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Is your studio secure? You could lose more than your equipment!

You almost certainly have insurance for your studio equipment. But there are other ways you could find yourself with a big bill for damages, if you don't take care...

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Of course you have insured your recording equipment and studio premises. You probably have also bought liability insurance so that if someone should drop a 4 x 12 cabinet on their toe and sue you for negligence, your damages and costs will be paid.

But there are other issues in studio security that you might not have thought of. Make mistakes in these areas and you might find that your existing insurance doesn't cover you for what might possibly be a hefty claim for damages.

Firstly, what would happen if your hard disk failed overnight, ruining two weeks work?

Well plainly you have the data backed up, so you will just install a new disk and reload. Won't you?

If you don't have the data backed up and it is truly lost, then hopefully you have a disclaimer in your studio's terms of business that limits recourse to a refund of any money paid up to this point.

If you don't have that, then there is the possibility that a release date might be missed, marketing materials might be wasted - all kinds of costs that the artist's management might lay at your door, without a suitable disclaimer in place.

If master recordings are transported, then plainly they should be backed up, but if they are not, and the carrier loses them, whose responsibility is it? If the carrier was booked by a representative of your studio, it could well be your responsibility. Once again, you need to have a disclaimer in place.

The Internet age has thrown up another security issue. Bands and artists need to keep their recordings private and secret right up until release date. If anything leaks out, it's 100 to 1 on that the recordings will be on file sharing networks within hours.

Of course, bands and record labels 'leak' material all the time in this way for publicity purposes, and then complain that file sharing is costing them money, but that's another story...

If an unwanted leak happens, and it can be traced back to poor security in your studio, then it could well be you that is in trouble.

For advice, consult your music business aware lawyer (not the guy who handled your apartment or house purchase), or contact the APRS in the UK who do have information, and SPARS in the US (who ought to, and probably do).

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006
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