WHAT SHOULD I PUT ON THE JACKET OF MY DEMO TAPE?

If you look at any of the jackets on your CD's or tapes, you will notice various bits of information. Although the content often differs, many of the same things are on every jacket. It should not surprise you that these things should also go on your tape. However, what is necessary and what does it mean? First for the cover. The only things which should go on the cover of your tape or CD are the band's name and the title of the tape, along with any artwork.

Now for the good stuff: What goes on the back cover or J- card insert? The first thing to consider is credit. You obviously want to give yourself, "the band", credit for the record. As for crediting others, that depends on contracts. If you have a contract with a producer, it will surely include a clause whereby you must give him credit on the jacket. The same may go for the recording studio, manager, or even lawyer. Receiving proper credit is very important in the entertainment industry. However, the only legal obligation to include anyone will be contractual.

Speaking of credit, be sure to include who wrote what songs. If the band wrote all the songs together, "All songs written by Band" should suffice. If someone other than a band member wrote a song, be sure to include their name even if not under a contractual obligation. You would not want to risk a copyright infringement law suit. This is particularly true if you do a cover version of a song or sample previously recorded material. Credit must be given to the owner of the material, be it a song or sample.

The next thing you must include is publishing information. If you have your own publishing company or publisher, you must list this information. This is important for royalty reasons if you wish to collect publishing money. Further, if someone someday wants to do a cover version of your song, they will need to contact the publisher for permission. What do you do if you have neither a publisher or administer your own publishing? At a minimum, you should join BMI or ASCAP and include "all songs BMI" on the jacket. It is easy to join BMI or ASCAP and the affiliation should be listed on the jacket.

There are a few legal technicalities you should always include. First, always include, "all rights reserved, unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws." If you look at any of your CD's, I guarantee you will see this language or something similar to it somewhere. These words are important in some countries for protection of your work. If you plan on selling your tape outside the United States, you will also have to include "Manufactured in USA" to clear customs. It is a good idea to include this even if you don't have plans of exporting at this time.

Also legally essential are copyright notices. The first notice is written "©" and should be followed by the name of your band and the date. This means you are claiming a copyright in the lyrics and music for each of the songs. If you have a publisher, the publisher's name and the date will follow the copyright symbol, but if you have a publisher, they will explain all of this to you. You can (and should) use this symbol even if you have not registered with the Copyright Office. You should also include another copyright symbol. Unfortunately my computer cannot make this symbol, but it consists of a "p" with a circle around, just like the © symbol. The date and the band's name should also follow this symbol, just like the © symbol. If you have a record label, the label's name will follow the circled p symbol, but once again, your record label will explain this to you if applicable. This circled "p" symbol means that you are claiming a copyright in the sound recordings on the tape. You have two copyrights when you record a song; one is for the music and lyrics and the other is for the recorded version of the song. This explains why you need two copyright symbols on you tape.

If you print a lyric sheet, you should also include the copyright symbol "©", the date and band name (or publisher) followed by "All rights reserved/lyrics used by permission". As you can tell, copyrights are everywhere. They protect very valuable intellectual property and you should always take measures to guard your own work.

There are a few other minor details. If the band, record label or anyone else has a trademark or servicemark, you have to include that on the jacket. Note well, however, you cannot use the (R) symbol unless you have a federally registered trademark. This is different than the copyright symbols which you can and should always use. If someone does have a federally registered trademark, include this information in a conspicuous place.

If your music was recorded using "Dolby" (which is a federal trademark), you must include their symbol. Once again, my computer cannot reproduce their symbol, but I'm sure everyone has seen it before. Also, on a CD, you must include the universal compact disc logo which your CD manufacturer will provide to you. Finally, on tapes, you may include the type of tape and EQ setting required.

You should also consider including a UPC bar scanner code. This is rather costly and should only be used if you have a good distributor who will be getting your CD into stores. For information on how to obtain a UPC symbol, contact the Uniform Code Council, Inc. 8163 Old Yankee Road, Suite J, Dayton, Ohio 45458 or call (513) 435-3870. This is a non-profit company which gives out UPC codes to everyone in the country. The fee is $300.

The final item is a contact address for the band. Always put an address and telephone number on your jacket. The tape may end up in the hands of someone important and you certainly would want them to contact you. You may also use it to develop a mailing list. Considering setting up a fan club where you can sell merchandise like t-shirts or upcoming CD's. I highly advise including such contact information.

I hope this column has given you an idea about some of the things you frequently see on CD jackets or tapes. More importantly, I hope have guided you on what you should include on your next demo.

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