Answers To Your Questions About The Mechanical Licensing Collective
Since our last article about mechanical royalties from the U.S. we received a lot of questions about registering with MLC. Here are answers to your most burning questions.
- If you are the original composer and have not registered your works with a collecting society.
- If you distribute third party compositions that are not registered with a collecting society and you would like to take care of the reimbursement to the originators.
- If its a cover version of another song
- If your works are already registered with a collecting society
- If you have a publisher who takes care of it
- If you have already registered your works with MLC
Why Independent Songwriters Should Register The Copyright For Their Music
Please Note: This article discusses opinions on copyrighting your music and should not be considered legal advice. If youre unsure about how the copyright laws in your country will affect you, please contact a lawyer before proceeding.
When you submit a song for copyright youre simply proving the date of submission of your work. The fine folks of the copyright office dont sit around listening to every submission to see if theyve heard it before. That would be an impossible task. When you write or record your song, technically, youve created it and thus you own the copyright to it.
What Royalties Am I Owed As An Artist
If youre the recording artist on a song, there ARE royalties you can earn, but theyre collected and paid differently from publishing royalties. Like we covered above, artists in the USA are not entitled to royalties from terrestrial radio airplay, but satellite radio and Internet radio is entirely different.
If your song is played on Pandora or on a satellite radio station, this generates a different type of royalty for the usage and creation of the sound recording think of it as a digital performance royalty. This type of royalty is only owed to recording artists and sound-recording rights holders . And unlike the multitude of PROs in the U.S., theres only one game in town for artists to register and collect those royalties: Soundexchange.
Register your songs with them and let the Pandora cash start to flow!
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When To Use Form Sr
Use Form SR for registration of published or unpublished sound recordings, that is, for registration of the particular sounds or recorded performance.
Form SR must also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the underlying work . You may make a single registration only if the copyright claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the underlying work. In this case, the authorship statement in Space 2 should specify that the claim covers both works.
Form SR is also the appropriate form for registration of a multimedia kit that combines two or more kinds of authorship including a sound recording .
What Music Is Eligible For Copyright
Misconceptions abound about what can and can’t be registered for copyright protection when it comes to music. It’s sometimes difficult to separate the elements of music from each other. Here are some guidelines.
You cannot copyright:
- Song titles. As any search in your favorite music platform will reveal, many songs share the same or similar titles.
- Chord progressions. To copyright these on their own would be akin to a novelist trying to copyright the alphabet.
- Incomplete pieces. You can’t copyright a fragment of a piece of music. It needs to be a complete piece.
You can copyright:
- Lyrics. The lyrics to a song will be protected as part of the general copyright for a piece, but you can also copyright complete song lyrics on their own, even if they haven’t been set to music.
- Complete works. Songs, jingles, incidental music, symphonic piecesthese are just some of the many types of music that are eligible for copyright. It is the unique, original combination of melody, harmony, and rhythm in a given piece of music that is protected by copyright.
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What If Someone Wants To Record My Song
Thus far weve covered the use of your song in traditional, satellite and Internet radio airplay, but theres yet another way to exploit your copyright. Lets say your composition and sound recording is registered and your song is out there in the world, and someone hears it and falls in love. They happen to be a musician themselves and they want to record their own version of your song. Great! And they want to release a cover of your song legally. Even better!
The good news is this person has an easy avenue through which to obtain the rights to record their interpretation of your composition. Any original song that is commercially released is eligible to be licensed for the rate of 9.1 cents per copy. This is called a compulsory license, meaning that as long as this mystery person pays you that mechanical licensing fee , they have the legal right to record their interpretation, which is called a cover song in the business.
That may or may not be more good news, but whether you approve or disapprove of a death metal cover of your acoustic love ballad, as long as they pay the compulsory fee the artist is protected. The same laws that protect you from copyright infringement also protect artists creative vision, no matter how amazing or absurd. Its the circle of life via capitalism.
Can Bmi Get My Songs On The Radio
BMI conducts music showcases nationwide and offers a variety of professional development seminars, but we cannot get your songs placed on the radio. Publishers, labels, managers and other outside executives may help you find new outlets for your work, but as a performing right organization, BMIs focus is fair payment and copyright protection for our songwriters, composers and music publishers.
No, thats part of BMIs function. If your songs are registered with BMI and you are receiving radio play, then BMI will get that information.
For detailed information on our payment methodology, visit our Royalty Information section.
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Three Reasons Why Its Important To Register Your Copyright:
Its also important to note that the cost for registering with the Copyright Office can change. Cosynd automatically determines the correct federal filing fee. But for reference, you can see the current proposed changes to the copyright fees here.
Don’t Wait Any Longer Sell Your Music Today
If you have ever wondered how to get your song on iTunes and all other major music distribution services or how to promote your music online, there is no need to continue your search. SongCast makes music distribution easy, with a step-by-step process that any artist can master. Stop hesitating and wondering – setup your account today and start submitting your albums to the world’s most popular online music services. Before you know it, you can sell your music online and begin collecting royalties along with thousands of other artists and labels that use SongCast each and every day!
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What Is Music Copyright
Copyright signifies the ownership of intellectual property by a person or group.
Music copyright also grants certain exclusive rights to the owner, one of the most important being the right to earn money from that intellectual property. This is called exploiting your copyright. Well get into that more later.
Does Bmi Need A Copy Of My Song
No. BMI relies on the information you provide when you register your work and does not need an actual copy of your song.
Song registration is simple and can be done online with our online song registration program. BMI does not accept uploads of audio files as part of song registrations.
Registering your songs with BMI is absolutely free. Early registration of works is important if you dont register your works you wont get paid when theyre played.
For detailed information on our payment methodology, visit our Royalty Information section.
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How Do I Add A Device To My Amazon Prime Account
Open the Amazon Prime Video app or download it from your living room devices app store. Register your device by selecting sign in and start watching to enter your account information directly on your device or choose register on the Amazon website to get a 56 character code to enter in your account.
What If Someone Wants To Use My Actual Recording
Now, there are two more types of exploitation we havent talked about, and they both relate to someone who wants to use your music in their own song. If someone wants to use your sound recording in their own track, thats called a sample. Unlike licensing for a cover song, this is something you have control over as the recording artist, songwriter, or label because ALL samples, no matter how short or long, must be legally licensed.
The person seeking to use some portion of your recording in their own recording must contact you to ask permission. The rights holder can either approve or deny the use of your music in a sample. If youre an independent artist youll have control over your sound recording copyright, and if you approve of this use you can negotiate the fee the other party would need to pay to secure the right to use your recording. If you hold the rights to both the composition and the sound recording you can grant permission for the use of both.
If Youre Registering Your Music Copyright Directly With The Us Copyright Office By Yourself Youll Want To File:
- Form SR for a sound recording
Be sure to read all of the Copyright Offices circulars on the applications types first if your music is released, unreleased, or varied in authors there are different applications types that should be used .
What about if you want to register both the sound recording and the composition? See below.
According to copyright.gov, you can use ONE form to register both the sound recording AND composition, as long as the author and owner are exactly the same for all songs listed on the application and the release information is the same.
Form SR must also be used if you wish to make one registration for both the sound recording and the underlying work . You may make a single registration only if the copyright author and claimant is the same for both the sound recording and the underlying work.
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Use Alexa as Your Computer Speaker
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Perform A Search To Make Sure Your Mark Is Available
Your performing name, company name, or logo needs to be unique in order to qualify for trademark protection. This means that you are not going to be able to call yourself Drake, Jay-Z, or Taylor Swift.
You cant even put a slight spin on it like Drizzy, or Jay-P, or Tyler Swifty. Its not going to fly. Trademark law calls these types of spins as confusingly similar.
This is not allowed because it would confuse the public when they go to buy an album. Can you imagine how you would feel if you went to iTunes to get the new Drake album and you ended up mistakenly downloading an album from an unknown rapper named Drizzy?
You wouldnt be too happy. That is the gist of why trademark law exists.
So, the first step is to see what trademarks already exist so that you can choose something unique. A simple Internet search will give you some insight, but a more helpful way to know if to search the USPTO database.
This will reveal any registrations and pending applications. To do this, start by going to the USPTO Website.
From the homepage, click on Trademarks and then on the first link under Trademarks named Searching Trademarks.
For name searches, choose the first link Trademark Electronic Search System . FYI, below that is a link that allows you to search designs if you are doing a search for logos.
You will be presented with a few different options. I normally use the third option, which is called Word and/or Design Mark Search .
Protect Your Music From Plagiarism
In France, all original creative work is protected by copyright. The Acts of 11 March 1957 and 3 July 1985 mention the right of exclusive ownership of a work by its creator, the right on exploitation and the right to authorize or refuse use by a third party.
Articles L.111-1 and L.123-1 of the Intellectual Property Code specify that the author shall enjoy the music copyright during their lifetime. Upon their death, this right is transferred to their heirs for a period of 70 years thereafter. Music protection is therefore granted as soon as the work exists, but in the event of plagiarism, it is advisable to be able to prove ownership by more secure options.
Evidence recognized by courts
No bank card details required
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Beginning The Copyright Registration Process
If youre looking for the simplest way to register your copyright, get all your collaborator agreements in writing, and protect your songs, check out Cosynds special deal for CD Baby clients:
If you want to go the totally DIY route, the website for registering your copyright in the United States is . On this website, youll be able to print forms for mailing in the music you want to copyright, or you can submit your music for copyright online, which makes submitting even easier.
When it comes time to copyrighting your music, there are two forms you can use as a songwriter. They are Form SR and Form PA. Technically, there are three forms, if you consider the fact that theres also a short-form version of the PA form. But that offers the same protection as the PA form. SR stands for Sound Recording, while PA stands for Performing Arts. So how do you know which one to use? The following is from the Copyright Offices website and will answer that for you:
Get Your Music Ready For Licensing
1) Choose three to five tracks from your catalog. Even if youre not 100% confident in your tracks, submit them anyway! Especially as a songwriter, being a perfectionist can really hold you back. I know many musicians who work and rework and never actually release their music. With music licensing, youll never know what will catch unless you try.
Above all, think of this as a learning experience. Create the best quality songs you can with the tools and skills you have, submit them for opportunities, and learn from your experiences.
Before you submit your songs for any licensing opportunity you want to make sure everything is cleared, copyright protected, and registered with a PRO.
2) Export MP3 and WAV files. Quality is key in music licensing, and the absolute last thing you want is to have the perfect song for a placement only to get turned down because the audio quality isnt up to industry standard. Always export high quality MP3s and WAV files .
Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to audio quality:
- 24 bit is better than 16 bit
- 320 kbps is better than 256 kbps, which is better than 128 kbps
- WAV and AIFF are better than MP3
- 48 kHz is preferable to 44 kHz for any music that will be used on video
3) Input metadataMetadata is the information that will allow libraries, publishers, and supervisors to find and contact you should they want to use your song.
At the very least have the following information in your metadata:
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What Do I Do If My Song Is Being Played On Radio Tv Or Internet
First of all, congratulations! Now, you need to make sure your work is registered. As soon as a song is published and/or recorded, it should be registered with and reported to BMI. BMIs ability to license and monitor the performances of a composition is dependent upon the accuracy and timeliness of this reported information. Without it, you may miss out on royalties.
Typically, a publisher will register songs for songwriters. Early registration of works will help prevent lost royalties, so make sure your songs are registered.