Music Biz 2016 Tackles Fair Use and Festival & Touring Issues at Entertainment & Technology Law Conference

music biz 2016

March 8, 2016 – The Music Business Association (Music Biz) will bring its popular Entertainment & Technology Law Conference series back to Nashville on Wednesday, May 18, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the Music Biz 2016 convention at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Fresh off its biggest installment yet in New York City, the law conference in Nashville will tackle hot-button issues facing today’s entertainment attorneys, including copyrights and fair use in 2016 and the legal implications and agreement clauses behind touring and music festivals. CLE credit will be available.

“As we continue to push forward into new, uncharted waters as the music industry advances, it is important that we confront legal challenges brought on by new technology head-on,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “Our previous events in the Entertainment & Technology Law Conference series have gone a long way toward addressing new legal precedents and problems as they happen, and we encourage anyone with an interest in music business law to join us at Music Biz 2016.”

Admission is included with full Music Biz 2016 badge. Members can attend this event only for $129 and non-members can attend for just $229 with sign-up via Eventbrite. For updated information on Law Conference speakers and sessions, click here.

The full currently confirmed agenda is below.

3:30 – 4:40 PM
Infringement or Homage? Copyright Fair Use in 2016
Nashville has a special place in copyright fair use law, dating back to the seminal case involving 2 Live Crew’s use of Roy Orbison’s song “Pretty Woman,” which started here in Nashville and went all the way up to the Supreme Court in Campbell v. Acuff Rose. From this special vantage point in Music City USA, we’ll explore the elements of fair use, substantial similarity, and de minimis copyrighting while listening to recent examples of similar songs, like Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” as well as Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” In light of the 9th Circuit’s recent decision in the YouTube Dancing Baby case involving Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” whose burden is it to examine fair use? What are the best practices for content creators, songwriters, video producers, and users of social media? How can creators maximize the advantages of technology without running afoul of copyright laws?

  • Suzanne Kessler, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC/Vanderbilt Law School
  • Loren Mulraine, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC/Belmont University College of Law
  • Jessie Smith, Songwriter
  • Stephen Zralek, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC

4:50 – 6 PM
From Sugarland to SFX and Beyond: The Legal Side of Festivals and Touring
This CLE panel discussion to include: the legal deal points for festivals and touring and how they are changing each year due to expansion and consolidation; force majeure clauses post Sugarland; the annual “additional insured” debate each festival seems destined to have with artists; the impact of the recent bankruptcy of SFX and others; the independent festival promoters merging or staying solo; the deal points agents are using to balance touring business vs. festival business; and how managers are managing with this much change to the industry at once.

  • Adam Ritholz, Ritholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Fields
  • Chip Petree, Ritholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Fields
  • Matt Cottingham, Ritholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Fields
  • Jaime Heller, JR Heller Law PLLC

Music Biz 2016, which will return to Nashville from May 16-18, is the music industry’s premier event, giving the commerce and content sectors a place to meet with trading partners, network with new companies, and learn about new trends and products impacting the music business. Registration is open now, with early bird discounts available until March 11, 2016. For more information or to sign up for the conference, visit