#1
Now I know of a book called "Music Business" and its about 60 dollars. I plan to purchase this one day. I've been searching around on the internet for some sample partnership agreements, record deals, and venue contracts. All the sites I come across don't have enough information or, they expect you to pay for it.

1. Are there any websites out there with this information who aren't just out to feed off the already poor musicians searching for it?

If not, perhaps when I purchase this book and do a little more research would it be benificial for me to post sample contracts and information on how to draw up your own on my website?
#2
Without proper legal knowledge, yours and other's drawn up contracts will most definitely be flawed. However, Australia being a common law country, a vast majority of the points in the overhead sticky on copyright still apply to Australia, despite it specifically addressing Canada.

There is a reason that lawyers are hired specifically to draw up contracts for bands - it's extremely technical and complex. I can guarantee that this magic book, no matter how hard you study it, will not make you able to draw up an effective, legally binding contract to protect musician's works.

This is a starting point;
http://www.copyright.org.au/information/cit008/wp0008
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
A law degree costs somewhere around £20,000 in the UK (depending on how well-off you are, it could be noticeably less). Then your professional training might well be another £10,000. And you'll have spent five years of your life getting ready to write decent contracts.

You expect such people to give away their work?

I would say that you'll be wasting your time buying the book. As with most things to do with the law, a lot of what it tells you will be simple and easy to understand. But it will not be able to cover all the points that will actually be important to you should you actually start signing contracts about your work (which are themselves really quite complicated things, even before you start considering copyright law and the like).
#4
Hey cool link. Thanks for the help.

Of course later on I will need to busy myself with lawyers, but such a thing can be very expensive. What I was trying to get at is the bare minimum stuff you will need in the begining. Ideas and helpful guidelines on how to draw up who came into the band with what, what happens when certain people leave, who keeps the name. Something that we could all sign to let each other know that we understand whats going on. Such things can be used in court if a member decides that the amp I contributed is actually his. Such a claim could be hard to prove if other members sign knowing that this isnt the case.

Just knowledge of things that should be put in place in the very begining of a band would be helpful. As I said there are sites out there with the info. Not many of them are even drawn up to suit the clients, its already made up as a PDF you pay for and download and then fill in the blanks. While the guys on the other end sit around and do nothing. Is there anything out there which is free?

I've seen quite a few agreements, and they all have the same format, and the same topics addressed in them. They're not really something a professional really needs to do for you, until of course you start making money and the time comes to draw another one up.

Here is a very good free Band Partnership Agreement I found. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/14533/Band-Partnership-Agreementrtf

There are plenty more out there though. Even sample contracts of what you may expect to recieve throughout your career can be helpful. At least then you can compare and see what may be dodgy for yourself without paying someone else to tell you the same thing.

I think musicians need to be aware of these things instead of relying on their lawyer all the time, because not all lawyers are legit. Too many bands just want to go out and play their music. A band is a business, so we need to treat it like one.

I'm just trying to learn as much as I can so I don't get burned. Not only that but it can show the other members that its time to get serious, and makes things a little more professional.

Just because there is someone there who gets paid to do something, and that they should be the only ones to do it, doesn't sit right with me. By learning this information I may end up saving time in paying someone to explain it to me later on.
I think we can all benefit from that.
Last edited by Casuist at Sep 16, 2009,
#5
I do get what you're talking about, but it's far more complicated than you think. The contract that you've referred to may be simple to fill out, but it's construction is not what one would consider a simple contract in any way. The "bare minimum" is spelt out in the sticky and the links.

You raise some points which I could address quickly;

if a member decides that the amp I contributed is actually his


This is not relevant to copyright. Actual ownership of an amp is a property question. I'm not sure what you've hypothetically contributed it to, but if you've bought the amp solely (ie. you're the only person who paid for it) and haven't gifted it away for some reason, it's your amp.

who came into the band with what, what happens when certain people leave


Songs are covered by copyright. If I came into a band with a fully written song, I would have copyright entitlements to the music and lyrics of that song. When I leave the band I still have the copyright entitlements to that song, and 99.9% of the time, none of the band will receive any entitlements to it. If they continue to play it, they will be covering my song. If they record it, they will have to pay me royalties. I at all times can share credit with the band (eg. when you see "Music by x band" on the in-sleeve of a cd).

But egos get hurt when a person enters a band with a mere riff, and someone else makes it into a song. In this case the person who made it into a song has the copyright entitlements mostly, but credit is usually shared.

In short, copyright is separate for every song you and the band make. Take steps to ensure that it is protected by recording it and registering it with the appropriate authorities.

who keeps the name


Axemanchris spells it out for you in the above sticky.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=18363589&postcount=30
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#6
Nicely done, Alan.

About who gets to keep the name....

The big label acts will have their band name registered as a business, and within that document will be an indication as to who the owner/s are. In one case I know of, a major label band had their name registered by their manager, who did it with the best of intentions as a part of the regular course of taking care of the business end of things for the band. Despite some not-so-good feelings about each other at one point, the manager *could* have been a bastard and refused to let the band use the name they had been doing business under for the last 20 years. The name did belong to him, after all. It took him years, though, to finally relinquish the legal hold on the name.

Wait.... did I say business? Ah, yes. Let's say you and four buddies start up a restaurant - The Main Street Bistro. The restaurant was your idea, sure, but it never would have seen the light of day without the help of those three other friends. Their initial capital investment helped to establish the business, and their expertise in various areas keeps the day-to-day operations afloat. Now, one of them - maybe even you - decide to quit. Does it make sense that any one of you would get to keep the name and take it with you when you go? Of course not. Sure, that person will cash out and take the 20% of the business assets that can be dispersed to him/her, but not the name. At that point, in return for cashing out, you relinquish your claim to any further assets, present or future. You're done with it.

Now, what if three of you happen to ditch the other two? Well.... that's a little more complicated. I'm really not sure there would be a clear answer in that case. Those hard-to-answer things are often duked out in court if they cannot be agreed to professionally, if not amicably.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
In my experience, dividing assets depends upon what type of business entity was created.

Just a short example: In a corporate structure each band member would get shares that reflect their investment, either through cash which is invested in equipment, any operating capital, or contributions of intellectual property, etc. Each member would own a percentage of the company. If someone leaves, generally they would be paid the value of their shares by one or more band members. Even things like the band name, rights to songs, or any other tangible assets could conceivably be included in the buyout price. All well and good, if everyone agrees as to the current value of the company. If not, then the "fun" begins.

This kind of thing isn't really needed unless, or until you begin making fairly major money.
It can get extremely complicated and quite expensive. In the beginning, you're probably better off with "Informal(written or verbal)Agreements". Can you lose something this way? Sure, they aren't really enforceable, but consider how much it would cost to take someone to Court over an amp, rights to a song that is making little or no money, or a band name that can be replaced. Bottom line, deal with people you can trust, and try not to fight about this stuff.
#8
Quote by chokmool


This kind of thing isn't really needed unless, or until you begin making fairly major money.
It can get extremely complicated and quite expensive. In the beginning, you're probably better off with "Informal(written or verbal)Agreements". Can you lose something this way? Sure, they aren't really enforceable, but consider how much it would cost to take someone to Court over an amp, rights to a song that is making little or no money, or a band name that can be replaced. Bottom line, deal with people you can trust, and try not to fight about this stuff.



This is what I was trying to understand, and to pursue resources for. I don't have any intentions (well lets hope not) of ever going to court with such informal agreements.
I am aware though, of how useful they can be to clear up any small disputes that may arise. All I am looking for is a way that I can go about writing these in a slightly more professional manner.

Sometimes disputes come about from mere misunderstandings, not malice nor trust issues. People can recall things differently when descisions are made verbally. At least documenting them in an easy to read, well laid out manner, can help alleviate disputes should they arise.


Thank you all for your help so far.
Last edited by Casuist at Sep 17, 2009,
#9
@chok - thanks for elaborating on my simplified example. You're right. My point was based on the assumption that everyone was an equal contributor, which is often a bad assumption.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#10
No problem.

Casuist, if your goal is to keep track of transactions between individual band members, and/or the band as a whole, you could start a band log/folder, which would document those transactions.

Example: You buy an amp for the bass player to use. You guys discuss the terms of what that use includes, then put it in writing.

I,(your name), have purchased, (amp brand model), see Bill of Sale attached.
I agree to allow,(bassists name), to use it for the time we are both members of(Band Name), and I retain sole ownership of this amp.

Lines like this establish your ownership, and your permission for him to use it conditionally. You could then follow with any other terms and conditions, that you both agree to. Things like: Who is responsible for repairs, where and how it can be used, what happens if you need to sell it, the band breaks up, etc. Basically, anything that you guys might argue about, if it isn't spelled out.

Attach your BOS, you both sign and date it, put it in a folder, and hope for the best. Do the same with any other band transactions. The folder serves as a way to remind everyone what they agreed to, if they need to be reminded.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, this was a suggestion, not legal advice.
#11
Ah, thanks heaps Chokmool!

I suppose I could write something like that out. Perhaps I need to actually read some terms of agreements from websites and software so I can get an understanding of the wording.

I may end up getting a few folders for the rest of them to put copies of the papers in there too. I was also thinking of getting a few cheap usb drives that we can use to throw our recordings on (pictures or anything else) from the days rehearsal, so that we can also work on the ideas from home.

Perhaps you guys may have some other ideas.
Last edited by Casuist at Sep 17, 2009,
#12
Quote by chokmool

I,(your name), have purchased, (amp brand model), see Bill of Sale attached.
I agree to allow,(bassists name), to use it for the time we are both members of(Band Name), and I retain sole ownership of this amp.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, this was a suggestion, not legal advice.


That is a nice clear way of stating it, and definitely does assert the original ownership of the amp.

That said, it would unfortunately be unenforceable (in Australia at least) as a contract. There's no consideration coming from the bassist, that is, it places no obligation on the bassist to do anything. This is a primary element of what makes a contract.

However, if the bassist gave something (like money), it would perform more like a lease. Even then as there is no specified time frame (nothing specific and membership of the band is not defined) it would be then be found to be too general to be enforceable.

Law is fun!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
law is fun!
...but I am not a lawyer, so don't take my advice as such.

that said...

people like things, and even if you have this "agreement" with your bandmates over gear, that doesn't mean Joe, who's using Bob's amp, won't sneak back into the rehersal space, snag the amp, and call you the next day to say he quit the band. I guess what I'm getting at is, as fun as law is, 9 10ths of it is posession. Physically secure your ****! other guitarist is borrowing your axe? no prob. bring it to practice, take it home with you. another good rule of thumb is that each member supply their own equipment. Singer likes using your mic? no prob. tell him to save some cash and buy that mother****er from you.

but that's just gear. when enough money (and likely, expenses) start falling, it's time to get a mediator, usually in the form of a lawyer... that is, if you haven't already (by the time you're making money, I mean).

thanks to "creative accounting techniques," there's lots of ways to split the pie. expenses get covered before you split up net profits? define expenses. does that include the meal you ate together as a band while on the road before the show? does our revinue pay for your t-bone and my ham sandwich? do you include a PD? if so, what happens to the unused portion each day? is it redistributed or does it go back to the particular members who were more frugal?

and that's just one example. there really are SOOOO many little things that come into play once you're making money. it all boils down to the character of the people around you (or a DAMN GOOD lawyer)... otherwise it could turn into "hey you owe me for that pack of strings" "well, i put gas in the van" "yeah, but i loaned you twenty bucks" "yeah, but you got it out of the tip jar!"
#14
Quote by GrisKy

as fun as law is, 9 10ths of it is posession


Well, not really in a legal sense, but we're not here to debate equitable vs legal rights

What you do say is important however - I'd personally never run into these problems because I'd never loan an amp/guitar/microphone to a band mate. They're mine, and they're expensive. Obviously if they run off with your stuff, and you can't find them, it's impossible to get it back. It's called theft.

So just exercise some common sense and avoid legal crap.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
Alan, in an earlier post, I acknowledged that these agreements were unenforceable. TS, said he wanted a way to keep track of what people agreed to. You need to be able to trust the folks you are in a band with. If you can't, you're going to have all kinds of problems anyway.
However, like you, I would never put myself in an indefensible position in the first place.
Common sense and respect for the people you are working with, is a key element to a band getting along well, and avoiding silly disputes.
#16
Quote by chokmool
Alan, in an earlier post, I acknowledged that these agreements were unenforceable.


Oh for sure - I was just being a smartass
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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