I have recently been approached by a number of live-venue establishments regarding cease & desist letters from Performing Rights Organizations (PROs). There is strong disconnect between the artists who want to play these venues and the venue operators themselves. Here are a couple of points to note if you are an artist who is affiliated with a PRO, or an establishment who hosts performances of a PRO-represented artist. Artists should know which PRO they are affiliated and why. A common misconception is that PROs are the Publishing entity for an artist. This simply is not true. PROs maintain, regulate, and collect from any performances of an artist's work. This means radio, digital radio, television, internet, and live performances. That's the bottom line. Establishments that are using a PRO's artist must pay a licensing fee to the PRO for ability to have that artist perform. These blanket licenses are usually cost effective and ensure that the artist is properly
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Mark Litwak, an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles, has a e-newsletter that he sends out monthly. I highly recommend it. The latest edition discusses rights of privacy, rights of invasion, and related issues. If you are not aware of these issues, or want to know more, take a look. These rights are becoming essential to brand/image preservation. If nothing else, these rights highlight the interplay between trademark and copyright law.