Q&A with Drew Palmer
‘American Idol' legal issues
Q: “American Idol” has been auditioning here last week. What legal issues should someone consider before auditioning for a national TV show?
A: Typically, shows like “American Idol” require “contestants” to sign a written release before their audition. Such releases often require the contestants to waive many rights, some of which can be significant. In return, the contestant is given the opportunity to participate on the show. The release for “American Idol” can be found on the show's website. Anyone who wants to audition should review the release closely and consult with an attorney if they have any questions.
Q: What particular rights does a contestant on “American Idol” have in their performance?
A: The copyright in a musical performance is typically owned by the artist performing the work. When that performance is made in the context of a television show, the artist is often required to assign at least some of his or her rights in that performance to the show. The “American Idol” release form includes several such assignments. This is another reason why artists should review this release closely before they decide to audition.