Tag Archives: protect

Protect Your Equipment

Protect Your Equipment: The Right Insurance Policy Makes a Difference

by Marcus Paxton, Managing General Agent, Entertainment Division, Take1 Insurance

As a professional musician, you have most likely invested heavily in both your career and your instrument. Your equipment needs to keep you performing at a peak level every time you take the stage or enter the recording studio. As a result, you do everything possible to make you’re your instruments are protected and maintained. But, when it comes to insurance, many musicians simply assume that their standard homeowner’s policy is all that they need to protect their investment.

Put simply, musicians should take the time to ensure their equipment investments are protected against the unexpected. Fire, flood, or theft can impact your livelihood. Many musicians rely on standard homeowners coverage, when specialized business insurance is better suited to protect valuable instruments.

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect the home and its contents when used as a house. Many personal policies actually exclude coverage should a claim arise and there is a business exposure in the home (recording studio), or if the equipment is damaged in a paid performance. Home insurance companies will often agree to cover a music studio in the garage, when alerted in advance. However, the additional premium they charge may end up being more expensive than obtaining a specialized policy to cover the equipment.

Look for commercial insurance carriers with expertise in the entertainment industry to provide enhanced policies designed with the professional, traveling musician in mind. These carriers have a dedicated claims staff that understands the difference between a keyboard and a soundboard. Policies provided by such carriers can provide not only coverage of the cost associated with replacing the damaged or lost equipment, but also coverage of additional expenses such as expedited the delivery of the new instrument to a performer’s next venue, if the artist is out on tour. 

Specialized entertainment insurance carriers can also evaluate your business for gaps in current coverage. Coverage from a homeowner’s policy often excludes claims arising from touring activity or even something as common as theft of equipment from an unattended auto. Insurance should be in place to safeguard artists when a third party is injured, or the property of others is damaged, as a result of a performance, or equipment failure. For example, equipment plugged into the venue’s power supply may start a fire, someone might trip over an artist’s electric cable, or a drumstick tossed into the crowd could injure a spectator. These are just a few examples of claims that can occur with touring entertainers—claims that might not be covered by a standard policy.

So, when it comes to protecting the artist and the artist’s equipment with insurance, take the time to review your current policy with an entertainment industry professional who understands the real world challenges that touring professional musicians face every time they take to the road and go on tour.

Marcus Paxton Marcus has more than 18 years of professional experience in the insurance industry with expertise in the area of entertainment industry insurance. If you have additional questions about obtaining insurance for your business you can contact him at: Marcus.Paxton@take1insurance.com

protect your songs with copyright

Protect Your Songs with Copyright

protect your songs with copyrightThe songwriting process is rarely easy. Giving life to that creative spark is a process that can take countless hours, the behind-the-scenes toil never known to the audience that finally hears the song.

So, it’s important that all the sweat, anguish, and fine-tuning that turned your “kernel-of-an-idea” into a “track-on-an-album” counts for something. Even if your finished song doesn’t get shared with a wide audience, you should protect it nonetheless.

The act of copyrighting your work grants you, the owner, the exclusive right to have your work reproduced. Under the Copyright Act, protection starts the moment your songs are fixed in tangible form–recorded or even just scribbled down. The copyright then becomes property of the author and only the author, or those deriving their rights from the author, can claim the copyright.

With copyrighted works, you also have the privilege to: prepare derivative works based on your original tune; distribute copies of your work to the public, by sale, retail, lease, lending, or other transfer of ownership; and perform and display the copyrighted work publicly.

The more public your music the better, since as an artist, most of your money is made through the sale of your music, as distributed through a music publisher.

But lots more can be earned from paid TV and radio performances. But how do you ensure that you’ll receive the proper compensation if your songs are used in various media?

That’s where performing rights societies such as The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI); and the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) come in.

These are the organizations responsible for tracking when and where an artist’s copyrighted songs are broadcast, whether the exact track is used for background music in an episode of CSI, or if the next American Idol hopeful sings a variation of it.

This applies to international broadcast as well, in every country, save Russia and China, where copyrights are not honored. Every time your creation hits the airwaves, you’ll be compensated with a royalty check, delivered to your door every few months.

Your claim to copyright in the melody and lyrics of your songs can be registered with the Copyright Office. They usually require the copyright owner to deposit “two complete copies of phonorecords of the best edition of all works subject to copyright that are publicly distributed in the US, whether or not the work contains a notice of copyright.”

The proper form to register songs is Form PA (not Form SR). As long as all your music and lyrics are “unpublished,” you may register an unlimited number of songs together as a collection. This will extend the benefits of registration to each copyrightable selection in the collection.

Though not required, it’s recommended that you place a copyright notice on all your work. The notice includes the copyright symbol, the year of first publication, and the name of the copyright owner. Keep in mind, if your songs are published and distributed without a copyright notice, you’ll have relinquished your right to secure copyright and your songs would fall into public domain.

For more information on protecting your original creations visit the US Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov
BMI at www.bmi.com
SOCAN at www.socan.ca
ASCAP at www.ascap.com.