Using music in today’s digital world creates substantial opportunities and risks as technology and media industries continue to evolve. For companies that use music, these developments complicate the determination of what music licenses are required and how to go about getting them. For companies that produce music, the consolidation and convergence of previously separate businesses, combined with the proliferation of media and communications platforms, cause great uncertainty about which business models will be effective, which companies will make money, and how. Our music lawyers have expertise in the wide range of issues that arise for companies that produce or use music, especially those dealing in the digital world and delivering content through the Internet or in other wired or wireless environments.
Our music team draws upon expertise in music copyright issues, deep practical knowledge of the music industry and broad experience working with clients throughout the entertainment, media and technology fields. We regularly are called upon to handle music matters by digital music services, radio and television networks and broadcasters, video game companies, film, television and theatrical producers, advertising and marketing firms, and digital media associations. We are also adept at helping our non-media clients navigate the issues that can arise when they use music in their businesses, whether it be played in the background at a retail outlet or used in advertising. Our lawyers are also active in industry associations and speak on music issues at events such as the Digital Media Conference, the Digital Music Forum, Canadian Music Week, CMJ and Radio Ink Convergence, as well as at events organized by various bar associations, media organizations and broadcasters’ associations. Our expertise enables us to help clients spot opportunities, identify issues before they arise and manage risk, and gives them the peace of mind to focus on other creative and business priorities.
We handle a broad range of music-related matters for our clients, including the following:
- Negotiating and drafting license agreements for the use of music in a variety of contexts, from websites to film to television to advertising to live theater
- Counseling regarding public performance issues and relationships with performing rights organizations, including with respect to websites, apps and emerging media platforms and distribution methods
- Representing clients in resolving and litigating music-related disputes
- Analyzing chain of title and “fair use” matters
- Representing clients in connection with the sale of music catalogs and in large-scale music library license agreements
- Negotiating and drafting concert tour sponsorship deals
- Advising on copyright registration and termination of transfers
- Representing estates and trusts owning significant music catalogs
- Negotiating and drafting endorsement agreements and other agreements relating to the use of musical talent in advertising and marketing campaigns
- Litigation over statutory copyright rates for music use
Our lawyers are also well known for their work representing Internet radio and webcasting companies, taking a prominent role in negotiating music royalty agreements, including representation before Congress and the Copyright Office in connection with the enactment of the Small Webcasters Settlement Act, the negotiation of the Pureplay Webcasters Agreement and in administrative litigation over royalty rates before the Copyright Royalty Board. We also handle all manner of agreements relating to the provision of Internet radio and other online and wireless content distribution services.