First post to the musicnlaw blog, and that's what I'm talking about - music and law. My name is Michael Hoisington, and I'm an attorney at Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP (HFM) in San Diego, California. I'm in my 10th year of practice, devoted exclusively to intellectual property and entertainment law. You can find my bio here:
The information and opinions expressed here are my own, not HFM's, and I take responsibility for everything posted here. Comments always welcome, but please be professional.
I'm also a musician - undergrad degree in music composition from UCSD (a great music department). I'm a songwriter, electric/acoustic guitarist, and performer. You can check out my myspace site here:
I'm a co-chair of the Entertainment and Sports Law (ESL) section of the San Diego County Bar Association, and have been a member of the section for the past 10 years. Our website is here:
Welcome to my blog, and I hope you find it informative and useful. My hope is that it will appeal to attorneys, musicians, songwriters, people in the entertainment industry and maybe even just plain folks interested in the subject matter.
I want to make a quick comment about copyright registration. I spoke at a seminar hosted by the San Diego Songwriters Guild about a week ago, and one question I got was about how the 3 month safe harbor rule in Section 412 of the Copyright Act (17 USC § 412) works. In most cases, you have 3 months from the date of publication to file a copyright and obtain the benefits of the Copyright Act- statutory damages (17 USC § 504), costs and attorney's fees (17 USC § 505). If the work is unpublished, you only get the benefits of the statute if you registered your work before the infringement began. What does this mean? If you register your copyright within 3 months of publishing the work, for example, 60 days after you publish the work, if someone infringes the work within that 60 day period, statutory damages, costs and attorney's fees will be available to you (even though you did not have a registration yet).
What you should take from this is - REGISTER COPYRIGHTS EARLY AND REGISTER OFTEN. As soon as you complete a work, register it as soon as you can. Protect your hard work. You can register copyrights online at http://www.copyright.gov/eco/.
Comments welcome, and have a great day!