Musical Instrument Theft Prevention: What You Need to Know

Posted by Meghan Stickney on Jan 24, 2019 10:39:53 PM

Musical Instrument Theft

musical instrument theft preventIon

Unfortunately, there seems to be an increase in musical instrument theft as of late, but there are some actions you can take to protect yourself and your band.

We’ve provided some tips and tricks for how to guard your instruments, as well as some information on how to insure your instruments so you are protected in any worst case scenario situations.

1. Anonymity

  • One of the best ways to prevent your instruments from being stolen is to remain as anonymous as possible – in terms of your band and your instruments.
  • Avoid having band stickers on your vehicle and instruments, so that you aren’t a clear target.
  • Tint or paint your windows or buy blinds, so people can’t see into your vehicle, your rehearsal space or any place you store your instruments.

2. Security

  • This one might sound obvious, but there are a few critical steps you can take to make sure that you’re keeping your items as secure as possible. These include the following:
  • Install an alarm.
  • Develop a protocol to make sure that your vehicle is locked at all times. Even when you’re loading in, and may be making several trips to a nearby space. This happens a lot with bands and musicians and presents a target for thieves.
  • Chain all of your gear together in your van or trunk so that if the thief does a smash and grab they will not be able to get away quickly.

3. Parking

  • Many instrument thefts happen overnight, so it is important to be careful about how and where you park.
  • Park your vehicle back against a wall whenever possible so it’s harder to get in the back doors.
  • Park in the underground garage of your hotel rather than the surface lot.
  • Leave your vehicle at a tow truck yard: they are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cost is usually reasonable for the protection provided.

4. Keep Records

  • In the unfortunate case that something does get stolen, it’s important that you have the proper records. It helps with the investigation and increases the chances of your property being found.
  • Take pictures of your instruments – this way you’ll have an image to present should something be taken.
  • Keep a record of serial numbers. This way investigators will absolutely know if an instrument is yours or not.
  • Store a copy of the appraisal if the instruments are older than 5 years. Vintage gear will be have the best claims settlement if there is an appraisal to refer to.

In the unfortunate event that your gear is stolen, you’ll really only be protected from losses if you’ve chosen an insurance provider that specializes in instrument insurance for professionals (like us). Most homeowners policies will not insure instruments and gear used professionally or damage caused by airlines so be sure to source a policy for professionals. This ensures all of your bases are covered and the tools of your trade will be protected.

Many music professionals rely on Front Row for their tour and instrument coverage. We offer the advantage of one-stop online shopping with low rates, flexible options, and excellent service. Buy protection though our website with no need to speak to a broker. For more information on how to insure your instruments, click here.

Topics: musical instrument insurance

Front Row Insurance Expands to Nashville - Welcoming Tom Corley

Posted by Mike Groner on Mar 4, 2016 4:55:28 PM

MUSIC INDUSTRY INSURANCE VETERAN TOM CORLEY

Front Row Insurance, specialized entertainment insurance brokers, is pleased to announce the opening of its new Nashville office to be headed by experienced entertainment professional, Tom Corley. Front Row is a specialized insurance broker with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles.

Tom Corley InsuranceWith over 25 years of experience, Corley has worked in the music industry alongside artists Ronnie Milsap, Waylon Jennings, Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Restless Heart, and many others. As a Producer for AEG Live and TBA Entertainment, he handled many tours including the CMT Tour featuring Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts, Reba/Kelly Clarkson Tour, and Kenny Chesney’s Stadium and New Year’s Eve concerts. In 2001, Corley also assisted and relocated the CMA Music Festival performance stages from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to the stadium downtown and worked there for the first two years.

“We are delighted to welcome Tom into Front Row," said David Hamilton, President of Front Row Insurance Brokers. "Tom's long history as one of the top tour managers in the world gives Front Row a deeper practical understanding of the risks our clients face associated with touring and live events. Tom is a rare expert that can identify the risks of the music industry that should be transferred to the insurance companies: new and existing clients will benefit from Tom's expertise. Front Row is a specialized entertainment insurance broker: our volume with the insurance companies will allow Tom to offer his clients the best protection at the best possible premiums available in the marketplace. Everyone working in the music industry that seeks Tom out will be better protected and a lot happier after hearing some of his entertaining stories!"

Corley’s new role is effective immediately and he is looking forward to putting his skills and experience to good use. “For over 25 years, I purchased this type of insurance and I am now delighted to offer these products to my peers in the entertainment industry,” says Corley. “With Nashville’s continuous growth in the entertainment industry, everyone in the music and film industry, theatre companies, and photographers can now get expedient, affordable entertainment coverage they need with Front Row.”

Topics: musical instrument insurance, tour insurance, band tour insurance, Tom Corley

Musician Liability Insurance: Make Sure Your Band's Tour Is Protected

Posted by Steve Beatty on Jul 28, 2015 1:53:00 PM

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Liability Insurance for Musicians

When someone gets hurt or you damage property such as a venue, a hotel room or a studio, you could be facing a tour liability claim. They can be costly to defend and to settle, if you are negligent and are responsible to pay the other party for their injury or damage.

To reduce your risk, make sure you only engage contractors or service providers who have insurance and who are able to add you as an Additional Insured to their policy. As an Additional Insured, their insurance company is obliged to defend you if the actions, or inactions, of the contractor for the claim against you.

Most tour liability insurance policies will provide worldwide coverage, provided that the claim is brought against you in Canada or the USA. You may want to consider expanding this to include claims brought anywhere in the world if you have assets in other countries, or if you are travelling to countries with less predictable legal or political environments. Carefully review the insurance requirements of contracts such as venue agreements and equipment rental contracts.

As a final point, be sure your policy does not exclude claims related to injuries to performers. You’d be surprised just how many policies prospective clients bring me that have this type of exclusion.

Front Row Insurance Brokers Specialize in Musician Liability Insurance: Learn more

To read more on Tour Insurance click here!

Topics: musical instrument insurance, concert insurance, tour insurance

Blurring the Lines of Music Infringement Law - 3 Perspectives in One

Posted by Jeff Young on Jun 17, 2015 12:59:23 PM

Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams (Blurred Lines)

Marvin Gaye

For many years of my life, I have had the pleasure of enjoying three simultaneous careers. I am a senior member of the Bar of British Columbia, Canada focusing on entertainment law, I am a member of the State Bar of California, USA, regularly dealing with my colleagues in Hollywood, and I am a music producer and composer with a current co-write on the radio and a cue on a currently airing TV show. Very rarely does a legal case affect me in all three of my careers at once. The recent music infringement lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate vs Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the songs Got to Give It Up (by Gaye) and Blurred Lines (by Thicke/Williams) does exactly this. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to present my commentary from all three of these perspectives, separately.

From the American lawyer’s perspective

The general understanding among attorneys practicing music law in America is that a composition infringes on another when there are substantial similarities between the melodies of one song versus that of another. The precedent setting cases have all generally ruled that similarities in chord progressions and general rhythmic feel – or as some would call it, the “groove” – does not constitute infringement. You need to have melodies that sound alike. In fact, mere similarities in the groove of a song is usually considered a genre. There is no copyright in a genre and there is no copyright in a chord progression.

In comparing Blurred Lines and Got to Give It Up, there is clear evidence that Thicke and Williams meticulously copied the groove of Got to Give It Up. There are also some similarities in the bass line of the two songs, but those similarities do not seem substantial. On a pure legal analysis, it would not seem like this was a case of infringement. However, the case went to a jury, who may have been influenced by the apparent bad attitude and demeanor of Robin Thicke in court. Also, no one in the public has seen the musicologist reports that stated that there was in fact compositional infringement, not just a copying of a feel, groove or genre. Furthermore, jury decisions only decide individual cases based on fact. No reasons are delivered and technically, no legal precedent is set. The message to any disgruntled music creator is that regardless of the existing law and established precedents, if you take an infringement case to a jury, you may still win if you can convince them there was some form of copying, regardless of what aspects were copied and what the legal precedents say to the contrary.

What does the American music lawyer typically say when asked by a client who wants advice on what they can do before going into the recording studio? Prior to this decision, the advice given would be that the client can copy a feel, groove or genre, but you cannot copy melody lines, hooks (or lyrics, if any). Following this advice, the client is told that they will likely going to avoid a lawsuit because prior cases have held that it is reasonable to assume that we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music that we listen to and like, and that alone does not amount to an infringement. Now, while the American attorney can still technically say that the law really hasn’t changed, he or she will now have to further advise the client that any disgruntled music creator can still file a lawsuit, choose a jury trial, and convince the jury that there is infringement anyways – particularly if that client isn’t liked by the jury.

I have always believed that certain issues such as music copyright infringement should not be submitted to juries because juries lack the legal training necessary to make the correct legal decision. There is a tendency to ignore established law and go with what seems intuitively right based only on the facts, and decide accordingly, sometimes even when the judge’s instructions are otherwise. That leads to bad law. Juries in America are not obliged to give reasons, so we will never be able to tell if they understood what the law really was to begin with. This kind of uncertainty is scary. Really scary.

From the Canadian lawyer’s perspective

Canadian music lawyers will likely never face a case like this one. Music infringement cases are not decided by juries in Canada. They will be decided by judges who must provide legal reasons that at least can be appealed if the reasons appear incorrect. Also, an American trial jury decision with no reasons provided has no legal weight as precedent in Canada. So as a Canadian music lawyer, if a client asks me how to avoid infringement, I would still advise that you can copy a feel, groove or genre, but avoid copying melody lines (and lyrics, if applicable) and you are likely going to avoid a lawsuit because we are all influenced by the feel, groove and genre of the music we listen to and like the most. However, most clients that come to me in Canada don’t just want a Canadian hit. Their dream is to have a hit in America on American radio. Therefore, it would not make sense for Canadian lawyers to completely ignore the Blurred Lines decision. In other words, while this decision has no formal effect on Canadian law, it will likely have some effect on Canadian music creators, especially those whose creative works cross the border, and it would be unwise for a Canadian entertainment lawyer to not point that out.

What is the result for Canada? Well, we now have one single jury in America rendering a decision (a decision involving their own interpretation of music law that they do not have to provide reasons or account to anyone else for) likely affecting the future behavior of most of the music creators in another country for a long time to come, even though the laws of their own country does not require them to behave that way. Bizarre.

From the Producer’s and Composer’s perspective

In the film industry, scripts are reviewed, potential infringements are identified, and the resulting clearance reports get sent to entertainment lawyers to review and to render opinions as to whether changes to the scripts are needed. This is all part of the “errors and omissions” process that because of the history of lawsuits in that industry, has become common and standard, if not virtually mandatory. Basically, the lawyers have to tell the filmmakers what is allowed on the screen, or not.

This “clearance process” also happens, in a lesser degree, with books. Literary publishers often retain lawyers to engage in a “libel read” of a book to identify possible legal risks before the book is released, and sometimes, risky portions of the book are edited out.

If the results of the Blurred Lines case continue in future jury decisions in this manner, the state of legal uncertainly may become such that major labels releasing records may become so concerned that they will have to adapt a similar process for the music industry. After all, this case resulted in verdict of over $7 million!

In other words, the “clearance reports” will have to be done by qualified musicologists who will review the entire album and identify potentially infringing phrases or “hooks”, and then submit those musicology reports to entertainment lawyers who will then render opinions on what can be left in and what has to be removed.

If this sounds ridiculous, I would remind you that I’m sure this seemed as ridiculous to filmmakers and book authors of past eras, but lawsuits in those industries have now made clearances commonplace. Basically, lawyers will have to tell the music producer what is allowed on the records, or not.

I’m not sure I would ever like this – even if I’m the lawyer clearing my own work!

As a composer, I am often asked by film directors to create “sound-alikes”, especially when the film is independently made and there is no budget to license a major hit song. A “sound-alike” is a music cue that copies a feel, groove or genre, but does not copy melody lines (or lyrics, if applicable) in order to avoid a lawsuit. Now, in view of the Blurred Lines case, this approach may not work anymore. Some questions that arise for the music composer: Is it reasonable to force all of these independent films to only license the hit music track when the director is only looking for a similar feel, groove or genre? How will these multi-million dollar awards affect the future careers of upcoming composers if they are living in fear of lawsuits for everything they try to create with an established feel, groove or genre?

In Conclusion

The Blurred Lines this decision introduces significant uncertainty into music infringement laws. This uncertainty is aggravated by the fact that juries are not required to render reasons for their decisions.

It is my understanding that Thicke and Pharrell have filed an appeal of this decision. I sincerely hope that the appeal will succeed at least in part – specifically, from the point of getting clarity on the legal principles involved.

I am much more concerned about that than which side winds up with the $7M. I just want the lines of music infringement law to be less blurred!

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JEFF YOUNG
- The Lawyer's Lawyer
- Educator and formerly practiced in-house with VANOC and UBCP
- Music Producer, composer and expert snowboarder
- Called in BC (1988) and California (2010)

Jeff Young, J.D. | Barrister & Solicitor | Trademark Agent (Canada and US) jy@arenaltman.com | Direct: 604.563.1192 Member Law Society of British Columbia, Canada | Member State Bar of California, USA (inactive) ALTMAN & COMPANY | Business and Entertainment Law Suite #202 – 2245 West Broadway Ave., Vancouver BC V6K 2E4

Topics: musical instrument insurance, E&O Insurance, Altman & Company, Jeff Young Lawyer, Entertainment Law, Marvin Gaye Lawsuit, Music Infringement