Joe says: "Despite what you might think, there actually are rules to being in a band. Put them in writing and give all members the confidence of an official guide to their rights and responsibilities. What if someone quits? Who owns the name? What if the band breaks up? Who gets the van? What about new members? What do they get?"
Joe says: "I've been sued for everything from people fighting during another band's set, to people stage diving, to people upset with the font we used on an album cover. It's not if, but when you will eventually be dragged into a lawsuit. Protect yourself with some good liability insurance. It's worth it. Trust me, I know."
Joe says: "When you earn income as a band you need a Federal Tax ID Number (aka an Employer ID Number or EIN). Don't let the IRS nail you for the small stuff. Too legit to audit! (That rhymes when I say it!)"
Joe says: "Protect your band's name by applying to register a federal trademark. Some chumps stole your name? A federally registered trade or service mark allows you to sue those (other) punks if they use your name again."
Joe says: "Safeguard your songs, recordings, T-shirt designs, etc. If someone copies your creative work, good luck doing anything about it unless it was officially registered with the U.S. Copyright office before the theft. This is vital! ASCAP or BMI registrations don't count. You need U.S. Copyright registration to qualify for statutory damages and attorney fees in a lawsuit...and those things are key if you want to see any money for your troubles."