Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Music Business/Law Tips - "Songwriter Agreement" (Part 2)

Statements. Once the song is recorded or printed, the writer is entitled to receive royalty statements at least once every six months. Further, the writer should be allowed to audit the publisher's books to see if royalty calculations were done correctly.

Writer's Credit. The publisher must see to it that the writer receives proper credit on all uses of the song.

Arbitration. In order to avoid large legal fees, it is advisable to include a provision to allow an arbitrator to settle any disputes between the writer and publisher.

Future Uses/Rights. Any use/right not mentioned specifically in the contract should be retained by the writer because it could be a valuable bargaining chip in the future.

Performing Rights Affiliation. The writer must affiliate with either BMI, ASCAP or SESAC and the contract should read that all writer performance royalties must be paid directly to the writer by the performing rights organization; and, if the publisher should be paid these monies in error, the monies must be immediately sent to the writer.

Because of the length of a publishing relationship and rights transferred, the writer should obtain an experienced person to assist with a contract negotiation, preferably an entertainment attorney.

Ben McLane Esq

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