Legal Tips


Legal Tips by: Michelle M. Wahl, Esq.

Michelle is a Partner at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP and is licensed in Illinois and Indiana state and federal courts. With a Masters of Law in Intellectual Property, Michelle is the Vice Chair of the firm’s Entertainment and Media Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation and Transactional Services Practice Group. Her copyright and trademark practice focuses on intellectual property prosecution and related transactions, including performing trademark availability searches and providing advisory opinions, as well as preparing and filing trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and copyright registrations with the United States Copyright Office. Michelle also assists with the oversight of the firm’s extensive trademark docket and conducts required monitoring and maintenance of clients’ trademark portfolios, as well as provides clients with corporate counseling and innovative corporate solutions to address their respective needs. Michelle further provides comprehensive representation in the drafting, negotiating and executing of various entertainment-related contracts and licenses, including but not limited to band member agreements, artist management agreements, session player agreements, performance agreements, publishing agreements, sound engineer agreements, recording and personal services agreements, and licensing agreements. As a former artist manager, she has implemented many facets of national and regional tours, assembled benefit and charity concerts, communicated with various industry personnel, facilitated radio and internet publicity campaigns, arranged radio, print and internet interviews, and assisted in the development of press kits and websites promoting local talent. Michelle has also guest lectured on entertainment and intellectual property-related topics at The John Marshall Law School and the DePaul University College of Law, as well as served as a panelist on various other entertainment-related continuing legal education courses. Michelle has written for the ABA’s Entertainment & Sports Lawyer Journal and has also had numerous articles published by the Chicago Music Guide. In addition, Michelle serves as Chair of Swanson Martin & Bell, LLP’s Community Service/Pro Bono Committee and proudly volunteers her time as Vice President of the Associate Board and as a pro bono attorney to Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to eligible clients in all areas of the arts. She recently served as Chair of the Young Lawyers Division for the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, where she was recognized as the Rising Star recipient and received a Meritorious Service Award and President’s Commendation. She is currently serving on the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s Board of Directors.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in these articles constitutes general information and guidance and shall not be construed as legal advice applicable to or provided for any particular person or entity, and shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship between Ms. Wahl and anyone who elects to read and/or rely, to any extent, on the material provided herein. In that respect, Ms. Wahl hereby expressly and specifically disclaims any such legal relationship, but encourages any person or entity seeking a legal advocate pertaining to the issues addressed and discussed herein to contact her directly for further information. Ms. Wahl may be reached at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP (330 N. Wabash, Suite 3300, Chicago, IL 60611 or via telephone at her direct line: (312) 222-8585 or e-mail at: mwahl@smbtrials.com.



Making Your Mark in the Music Business

Making Your Mark in the Music Business

Artists often wonder whether they can seek federal trademark protection on their band name and if so, the costs associated ...
Read More
Seemingly Simple Ways to Make Money on Your Musical Works

Seemingly Simple Ways to Make Money on Your Musical Works

Photo by Lukas from Pexels The DIY era has its pros and cons. Musicians are able to take initiative, protect ...
Read More
The Music Business – What’s “Trending” Now?

The Music Business – What’s “Trending” Now?

I. A Needle in a Haystack – Getting Noticed: In the digital millennium, artists have better and greater access to ...
Read More
That’s Mine! – Why Intraband Agreements are a MUST!

That’s Mine! – Why Intraband Agreements are a MUST!

“I started the band, I should own the name”… “He acts like a drunken idiot on stage”… “I wrote those ...
Read More
The Road to Getting Signed

The Road to Getting Signed

For the most part, today’s local bands share at least one thing in common…..the desire to get signed to a ...
Read More
Songwriting – Turning a Hobby into a Livelihood

Songwriting – Turning a Hobby into a Livelihood

Recently a few individuals have contacted me about the art of songwriting and how one can turn a songwriting hobby ...
Read More
The Do’s and Don'ts of the Music Business

The Do’s and Don’ts of the Music Business

By: Michelle M. Wahl, Esq. “What does it take”, they ask me. “How do we make it in this business”, ...
Read More
It’s all in the delivery

It’s all in the delivery

I suppose you are wondering exactly what I am referring to when I say “it’s all in the delivery.”  Well ...
Read More
Trademarks

Trademarks

Before a band can seek registration and protection of either a trademark or servicemark, the band members need to first understand what each ...
Read More
The Art of Artist Management

The Art of Artist Management

Although I’m still a quasi-rookie in the realm of artist management, I am fairly certain that nearly all musicians contemplate whether  they ...
Read More
Copyright

Copyright

Amidst the tedious writing, relentless performing, and unyielding self-promotion, local performers tend to overlook an element of the entertainment industry that can later ...
Read More
Breaking Songwriting Barriers

Breaking Songwriting Barriers

You have the lyrics, you have developed the hook, and now you need a vehicle to deliver your work to ...
Read More
Assembling Your Team

Assembling Your Team

A huge factor contributing to the success or failure of an artist lies in selecting the members of the artist’s team ...
Read More