Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

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Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by middledistancerun » Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:40 am

Are exclusive deals, in a nut-shell, equivalent to transferring publishing rights to the entity with which you are signing the contract?For example ... My band has a song, we record it, register it with ASCAP, and list ourselves as the writers and the publishers in ASCAP's database.Then, we sign an exclusive publishing deal / exclusive deal with a music library.Does the "publisher's portion" in ASCAP's database change to reflect the company with which we are signing the contract?

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by Casey H » Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:04 am

Quote:Are exclusive deals, in a nut-shell, equivalent to transferring publishing rights to the entity with which you are signing the contract?For example ... My band has a song, we record it, register it with ASCAP, and list ourselves as the writers and the publishers in ASCAP's database.Then, we sign an exclusive publishing deal / exclusive deal with a music library.Does the "publisher's portion" in ASCAP's database change to reflect the company with which we are signing the contract?A publishing contract almost always has you transfer all ownership of your copyright to the publisher forever, unless the specified reversion clause period kicks in. That is, if they don't place the song within N years, the copyright revert back to you. The publisher registers the song with themselves as the publisher and you as the songwriter. Most of the time they don't bother doing this until it gets placed. You should verify how it is registered, if it is placed.There are some exclusive deals with libraries that do not have you sign over publishing, but only they can pitch the song to film/TV exclusively. Many, as you noted, ask for publishing. Some do not ask you to enter into a publishing contract upfront, but the agreement you sign with them specifies that if they place the song, you will do so. If this is the case, it is a good idea to ask for a sample copy of their publishing agreement.Many libraries today, only want publishing for their specific usage of the song. This is a good thing! They use a re-titled version of your song which they register with a PRO (e.g. ASCAP or BMI) with them as the publisher. That title is then used on the "cue sheets" which are used to track performances for the PRO's. So, you are free to use your song elsewhere, and there is no conflict between your other usages and theirs.One thing that some people forget is that the publisher's share of performance royalty revenue is only 50% of the total. So, signing over publishing DOES NOT mean signing over all your revenue. The songwriter still gets the other 50%. Casey

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by middledistancerun » Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:12 am

I'm almost afraid you're going to invoice me for all this help. Thank you so much! This is really helpful to hear.I'm going to check out BMI/ASCAP's databases and see if I can find any examples of re-titled songs (do you know any off the top of your head?). That is REALLY interesting to me .. I had no idea they did that.Cool stuff! Thanks, again...

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by Casey H » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:10 am

Quote:I'm almost afraid you're going to invoice me for all this help. Thank you so much! This is really helpful to hear.I'm going to check out BMI/ASCAP's databases and see if I can find any examples of re-titled songs (do you know any off the top of your head?). That is REALLY interesting to me .. I had no idea they did that.Cool stuff! Thanks, again...I don't know that you would find that evidence in the ASCAP/BMI databases. How would you know what was a re-title?Please send me your billing address... Casey

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by edteja » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:14 pm

Check out Jason Blume's book "This Business of Songwriting". It will save lots of angst, assuming you want it saved, and answer a ton of this type of question very straightforwardly.
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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by middledistancerun » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:25 pm

Quote:I don't know that you would find that evidence in the ASCAP/BMI databases. How would you know what was a re-title?Please send me your billing address... CaseyCasey -- if it is not possible to distinguish between retitles and the original, wouldn't that pose a problem for the production company wishing to use the song? When they fill out their cue sheet (or whatever they fill out), and they just put the song title and artist, how is ASCAP to know which "version" of the song was being used? (And therefore which publisher gets their cut)

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by Casey H » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:15 pm

Quote:Quote:I don't know that you would find that evidence in the ASCAP/BMI databases. How would you know what was a re-title?Please send me your billing address... CaseyCasey -- if it is not possible to distinguish between re-titles and the original, wouldn't that pose a problem for the production company wishing to use the song? When they fill out their cue sheet (or whatever they fill out), and they just put the song title and artist, how is ASCAP to know which "version" of the song was being used? (And therefore which publisher gets their cut)OK, say you have a song called "Fire and Rain" and you are your own publisher as Middle Songs. You have it registered it as such with ASCAP. The music library re-titles it as "See You Again" and registers that title with you as the songwriter and themselves as the publisher. Then NBC uses the track on a show and puts "See You Again" with you as the writer and the library as the publisher on the cue sheet. Royalties are paid to you as the songwriter and the library as publisher on "See You Again" with no relationship at all to the other entity, "Fire and Rain".These are two totally separate items in ASCAP's database. If you place the song elsewhere, it is "Fire and Rain" with a different publisher.So, if you search the ASCAP or BMI database, I don't see how you could tell if any title you find is a re-title.Am I making sense? I'm running on only 3-4 hours sleep today. Casey

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by hummingbird » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:26 pm

Quote:Quote:Casey -- if it is not possible to distinguish between re-titles and the original, wouldn't that pose a problem for the production company wishing to use the song? When they fill out their cue sheet (or whatever they fill out), and they just put the song title and artist, how is ASCAP to know which "version" of the song was being used? (And therefore which publisher gets their cut)OK, say you have a song called "Fire and Rain" and you are your own publisher as Middle Songs. You have it registered it as such with ASCAP. The music library re-titles it as "See You Again" and registers that title with you as the songwriter and themselves as the publisher. Then NBC uses the track on a show and puts "See You Again" with you as the writer and the library as the publisher on the cue sheet. Royalties are paid to you as the songwriter and the library as publisher on "See You Again" with no relationship at all to the other entity, "Fire and Rain".These are two totally separate items in ASCAP's database. If you place the song elsewhere, it is "Fire and Rain" with a different publisher.So, if you search the ASCAP or BMI database, I don't see how you could tell if any title you find is a re-title.Am I making sense? I'm running on only 3-4 hours sleep today. CaseyWhat I wonder about in this instance, suppose you have your (original version) Fire and Rain non-exclusively represented by one publisher, and your (re-titled version) See you Again non-exclusively represented by another. And both publishers submit the song to the same opportunity - which could happen, since obviously the song fits certain criteria. My understanding is that this would be considered very bad form and the person looking for music would likely pass on making a deal on an over-represented song - because they are very very wary of having any licencing issues. But I don't know for sure.H
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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by Casey H » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:33 pm

Quote:Quote:OK, say you have a song called "Fire and Rain" and you are your own publisher as Middle Songs. You have it registered it as such with ASCAP. The music library re-titles it as "See You Again" and registers that title with you as the songwriter and themselves as the publisher. Then NBC uses the track on a show and puts "See You Again" with you as the writer and the library as the publisher on the cue sheet. Royalties are paid to you as the songwriter and the library as publisher on "See You Again" with no relationship at all to the other entity, "Fire and Rain".These are two totally separate items in ASCAP's database. If you place the song elsewhere, it is "Fire and Rain" with a different publisher.So, if you search the ASCAP or BMI database, I don't see how you could tell if any title you find is a re-title.Am I making sense? I'm running on only 3-4 hours sleep today. CaseyWhat I wonder about in this instance, suppose you have your Fire and Rain non-exclusively represented by one publisher, and your See you Again non-exclusively represented by another. And both publishers submit the song to the same opportunity - which could happen, since obviously the song fits certain criteria. My understanding is that this would be considered very bad form and the person looking for music would likely pass on making a deal on an over-represented song - because they are very very wary of having any licensing issues. But I don't know for sure.HHi 'Bird You are correct that too many non-exclusives on the same track can cause problems. If your song lands on a music supervisor's desk from two sources and there is a dispute, the supervisor might say, "the heck with it, it ain't worth my time" and move on. There is no right answer. Maybe 2 such deals is low risk , but 10 is very dangerous.But, consider this... Let's say you let a music library do a re-title with a non-exclusive deal. You have not given up all your publishing rights. So, you could pitch the song to an ARTIST and have no conflict. Casey

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Re: Publishing Rights when signing exclusive deals

Post by og » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:30 pm

The potential conflict (of two companies pitching the same song) would only happen if you signed the song with two libraries, correct? Just having it in the building doesn't count, and keep pitching the song--or no?

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