Protecting Your Band's Album: Advice From An Entertainment Law Firm

Here at Tobi Law, as an entertainment law firm we get a lot of clients who are musicians and other creatives come through our doors. It's a tough world for musicians today and we want to help them through any road blocks with our practical and creative legal solutions. Today we're answering a common question that we get from musicians: What do I need to put on my Album liner notes, jacket, etc.?

On the cover, you should put: Your bands name, the title of the album, and any artwork that you want to showcase.

On the back cover: Firstly, always credit any artist contributions, writers, producers, and anyone else who has helped you put the album together. Then, list your publishing information: “© [year] [Artist name]”; “(P) [year] [Artist name, or record label name]” (the P should be in a circle just like the © copyright symbol and denotes a copyright in the sound recording). After the publishing information, you should always say, "All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws." Finally, on the back cover you will also put “Manufactured in USA.” (but only if this is actually the case); the web address; and a UPC bar code.

Don't forget the liner notes! These are also important. You need to include all the information listed above again, as well as your song lyrics; the copyright “© [year] [artist]” after the lyrics for each song; and then the copy, “All rights reserved. Lyrics used by permission only.” After all this, include your thanks; pictures; and web address/contact information that you want to include.

Another thing to remember is to always give credit to trademarks when due. For example, if you used Dolby, make sure you include their symbol.