A Close Look at Music Publishing Rights

Music publishing offers artists a way to gain recognition and compensation for their work. Knowing your rights can make it easier to enter into a publishing agreement which can then help secure that deserved credit and desired remuneration.

In the music industry, protecting your rights can be a tricky process; however, doing so is essential for artists to achieve success. Music publishing rights include the rights to market, value and distribute your original, creative music. Essentially, music publishing consists of finding different uses for a song, such as including it in film, television or video games, and collecting money for these uses in the form of a licensing fee.

Songwriters typically own copyrights in the music and lyrics that make up their songs and earn money through license fees or royalties from their commercial use. If someone wishes to use a songwriter’s material, then he or she must obtain permission from the copyright owner in the form of a license; based on the type of agreement entered into, that copyright owner may no longer be the songwriter or artist.

Many songwriters agree to give up a portion of their publishing rights by entering into a contract with a music publisher. In giving up these rights, the musician usually gains publishing services and cash advances. The publishing company then proceeds to find uses for the songwriter’s music and takes on an administrative role, protecting copyright, licensing songs to record companies, and collecting royalties on behalf of the songwriter.

Agreements entered into by the publisher and the artist can take several different forms. A co-publishing agreement is when the songwriter and the songwriter’s publisher jointly own the copyrights in the song. Alternatively, in a songwriter agreement, the songwriter agrees to transfer all of the copyrights to the publisher. Finally, administration agreements are those in which the songwriter retains the copyrights in his or her song, and the publisher administers the copyrights for the songwriter for a specified amount of time, while receiving an administration fee in return for its services.

If a songwriter is offered a publishing contract, he or she should consult with an entertainment lawyer to help review the proposed agreement, explain its terms, and work with the publisher to achieve the best possible deal for the artist.

Whether you are trying to obtain music or get it licensed for an artist, you should seek the advice of an experienced music publishing contract attorney who will make sure the contracts are proper and both parties follow the relevant laws.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 9:18 am and is filed under Business & Corporate Law, Contract Law, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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