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#944750 - 02/08/12 09:25 PM Signing copyrights over to publishers  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Hello Mentors, I really need some help here : I've read all I can about copyright and contracts with publishers but I'm still a little confused. First question: Should I always ask for part of the copyright when signing a publishing deal? (I have a co-publishing deal for one song but do I ask every time?)

Second : If a publisher places a song in TV, Film, Ad's is that the same a s an artist cutting it and should they be able to keep the copyrights in that case?

Any help is greatly appreciated as I navigate my way though all of this -

Thanks so much for your time and wisdom smile

Maureen Fichten
www.maureenfichten.com

#944765 - 02/08/12 11:33 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Maureen Fichten]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,646
Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,646
Brunswick, Ga. USA
Most Publishers will want 100 percent. That means you get 100 percent of the writers portion the publisher gets the other half. If there is more that one writer the writer's split the writer's portion between themselves depending how they decide to split it. When you assign Publishing you are, in effect selling the song for royalities, if any. You should get a Reversion Clause of 1 to 3 years. That way if they don't get the song recorded and released at the end of the time period the song automaticly reverts to the writer's.

35 Years after the first release or 40 years after you sign a contract with no reversion clause you can re-claim your copyright.

Publishing Contracts will have a 50/50 split on a mechanical license unless you negoiate for a part of the publisher's portion. Sync Licenses could be a different split and should be spelled out in the contract, as well as all other royalities.

If a contract contains a clause that the publisher can assign the song to another publisher you should require that only the publisher's portion can be split, not the writer's portion.

Last edited by Ray E. Strode; 02/08/12 11:35 PM.

Ray E. Strode
#944766 - 02/08/12 11:36 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Thanks Ray. I just wanted to make sure that was the "norm", it sounds a little scary signing away the copyright but I understand it better now - thanks

#944772 - 02/09/12 01:32 AM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Maureen Fichten]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,705
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,705
Saint Petersburg. FL
Second - Placing a song in TV or film is a lot different from having an artist cutting it. Typically, the finished recording is being placed in the film and there is often an upfront fee plus royalties. The fees and royalties may be split with the entity that places the song - often 50-50. The entity does not usually get the copyright. Usually they get non-exclusive use of the song which remains yours to place again.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#944786 - 02/09/12 05:06 AM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
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PA
From my experience...

There are three basic music library publisher agreements; exclusive, non-exclusive, and semi-exclusive.

Exclusive is where the library is granted sole rights to exploit and enter your masters into licensing agreements. Bottom-line, for the term of the agreement, itís no longer your property. Youíre only entitled to whatever compensation is spelled out in the agreement. The reality of signing this kind of agreement and/or signing over the copyright are one-in-the-same Ė they own all rights for the duration of the contract. Make sure thereís a reversion clause where the song and copyright revert back to you if not placed (usually in 2-3 years).

Non-exclusive is where the library has rights to exploit and enter your masters into licensing agreements, but not sole rights. You still can enter into other non-exclusive agreements with other publishers as well. Signing over a copyright isn't applicable in this kind of agreement.

Semi-exclusive is where the library has sole rights to license your music, but you can still personally sell and exploit your music. You just canít enter into agreements with other libraries.

I only know of one library that asks for the copyright (Song Matchmakers). I have all three of the above agreements with a couple dozen libraries, none of which even brings the subject of copyright up. However, all the contracts Iíve signed have clauses making you responsible for any future copyright infringement, and holding the library non-liable.

Personally I see no need in signing over the copyright to an exclusive library, since everything is spelled out in the agreement. However, I donít have a problem with it either - as long as there is a reversion clause.

Best, John smile

#944809 - 02/09/12 12:07 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Hi John, thank you - yes I have my songs with music libraries and it's all on a non-exclusive basis -

On the publisher side of things, I guess I understand that if they get the song cut, ( and I have a clause in my other contracts that says a "cut" has to be with a recognizable name with a label and promotion dept.) than it would be only fair for them to have the copyright - just still trying to wrap my mind around the business end of all of this!!

Thanks so the help -

#944829 - 02/09/12 01:27 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Maureen Fichten]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Maureen, I highly recommend that you get a recent copy of "The Craft and Business of Songwriting" by JPF member John Braheny, and study it. Become an expert on the business because it is full of sharks, slick operators, and hardball negotiators.

http://www.amazon.com/Craft-Business-Songwriting-John-Braheny/dp/0898796539

Also, here is my article on "Sharkproofing Yourself." It covers some of the more notorious scams.

http://www.mikedunbarmusic.com/sharkproof-yourself.html

Good luck and God bless.

Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#944844 - 02/09/12 03:22 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Thanks Mike,

I have it smile I've read the information but sometimes I need more clarification.

I was in the singing/acting business for many years so the sharks I can see a mile away, it just all this contract stuff that I want to make sure I understand -
Thanks so much!!! I appreciate you taking the time -

maureen

#944869 - 02/09/12 05:39 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Thanks Colin smile

#944877 - 02/09/12 06:56 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Great article Mike - thanks for your info smile

#945536 - 02/14/12 10:43 AM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Maureen Fichten]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 17,961
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 17,961
Indianapolis, IN USA
Maureen,

If you have read John Braheny's book and are still unsure about some things, he's a close friend of mine (and a JPF Mentor) and I will be happy to have him come here personally to answer you here or in private if you'd like. Let me know!

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#945563 - 02/14/12 02:21 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Thank you so much Brian !

I really do appreciate the time you and everyone on this website gives to answer questions and be supportive.

I'm learning as I go and I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

If any more questions come up I will let you know - again thank you smile

* It is a great book for anyone who doesn't have it yet

#947188 - 02/23/12 07:33 PM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: Maureen Fichten]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 482
pathardy Offline
Top 500 Poster
pathardy  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 482
This is such a tricky thing, "do I sign with big publisher, and
convey copyright, grant exclusivity, and give all of the publishing, or do I go with a smaller, perhaps more aggressive, publisher and keep the copyright and part of the publishing?

Because a friend of mine, years ago, signed away three songs to Warner Chapell ( she won grand prize at a song contest ) and the fact they buried her song, did nothing with it ( it was as if they never intended to do anything with it ), tied it up completely , I will never go with a big publisher like that, and, favor the smaller, more aggressive, and less greedy, little guy. If I do go with a big outfit, it better have a two year sunset clause. So, don't go home without one smile

Last edited by pathardy; 02/23/12 07:34 PM.
#947688 - 02/27/12 12:47 AM Re: Signing copyrights over to publishers [Re: pathardy]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
Maureen Fichten Offline
Serious Contributor
Maureen Fichten  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 115
New Jersey
Thanks for the info - I work with a smaller publisher who is a stand-up guy , honest and hard working so I will keep all the info about larger publishers to heart smile


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