In The News

Bluegrass Underground: PBS Series Features Concerts Out Of A Cave

Attorney Stephanie Taylor represents Todd Squared Production


By CHRIS TALBOTT, The Associated Press


CUMBERLAND CAVERNS, Tenn. — In decades of ceaseless touring, bluegrass icon Ralph Stanley thought he'd played in every venue imaginable.


Then he got an invite to play a "Bluegrass Underground" show earlier this year.


Read the entire article here.


 

Recent Interview on TV about Recapturing Copyrights


Recently my law partner, Stephanie Taylor, and I were interviewed by Jesse Goldberg, on his show, “Mind Your Own Music Business.”  Following up on an article that I wrote for The Tennessean, we discussed copyright recapture rights. 


This is a very important issue right now for any authors and heirs of original works who transferred rights in their copyrights in the past under the 1976 Copyright Act, which affects works first published on or after January 1, 1978.  Thirty-five years after the initial transfer, a five year window opens up during which the authors/heirs may provide notice of their desire to recapture the copyrights that they previously transferred.  To make it more complicated, authors and heirs must provide notice of their intent to recapture no earlier than ten, and no later than two, years prior to the notice being effective.   Thus, for those authors wishing to recapture copyrights that they transferred in 1978 (for which the five year window opens up in 2013 and runs through 2018), the minimum two-year notice prior to the five year window is right now in 2011. 


We discussed a variety of issues, many of which have not made their way to the courts yet, but surely which will require litigation.  These included whether sound recordings are considered works for hire, and thus not eligible for recapturing; whether session musicians, producers, sound engineers, and others might qualify as authors; and the gap grant problem for those authors who entered into contracts transferring their copyrights pre-1978, but who didn’t create or publish their works until after January 1, 1978.  We also discussed how Nashville courts likely will be called on to decide some of these significant legal issues in the coming years, given Nashville’s importance in the entertainment, publishing, and technology industries. 

As soon as the show airs on TV and is up on the web, I'll update this post and provide links.

BMN Works to Raise Money for American Heart Association

Team Bone McAllester Norton is raising money for the American Heart Association's Annual Heart Walk on Saturday, October 1st. We have _ people participating and have raised $ through numerous fund raisers including a t-shirt drive, chili cook-off and a bouncing ball competition. Yes, bouncing balls.

We Welcome Rick Nickels!

Rick's practice areas include corporate law, employment law, estate planning and probate. He is a member of the Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations and the Middle Tennessee Estate Planning Council.




Rick graduated cum laude from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1989. Before attending law school, he worked as a trust administrator for a trust company outside of Chicago, Illinois. In 1995 he graduated from Samford University, Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, where he received academic awards in the areas of Advanced Decedents’ Estates and Trusts and Property II.

Rick grew up in a Chicago suburb where he attended an all boys’ high school run by the Benedictine monks. At Carthage College, Rick played baseball and met his wife, Amy, a Nashville native.

Rick and Amy have three children, Matthew, Molly and Jack. They live near Radnor Lake and are frequent patrons of the “Purple Cow.” Rick has coached youth sports since graduating from college. He is active in church and community organizations, especially those associated with Brentwood Academy and St. Paul Christian Academy, where his children attend school. Rick serves on the Board of Hearing Solutions International, Inc. and West Nashville Sports League (WNSL).

In his free time Rick is a runner and treasures time in his yard with his family and their golden doodles, Libby and Georgia.

September 2011 Newsletter Features New Attorney, Rick Nickels, Over the Edge Event, American Heart Association's Annual Heart Walk, and Warrior Dash

Bone McAllister Norton is excited to welcome Rick Nickels to our team and is equally excited about the firm"s community involvement.  To read the rest of our newsletter, click .

Stephanie Taylor and Rob Pinson speak to International Bluegrass Music Association

Moderator: Richard Tucker


Panelists: R.J. Stillwell, Sound Healthcare; Greg Cahill, Foundation for Bluegrass Music; Stephanie Taylor, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC; Rob Pinson, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC


Even though you may be a young artist or sideman, it’s not too early to think about taking care of yourself when it comes to estate planning, health, accident and life insurance, instrument insurance and retirement. For those of you approaching middle age and beyond, have you given any thought as to who you’d like to be beneficiaries of your lifetime in bluegrass, including how you would like to be remembered in the bluegrass world?  What will be your legacy, your way to keep “the circle unbroken.…”  Join our discussion this afternoon to think carefully about planning your future.




 

Bone McAllester Norton client chalks up a victory against Righthaven

One of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC's clients, represented by attorney Stephen Zralek, was recently discussed in the online news source, Vegas Inc., for his victory over Righthaven in obtaining dismissal over the original complaint.


Righthaven, which has filed over 275 copyright infringement lawsuits, filed an emergency motion for reconsideration, but the court denied it, upholding the court's dismissal of Righthaven's original lawsuit.


Click here for the entire article

 

BMN Attorneys and Staff Participate in Warrior Dash

Quite a few attorneys and staff members participated in this year's Warrior Dash. The Warrior Dash is 3.15 miles filled with fire leaping, mud crawling and extreme obstacles all for the hope of winning a coveted Warrior Helmet.

Celebrating Two Years of WaterCooler: Young Entrepreneurs Networking in Nashville


Two years ago, I was talking with my friend Wade Munday about how I wanted to start a fun, informal, monthly event for young entrepreneurs in Nashville to meet each other.  The goal was to provide networking opportunities and to learn about interesting topics or hear from speakers within our own age range (20s through 40s).  He helped me come up with the name WaterCooler, which sounded a lot better than CornerOffice and other names that we considered.  Then he moved to Boston for a year before coming home and getting married.
My friend Renata Soto, who runs Conexión Americas, graciously agreed to co-chair and co-host these events with me.  Our first speaker was Kimberly Pace of Owen Management School at Vanderbilt University, who talked about personal brands:  how each of us creates a personal brand with every action or inaction that we take.  We hosted the first one at Cantina Laredo, which had awesome guacamole and margaritas, but didn’t have the best acoustics.  We later moved to 1808 Grille at The Hutton Hotel, which provided a rock star environment, but was too small for our growing crowds.  Then we moved to Miro District.  We decided it was time to take the show on the road.
During that time, we hosted some amazing speakers, ranging from Becca Stevens, who talked about her work with former prostitutes at Magdalene and Thistle Farms, to Clint Smith of Emma, Laura Creekmore, who gave an overview of social media (which now seems like it was eons ago), and Alan Young of Armor Concepts, whose products I see on billboards all around the city.
Our first field trip was to Yazoo Tap Room, where Linus Hall and Neil McCormick gave everyone a tour of their brewery and free tastes of Yazoo.  That event turned out to be our most popular yet, and it showed us that WaterCooler was good not only for participants (who, in that case, reaped free beer) but also for the hosts whose businesses we showcased, because it gave them an opportunity to connect with their audience and further build brand loyalty.  I know, for myself, that I buy a lot more Yazoo beer now than I did before, because I heard Linus’ story and know how fresh it is, in addition to merely wishing to support the local economy.
From there, we realized that our niche was really in focusing on locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and not just hearing from a variety of speakers in our age range.  We went to Oliver & Sinclair Chocolate Factory, which was so jam packed that we had to turn people away at the doors for fear of overcrowding/fire marshals.  We also visited Corsair Distillery and heard from Darek Bell and his partner.  More recently, we toured CentreSource, then walked down the street to City House for drinks.
Our hope in doing this, in hosting and starting WaterCooler, was to build connections, for ourselves, and with each other.  We want folks to come whenever they’re inspired by the topic or have an interest in the location or the host or the product.  But we didn’t want to do anything that required people to sign up for one more commitment.  Everyone has enough of those already.  Because of that, we don’t have an official membership, and we don’t ask people to pay dues.  
We know that we are achieving our goal, because we have made connections with you resulting in new clients for our businesses/practices, new donors for our non-profits, new jobs, and more generally new friends.  And we know that you have done the same.  Emma has gotten new clients because one person who attended was impressed with Clint Smith's story.  And at least one person has gotten a new job because of a relationship she made while trying to attend our event at Olive & Sinclair.  These are the sorts of things we want to happen with WaterCooler.  If you have more examples of good connections that you’ve made, or if you have interesting locally-owned businesses based in Nashville that you want to highlight, please let us know.  These are the stories that we want to help you tell.

Celebrating Two Years of WaterCooler: Young Entrepreneurs Networking in Nashville


Two years ago, I was talking with my friend Wade Munday about how I wanted to start a fun, informal, monthly event for young entrepreneurs in Nashville to meet each other.  The goal was to provide networking opportunities and to learn about interesting topics or hear from speakers within our own age range (20s through 40s).  He helped me come up with the name WaterCooler, which sounded a lot better than CornerOffice and other names that we considered.  Then he moved to Boston for a year before coming home and getting married.

My friend Renata Soto, who runs Conexión Americas, graciously agreed to co-chair and co-host these events with me.  Our first speaker was Kimberly Pace of Owen Management School at Vanderbilt University, who talked about personal brands:  how each of us creates a personal brand with every action or inaction that we take.  We hosted the first one at Cantina Laredo, which had awesome guacamole and margaritas, but didn’t have the best acoustics.  We later moved to 1808 Grille at The Hutton Hotel, which provided a rock star environment, but was too small for our growing crowds.  Then we moved to Miro District.  We decided it was time to take the show on the road.

During that time, we hosted some amazing speakers, ranging from Becca Stevens, who talked about her work with former prostitutes at Magdalene and Thistle Farms, to Clint Smith of Emma, Laura Creekmore, who gave an overview of social media (which now seems like it was eons ago), and Alan Young of Armor Concepts, whose products I see on billboards all around the city.

Our first field trip was to Yazoo Tap Room, where Linus Hall and Neil McCormick gave everyone a tour of their brewery and free tastes of Yazoo.  That event turned out to be our most popular yet, and it showed us that WaterCooler was good not only for participants (who, in that case, reaped free beer) but also for the hosts whose businesses we showcased, because it gave them an opportunity to connect with their audience and further build brand loyalty.  I know, for myself, that I buy a lot more Yazoo beer now than I did before, because I heard Linus’ story and know how fresh it is, in addition to merely wishing to support the local economy.

From there, we realized that our niche was really in focusing on locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and not just hearing from a variety of speakers in our age range.  We went to Oliver & Sinclair Chocolate Factory, which was so jam packed that we had to turn people away at the doors for fear of overcrowding/fire marshals.  We also visited Corsair Distillery and heard from Darek Bell and his partner.  More recently, we toured CentreSource, then walked down the street to City House for drinks.

Our hope in doing this, in hosting and starting WaterCooler, was to build connections, for ourselves, and with each other.  We want folks to come whenever they’re inspired by the topic or have an interest in the location or the host or the product.  But we didn’t want to do anything that required people to sign up for one more commitment.  Everyone has enough of those already.  Because of that, we don’t have an official membership, and we don’t ask people to pay dues. 

We know that we are achieving our goal, because we have made connections with you resulting in new clients for our businesses/practices, new donors for our non-profits, new jobs, and more generally new friends.  And we know that you have done the same.  Emma has gotten new clients because one person who attended was impressed with Clint Smith's story.  And at least one person has gotten a new job because of a relationship she made while trying to attend our event at Olive & Sinclair.  These are the sorts of things we want to happen with WaterCooler.  If you have more examples of good connections that you’ve made, or if you have interesting locally-owned businesses based in Nashville that you want to highlight, please let us know.  These are the stories that we want to help you tell.

Can that post get me fired? The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media and Employment Law

Join us for our interactive panel to learn about common concerns with Employment Law, Human Resources and  Social Media.


Friday, September 16th 8 am-9:30 am

Complimentary breakfast at 8 am

Panel begins promptly at 8:30 am



Nashville City Center

511 Union Street, Suite 1600

Our speakers include Employment Law attorneys James Crumlin and Keith Dennen of Bone McAllester Norton, along with Lynn Hutson, the Director of Human Resource Services at XMi. We look forward to educating you on the impact of  social media on all aspects of employment law and will leave you with some ideas to protect you and your employees.

Zagat Survey Summary Includes Bonelaw Clients

The results of the 2011 Fast Food/Full Service Chain Restaurants are out and we are proud to represent quite a few of them!


Congratulations to Five Guys, Chipotle, P.F. Chang's, Bonefish Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, Maggiano's Little Italy, Wei Asian Diner, Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback Steakhouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, TGI Friday's, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Red Lobster, Red Robin, Chili's, and Mimi's Cafe. Keep up the great work!

Using Technology to Tap into New Sources of Revenue: Highlights of Technology Panel at Bone McAllester Norton


Recently my law firm hosted a panel on technology.  It was a packed audience, and more guests showed up than rsvp’d, showing us that this was a topic that people really want to know more about.  Usually law firms invite clients and friends to hear about risks or changes in the law.  This event was all about business opportunity.
Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve given 1-2 speeches a month on the legal issues involved in using social media.  These talks typically have revolved around social media as a marketing tool, but not necessarily linked directly with creating new revenue.  At our tech panel, we wanted to focus instead on how companies and individuals can use technology to create new streams of revenue.  How can they tap into new revenue sources by creating their own apps, games and contests?  And what is on the horizon that none of us has even contemplated?
We invited an expert panel, comprised of David Owens of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Nicholas Holland, CEO and Founder of CentreSource, and two of our clients, Parker Polidor, CEO and Co-Founder of Cell Journalist and Carter Hopkins, CEO and Co-Founder of City Streak, LLC.  Our audience was made up of leaders of financial institutions, educational institutions, technology companies, start-ups, developers, and venture capital firms.  We asked our panel and our audience to focus on three things:  (1) using technology to create new revenue streams, (2) tapping into the growing technology sector here in Nashville, rather than shipping assignments out of state to Silicon Valley or Texas, and (3) using our panelists’ stories as inspiration.
David Owens kicked off the discussion by talking about how companies that develop technology these days are recruiting high school students and high school graduates rather than college graduates, because young people are so connected with technology these days.  He talked about how younger people are physically developing stronger hands, fingers and forearms as a result of constantly using Smartphones, and how marketing firms are beginning to place signs and advertisements at foot level and knee level in stores, rather than overhead, because our bodies are getting used to looking down at a hand-held device all day, rather than looking up.  These are just some of the physiological and physical changes that are taking place from an evolutionary perspective, based on our recent adoption of certain technological devices.
Nick Holland did a great job providing an overview of how businesses can tap into technology from a variety of perspectives and in order to accomplish multiple goals.  His company is one of the fastest growing technology companies in America, and its based right here in Nashville.  Already as a result of our panel, members of the audience have hired CentreSource to help them with their needs.  This is great for them, for CentreSource, and for Nashville.
Parker Polidor shared his company’s amazing story, which deserves far greater recognition in Nashville than it currently has.  Cell Journalist is one of the biggest connectors and providers of user-generated content (UGC), such as videos of the floods captured from the Northeast over the past few weeks on individuals’ cell phones, which they then upload to various local and national news stations across the country.  As a direct result of the panel that we hosted, Cell Journalist was approached by one of the nation’s largest media conglomerates and is in the process of negotiating additional work.
Finally, Carter Hopkins, who was the youngest person in the room, and had just graduated from college at SMU in May 2010, captivated the audience by telling his story of how he and his business partner invested just over $10,000 to start this company, which already has thousands of fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.  His company is similar to a combination of The Amazing Race and Groupon, which lets its target audience of individuals in college and recent graduates go on scavenger hunts in urban locations around the country.  They hunt for prizes and the game is based on speed and skill.  They also realize that they are in a unique position to help companies promote their products and services by incorporating them into the scavenger hunt as clues.  One of my takeaways from the morning was a conversation after the event with one of the older attendees, who said how inspired she was by Carter’s presentation.  She said it got her wheels spinning and that she is already thinking about new ways she can incorporate similar concepts into her own app.

Using Technology to Tap into New Sources of Revenue: Highlights of Technology Panel at Bone McAllester Norton


Recently my law firm hosted a panel on technology.  It was a packed audience, and more guests showed up than rsvp’d, showing us that this was a topic that people really want to know more about.  Usually law firms invite clients and friends to hear about risks or changes in the law.  This event was all about business opportunity.

Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve given 1-2 speeches a month on the legal issues involved in using social media.  These talks typically have revolved around social media as a marketing tool, but not necessarily linked directly with creating new revenue.  At our tech panel, we wanted to focus instead on how companies and individuals can use technology to create new streams of revenue.  How can they tap into new revenue sources by creating their own apps, games and contests?  And what is on the horizon that none of us has even contemplated?

We invited an expert panel, comprised of David Owens of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Nicholas Holland, CEO and Founder of CentreSource, and two of our clients, Parker Polidor, CEO and Co-Founder of Cell Journalist and Carter Hopkins, CEO and Co-Founder of City Streak, LLC.  Our audience was made up of leaders of financial institutions, educational institutions, technology companies, start-ups, developers, and venture capital firms.  We asked our panel and our audience to focus on three things:  (1) using technology to create new revenue streams, (2) tapping into the growing technology sector here in Nashville, rather than shipping assignments out of state to Silicon Valley or Texas, and (3) using our panelists’ stories as inspiration.

David Owens kicked off the discussion by talking about how companies that develop technology these days are recruiting high school students and high school graduates rather than college graduates, because young people are so connected with technology these days.  He talked about how younger people are physically developing stronger hands, fingers and forearms as a result of constantly using Smartphones, and how marketing firms are beginning to place signs and advertisements at foot level and knee level in stores, rather than overhead, because our bodies are getting used to looking down at a hand-held device all day, rather than looking up.  These are just some of the physiological and physical changes that are taking place from an evolutionary perspective, based on our recent adoption of certain technological devices.

Nick Holland did a great job providing an overview of how businesses can tap into technology from a variety of perspectives and in order to accomplish multiple goals.  His company is one of the fastest growing technology companies in America, and its based right here in Nashville.  Already as a result of our panel, members of the audience have hired CentreSource to help them with their needs.  This is great for them, for CentreSource, and for Nashville.

Parker Polidor shared his company’s amazing story, which deserves far greater recognition in Nashville than it currently has.  Cell Journalist is one of the biggest connectors and providers of user-generated content (UGC), such as videos of the floods captured from the Northeast over the past few weeks on individuals’ cell phones, which they then upload to various local and national news stations across the country.  As a direct result of the panel that we hosted, Cell Journalist was approached by one of the nation’s largest media conglomerates and is in the process of negotiating additional work.

Finally, Carter Hopkins, who was the youngest person in the room, and had just graduated from college at SMU in May 2010, captivated the audience by telling his story of how he and his business partner invested just over $10,000 to start this company, which already has thousands of fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.  His company is similar to a combination of The Amazing Race and Groupon, which lets its target audience of individuals in college and recent graduates go on scavenger hunts in urban locations around the country.  They hunt for prizes and the game is based on speed and skill.  They also realize that they are in a unique position to help companies promote their products and services by incorporating them into the scavenger hunt as clues.  One of my takeaways from the morning was a conversation after the event with one of the older attendees, who said how inspired she was by Carter’s presentation.  She said it got her wheels spinning and that she is already thinking about new ways she can incorporate similar concepts into her own app.

Congress Should Take up Conyers' proposal to Clarify Copyright Law

Today's New York Times reports that Rep. Conyers is calling on Congress to revise the Copyright Act to clarify that recording artists are entitled to recapture ownership over their copyrights in sound recordings.  As the article explains, and as I referenced in my last blog post, questions exist whether transfers in copyrights in sound recordings (like other works) may be terminated, or whether they are "works made for hire," disqualifying them from being recaptured/terminated. 

The article indicates that the big four record labels and their allies in Congress may prefer to ignore the issue and let the courts decide it.  While such strategy would undoubtedly provide job security for us copyright litigators, it seems to make little sense for anyone else.  This is an issue that Congress can and should decide now, putting recording artists in the same camp as every other type of author, with all of the same rights. 

Congress Should Take up Conyers' proposal to Clarify Copyright Law

Today's New York Times reports that Rep. Conyers is calling on Congress to revise the Copyright Act to clarify that recording artists are entitled to recapture ownership over their copyrights in sound recordings.  As the article explains, and as I referenced in my last blog post, questions exist whether transfers in copyrights in sound recordings (like other works) may be terminated, or whether they are "works made for hire," disqualifying them from being recaptured/terminated. 

The article indicates that the big four record labels and their allies in Congress may prefer to ignore the issue and let the courts decide it.  While such strategy would undoubtedly provide job security for us copyright litigators, it seems to make little sense for anyone else.  This is an issue that Congress can and should decide now, putting recording artists in the same camp as every other type of author, with all of the same rights. 

James Crumlin speaks on Social Media and Background Checks.

Social Media Background Checks: A Slippery Slope


By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Houston, TX


Interviewee: James Crumlin
Bone, McAllester, Norton
Nashville, TN

Understandably, employers want to get as much information as they can about a candidate. And the Internet makes it easy to use sites like Facebook to do a "social media background check." Taking that approach can be more complicated than it sounds, however.

For a more nuanced view, we turned to James Crumlin, a Partner in the Nashville law firm of Bone, McAllester, Norton. James specializes in the area of employment law.

Borrowman: It almost seems like a no-brainer for an employer to do a social media background check on its candidates. What could be wrong with that?


Crumlin: Well, there's nothing wrong if that process follows the same rules as any other background check. It's in the nature of a social media background check, though, that it can invite employers to look at information that may not be relevant to job performance. For example, your candidate may have posted vacation pictures that may not be very tasteful. But, are those pictures really relevant to whether the person can do the job he's being considered for? Or, is it simply unflattering information?

Borrowman: Is the process of drawing that line any different than drawing the line when it comes to non-work related information gathered in a standard background check?

Crumlin: Not really. You just need to make sure you're not using the social media background check to do something you couldn't do otherwise. In a social media background check, for example, you might find reference to a person's religion, race, marital status, disability or other information that is protected under Federal employment laws. When you're interviewing a candidate, you're not supposed to inquire about any of that information.

As with any other background check, the candidate must consent to the social media background check and be notified of any adverse information that is found. There are companies that do this kind of background check. The FTC has determined that they are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs other forms of background checking.

Borrowman: Fundamentally then, things that you can't ask in an interview, you can't do research on in a social media background check.

Crumlin: Right.

Borrowman: So, why would you go looking at social media sites? Is there likely to be anything there that is truly relevant? Crumlin: It depends. You might not want a candidate who has a history of talking about former employers and bosses in a defamatory way on a social media site. People do weird things with social media. They think they can say anything. If the candidate is bragging about having a few drinks at lunch and then going back to work, that would be information that might be relevant to the hiring decision.

Borrowman: And that's where a social media background check becomes a slippery slope? Crumlin: That's right. It complicates things because you have to wonder whether or not the information that you find is relevant to job performance. If the information is not relevant to job performance and if you use that information, do you violate Federal laws?

I would always recommend that the employer stick to the essentials of the job; that they stick to the job requirements. If the employer learns something that appears contrary to information provided during an interview, there can still be a question about whether the information is job-related.

Borrowman: Can you give an example?

Crumlin: You could be in a situation where the job requires the candidate to do a lot of travel. The candidate says travel is fine. In the interview, you can't ask questions about family. In the social media background check, though, you discover photos of a wife and young kids. If the decision not to hire is based on that information, the employer could be in trouble.

Borrowman: How would an employer handle that new information? You shouldn't ignore it. But, you can't ask about it.

Crumlin: No, you can't use the social media background check to learn information that you can't learn in interviewing or other background checks. You have to look to his qualifications, to see whether he traveled in a previous position. You could ask references whether the candidate ever had problems with the travel requirements of the job. That's about as close as you can get.

Borrowman: Do you have any "bottom-line" recommendations about doing a social media background check?

Crumlin: One thing employers should not do is take a casual approach to using social media background check as a quasi-background check. They should not (and should not allow their employees to) think "I'll just go on Facebook and see what I can find out."

If you're going to use this process, you need to have it as a formal part of the hiring process. You need to treat it just like you would any other background check that the company does. You should notify the candidate that you are doing the background check, have them consent to it, and also inform them of any adverse information you find. If it leads to a decision not to hire, you have to explain that, too. All the while, you have to make sure you're in compliance with Federal employment laws in conducting these background checks.

Regaining Ownership over Copyrights

The Tennessean recently published my article on recapturing copyrights.  This is what I wrote: 
 
         
             If they’re not scrambling yet, Nashville songwriters, recording artists, publishing houses and labels soon will be as they jockey to control copyrights. Starting this year, authors can begin to give notice to terminate the transfer of any copyright that was published on or after January 1, 1978.   
            Generally, whoever owns the copyright owns the right to distribute, sell and reproduce the work in question, whether it be lyrics or music to a song, sound recordings, motion pictures, manuscripts, software, architectural designs, or photographs.  When an author transfers ownership, he or she loses those rights.  But by terminating the transfer, authors redirect royalty streams away from the current owners (labels, publishers, and so forth) and back to the original authors.
            A five year window opens up 35 years after publication, allowing authors to terminate transfers they made in the past.  For those works published in 1978, the first opportunity to terminate the transfer will be in 2013.  (For works published or registered prior to 1978, different rules apply, but authors can still recapture their copyrights.)  The Act requires authors to provide at least two years notice, so those who want to terminate their 1978 transfers in 2013 must send notice in 2011. 
            Historically, when working to get established, authors (be they poets, songwriters, filmmakers or sculptors) have had little leverage with their publisher or label.  In exchange for receiving financial advances and getting published, young authors often must transfer ownership of the copyright in the work to the publisher/label.  For example, Garth Brooks currently has a lot more negotiating power than newer artists because he has a track record of producing huge hits.  
            Recognizing the uneven bargaining power that authors possess when first trying to make it big, Congress leveled the playing field by giving them the ability to recapture the copyrights they transferred to the publisher/labels 35 years ago.  Whether an artist’s record contract says he has created a work made for hire, or whether she has signed a contract promising never to terminate the transfer, it doesn’t matter because the right to terminate transfer is irrevocable. 
            Congress left open many unanswered questions that courts across the country will have to answer.  With Nashville’s stature in the music and publishing industries, as well as our growing technology community, this has the potential to wreak as much havoc on business as the switch from vinyl to digital.  Given the impact of this law on our own community, I feel certain that Nashville’s federal courts will be in the center of this storm.
            The rules in this area are complicated, even to many lawyers.  They are highly technical and require jumping through many hoops.  Once the window to recapture closes, it generally closes for good.  Authors who are interested in recapturing their copyrights should start working on this right away, take this into account when writing their wills, and enlist professional help from a lawyer in this field. 

Regaining Ownership over Copyrights



The Tennessean recently published my article on recapturing copyrights.  This is what I wrote: 


         
             If they’re not scrambling yet, Nashville songwriters, recording artists, publishing houses and labels soon will be as they jockey to control copyrights.  Starting this year, authors can begin to give notice to terminate the transfer of any copyright that was published on or after January 1, 1978. 

            Generally, whoever owns the copyright owns the right to distribute, sell and reproduce the work in question, whether it be lyrics or music to a song, sound recordings, motion pictures, manuscripts, software, architectural designs, or photographs.  When an author transfers ownership, he or she loses those rights.  But by terminating the transfer, authors redirect royalty streams away from the current owners (labels, publishers, and so forth) and back to the original authors.

            A five year window opens up 35 years after publication, allowing authors to terminate transfers they made in the past.  For those works published in 1978, the first opportunity to terminate the transfer will be in 2013.  (For works published or registered prior to 1978, different rules apply, but authors can still recapture their copyrights.)  The Act requires authors to provide at least two years notice, so those who want to terminate their 1978 transfers in 2013 must send notice in 2011.

            Historically, when working to get established, authors (be they poets, songwriters, filmmakers or sculptors) have had little leverage with their publisher or label.  In exchange for receiving financial advances and getting published, young authors often must transfer ownership of the copyright in the work to the publisher/label.  For example, Garth Brooks currently has a lot more negotiating power than newer artists because he has a track record of producing huge hits. 

            Recognizing the uneven bargaining power that authors possess when first trying to make it big, Congress leveled the playing field by giving them the ability to recapture the copyrights they transferred to the publisher/labels 35 years ago.  Whether an artist’s record contract says he has created a work made for hire, or whether she has signed a contract promising never to terminate the transfer, it doesn’t matter because the right to terminate transfer is irrevocable.

            Congress left open many unanswered questions that courts across the country will have to answer.  With Nashville’s stature in the music and publishing industries, as well as our growing technology community, this has the potential to wreak as much havoc on business as the switch from vinyl to digital.  Given the impact of this law on our own community, I feel certain that Nashville’s federal courts will be in the center of this storm.

            The rules in this area are complicated, even to many lawyers.  They are highly technical and require jumping through many hoops.  Once the window to recapture closes, it generally closes for good.  Authors who are interested in recapturing their copyrights should start working on this right away, take this into account when writing their wills, and enlist professional help from a lawyer in this field. 

August 2011 Newsletter Features Can That Post Get Me Fired? The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media and Employment Law

Join us for our interactive panel to learn about common concerns with Employment Law, Human Resources and  Social Media. To read the rest of our newsletter, click here.