Copyright Essentials for Musicians

Musicians! Learn about the basics of copyright law and protecting your works through registration with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Attorney Gwendolyn Seale will guide the discussion with two staff members of the US Copyright Office; John Riley, Assistant General Counsel, and Holland Gormley, Public Affairs Specialist.

Panelists will also address practical issues relating to collaborations and joint ownership of works, and discuss issues pertaining to beats and samples.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 – Noon to 1:15 pm

Register for the webinar here.

If you have any questions that you would like the panelists to address, please send them ahead of time to [email protected].

Meet the panelists:

John Riley, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office

John Riley is an Assistant General Counsel at the Copyright Office where he has contributed to the United States Government’s briefs in the Petrella and Aereo Supreme Court cases, the Copyright Small Claims, Copyright and the Music Marketplace, Section 1201 of Title 17, and Software-Enabled Consumer Products policy reports, and, among other regulatory work, has authored rules implementing the Music Modernization Act, Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (“CASE”) Act of 2020, and the GRAM registration option.

Prior to joining the Copyright Office in 2013, John worked as the Senior Manager of Intellectual Property Enforcement at the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. John earned his LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from The George Washington University Law School and his JD from Penn State University’s, Dickinson School of Law. He has been recognized by the American Intellectual Property Law Association for his distinguished service and contributions in the field of intellectual property law.

Holland Gormley, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Copyright Office

Holland Gormley is a Public Affairs Specialist with the U.S. Copyright Office, where she specializes in outreach to creative communities. Prior to joining the Copyright Office, Holland worked in communications and project management roles at private, non-profit, and government arts organizations, including the State Department’s hip hop diplomacy program and the National Endowment for the Arts’ music division. She holds a BFA in Studio Art and Art History from UNC-Chapel Hill, an MA in Arts Management from American University, and certificates in International Art Business (Sotheby’s | London), Leadership Communications (Harvard), and Social Media Communications (Georgetown). She is a former Presidential Management Fellow and in her free time mentors young people interested in government service. Holland is also an avid watercolorist and has a soft spot for pop music.

Gwendolyn Seale, Attorney, Mike Tolleson and Associates

Gwendolyn Seale is a graduate of SMU Dedman School of Law and practices entertainment law at Mike Tolleson and Associates in Austin, Texas. Gwen’s practice consists of drafting and negotiating contracts related to music, film and sports entertainment, and assisting clients with copyright and trademark matters. In addition to her practice, Gwen authors articles on music/tech and social media law related issues and engages in advocacy efforts for songwriters and artists. Gwen regularly presents lectures on copyright and novel entertainment law issues for the State Bar of Texas, The University of Texas, the Austin Bar Association and the Dallas Bar Association, and has spoken on panels for Midem and the Music Biz Conference.

This project is generously funded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.