others who infringe upon your trademark.
Simply filing for a trademark isn’t enough to protect your brand and products — your trademark application needs to be thoroughly researched and carefully reviewed by a legal team that understands the complexities involved. Trademark applications should be part of a larger IP portfolio and branding strategy, and they should be filed with research done in advance to avoid unnecessary conflicts and expenses down the road. We “fix” a lot of trademark filings that cause headaches later in the form of litigation, product recalls, and disputes with other businesses.
At Buche & Associates, P.C. we take the time to develop branding strategies and trademark applications that cover all the bases, including colors, sounds, names, and even product shapes and packaging that can result in “trade dress” rights that make all the difference when it comes to enforcement against an individual or company that attempts to profit off of your identity. In the realm of music instruments, brand is everything, and in some cases where brands and trademarks have been properly protected, many musicians can identify brands by something as simple as the shape of a guitar body, or perhaps by looking at a headstock.
Music Copyrights and Royalties
Legal protection for musicians, songwriters and producers largely focuses on copyright laws. These laws are designed to protect the creative and intellectual property of the artist, and this protection comes into existence as soon as a writer pens a verse or a musician records a melody.
Although there is no legal obligation to file a copyright registration on creative work, doing so can provide the artist with a host of benefits that allows them to prove ownership, file claims for infringement in federal court, and if warranted, collect damages. The copyright registration could be considered the “ticket” into federal court.
For a songwriter, a music copyright is actually a collection of distinctive rights including:
- Rights to reproduce the work in any form
- Rights to distribute the work
- Rights to perform the work
- Rights to display the work
- Rights to create variations or “derivatives” on the original
Musicians, bands and songwriters may also have legal protection through a number of other channels, including mechanical, synchronization and performance royalties.
Music Contract Negotiation and Enforcement
In the music industry, it’s often said that the only difference between a starving artist and a successful one is the strength of their music contracts.
All too often artists fail to seek legal advice from a skilled music attorney before signing on the dotted line, and unsurprisingly, the benefits of these hurried negotiations never seem swing toward the artist.
Musicians, bands, songwriters and other professionals in the entertainment industry need to have all contracts thoroughly reviewed by a lawyer who specializes in music contract law. Remember, the contract you sign now could have major ramifications on the next 30, 40 or 50 years of more of your life, and it’s easier to prevent costly contract mistakes upfront than try to repair the damage down the road.
Savvy music producers, recording agencies and managers already have a team of legal experts in their corner — we’re here to help ensure your best interests are protected, both now and in the future.
Recording Contract Negotiation and Review
The value of, and terms in each recording contract are largely dependent upon both the current value of your personal brand as a performer and the expected trajectory of your career as an artist. More often than not recording contracts are long-term, and they tend to contain terms and clauses that provide a distinct advantage to the recording label.
While being offered a recording contract by a major label can be exceptionally lucrative, it’s important to recognize that the growth of many international labels has been leveraged on the strength of their recording contracts.
Before you sign on with a label, contact one of our attorneys familiar with music law. We can review your contract, explain the complexities of royalty calculations and help you make an educated choice about your recording contract.
Publishing & Songwriter Contract Law
Songwriters are often the “unsung heroes” of the entertainment industry, and the unfortunate reality is that many songwriters find themselves under pressure to sign contracts that fail to provide them with the compensation they truly deserve.
Music companies profit by licensing songwriters’ work to recording artists, and typically, the profits of these licensing agreements are divided by the company and the writer. Publisher and songwriter contracts transfer or assign the actual copyright to a song, while co-publishing contracts are also common in the industry.
Songwriters, like musicians, should consult with an attorney who specializes in publishing and songwriter contract law prior to entering into an agreement with a publisher or artist. There are a number of different ways that songwriter contracts can be structured — choosing the right revenue stream now can have significant long-term implications for the artist.
Artist Management Contracts
Behind every successful artist, band and group there is often an equally successful manager, and the importance of a dedicated, professional manager simply cannot be overstated. In fact, many industry experts attribute the success of The Beatles to their manager Brian Epstein — he developed and enforced the “dress code” that required band members to perform in suits, and he also negotiated the group’s breakout record deal in June, 1962 with George Martin of EMI Parlophone.
Not only does an music manager help promote their clients, work to secure recording deals and take the lead on tour development and artist financing, but they can often make or break the success of their clients.
While it’s critical to provide the right manager with a compensation package that reflects the importance of their role, it’s equally important to ensure that a management contract is drafted in a way that protects all involved parties. Management contracts within the performing arts industry need to be carefully considered and created in a way that clearly addresses the scope and depth of the managers’ role.
All parties should consult with a contract attorney about artist management prior to entering into any legal agreement. These legal contracts need to be carefully scrutinized and consider variables that could prevent costly legal disputes between an artist and their manager.
Contact Our San Diego, CA Music Attorneys
To learn more about our highly legal services for musicians and music businesses, contact us here at Buche & Associates, P.C. to schedule your confidential consultation.
What our Clients have to say...
John and his team have been fantastic to work with. They are always responsive, professional and very knowledgeable. Highly recommended.Mark Leone2/09/2018
I spoke with John and two of his attorneys about a the potential for patenting a bicycle braking apparatus. He was very knowledgeable and generous with his and his teams time. It turned out that the apparatus was not patentable but had it been we would have strongly considered Buche & Associates.MB S3/07/2014