Many amateur composers fall victim to a badly drafted licensing agreement that totally stomps on their right over their royalties and possible million dollar career. This scenario does not only affect songwriters but also musical composers for movies and televisions. They write songs and produce music. The record company or the movie and television company just buys the composer’s rights over the song or the music and have the latter sign a waiver of their copyright.
Young struggling music artists, for example, are often forced to sign record contracts that are not favorable to their future career. It is understandable that they feel compelled to sign such contracts. Their careers at that early stage is in their infancy. The problem only arises if and when they meet with some success. Such early stage contracts often lay claim to future, post success and celebrity, records. Musicians often either don’t understand or merely gloss over these provisions. The consequence, however, can result is millions in lost revenues to the artists years after these contracts are signed.
Thus, it is important for amateur songwriters and composers to draft a licensing agreement to protect their future million dollar career. In order to make the agreement valid and good, the following stipulations must be inserted:
1. There must be a copyright protection over derivative works.
Some music, film and television companies give royalties to the owner of the music but limited only to the particular projects. Such as, if it is a music album, the composer will only receive his royalty depending on the sale of the music album. However, the music, film and television companies holds the right to sell the music for other derivative works, e.g., using the song as a musical score.
If the composer will have no right over the derivative use of his creation, the music or film company can make millions even when the sales of the music album have already declined. Take for example the song, “Feels like home” or “Somewhere over the rainbow”, it has been used in countless movies and soap operas all over the world. Every time these songs are used, the production company pays the record label royalties. Thus, if the composer will have a right over the derivative use of his creation, he will have additional potential earnings. Also, the composer or the songwriter will be protected from abusive record companies.
2. There must be a protection from unauthorized use.
Many composers lose a lot of potential income due to music piracy and unauthorized music downloading internet sites because most of the royalties are based on the sales of the album. Thus, for composers, they should include in their agreement stipulations that protect them from the unauthorized use of their music. The stipulation should require the licensee, or the record company to compensate him an additional amount for their failure to protect his creation from unauthorized use.