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Can more than one person own the copyright to a song?

We’re a non-profit legal clinic that helps consumers and musicians. Understand legal issues today we’re talking about songs written by more than one person and who owns what once John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote their songs for the Beatles. The rest of the band’s members usually would have their input over their contributions.

Ringo Starr the drummer, might decide to add his own cool drum fill George Harrison. The guitarist might write his own wicked solo in rap songs. Generally, each person writes his or her own verse, so each person featured on the song will probably get his songwriting credit. Even when a singer, like Britney Spears, doesn’t actively write his or her music she’ll probably have input on the songwriting process, so she might get a credit.

Even if a song are like Mariah Carey writes her own song. Her producer might rewrite as songwriters work, which means he gets a credit too. Okay, now that we’ve got that established. Let’s talk about how copyright law deals with co-writers, how a co-writing situation works depends on both whether or not the songwriters have an agreement and the nature of that agreement and whether it was written or an oral agreement.

There aren’t any statistics for this one, but chances are that most songs written by multiple people, weren’t made with any official agreements in place. In that case, the song is subject to the default rules of the Copyright Act under the default rules. All co-writers are joint authors of the work where each person is the 100 % owner with 100 % control of the work. Now you probably say to yourself wait: how does that make any sense at all? How can two people own and control 100 % of something examples, make it easier to understand co-writer a can license a song to a record label and make money off of it without asking co-writer be co-writer B can even license a song to a record label if Co-Writer B expressly says he doesn’t want the song sold.

The only thing the copyright laws require is that all Co writers have to share in all profits made from the songs moving on for almost every major label song that was in ten for commercial release. After recording there is a written contract in place, this contract usually spells out expressly how many will be divvied up the way that contracts work in the music industry could be a series of articles in itself, but the two most important things for this question is that These music contracts generally contain three important provisions: payment, credit and rights number one payment.

When analyzing or putting together an agreement with co-writers. You should always know how much money each person gets. If the song is a hit. There are so many ways that people can get paid, but this is a subject for another set of articles. Payment terms for concerts CD sales, online, streaming, royalties and radio play are all things that could be considered number to credit. You should always know who will be named as writers on the song.

These kinds of agreements can be made orally or in writing. But if you stand to make a lot of money off of this song, then you should probably have it in writing. Number three right. Then there’s rights which must be in writing rights means who actually owns the song, so it’s important to have that written down. Like I said a little bit earlier without an agreement, all authors are 100 % owners of the song.

With an agreement, you can actually dictate the share of ownership like 50/50, 70/30 and so on, find out if your co-writer is registered with a publishing company like BMI or ASCAP. If you don’t and there’s a problem with your writing partner, there might be legal trouble. Also, don’t forget that there are two copyrights when you record a song. The sound recording of the song is one copyright. The song itself is a separate copyright, meaning that even if you’ve never recorded the song, you still own it, provided you have the song written down.

Then there’s the recording it’s entirely possible that the producer you’re paying to work with. You has a clause in two standard terms of business. Then he owns part of or all of the song he’s working on with. You there’s also chance that copy laws might just automatically grant the producer ownership sort of like how a wedding photographer owns the copyright to the photos of your wedding, even though you paid them for it.

When working with a producer, it may be best to pay the producer fee or royalty instead of giving him any portion of a cog right, don’t worry we’ll discuss royalties in the next article. It may also be best to donate some money to us to keep these articles going if you like what you see donate on our youtube blog or at new media rights. Org see you later. No, no, like I’m trying to like I’m stuffing my nose.


 

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