These are the key issues that should be addressed and clarified. The calculations of your royalty splits will also be dependant on whether your royalties are calculated on an “at source” or “receipts” basis. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. Expenses should be reimbursed. Similar “warranties” and “indemnification” clauses exist in the recording agreements between the artist and the record company. The average fee is between 10 and 20 percent. Sometimes a writer can place limitations on the right to use his or her name and likeness (right of publicity). What is this step? The “scope” clause specifies which songs are part of the publishing deal by expressly defining “composition” in a certain manner. You and your manager do not operate out of pocket. He earned a J.D. For example, an advance may be based immediately upon signing the publishing agreement (“on execution”). from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. (11) Reversion: Under US Copyright laws, the length of time a music publisher is allowed to retain ownership of and/or administrative rights to the post-1978 copyrights acquired during the duration of the publishing agreement is thirty-five years. For example, a writer may insist that his songs not be used commercially in conjunction with tobacco or alcohol companies, feminine hygiene products, etc. A reversion clause may be negotiated where the publisher fails to pay the royalties properly or on a timely basis. Advances may be contingent or automatic. A writer can sometimes also limit the publisher’s right to settle copyright infringement or other lawsuits against the writer without the writer’s consent. (5) Delivery: In return for the royalty advance , the song writer must “deliver” a certain amount of musical compositions during the term. (13) Audit:Typically, publishers send royalty payments semi-annually (twice a year) at six-month intervals, usually within 45 days after the end of each six-month period. Discussion of 13 points to consider in negotiating a music publishing agreement. This doesn’t influence our content. Alteratively, an advance may be paid when a single song or album reaches certain sales or chart positions. Up until this point, you have been doing fine promoting and managing your own career. There are usually restrictions imposed in audits clauses as to the times and frequency of audits. These are the key issues that should be addressed and clarified. (1) Term: The “term” is the length of the agreement. Find the right lawyer for your legal issue. (6) Ownership: The ownership of the copyright is perhaps one of the most important terms in a publishing deal. Insist on one. $25,000. This means if the music publisher pays based on a calendar year, the writer should be paid in about mid-August and mid-February. You should not agree to fees any higher than this. Any expenses that need to be paid will be taken out of your earnings – not your pocket. There is usually an “administration” fee charged by the administrator/publisher. Or, a writer may not want any translations, adaptations or arrangements of the songs without prior approval. Please verify any direct legal advice or rate information with your attorney, insurance company, or agent, respectively. Thus, the term, “reversion.” The provision that specifies the writer’s right to regain the copyrights is called a “reversion clause.” Sometimes a writer can negotiate a reversion clause that allows the copyright to revert sooner than under normal circumstances. 2 Comments. Quotes and offers are not binding, nor a guarantee of coverage. Most of the various types of music publishing contracts contain similar basic paragraphs in common cornering the advance, royalty payments, copyright ownership, and warranties and representations. For example, the contract year term in a staff writer deal is usually one year with a certain number of options. Insist on one. All legal content, insurance rates, products, and services are presented without warranty and guarantee. To protect the writer, there should be an audit clause which allows the writer (or his/her financial representatives, such as a CPA, accountant, and/or lawyer) to examine and inspect the music publisher’s royalty statements and books at certain times to make sure royalty payments are accurate. (8) Administration: In exchange for giving you an advance against future royalties, the music publisher will be conveyed the writer’s “administrative rights.” This clause grants the music publisher the right to control and exploit your composition. Publishers do this by granting mechanical licenses, synchronization licenses, and print rights. With the right counsel and bargaining power, you should be able to land better deals. What this means is that the contract does not have to have complicated legal jargon. Nothing on constitutes legal advice and all content is provided for informational purposes only. Market forces also often drive up the level of advances. ). Many of their tasks will extend beyond what is detailed in the contract. (5) Delivery: In return for the royalty advance , the song writer must “deliver” a certain amount of musical compositions during the term. Free Advice® is a unit of 360 Quote LLC providing millions of consumers with outstanding legal and insurance information and advice – for free – since 1995. You will need to outline what types of expenses are reimbursable. Where substantial advances are involved and the number of compositions is specified in the term, a music publisher may often insist that the compositions be released on a record in the US by a “major” record label.

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