Thursday, July 23, 2015
Music Business/Law Tips - "Joint Work"
If a song is written by 2 or more people with the intent to merge their respective parts (i.e., words and music) to create a brand new copyright – that is considered a “joint work”. Even though each part contributed is separate, once merged each writer co-owns the entire work. In other words, the lyric writer would then co-own the music portion, and vice versa. Under the Copyright Act, for a “first use mechanical license” (i.e., first release recording/cover) all the writers must sign off. However, for all other types of non-exclusive licenses (e.g., synchs), either writer can license the song on behalf of all co-authors, so long as all the writers are properly credited and paid for their shares. If a writer/artist does not want to create a joint work – he/she needs to make sure to have a written agreement with the producer, arranger and musicians that such third parties’ creative contributions are “works made for hire”, so they cannot claim they are a co-writer. Ben McLane Esq Benmclane.com