“Metro Boomin Want Some More” Intellectual Property Rights: Why Producer Tags Can & Should Be Protected by Trademark Law
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INTRODUCTION|In the realm of hip-hop music, producers make the instrumentals—including the drums, the bass, the samples, and any other instrumentation—that vocalists rap or sing over. Generally speaking, producer tags (sometimes called drops) are prerecorded vocal snippets, often featuring all or part of the producer’s name, that producers place at the beginning of most or all of their instrumentals. They serve as a producer’s signature or tagline: a way to identify an instrumental as theirs without requiring the listener to dig through a song’s credits. Because producer tags serve an important function to an essential, but often overlooked, contributor to a finished song, producers have a strong incentive to protect the brands that they build. No court has addressed an infringement claim involving producer tags. Should a producer ever need to turn to the legal system to protect their interest, trademark law ought to provide a method to do so.
Creighton University School of Law