Crash Course No. 4 Attorneys
Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 16
Austin-based attorney Cindi Lazzari draws from more than 20 years of experience representing local artists such as Eric Johnson, Spoon, Davíd Garza, and Kelly Willis. Beginning with the first basic questions that any band should ask itself upon making the move into the business world, the former Austin Aquafest talent buyer highlighted the juxtaposition of a democratic union versus the lead songwriter/performer establishing himself as an independent entity with a band-for-hire. Issues including the division of profits and losses, the control of master tapes, and the funding of a demo recording should be put in writing in order to protect all involved from future litigation. Whether incorporation is in the cards or not, liability provisions should be put in place so that no single individual involved becomes forced to weather such burdens as tour-related injury claims and recoupable expenses. Making certain to file proper copyright forms to protect a band's name as well as its original compositions is yet another step in the start-up process. Once a record label enters the picture the hiring of a lawyer, either by the hour or by a percentage of the band's income, is vital in making sure that terms such as length of commitment and royalties are being fairly handled. Licensing, tour support, and the cost of individual promotions including videos are additional details to be considered when signing that dotted line.