Join Richard Stim for an in-depth discussion in this video Who owns a song?, part of Music Law: Copyrighting a Song.
- The songwriter is the initial owner…of the song copyright.…As copyright owner, the songwriter can sell,…license or give the copyright to someone else.…Copyright owners can even use song copyrights…to secure loans.…That is, as a form of collateral.…If a song copyright owner dies and does not leave…a will, then state laws kick in, known as intestate rules,…and the state decides who inherits the song,…usually a spouse, child or other relative.…
If a copyright is bequeathed to several people,…they become co-owners and can sell…or otherwise dispose of their individual shares.…Many song copyrights are bought and sold,…sometimes as investments.…Typically, the company doing the buying…is a music publisher, a business that exploits…song copyrights, collects revenue…and takes care of the paperwork.…A music publisher acquires ownership…of a song copyright by signing a music publishing agreement…with the songwriter.…
Typically, the music publishing agreement…provides for the songwriter to receive income,…usually somewhere between 60 to 75% of revenue…
Rich starts by defining what a song copyright and a sound recording copyright are—and how they're different. He defines who owns a song, and how to sort out contributions from multiple writers of the same song. Then he explains how to get a copyright using the U.S. Copyright Office's online application process. The course wraps up by discussing possible objections that copyright examiners may have, as well as what to do to maintain your copyright and correct any errors that crop up.
DISCLAIMER: This course is taught by an attorney (or other instructor) and addresses US law concepts that may not apply in all countries. Neither LinkedIn (including Lynda.com) nor the instructor represents you and they are not giving legal advice. The information conveyed through this course is akin to a college or law school course; it is not intended to give legal advice, but instead to communicate information to help viewers understand the basics of the topic presented. The views (and legal interpretations) presented in this course do not necessarily represent the views of LinkedIn or Lynda.com.
- What is a song copyright?
- Who owns a song?
- Evaluating cowriters and their contributions
- Registering a song copyright
- Maintaining a copyright registration