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Music Industry Challenges For Artists’ Ownership

People in New Jersey who create artistic works understandably want to be able to protect their work. Copyrights are one form of intellectual property that may be used by artists, writers, musicians and others. However, owning the lyrics to a song, for example, does not mean that an artist will be able to own every form of their work. The music industry can be very complex and these complexities have been highlighted recently by Taylor Swift’s public outcry at the sale of her work to someone she does not trust or respect.

As reported by Time magazine, multiple musicians over the years have struggled to gain ownership of their body of work. These musicians include Prince and Paul McCartney for starters. When Taylor Swift was just 15 years old, she signed a contract with a record label that gave them the ownership rights to the original masters of her work. She remained with that label until just last year, leaving the label to own 11 years of work spanning six albums.

Now, the label she had been with from 2006 through 2017 has been sold to a company owned by a man who has been involved in unpleasant interactions with Swift via Kanye West and other celebrities. This man now has ownership of the recordings from which all subsequent recordings of her work can be made.

The challenges like this one that musicians face is no doubt part of why some musicians today are not even working with labels but instead trying to publish their music on their own.

Santomassimo Davis LLP

Understanding how this affects the small business economy is part of our job here at Santomassimo Davis LLP, as we primarily focus in providing expert Outside General Counsel for a variety of law firms and legal issues related to Corporate and Business Law  in New JerseyNew York and Pennsylvania.

Thanks for reading our latest blog talking about topical legal issues facing small businesses. Learn more from our Outside General Counsel Blogs.


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