Based in San Jose, California, and representing creative artists and media-based companies worldwide, the Law Offices of Edward R. Hearn focuses on intellectual property and business matters related to the entertainment, internet, and computer software industries, including:
Not since the inception of the recording industry has there been such a shift in the technological and economic base of the music business as exists today. While there has been a steady deterioration of the physical goods based economy (i.e., sales of CDs), new technology has created incredible opportunities for digitally recording, distributing, and promoting music on a global scale. However, digital technology creates almost as many challenges for the modern music business as it does opportunities. Many music fans use digital downloading programs, file sharing, and peer-to-peer exchange technologies to avoid paying for music. Our firm stays abreast of changes in the music industry and understands the issues faced by recording artists and record companies.
We represent individuals and businesses that create music that is performed and recorded by other artists and bought by the public. Like recording artists, songwriters are paid royalties that are divided into various categories and paid at varying rates. In some cases, the publisher may acquire rights to all preexisting compositions that have not already been assigned to others. Our firm negotiates composition purchase prices, and works to secure fair payment schedules on behalf of our clients.
Our firm champions the systems that use new technology to expand the outlets for content. We assist artists and media companies to obtain and authorize the use of content for digital distribution and delivery, including content downloads, streaming, ringtones, apps, kiosks, and mobile environments.
Managers guide artists in their creative pursuits, providing advice and counsel in the selection of literary, artistic, and musical material, as well as matters pertaining to publicity, public relations, and advertising. We represent the teams that guide the careers of artists, ensuring they receive appropriate compensation for their efforts.
Our firm understands the role of the “CEO” of the music process who coordinates its creation. Producers have many responsibilities ranging from the mundane, such as preparing budgets, filing session reports for unions, and preparing and furnishing label copy, to the highly creative, such as developing, editing, mixing, mastering, and furnishing the masters and master tapes of a recording to the production company. We are familiar with all functions of the producer, and advocate on behalf of their efforts.
Many artists build their career and reputation on live performances and public appearances. We assist artists and their management with the process of making direct contact with their fans, ensuring that their rights are protected and their profits maximized.
The process of creating and exploiting soundtracks involves almost every aspect of the music industry, including composing, recording, publishing, performance, synchronization, mechanical, and print rights. Our firm drafts and negotiates agreements that enable an artist’s “sound” to support a visual production.
Merchandising can be a very important and very large source of income for artists. For a successful artist, merchandising, along with publishing and live performance, may equate to real money that comes directly to the artist. We handle merchandising and associated rights of publicity and trademark matters.
When our clients enter into licensing agreements with production companies or other parties who wish to use their work as an accompanying element to a visual production, we oversee the arrangements for the film, television, and video process to ensure their rights are protected.
Our firm stays abreast of developments in digital technology, which is the future of content, communication, and entertainment media. We assist clients with the legal aspects of internet and computer-based projects, including product design and development and audio and audio-visual design.
The development and marketing of video games and mobile apps is a major industry, and our firm has worked with clients in all aspect of these businesses, including designers, developers, publishers, and distributors, with the goal of maximizing the terms of their business deals and their opportunities to access markets for their creations.
Online publishing, digital book downloads, and e-books have changed the business of literary publishing and the dynamic between author and publisher, as authors no longer have to rely on print media to distribute their work. Because new media presents many opportunities and challenges to authors, book writers need to have someone handle the business side of writing. We represent authors of fiction, technical literature, and professional non-fiction, ensuring that they understand their rights and options in the digital age.
Our firm provides legal support pertaining to asset management and development. Please see our Business & Technology page for more information about convergence and the maximization of content.
We draft and negotiate agreements for performing talent and production companies contracting for performing talent. In all matters, we make sure that our clients’ rights are maximized and protected. Please see Business & Technology page for more information about contractual issues.
With regard to agreements for development, production and distribution, including rights acquisitions, options, and screenwriting, our firm is familiar with all media and methods of distribution, including distribution rights acquisition agreements, production-financing/distribution agreements, and negative pickup agreements.
Our firm assists clients with copyright and trademark registration, licensing, and enforcement. We are experienced with the filing and review procedures of the United States Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). We also assist in prosecuting and defending trademark and copyright infringement matters.
Our firm helps artists and businesses obtain intellectual property use rights by determining the owner or owners of intellectual property, negotiating agreements, and administering written contracts. Also, we ensure that our clients’ likenesses and property are used properly by others. Please see our Business & Technology page for more information about clearance issues.
Our firm assists entrepreneurs with business formation, and provides consulting services with regard to organizational strategies, contractual agreements, and asset management, among other compliance-related matters. Please see our Business & Technology page for additional information regarding business formation and planning.
We offer advice to clients considering and negotiating various business deals, always making sure that their interests are protected and that the agreement is fair and beneficial. By preparing thorough, accurate documents and providing sound business advice, we help clients prevent losses and minimize the likelihood of future disputes.
Acquiring and selling content and aggregating a comprehensive content catalog often presents many challenges to businesses, including legal issues surrounding the representation of product information and the way information may be externalized. Our firm has experience handling numerous types of content catalog sales and purchases, including recording, music, publications, audio-visuals, software, and technology, and licensing and vendor agreements, which often vary by content supplier.
Procuring the funds necessary to complete a project is often the biggest barrier between an artist and his or her creative vision. We negotiate arrangements with investors on behalf of clients who are seeking to raise money through private financing and who have identified potential investors.
For businesses considering a private merger or acquisition, our firm has experience handling all aspects of this document-heavy process. We help clients make sure that transactions comply with licensing and regulation requirements, and also analyze the impact of the reorganization on the business’s present and future operations.
Seek Experienced, Creative Representation
For over 40 years , Edward R. Hearn has devoted his practice to helping creative artists and media-based companies use effective legal strategies and new technology to protect and maximize their intellectual property assets. If you or your business needs assistance with any aspect of intellectual property or business law, please contact our offices today.