Archive for Licensing & Intellectual Property

ASCAP, BMI, etc…

…just quickly, because I get asked a lot:

Nightclubs, Artists and Web Designers need to know how to appropriately license the music they plan to use.

Artists who want to know the finer points of whether they should associate with a performance rights organization can ask questions below, or contact me.  I will be eventually dedicating an entire portion of the forums to this topic.

BUYERS may have to deal with all of the organizations (or limit themselves to the “library” of one organization).
PUBLISHERS & WRITERS can only be represented by one organization.

www.ascap.org (ASCAP; American Society of Composers, Authors & Poets)
www.bmi.com (BMI; Broadcast Music, Inc., as an answer to ASCAP)
www.sesac.com (SESAC; fastest growing…because it is the newest)

If you’re using music in your media, presentations, nightclub, website, and/or business (even for automated phone attendants), you’re supposed to have a license for the content.  This is how songwriters and publisher get compensated for bringing music into the world.

We are happy to walk clients and artists through the process and equip them with what they need to know about licensing, for two reasons:

1. We’re a publisher and it is in our interest to keep things above board.
2. It is REALLY EASY to operate legally – and usually it inspires people with ways that THEY CAN PROFIT from the licensing dance.

As with all things – do it right the first time.  It takes us about 30seconds to answer a question (and it saves you the headache of hearing from somebody’s lawyer).

Example: In order to use the original recording of the Cheers Theme Song for a promotion (for THE Cheers! Restaurant in Boston), I had to license the song rights from the artist.  Licensing the actual recording used in the show came at a proposed cost of several thousand dollars (not attractive for a one-time promotion or simply for use on their website).  Think about it though - They haven’t been using the song for over 3 decades because, the second they executed that use, it represented a substantial amount of money.   Or DOES IT?
Solution: After 20 minutes in the studio (recording a new/similar piano& vocal track), I licensed the mechanical rights for the original and handed them a track they could use.  Their total cost ended up being $120…and they can do whatever they want with it now.
Seriously – One of the most recognizable brands in the country and they waited 30 years to add their most recognizable theme-song to a promotion.  Knowledge is power.  I’m happy to demystify this and many other topics for my clients (don’t wait 30yrs for a $120 solution).

Two things are owned when you hear a song on the radio:

1. Mechanical Rights (the words and music – as it would appear on a piece of sheet music) – extremely affordable
2. Master Recording (the owner of the actual audio recording that you hear) – not always affordable

- Mark

(reprinted from 1/13/2011)

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1 Day Film School

(utilizing licensing for retail products)

Prolific Film Industry Professional, Bobby Logan, teamed up with Image Icon Entertainment (with the support of Mahar Enterprises, Inc.) to create a valuable resource for emerging film-makers.

“Bobby Logan’s 1Day Film School” on 2 DVD’s is available at an amazingly low $99 [Buy It Now]

Bobby Logan's 1Day Film SchoolHere’s a small sample of the subjects covered in Bobby Logans’ 1 Day Film School DVD set:

Part 1 – “Creative Elements”

  • Coming up with a clever, commercial idea
  • The script – length, 3-act structure, re-writes
  • What does the audience want? And how to give it to them
  • What do distributors want? What elements are important?
  • The genres that are always in demand
  • How to direct/handle actors

Part 2 – “Technical Requirements”

  • Crew positions
  • Hiring the right crew – and at the right price
  • Getting your film equipent – for little or no money
  • How is it, you dom’thave to know a thing about technology

Part 3 – “Business”

  • Shopping your completed film
  • Dealing with distributors
  • The politics of film festivals
  • The business of casting – you need names to sell the film
  • Producing a high-quality film on a shoestring budget

Educational DVD Credits:

Licensing - Mahar Enterprises, Inc. / Mark Mahar
Production, Editing, Artwork & Packaging - Image Icon Entertainment / James Benti / Jim Smith
Educational Content – Bobby Logan

Patent & Trademark Basics

I’ve created a place in the site to learn the basics of what constitutes “intellectual property”.

The short version is:

“Copyright” – you own it the second you write it down.  It is a device of law (which is better protected when you actually claim your rights by writing “AUTHOR, Copyright, DATE”

“Trademark” – a word or phrase or symbol used in MARKETING.  You can claim it’s yours with the word “TM” and you can legally apply to have the federal government say it’s yours (which allows you to legally use the “Registered Trademark” (R) symbol).

“Patent” – a legal document saying that you own the way an idea is APPLIED (idea = digging for gold in rivers [not patentable]; applied idea=panning for gold using a round disk after you dig up some dirt [patentable]).  There’s more to it than that – but an idea is just an idea until it is “applied”.

“Trade Secret” – something you never, ever, ever, ever, ever disclose because if someone else knew how to do it they would be able to compete with you.  You have this right because sometimes ideas can never be applied in a way that qualifies for a patent (like a recipe for instance)…but they are still uniqe ideas.

Want to know more?  [Click here]