Control of Master Rights with collaborators

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jessecarrigan
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Control of Master Rights with collaborators

Post by jessecarrigan » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:47 am

Most Taxi listings mention that you need to have control of your master rights and I'm not clear on how that works with a co-writer. Anyone out there know how control of your master rights works when you're collaborating with someone? Do you each control a percentage a la publisher's/writer's share? Does one of you control the master rights and the other(s) need to sign something to that effect? Since so many Taxi members end up working together I figured someone has run into this. (Normal disclaimers about not offering legal advice obviously apply but more information would be helpful.)

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Re: Control of Master Rights with collaborators

Post by Kolstad » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:36 pm

Well, with a (full) cowriter you both share the control over the master rights (or what the colab agreement states), so friendly talk and agreements about what to do, where to pitch/ sign ect, should be enough. If you have nothing spelled out, you both own half.

I have sometimes seen written in a collaborators agreement a clause that parties can be free to pitch the work without the others consent, if it is not yet signed. Which might be useful if the cowriter is not in the music business.

But otherwise, you both have intrest in communicating about pitching opportunities and offerings, I’d say.

If one of you have paid for the recording, it is the one who has paid for the recording that control the master rights. This is usually how record labels roll. But if you are both equal cowriters and producers of the work, you share the control.

Sometimes one of the cowriters are the musician and does the recording. That can be a case for one controlling (“owning”) the master rights (which is the “p” copyright), but if you dont have a written agreement that spells that out clearly, you both share everything equally.

If you get a demo done at a studio, be aware that you may not own the master rights to your music. Make sure you have cleared that with the studio in advance. If not, you can pitch to artists (you have bought a “songwriter demo”), but not sign away the track/ song to a library (as you dont own the master rights to the recording).

But, if you both own everything, you both control the master rights.

So, be aware of your agreements, who pays/ does what, and if you buy demos- be clear about what you buy.

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Re: Control of Master Rights with collaborators

Post by jessecarrigan » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:08 pm

Kolstad wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:36 pm
Well, with a (full) cowriter you both share the control over the master rights (or what the colab agreement states), so friendly talk and agreements about what to do, where to pitch/ sign ect, should be enough. If you have nothing spelled out, you both own half.

I have sometimes seen written in a collaborators agreement a clause that parties can be free to pitch the work without the others consent, if it is not yet signed. Which might be useful if the cowriter is not in the music business.

But otherwise, you both have intrest in communicating about pitching opportunities and offerings, I’d say.

If one of you have paid for the recording, it is the one who has paid for the recording that control the master rights. This is usually how record labels roll. But if you are both equal cowriters and producers of the work, you share the control.

Sometimes one of the cowriters are the musician and does the recording. That can be a case for one controlling (“owning”) the master rights (which is the “p” copyright), but if you dont have a written agreement that spells that out clearly, you both share everything equally.

If you get a demo done at a studio, be aware that you may not own the master rights to your music. Make sure you have cleared that with the studio in advance. If not, you can pitch to artists (you have bought a “songwriter demo”), but not sign away the track/ song to a library (as you dont own the master rights to the recording).

But, if you both own everything, you both control the master rights.

So, be aware of your agreements, who pays/ does what, and if you buy demos- be clear about what you buy.
Super helpful - thank you!

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Re: Control of Master Rights with collaborators

Post by RPaul » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:06 pm

I should probably preface this by saying I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. :)

Please keep in mind that the copyrights in the song and the recording are separate, so both sides need to be handled individually. And, for example, the song may be a collaboration while the recording is not (or vice-versa).

On the song side, what I have done with collaborative songs I record is make co-publishing deals with my co-writers that give both (or all) of us the right to pitch the songs, and license them, without consulting the other(s), for any non-exclusive uses, subject to paying the others their share of the song for any uses. I did this mainly with the idea of being able to do synchronization licenses due to the potentially extreme time sensitivity of such opportunities. However, I've also used it for mechanical licensing, such as for other artists' covers of those songs and my own releases of those songs. This simplifies things for the licensee since they only have to deal with one person. It also simplifies things for all parties involved in the song, since we don't have to send paperwork back and forth for signatures. If I'm securing the placement (which is usually the case since most of my cowriters are not active on the music business front), I take care of all the paperwork, including signing licenses on cowriters' behalf, per the terms of the co-publishing agreement, then just send the cowriters a copy for their records (and, of course, the money from the license). None of us can sign the other's publishing, but we can sign our own, as long as it is specified that the publisher is subject to the terms of the agreement (i.e. if the publisher can't also get the collaborator to agree to a publishing deal with them). Exclusive agreements would also require the agreement of both/all parties.

On the recording side, the same sort of collaboration agreement can work if we're talking about a true collaboration, and I've used such agreements for the few scenarios where I've done recording collaborations. However, if we're talking about a scenario where you hire musicians and/or singers to contribute parts of the recording, the typical thing would be to use work-for-hire agreements to specify that you own the recording subject to you paying them whatever you agreed (which would most typically be just what you pay them for the sessions, though it could also include royalty provisions if the situation warranted it).

Rick

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Re: Control of Master Rights with collaborators

Post by tresero » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:41 pm

Here is a sample of the collaborators agreement I use.

Oh, I'm not a lawyer either and this isn't legal advice.

https://jon-griffincom.s3.amazonaws.com ... raters.pdf

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