Publishing 101

U.S. COPYRIGHT ACT

  • Grants Exclusive Rights to Copyright Authors or Owners
  • Right to Reproduce
  • Right to Make Derivative Works
  • Right to Distribute
  • Right to Perform
  • Right to Display

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COPYRIGHT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

EVERY RECORDED SONG CONTAINS TWO COPYRIGHTS 1) MUSICAL COMPOSITION The notes and lyrics of the song 2) SOUND RECORDING The Recording Artist’s recorded version of the song Even if the recording artist is the songwriter, two copyrights are created – one for the sound recording and one for the musical composition.

What is a Music Publisher

A music publisher works with songwriters to market and promote their songs, resulting in exposure of songs to the public and generating income. Music publishers “pitch” songs to record labels, movie and television producers and others who use music, then license the right to use the song and collect fees for the usage. Those fees are then split with the songwriter.

Music Publishers and Record Labels

Songwriters enter into publishing, co-publishing, or administration agreements with music publishers. In exchange for acquiring the copyright, a portion of the copyright, or a percentage of the revenue earned from the exploitation of the musical composition, the music publisher seeks opportunities to exploit the musical composition, collects revenue from the exploitation, and pays and accounts to the songwriter. The music publisher share is usually 50%. Recording artists assign their copyrights to a record label in exchange for a negotiated royalty.

Types of Licenses Issued by Music Publishers

• Reproduction (Mechanical) Licenses Music distributed in physical and digital form. The royalties are generally collected and paid by the Harry Fox Agency.

• Public Performance Licenses Music broadcast on radio (terrestrial and satellite), in live venues, and other public places. The royalties are collected and paid by public performance societies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC). Each broadcaster receives a blanket license from each performing rights society, in exchange for a royalty fee.

• Synchronization Licenses Music used in fi lm, television, commercials, music videos, etc. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.

• Folio Licenses Music published in written form as lyrics and music notation either as bound music folios or online lyric and tablature websites. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.

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