SAFE SONGWRITING !
(or Thou Shalt Cover Thyself -The Paper Trail)
©2002 Lynne Robin Green
Worldwide rights reserved by the author
Well this month's issue brings
us the message of the importance of covering everything you do in the
music business on paper . Whether it's writing a simple agreement as to
who wrote what -what percentages -on a song and signing and dating it
with each other -or using a formal collaboration agreement, it protects
you and serves to evidence your understanding -in case of a legal disput
. In Songwriting collaborations and Music Publishing interlocking agreements
and the licensing paper trail make the money wheels turn . Let me give
you a simple example .
TWO WRITER’S - EACH SELF PUBLISHED (with a record guaranteed) WRITE A
SONG. They need next (either)‚and do have a lawyer make sure documents
you use are RIGHT first and before you sign them.
1. A Collaboration
Agreement setting forth the agreed upon percentages of authorship and
the Publishing Share details. HINT- Your writing share should equal your
PUBLISHING share too.
2. OR a Co-Publishing Co-Administration agreement setting forth
each Co-Publishing share,the terms and conditions as Separately PUBLISHED
ADMINISTRATED Shares for each PUBLISHING COMPANY LISTED (with the writer
3. After signing above together do the PA Copyright (for the song)
with the two authors also named (AS Publisher claimants listed) -(i.e.
joe west dba: west music as claimant,bottom of the PA) -enclose with a
CD or cassette of the song and lyric sheet of the song or compilation
of song(s) by the same writers on the PA form (with all indiv titles named
at line #2)-and the check for the fee $30.00 made to register of copyrights‚.
Put Author & Publisher and (c) year on all copies of the lyrics and tape.
4. Next do the BMI/ASCAP or SESAC registration form for both the
WRITER and PUBLISHER shares .
5. Next issue a mechanical license request‚ through the Harry
Fox Agency (or directly by issuing a mechanical license)to the record
label who's issuing the song ONLY, for the PUBLISHER SHARE (percentage)
you own . You must request the license‚ be issued- by supplying :
a) SONG TITLE
b) WRITERS NAMES
c) PUBLISHERS AND THEIR SHARES
e) TITLE OF ALBUM
f) RECORD LABEL. THEIR ADDRESS, FAX AND PHONE NUMBER
g) DATE OF REALEASE
h) STATUTORY RATE (unless you've granted a reduced rate which you
must approve in license and the LICENSE must state)
i) Record number and configuration (ie., cd or cass or Lp).The
request must be signed by you as the CO-PUBLISHER or as the Sole Publisher
for your OWN PUB share.
6. Next notify your Sub-publisher(s) of the song -the record and
Artist - with all necessary information (in case it is released outside
the U.S.) .Remember that The Harry Fox Agency does not license for Canada
so you must either have a Canadian Sub-Publisher or be a member of CMRRA
the canadian mechanical licensing society .Harry Fox can and does license
for your Publishing firms for most all other territories outside U.S.
-IF you dont HAVE a Sub-Publisher. But notify them to do so.
7.Keep your documents you do all in duplicate in a file under the Song
title. This includes a copy of the PA certificate you filed and the cash
and certif receipt from the post office they give you -YOU must send it
only by return receipt certified or registered mail .When you get the
return receipt card back--it goes in the song file too-(you‚re protected
on record as soon as you get that return card back)and until you receive
the stamped numbered PA from Washington, back.
AND If you don't have an Administrator or (a Publisher- if you're self
published) and you are NOT doing all of the above for yourself, GUESS
WHAT? You won't get paid ! You won't get your mechanical record sales,or
airplay even. And you may not even be listed on the record. And no one
will find you either. WHY? Because all of this must be filed on record
as above or -1) It doesn't get collected 2)They don't know who to license
it from, WHO to pay it to or how to find you !. By the way, I have just
disclosed to you THE GREATEST MYSTERY in Music Publishing! And the biggest
BITCH I hear constantly from Self-Published WRITERS who don't GET PAID
because they don't have an Administrator and a Sub-publisher and/or are
not with The Harry Fox Agency and don't know how to do all of the above.
NO MATTER how many music business books you read IF you haven't learned
HOW to do all of the above or what it means, and don't have an experienced
Administrator or Publisher doing it for you then believe me with all my
heart and soul THIS is real the god's truth I'm telling you . I wish you
education, and good business sense .Get smart, get paid- keep your right's
together and thank me later.