Publishing Rights

disclosure rights

Are you a songwriter, composer, lyricist or someone else who creates original music and has not signed a contract with a music publisher - YOU own your music publishing rights! Minor performance royalties are divided equally between author and publisher. The royalties resulting from the exercise of small performance rights are determined by a formula determined by the performance company. Whoever owns the master rights owns the actual recording of the song. On this page you will find an overview of the types of publication rights and options you have in the individual negotiations.

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Publishing house rights are one of the most important types of IPR in the musical industries. Publishers have a key part in the management of this important resource (the other is the ownership of a typical CD label).

A publisher's agreement defines a relation between a songwriter and a composer. The publishing houses also offer considerable advance payments against prospective revenues. The publisher will receive a rate of up to 50%, which can vary depending on the type of remuneration. A number of different forms of emoluments exist: mechanic emoluments come from the sales of sound carriers such as CD's or electronic files.

This royalty is distributed to the publishing houses by recording labels (via the Harry Fox Agency and the American Mechanical Rights Agency in the USA). Emoluments are levied by collecting societies such as SESAC, BMI, ASCAP or PRS and payed by broadcasters and others who transmit recordings, as well as by locations and organisers for performing the works on stage.

Dubbing fees are charged when a work is used in a TV or motion picture sound track. As a rule, these emoluments go through the hand of a musical publishing house before they arrive at the musician. Publishing houses are also working on linking new songwriter tracks with appropriate recordings to include the authors' tracks in other mediums such as movies and advertising spots.

Musical publishing houses also manage the publication of song books and scores by their performers. The license fees for musical releases are usually divided between seventy/thirty, with thirty per cent going to the publishing house (as remuneration for its services) and the remainder to the song writer or singer. There have been and will be other agreements in the past, some better for the authors, others better for the editors.

Sometimes a record actor asks for a co-author's loan for a track (and shares both the artists' and publishers' fees) in return for the selection of the track, especially if the author is unknown. At times an artist's director or maker expects a co-credit or a cut in the publication (as with Norman Petty and Phil Spector), and sometimes a publishers insists on the author's loan (as Morris Levy has done in some of his actions); these actions are presented in increasing order of ruthlessness as seen by the musical in-dustry.

A number of groups and musicians own (or later buy) their own publishing house and set up their own businesses, with or without the help of an external agen. Selling or losing publishing property can be a financial and emotional disaster for a particular performer or author. Like many other R&B legends, Little Richard was largely deceived in his musical releases and copyright work.

Both Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys were knocked down to find out that Murry Wilson (father of three of the band's Beach Boys, Love's uncles and publishers ) had been selling her Sea of Tunes to A&M Records in 1969 for a small part of what it was good for - or had deserved in the following years.

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