The Seay Firm is a boutique entertainment law and intellectual property law firm based in Atlanta at the Goat Farm Arts Center. We are artist-advocates dedicated to advising and protecting all manner of artists and arts-related businesses.
With more than a decade of experience in the music industry, John Seay is a unique attorney with unique entertainment industry experience. As a musician, tour manager, and music journalist, John has firsthand experience with the variety of legal issues musicians are likely to face as they form bands, record, tour, sign contracts, and dissolve partnerships. John helps musicians navigate forming business entities and drafting internal band agreements, and he also writes, reviews, and negotiates all manner of contracts, including those from or related to record labels, publishers, managers, licensees, producers, and venues. Some of the agreements we regularly draft, review, and negotiate are:
- Band agreements
- Record deals
- License agreements
- Producer and mixer agreements
- Management agreements
- Performance agreements
Music law is not, however, practiced in a vacuum. Because managing a band or running a record label is the same as running a small business, John’s other practice areas, like Copyrights & Trademarks and Small Business Services, can also be valuable to artists looking to prepare their musical partnerships for success.
John has published extensively in the field of music law. Here are some recent blog posts discussing issues related to music law: Casting a Net: Podcasts, Webcasts, and the Licensing Regime | I Read 10 Articles About Music Streaming Services and All I Got Was Confused | Two Bands One Name: How to Protect the Name of Your Band or Company | Why Pandora Wants to Pay Less and What It Means for Licensing Reform | Artist Revenue Streams, Part 1 | Artist Revenue Streams, Part 2 | Don’t Do a Daughtry: Why Your Band Should Define the Relationship
Check out our Spotify playlist featuring Seay Firm music clients:
Film & TV Law
Film and television productions are team sports. While some great films were the work of an individual or small group working independently, properly preparing, shooting, editing, and releasing content for the big and small screens usually takes the coordination and cooperation of a large group of people. And where there is a group working together, there is a need for legal assistance in the areas of entity formation, talent, crew, and producer agreements, depiction and location releases, music, film clip, and artwork clearances, and advice on fair use and First Amendment issues, to name just a few things.
Whether you are a filmmaker, a producer, an actor, or crew, John and the Seay Firm can advise you on how to best protect your rights. Some of the agreements we regularly draft, review, and negotiate are:
- Crew, actor, and talent agreements
- Production, producer, and location agreements
- On-camera and depiction releases
- Film clip licenses and music clearances
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Option and purchase agreements (for literary properties)
- Television host and talent agreements
Other Entertainment Law
While Music Law and Film & TV Law are major practice areas for us, entertainment law encompassess all kinds of arts, and we work with all kinds of artists: visual artists, writers, models, social media stars, celebrity chefs, theaters, and the estates of deceased artists, to name just a few. What to know if we can handle your case or contract? Contact us for a no-charge assessment.
If you’d like to learn more about the breadth of our practice, here are some articles about some other areas of entertainment law in which we practice: Owning Your Story: Legal Aspects of Self-Publishing | Attention Dancers: How to Negotiate Your Agreements | How Do Actors in Touring Musicals Get Paid | Theater Q&A, Part 1 | Theater Q&A, Part 2
Copyrights & Trademarks
In the creative world, the fundamental unit of ownability is the copyright. We work with artists to secure copyright to their creative works and educate them on the value of a well-protected asset. We regularly assist in the registration and enforcement of both copyrights and trademarks. The majority of our clients are artists and arts-related businesses, but even non-arts-related businessess create intellectual property they may want to protect, like a restaurant owner seeking to register the copyright in her logo or the trademark in her restaurant name, tech companies with questions about registering the copyright in computer code, and internet retailers responding to, or sending, cease and desist letters. We have advised clients on all of those matters and more.
Some of our more popular blog posts relate to copyrights, trademarks, the registration of the each, and cease and desist letters. Read more here: Can You Copyright A Character? | Strike A Pose: Madonna Unwittingly Revives De Minimis | How to Send a Cease and Desist Letter | How to Respond to a Cease and Desist Letter | What Is Fair Use? | Termination of Transfers, Part 1 | Termination of Transfers, Part 2 | Should You Register Your Copyrights? | How to Register Your Copyrights
Small Business Services
Creative businesses are just that – small businesses – and their owners should approach their art with the same rigor as would any other business owner. Artists, however, are not our only clients. We also work with all kinds of small businesses in a variety of industries. No matter what your business sells or the services it provides, we can help you to incorporate, draft operating agreements, and draft and review independent contractor agreements, register your rights in the business’s intellectual property, protect trade secrets, or other proprietary information via nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements, and send or respond to cease and desist letters.
Think we might be a good fit for you but want to learn more? Here are some links to some blog posts on issues related to small businesses: How to Protect an Idea with a Non-Disclosure Agreement | How to Send a Cease and Desist Letter | How to Respond to a Cease and Desist Letter | Two Bands One Name: How to Protect the Name of Your Band or Company