IN THE NEWS: Bryan Tuk's Editorial in The Pittsburgh Current on PA HB561

You can click here to read Bryan’s editorial in The Pittsburgh Current. Below is an excerpt:

While performing for an audience can be a thrill, it is also a job that requires professional musicians to work very hard in order to make a living.  

The economics of the local music business aren’t pretty either.  The money that is offered most local musicians for your average gig at a bar or hotel would shock people if they knew.

With all of these pressures in mind, seemingly out of left field, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a Bill recently that will make the economic life of the professional musician much, much more difficult.

This odious piece of legislation is House Bill 561.   

HB561 allows liquor licensees (hotels, bars, restaurants) to hire minors to perform as musicians, but the same bill expressly prohibits any payment to those performers for their services.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The language of the Bill actually forbids payment to minors even though they are working at the establishment.  

Announcing The Creator Sessions

For those building a business in any creative industry, the business and legal landscape can be daunting.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Starting Jan. 24, attorney, musician and writer Bryan Tuk and ArtsQuest are teaming up to present a new monthly series for creators and entrepreneurs called The Creator Sessions.  All sessions will take place at the Banana Factory Arts Center, 25 W. Third St., Bethlehem, PA. 

“Helping creators and entrepreneurs in all industries succeed is one of the core principles of my law practice,” says Tuk. “Freelancers often feel as though they have very little support because of the prohibitively high cost of legal services.  

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Music Law Update: It's Not About Just the Recordings Anymore

For the times they are a-changin' - Bob Dylan

It's no secret that since 1999, the high water mark in terms of sales volume for recorded music, sales revenue has been cut roughly in half due to the disruption caused by internet distribution (legal and illegal) and now by streaming services. 

In fact revenue is so scarce that recording artists are getting extremely creative in devising ways to great cash. 

For example, Gene Simmons (yes that Gene Simmons) will personally travel to your house - at his own expense - to deliver a 150 song boxed set.  The price tag? $2,000.00.

For my musician clients, this story is actually a very important statement about how the revenue in the music industry has evaporated.

While this seems like an outrageous publicity stunt, this goes to show that you have to turn to non-traditional techniques to raise money. I.e. if you can't sell records on their own, then pair the records with some other "experience" that will entice your fans to pay you. Could it be a culinary event? Wine or beer tasting?

The subtext here is that the marketplace doesn't value recorded music the same way it once did. As creators, that is a hard truth that isn't easy to accept.  Some out of the box thinking can go a long way to help generate revenue to support your artistic career. 

If you want to schedule a consulting session with me to help you grow your business, please contact me

The Visual Artists Rights Act - A Primer

There cannot be a discussion of copyright issues without a survey of the Visual Artist Rights Act (“VARA”).    This addition to the Copyright Act in 1990 was a welcome one for painters, photographers, sculptors and creators of visual artwork.  One major difference from the “traditional” copyright law is that rather than protecting reproductions of artwork, VARA protects the actual original pieces themselves, limited to “works of visual art” such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and still photographs produced for exhibition.  What VARA was designed to protect was an artist’s moral rights in the artists’ work.

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