Assign copyright in music

About this business activity

When a musician wants to sign a publishing or record deal, they need to assign copyright of their music to that company. This lets the company exploit the music commercially.

Publishing Deal For Songwriter (Publishing Agreement)

A music publishing agreement is a contract in which a songwriter assigns the copyright of their songs to a publisher. The publisher is then responsible for exploiting the songs and collecting the income from licensing, and then sharing that income with the songwriter. The agreement includes a minimum commitment from the songwriter, expressed as a proportion of songs on commercially released albums, and the contract lasts for an initial term with the option to extend the contract for additional periods.

What to watch out for

  • The songwriter assigns the copyright in their songs to the publisher for a limited period
  • The publisher is not absolutely obligated to exploit the songs, but is expected to do so
  • The agreement provides for a minimum commitment from the writer in terms of the proportion of songs contained on commercially released albums
  • The agreement runs for an initial term followed by optional extension periods, each with its own minimum commitment
  • Contract template sketch

    Relevant Contract Types

    πŸ“ƒ Music publishing agreement

    A music publishing agreement is a contract between a songwriter and a music publisher. The songwriter agrees to give the publisher the exclusive right to publish and exploit their songs. The publisher agrees to promote and exploit the songs, and to pay the songwriter a percentage of the revenues generated.

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