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Mark A. Baker

Mark A. Baker

Mark A. Baker Law, LLC
  • Business Law, Entertainment & Sports, Intellectual Property
  • Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee
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A lawyer for over 30 years, Mark's extensive legal background representing large corporate entities and artists both established and emerging, as well as his work as a gigging musician, make him equally comfortable navigating the halls of Corporate America and the mustiest of music halls. Licensed to practice law in all the federal and state courts of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama, as well as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mark is an alumnus of the University of Alabama (B.A.) and Cumberland School of Law (J.D.), and served two years as judicial law clerk to a federal judge. In addition to representing artists, Mark has represented many of the country’s largest financial institutions, most recently as a partner at Johnson & Freedman, LLC, a mid-size firm serving clients in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2016, he married a professor of art at Florida State University and moved to Tallahassee, where he continues to represent clients nationwide (in matters of federal law, such as trademark and copyright) within his principal practice areas.

Practice Areas
  • Business Law
  • Entertainment & Sports
  • Intellectual Property
  • Free Consultation
    Free initial consultation of approximately 30 minutes.
  • Contingent Fees
    I occasionally enter contingent fee arrangements, depending upon the subject matter.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    I also perform certain services for a flat fee, such as routine contract preparation and review, copyright and trademark registrations, and corporate formations.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
North Carolina
4th Circuit
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • French: Written
Professional Experience
- Current
Managing Partner, Bankruptcy Department
Johnson & Freedman, L.L.C., Atlanta, GA
Associate Attorney, Manager, Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Departments
Law Offices of Mark Weber, P.C., Atlanta, GA
Associate Attorney
Gingold, Kaufman & Chaiken, Atlanta, GA
Associate Attorney
Schwall, Ruff & Goodman, Atlanta, GA
Judicial Law Clerk
Honorable L. Chandler Watson, Jr., U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Alabama
Staff Attorney
Legal Services Corporation of Alabama, Anniston, AL
Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
J.D. (1982)
University of Alabama School of Law
B.A. / English Literature (1979)
Professional Associations
Tennessee State Bar
- Current
North Carolina State Bar
- Current
Georgia State Bar
- Current
Atlanta Bar Association
- Current
Alabama State Bar
- Current
Articles & Publications
David Bowie: Star Man
Paste Magazine
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True
Paste Magazine
Eyemazing: The New Collectible Photography
Paste Magazine
King of Queens by George O'Dowd
Paste Magazine
Quit Your Job
Esquire Magazine
Salvador Dali: The Making of an Artist
Paste Magazine
The Street Photographer's Manual
Paste Magazine
Avoiding Traps That Snag the Unwary
Servicing Management Magazine
Speaking Engagements
Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy practice
WGUN?AM Radio, CBS Affiliate
Careers in Entertainment Law
Emory Law School
Debtor/Creditor Law, Continuing Legal Education
Georgia State University, College of Law
Music & the Law
Emory Law School
Panel Participant
Copyright for Artists
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Opportunities for the Sole Practitioner in Entertainment Law
Emory Law Student Sports and Entertainment Law Section
Money Matters: Keys to Advising Clients During Foreclosure and Repossession Actions in Georgia
National Business Institute
Legal Answers
5 Questions Answered

Q. If I purchased music, can I sell a DVD with that music in the background?
A: Your use of others' music as you describe would be considered copyright infringement. When you purchase and download a song from iTunes, you only have the right to personal use of the song, and not the right to "copy" of otherwise "distribute" it, which is what you're doing if you're adding music to video. Your intended use requires a master use license (to use the master recording) and a synchronization license (to sync the master recording to video) from the copyright holder, which may be difficult and expensive to acquire. You might consider locating license-free music to use with your video creations. Of course, it's likely these tunes are not familiar (although songs in the public domain may be familiar, even if old), but there will be no licensing issues. Best of luck!
Q. I would like to self-publish a book-length criticism. Would my use of other sources fall under the terms of "Fair Use"?
A: As you probably know, the fair use doctrine is not a black and white formula and its application involves a number of considerations. In general, though, it is an available defense against an infringement claim in works of criticism, as you have described your work. A court will look at four factors in analyzing whether the use is 'fair use': (1) the purpose and character of the use; (2) the nature of the work copyrighted; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market. In addition, courts are interested in whether the use is 'transformative' of the original use, i.e., does the use create something new, or does it merely recycle the original work. For each factor, you should consider the following: (1) the purpose and character of the use - has the original material been transformed by adding new expression or meaning to it? Is there additional value added by new information, insights, analysis, etc.? (2) nature of the work copyrighted - there is greater leeway in copying factual works, as opposed to fictional works. (3) amount and substantiality of the portion used - the less used, the more likely it's fair use. (4) effect of the use upon the potential market - will your use of the material deprive the original author of income or undermine a new or potential market for the original work? A court would then weigh and balance your work against the 4 elements, and often the financial element receives the most weight. Use of an acknowledgement of the original source material will not avoid a claim of infringement, but it may be considered evidence of fair use.
Q. I'm a singer I want to apply for a trademark. I put upcoming local gigs on website is that interstate commerce?
A: Among other things, in order for a 'mark' to be trademark-able (or service mark-able), it must be in current use in interstate commerce. Anything on your website that promotes your 'mark' - whether or not your performances are in another state - is being used in interstate commerce, because the web is international in scope, not just throughout the U.S. Hope this helps.
Q. Copyright Music: Can I register songs once as a "work of the performing arts" and then again as a "sound recording"?
A: I advise songwriters to register their underlying compositions (on form PA) as soon as they are in a solid form, that is, with lyrics, chord changes and melodies. These songs may have been recorded as 'demo' versions. This way, you can circulate your music to others before you're ready to commercially release, for feedback, to seek others to cover your songs, etc., and you have the protections of the Copyright Act in the event someone steals them. After the songs have been recorded in what you'd consider to be the final form for commercial release, that is, they have been professionally recorded, mixed and mastered, then the owner of the sound recording, which in a standard record contract is the record company, should register the sound recording (form SR), and include all the major participants in the process. In a standard record contract, the record company owns all of the elements of the sound recording and packaging - from the musical performances of the musicians/singers/producer, to the engineer and packaging art - as "works for hire" provided by the various participants. Note, though, that the songwriters (unless they've transferred those rights) still own the copyrights to the underlying compositions, and a typical record contract also pays royalties to the holders of the copyrights in the compositions, although at less than the statutory rate. If you are not working with a record company, and you intend to self-release, then before you place the final product into the marketplace, you should register the sound recording. Hope this helps.
Q. Do I need to have a company to create a trademark in order to own it or can I do it just... myself?
A: I assume you're referring to a record "label" and the productions that label produces. Here's the definition of trademark and service mark found at the Trademark Office: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Some examples include: brand names, slogans, and logos. The term "trademark" is often used in a general sense to refer to both trademarks and service marks. So, a registered trademark protects the "brand" of the label against infringement by others. On the other hand, a record label is simply a business that produces recorded music and then works to get that music into the market place. It is not necessary to register your service mark in order for a record label to produce recordings. However, it is a good idea to do so as soon as you begin to publicize your "brand" of record label.
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Contact & Map
Mark A. Baker Law, LLC
Of Counsel - Slipakoff, LLP
1701 Barrett Lakes Boulevard
Suite 160
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Telephone: (770) 727-8990
Mark A. Baker Law, LLC
1804 Old Fort Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Telephone: (678) 999-3944