Copyrighting Library Music

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Russell Landwehr
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Copyrighting Library Music

Post by Russell Landwehr » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:57 am

Cam posed this question in another place. And it went unanswered. I'm curious also.
cameron wrote:Is it common practice to copyright material before you submit it to film/TV libraries? In Nashville the normal practice is only to copyright it when it's published (if then) but libraries are new to me.

Cam
I'm also wondering about if/when to copyright instrumental ad beds, and what about Film and TV cues?
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Re: Copyrighting Library Music

Post by T&V Marino » Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:38 pm

Hi Russell,

You do NOT have to copyright your music right away before sending it to a music library. And you don't always have to register it with your PRO (Performing Rights Organization, which is SESAC, BMI, ASCAP if you're in the United States) right away. The reason for this is because some libraries will do all of this administrative work for you, but it depends on which libraries.

REGISTERING SONGS WITH YOUR PRO:
If we write tracks that will be NON-EXCLUSIVE (which means we can put the same song in a couple of non-exclusive libraries at the same time), we register those IMMEDIATELY with our PRO, which is BMI. It's very easy to do.

REGISTERING SONGS WITH THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE:
After about a year or so, we take the dozens of new tracks we've written and produced and register them at the same time with the Copyright Office. It's WAAAAAAY cheaper to do a collection! We've done as many as 45 at one time for one fee.

HERE ARE OUR GUIDELINES (others may do it differently!):

If we submit tracks AND they are accepted to a "NON-EXCLUSIVE" music library, then we will have to register the songs ourselves with the Copyright Office AND our with PRO.

If we write music for a "WORK-FOR-HIRE" library (sometimes called a "BUY OUT"), OR we write for an EXCLUSIVE library, OR we write for a NON-EXCLUSIVE that RE-TITLES our songs, OR a SEMI-EXCLUSIVE library, THEN, most likely, the music library will take care of the administration work for us. THEY will register the tracks with the Copyright Office; THEY will make sure cue sheets are filed; THEY will register the tracks with our PRO, etc.

There are a handful of companies that actually want the Copyright Registration Number on the song when you put the tracks in the library, but you can USUALLY put "Pending" and it's okay. NOTE: You can also put "pending" when you register the tracks with your PRO, too.

The best advice: find out if the company is EXCLUSIVE or NON-EXCLUSIVE, then wait until you have an actual contract from the company. THEN you'll know what you need to do.

Honestly, you don't hear those "legendary" stories about someone stealing instrumental tracks and cues. But those stories always seem to be going around in Nashville!!!!

~ Tracey & Vance Marino

P.S. The above advice is from OUR perspective when dealing with the PRODUCTION MUSIC LIBRARIES, and NOT from the Advertising Agencies, which have very different requirements that we're not familiar with!
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Re: Copyrighting Library Music

Post by kclements » Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:56 pm

Great info here T & V. thanks for sharing.

Cheers -
kc
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Russell Landwehr
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Re: Copyrighting Library Music

Post by Russell Landwehr » Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:08 pm

Thanks, You guys are a treasure-trove of info.
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Re: Copyrighting Library Music

Post by guitarhacker » Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:10 pm

yeah.... I had a number of tunes signed to an exclusive library and the owner specifically asked me not to register with either the copyright office or the PRO.

He said it was something he would do and it was less of a hassle if he did it than if I did it and then he has to redo the registrations and reference the existing paperwork.

On non-exclusives.... you will probably want to do both, but it's good practice not to send to more than one non-exclusive.
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Re: Copyrighting Library Music

Post by randallk » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:02 pm

Good info al around. I've had several forwards, but no deals yet. I've been wondering if I should copyright and register any of my works with my PRO, or wait until I know that someone is actually going to use them. Seems like it makes sense to wait until someone is interested in a tune.
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