Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Online Services Reach Royalty Deal

The recording industry, music publishers and online music services have revealed the details of a landmark royalty deal for streaming and limited downloads of music.

The agreement proposes a mechanical royalty rate of 10.5% of revenue, less any amounts owed for performance royalties for composition, for digital service providers that offer interactive streaming and limited downloads such as subscription and ad-supported services. When the settlement was first announced, details were kept confidential until they were submitted to the CopyRight Board in draft regulations.  For full story click here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Question: “I Created a Song! When Is It Considered Published?”

Recently I was asked to speak to a group of young performing artists/songwriters about music publishing, copyright and royalties. One of the artists in the group asked ‘what does it mean when someone asks if a song they created was ‘published’? I explained the term ‘published’ or ‘publication’ can be referred back to copyright law and the rights of the copyright owner. First, lets examine what the term ‘publish’ means. Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘publish’ as:

1 a: to make generally known b: to make public announcement of 2a: to disseminate to the public b: to produce or release for distribution; specifically; c: to issue the work of (an author)

Publishing and copyrights are not the same! The moment a song is created and fixed in a tangible form (copied to CD etc), the song is considered ‘copyrighted’ and is protected by copyright law. The copyright owner is the creator (author) of its works (song). Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive rights to do and to authorize others to reproduce, distribute, record, perform and prepare new works based upon the copyrighted work (derivative work). Publication is defined by copyright law as ‘the distributon of copies of phonorecords of a work (song in this case) to the public by sale, or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending’ (see Merriam-Webster’s definition above). Thus a song is not considered published until there is a distribution of copies to the public by sale, rental, lease, lending, or other transfer of ownship. Creating a song, copying it to a CD and offering and/or distributing to the public for sale for the first time, is considered ‘publish’ when all these things occur. Publication does not occur because CD’s were pressed and created. There must be distrubution or an offering to distributue copies before the song can be considered published.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

US Copyright Office Experiences Processing Delays in Processing Applications

The Copyright Office is modernizing its operations by moving from a paper-based to a Web-based processing environment. This change will allow the Office to better meet the needs of its customers through more online services and faster processing times. However, the transition has caused a temporary backlog of paper applications. The time lag for receiving a registration certificate is currently up to 8 months. The Office is working diligently to improve the processing time and apologizes for this inconvenience. For full story click here

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What does a Copyright & Royalty Administrator Do?

People often ask me ‘What does a copyright & royalty administrator do?’  Before I get into what a copyright and royalty administrator does, I think it would be a good idea to provide some background where the term ‘administrator’ (which comes from the term ‘administration’) started.  In the music publishing industry ‘administration’ is a term that is associated with some of the duties that a music publisher perform on behalf of a songwriter/composer. A music publisher obtains songs from songwriters/composers and tries to find ways to earn money from their songs. They try to get a song recorded with a recording artist, placed in films, commercials, video games and more.  When someone wants to use their song, the music publisher will issue a license giving the person permission to use the song.  The license will contain terms of payment or royalties, when they are to paid, royalty rate and more.  Before the song is licensed however, the music publisher will make sure it is registered with the US Copyright Office.  Once the song is licensed, the music publisher would then go ahead and register the song with the performance rights society (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) so when the song is played on radio, or TV, in music halls etc. the song will earn performance royalties. Once the royalties come in; the music publisher will analyze the royalty statement for accuracy and if they find any error, they will contact the licensee to resolve the inaccuracy. The music publisher would then account to the writer/composer for their royalty share of the song based on their publishing agreement.  Usually when an writer/composer signs with a music publisher, the writer/composer also assigns his/her copyright (or a portion thereof) to the music publisher.  Some writers/composers however are able to retain 100% of their copyright and not assign or share their copyright with a music publisher. This kind of arrangement is considered an ‘administration deal’. The music publisher will still perform much of the same duties as above but without sharing in the copyright. The issuance of licenses, analyzing the royalty statements, registering the copyrights with the US copyright & the performance rights office, disbursing the royalty checks when they come in and more are considered the administration functions of a music publisher.  The person whom performs these duties are titled an ‘Administrator’.

Crystal Clear Music, Inc. provides copyright and royalty administration on behalf of our clients.  We do not share in the copyrights of our writers/composers. We guide our clients in understanding copyrights and royalties along with performing the necessary administrating tasks for the copyrights our clients own.  We provide copyright registration to the US copyright office and performance rights societies, royalty accounting, royalty audits, royalty collections, sample/music clearance, issue licenses and more.  Under our independent record label service, we ensure that all songs listed on an album are properly administered according to copyright law for sound recording, authors and publishers.  We register the sound recording copyrights with the US copyright office and Sound Exchange. We obtain licenses and provide sample clearance if needed.  We provide royalty accounting for artists, producers, licensees/songwriters according to their recording/licensed agreements.  We simply become in-house copyright and royalty departments on behalf of our clients.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Crystal Clear Music founder requested to participate at the 'Break Into the Music' conference

Crystal Clear Music founder has been requested to sit on the "Music Is My Business" panel at the Break Into the Music conference April 9, 2008 at North Carolina Central University. Break into the Music is a program dedicated to facilitating a direct relationship between driven college students and the music and media industry's elite companies. The goal is to promote the importance of a college education, while offering students the best advice and tools necessary to gain internship and employment opportunities in the extremely competitive media and entertainment worlds.  Break into the Music conference; co-founded by Christopher "Play" Martin, Grammy Award Winner- Producer 9th Wonder and Record Executive Sherise Malachi will feature four elements of experience for students to benefit from. Options for the day include, a career fair, engaging in forum workshops, a Q& A lecturer series given by a Media and Entertainment Executive and concluding with the “Rap, Rock & Roll” concert which will be sponsored by Capitol Records.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright

Taking the mystery out of copyright

was created by the Library of Congress for teachers and students that takes the mystery out copyrights. It is a great website for younger students to learn about creating and owning copyrights.

ASCAP Sues 29 Establishments

ASCAP has filed 29 separate copyright infringement lawsuits

against nightclubs, bars, restaurants in 22 states and D.C. The defendants have publicly performed the songs of the performing rights organization’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members without a license.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Family of Bob Marley Refuses to License Any of His Music

The family of Bob Marley refuses to license any of his music

for a biopic that the Weinstein Co. is prepping despite the fact that his widow, Rita Marley is its Executive Producer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Harry Fox Agency Reports Increasing Royalty Collections

Harry Fox Agency Reports Increasing Royalty Collections

The Harry Fox Agency is reporting $393.5 million in 2007 royalty collections, up nearly 4% from the previous year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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News, comments & tidbits on copyrights and royalties