Ask a Music Lawyer Archive

Welcome to the archives of Ask a Music Lawyer. All of the questions and answers are collected here in reverse chronological order.

Can I play my own music at a venue without a public performance license? – November 18, 2013

What copyright form do I file? – November 5, 2013

What type of beats contract do I need? – October 15, 2013

How many copyright applications to register three songs on iTunes? – October 1, 2013

What permission is needed to publicly perform a cover song? – September 3, 2013

Do I need a lawyer to review my record contract? – August 6, 2013

How much do I pay in mechanical royalties? – July 2, 2013

How do I find a song's publisher? – June 4, 2013

Good books on music publishing? – May 7, 2013

What license do I need with perfomers at my event? – April 2, 2013

Can I use a poem as the lyrics for my song? – March 4, 2013

How much does it cost to draft a recording agreement for an indie label? – February 4, 2013

Can a publisher ask for more than the statutory mechanical rate? – January 22, 2013

Do I need a license for my singing business? – January 8, 2013

What can I negotiate in a management deal? – December 18, 2012

How do I become a music lawyer? – December 4, 2012

What is SoundExchange? – November 20, 2012

Do I own my band's music video if I paid for it? – November 6, 2012

Can I use parody songs in my ad campaign? – October 23, 2012

Can I register the copyrights if artist didn't pay for my producer services? – October 9, 2012

Can I terminate a verbal synchronization license? – September 25, 2012

Does a symphony need a synch license to distribute a performance video of a public domain piece? – September 11, 2012

Can I copyright unlimited songs for $99? – August 28, 2012

How do I legally use someone else's words as the basis for my song? – August 14, 2012

Can I copyright songs from multiple years on one application? – July 31, 2012

When do I need a lawyer? – July 17, 2012

Can a DJ and school bag provider use the same name? – July 3, 2012

How can I find out if I'm owed royalties? – June 19, 2012

Can a band sue the producer for not liking the mix? – June 5, 2012

Can a publisher charge a mechanical royalty rate of more than 9.1 cents? – May 22, 2012

What if a band in Australia is using a similar band name? – May 8, 2012

Can I distribute for free a mix CD of tracks that I purchased? – April 24, 2012

Can I use a short music clip in a video for a nonprofit? – April 10, 2012

Do I have a copyright once I perform a song in public? – March 27, 2012

Do I need a lawyer to file for copyright registration? – March 13, 2012

What should my indie label's artist deal include? – February 28, 2012

Why should I register my copyrights? – February 7, 2012

Can I play the radio at work without paying music licensing fees? – January 24, 2012

Can I play CDs I own at work? – January 3, 2012

Do I need to pay to perform cover songs at live music venues? – December 6, 2011

Is it too late to file a copyright infringement lawsuit? – November 22, 2011

What to do if investor is interested in your band? – November 8, 2011

How do I register a copyright for my performance of a cover song? – October 25, 2011

Can I use part of someone else's recording without permission? – October 11, 2011

What do I do if newer bands are using my band name? – September 6, 2011

Who and what do I ask for the rights to use a sample? – August 30, 2011

Do I need to hire a music attorney in my state? – August 9, 2011

Is my song title protected by copyright? – August 2, 2011

What do music lawyers do? – June 28, 2011

Can I register a collection of songs and pay just one $35 fee? – June 21, 2011

How can I use a remix of a popular song in my student film? – June 14, 2011

Can a school Jazz Ensemble give away CDs of covered jazz standards without licensing each track? – May 17, 2011

How do I correct a previous copyright registration? – May 10, 2011

Which copyright forms do I use? How many do I need to fill out? – April 26, 2011

What license do I need for a live show DVD with cover songs? – April 12, 2011

Why should I register my songs with the Copyright Office? – April 5, 2011

How do I compensate members of my band for contributing to my song? – March 22, 2011

What if another band has trademarked our name? – March 15, 2011

Does my producer own part of my song? – March 8, 2011 is maintained by experienced Austin music lawyer Amy E. Mitchell. Please feel free to ask any music law related questions. You will be notified by email when your question has been selected for response, and the response will be posted on this site.

Please note that no responses are guaranteed, and responses provided on this site do not constitute legal advice and may be edited or removed at any time. The purpose of is solely to educate and inform musicians and music professionals about legal issues in the music industry. Accordingly, any posted responses are merely intended to give you general legal insight in order to point you in the right direction.