Law Office of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed ~ Proverbs 15:22 

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Life Chat with Shy Speaks

Posted on July 27, 2015 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)


LifeChat Live: Video Premeire and Conversation


 Monday, July 27 @ 7:00 PM — 9:00 PM

 Angelika Film Center, 5321 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206

Make plans to join us as we celebrate our first year in a very big way and watch the premiere of Shy Speaks' new video, P v. R.


And make sure you look real cute for the red carpet -- you know we're gonna post those...


And of course, we're inviting back some of our favorite panelists. If you've missed them before, we dare you to miss them again. They're locked, loaded and ready to tackle those tough relationship questions. We hope you're comin' with questions a-blazin'...


$35 -- VIP $15 -- General $75 -- Vendors


Only 100 seats available.


Get on it, chief.


5 Things an Indie Artist Should Know about Entertainment Law

Posted on February 3, 2015 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)


5 Things an Indie Artist should know about Entertainment Law

Written by Deborah E. Johnson, Esq.

1. Hire an Entertainment or Music Lawyer.

Many artists, especially independent artists, fail to see the importance of hiring an entertainment/music lawyer. Some artists feel that it is not in their budget or that it is not a priority. Hiring a music lawyer is of such importance that an artist should budget that cost in just like they would budget for production fees, artwork, etc. A music lawyer is an investment in an artist’s career; not only that, but it may not cost the artist as much as generally thought. My law office makes every effort to make services affordable for the independent artist, and many times I will flat fee items so that the artist can budget for that cost.

What I tell clients is that you cannot afford NOT to hire a music lawyer. WHY? You are an artist! You are not trained in the law of music. Even if you are an artist that is music law savvy, your mindset is still that of an artist. Don’t get me wrong. I have met my share of educated artists; however, the artist mind is not constantly thinking of ways to protect their intellectual property while creating it. That is my job! A music lawyer will assist the artist in the protection and preservation of their intellectual property. Not only that, but the artist may be losing money without proper legal counsel. Additionally, music lawyers can assist artists with negotiations and contract review. This allows the artist to be an artist while maximizing their dollar as an ARTIST.

2. Always copyright your music.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an artist is failing to properly copyright your music. Your music lawyer can assist with the copyrighting, but there are those artists that feel comfortable registering their own copyrights.

A copyright tells the rest of the world who owns an original work, as well as enables its creator to bring legal action for infringement as well as expands those remedies under the law. Artists will often use or hear the term ‘poor man’s copyright.’ I do not recommend using the poor man’s method because you will not receive those additional protections set in place under federal law as when a work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Once a piece of music has been created, the creator should seek to register the work with the copyright office as soon as possible. This is fairly inexpensive and well worth the money.

Additionally, artists should be aware that there are 2 types of copyrights. The first is called the Sound Recording (SR). Form SR should be used when registering a published or unpublished sound recording. This form is limited to the sound recording itself. Form SR can also be used when an artist is registering both the sound recording and the underlying work as long as the claimant is the same for both. Form PA (Performing Arts) should be used when a claimant is registering the underlying work only, such as a musical composition.

Copyrights on registered works, registered after Jan. 1, 1978 are protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years. More information on copyrights can be located at:

NOTE: Registration with the U.S. Copyright office may or may not necessarily provide copyright protection internationally.

3. Register with a Performing Rights’ Organization (PRO).

There are basically three major PROs. BMI, ASCAP, and SECAC. They all do basically the same thing – track, calculate, and pay the songwriter(s) for royalties earned. This is especially imperative if you are a singer/songwriter. Some PROs require a small fee to join, while others are by invitation only.

A PRO represents songwriters, music publishers, and composers. The PRO’s main function is to collect license fees on your behalf, when your music is played on radio stations, news media, internet, satellite, hotels, clubs, concerts, and other businesses. A percentage of those royalties are then forwarded to the songwriter(s). Songwriter’s should be aware that they may only affiliate with one PRO at a time; so choose wisely.

Songwriters should also consider setting up their own publishing company. A music publisher’s sole purpose is to ensure that songwriters receive royalties when their compositions are exploited commercially. Additionally, there is no objection to registering will all three PROs simultaneoulsy as a music publisher (contrary to songwriter’s affiliation mentioned above).


Below are the web addresses for BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC:

4. Register with Sound Exchange (SE).

Sound Exchange is a fairly new service with its sole purpose to administer services to stream artist content. Translation: SE tracks and pays out to artists on digital performance royalties. Sound Exchange also collects and distributes those royalties back to the artist when the content is played on a non-interactive digital source. Do not confuse this service with that of a PRO. Further good news is that there is no fee to join Sound Exchange.

Below are a list of the benefits to joining Sound Exchange borrowed directly from their faq page:

a. Maximize your revenue through foreign royalty collections.

b. Join the effort to fight for long-term value of music.

c. Conference and equipment discounts.

Additionally, this linked article about SE further demonstrates that is a growing service and provides helpful in understanding how its service works.

5. ALWAYS complete Song Split Sheet Agreements when you are in the recording studio.

I cannot express the value and importance of song split sheet agreements. Song split sheets delineate the songwriter’s percentage of ownership and contribution when a musical composition is created. Song split sheets should always be signed after a song is written/recorded but before everyone leaves the studio. When split sheets are not signed in the studio, a musical composition’s authorship can be questioned or disputed. This can cause issues when copyrighting works and registering songs with PROs. Split sheet should include each of the songwriter’s name & authorship, each songwriter’s percentage of contribution, and the name of the registered PRO for each song author. Publishing percentages can also be included, which I highly recommend. Songwriter’s contribution percentages and publishing percentages may differ on the same split sheet. Basic song split agreements can be located online or my law firm can provide and explain a blank song split agreement for a small nominal fee.

The Law of Deborah E. Johnson, Esq. is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For general information or to set up a consultation, email:

Michelle Bonilla New Single - Relentless

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

New Single "Relentless" now available for download at

Holiday Greetings

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

written by Deborah E. Johnson

Greetings clients and friends,
As we approach the holiday season, please be aware that the Law Office will be closed December 23-29, 2014, with limited hours from December 29-January 5, 2015.  All requests and emails will be addresses and answered before December 22 and/or after December 29.  If you should have an urgent request, please call me as soon as possible.
I want to thank each and every one of you for being a wonderful client, friend, and in many cases both.  This year has been incredible, and I have grown exponentially as a person and an attorney.  It is to you I give the credit.  You have trusted me with the gentle nature of each individual’s legal needs and you have allowed me to do what I am trained to do, by God and by man. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of everything that God is doing in each of your lives and the position that HE has allowed me to be in to facilitate that process.

As we enter 2015, I encourage you to reflect on the lessons learned from 2014.   For me personally, I have learned PATIENCE, TRUST, FAITH, AND FORGIVENESS.   I implore you to deepen your faith and relationship with our Creator and the One that sits at the right hand of God, advocating on our behalf (Romans 8:34).   For me and my house, Romans 8 has been an integral part of  our faith for 2014.  At one point, the Lord showed me Romans 8:28 twenty-four times!   I then discovered that my son (15) was also studying Romans 8 in his Bible course at school. One day as we arrived at a soccer game, I looked down to see that he had written ”Romans 8” on each soccer cleat with a sharpie.  I was the proudest Mom because he had just gotten new white soccer cleats and no one likes to mark up their new shoes. HAHA.  But he felt it was important to include that reminder on the shoes that had become the vessel to his success.
As we all enter new gates in 2015, may you let the love, joy, and peace of Jesus reside in your heart and reflect in your daily life. 
May the Lord Bless you and Keep you this Holiday Season!


Posted on December 7, 2014 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Posted on December 5, 2014 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Click here for BALLOT!!  Category #6 and #12 on the ballot.


Stephen Thomas - NEW Christmas Single

Posted on December 5, 2014 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)







Track is Now Released for Free Download through Soundcloud.

Here's the Link for Soundcloud:

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Andrea Helms Top 10

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)






Congratulations to Andrea Helms, Season 4 Finalist of BET's Sunday's Best for maintaining her TOP 10 slot for 2 consecutive weeks. The single, Clap Your Hands Dallas' Christian Hip Hop rapper, ft. Norris J, is title track of the album. It is steady moving up the charts on radio and has received rave reviews by Yolanda Adams and Lonnie Hunter, to name a few, across the country.

Download or stream to get the NEW album via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, or Google Play. It is also available in Wal Mart, Best Buy or your nearest Christian Book Stores.

2014 Wonder Tour - Jamison Strain

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)



Dallas, TX (September 29, 2014) —Popular CCM artist Jamison Strain will headline his first Christmas tour this December 2014. Presented by Perry Productions & Management Group and Adelphoi Music, “The Wonder Tour” will be appearing in 10 cities throughout the southeast sharing the exciting and wonder filled Christmas message. This tour will include several special guests making this a not-to-miss concert of the Christmas season. The Wonder Tour will begin in Houston TX on November 29 and make its way across the southeast ending in Katy, TX on December 8.


In 2013 Jamison released his first Christmas single, Wonder (2013) that quickly topped the indie charts with over 10,000 downloads. This year’s “The Wonder Tour” will feature songs from Jamison’s recent Christmas project titled – The Wonder EP as well as collaboration with the special guest apart of the tour. “The birth of Jesus is the greatest reason to celebrate, so we’re thrilled to present ‘The Wonder Tour’ in my first ever Christmas tour.” says Strain.


Jamison has had the opportunity to share the stage with such national acts as Shane & Shane, Jamie Grace, Wayne Kerr, Sarah Kelly, Greg and Janna Long of Avalon, DecembeRadio and Pocketful of Rocks. Jamison’s heart is summed up in the song, Wonder. This song is the perfect example of his heart for telling the story of Christ and all that He has done. Jamison’s songs have a way of leading the listener’s heart to not only Christmas wonder, but the wonder of and found through worship.



For a full list of cities, available dates and ticketing information, visit






November 29th – Houston Texas


November 30th – Albany Georgia


December 1st – TBA


December 2nd – Montgomery Alabama


December 3rd – Gulf Shores Alabama


December 4th – Jackson Mississippi


December 5th – TBA


December 6th – TBA


December 7th – Fort Worth Texas


December 8th – Katy Texas



Posted on November 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

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ShySpeaks raises social awareness on Low Literacy in Adults! #LiteraryNow










Andrea Helms Clap Your Hands Album Now in Stores!

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Andrea Helms' "Clap Your Hands" Now Available

Los Angeles, CA (October, 2014) One of the most influential voices in today’s modern Christian and Gospel music, Andrea Helms is proud to announce her highly anticipated album, "Clap Your Hands."

Andrea was first discovered competing for the top spot on BET's Sunday's Best show, will be releasing her debut album with Dream Gospel, "Clap Your Hands," - This powerful, upbeat and anointed album, is 14 songs sure to excite her fans and attract new ones.

"When we put the songs together for this album, I wanted a continual theme of how good God was, who he was to us, what we can expect from God and what we need to give to God. I really believe that this album is uplifting. You can find something on here that will speak to you . If you want to worship, it's on there. If you want to drive down the road and listen to something you can drive to, it's on there. My prayer is when you listen to it, that you would know God like I know God and see the goodness of God."


or text "ANDREA" to 51555

Check out her single, "Clap Your Hands":



Dream Gospel was founded by David Hanley, lead singer of Press Play, in May of 2013. David Hanley (President) and wife Gina Hanley (VP of Development) have one very focused purpose and passion… and that is to see lives changed. Lance Brown (General Manager) is one of our industry’s leading minds and together the entire team puts all trust in God. DREAM is truly setting a new standard in the music and entertainment industry, while reaching thousands of lives each day. DREAM’s approach and model is to not only sign and develop artist in the traditional manner of promoting an artist to the top of the traditional music industry and market – but also not forgetting about the church-based artist and developing a solid foundation of artist that are called, committed and targeted to reach their local, regional and world markets. DREAM Label Group is also home to CCM artist Jonathan Thulin, Cindy Cruse Ratcliff and Gospel Trio, Zie’l.


Andrea Helms is no stranger to Gospel Music and the Gospel Music Industry. She is known for her powerful voice and performances on Season 4 of BET’s Sunday Best, is a lifelong singer and worshipper from Odessa, Texas. Andrea grew up loving music and is currently the minister of music at Friendship Church, where her father was the Pastor. Andrea now has a chance to share her passion and talents with the world. She released her first album, Moving Forward in 2012 with Music World Gospel.

Andrea’s ability to overcome her odds built a strength that would prove to be an asset to her surprising success on BET’s Sunday Best. Andrea’s journey to first runner-up on Sunday’s Best was one of faith and favor. Andrea admits that she left that platform as a much stronger and more confident performer. Andrea demonstrated her range and ability with her personal renditions of songs performed by some of the industry’s top talent including Tremaine Hawkins, Whitney Houston and Martha Munizzi. She continued to display her boldness as she put her authentic stamp on seven popular songs for her debut album, Moving Forward. She covered Mary Mary’s “Yesterday”, Richard Smallwoods “I Love the Lord”; “Wind Beneath My Wings”; and two classics from Donald Lawrence. The album was well received, reaching #2 on the Billboard Gospel Chart.

In addition to her music, Andrea has been busy with theatre productions and appearances. She performed alongside Le’Andria Johnson in T.J. Hemphill’s play Perilous Times II and was requested to sing at Dr. Martin L King, Jr.’s birthday celebration in Atlanta. Andrea currently resides in Denton, TX with her husband and son. She is still currently the minister of music at her childhood church, Friendship Church, where her husband is now the pastor.

Andrea is currently under the management of BPM Music Group, LLC. and is excited about the direction of her musical career.


Connect with Andrea Helms

For interview, reviews and general media:

Lance Brown

Andrea Helms New Album now in Stores!

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Andrea Helms NEW album Clap Your Hands available IN STORES TODAY!




ANDREA HELMS Now Available copy


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Andrea Helms Inks New Record Deal with Dream Gospel

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Posted on Sep, 17th 2014

by DeVante Arbet of The Gospel Guru


Congratulations are in order!


Today it was announced that BET Sunday Best alumni, Andrea Helms has inked a record deal with Dream Label Group’s Dream Gospel imprint!


The singer joins the likes of Zie’l and Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff among others at the label, which is distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution.


Details below…


Andrea Helms Signs To Dream Gospel, Announces New Tour Dates And New Album.


Los Angeles, CA (September, 2014) – Dream Gospel is proud to announce the signing of Texas powerhouse, Andrea Helms to it’s growing roster. Andrea, who was first discovered competing for the top spot on BET’s Sunday’s Best show, will be releasing her debut album on Dream Gospel, Clap Your Hands, on October 27th with pre-orders starting on iTunes on October 14th. This powerful, upbeat and anointed album, is 14 songs sure to excite her fans and attract new ones.


“When your CEO tells you to pray on it, this has got to be the best fit for me”, says Andrea Helms. “I’m excited for this new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to have you all hear it.”


Andrea’s greatest goal, however, is to use her music to connect people with Jesus. “I want people to know how big Jesus is through what I sing,” she says. “I want them to know He is real and that you don’t have to be cleaned up to come to Jesus, you can come as you are. And if that is accomplished, then my mission is complete.”


Check out her single, “Clap Your Hands”: