The Source: Publishers not partying on New Years Day 2013....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Publishers not partying on New Years Day 2013....

In The Copyright Act Law of 1976 there were several amendments that helped to change the copyright world forever, and this is especially important for the music industry.

While a book could be written about such law (trust me, I’ve had to write some incredibly lengthy papers on it) I’m going to focus on Termination Rights here.

You see when a songwriter makes a publishing deal it is common that for a specific period of time any and all songs written by that songwriter now belong to the publisher. The Publisher is the legal Copyright Owner. The ‘Bundle of Rights’ that are transferred from the writer (author) to the publisher include:
1. Right to reproduce the work
2. Right to distribute copies of the work
3. Right to perform the work publicly
4. Right to make a derivative work
5. Right to display the work publicly

So while publishing deals are often split 50/50 (50% profits to the publisher and 50% to the writer) the writer has legally transferred all their Copyright Owning rights over to the publisher.

So, now that you know the basics, where do Termination Rights come in?

In the Copyright Act of 1976, Termination Rights gave the original author of a work a 1 time right to revert the copyright owning rights back. This reversion can happen 35 years after the original transfer and a written notice must be sent to the publisher no later than 2 years before the 35 year limit and no sooner than 10 years from such limit.

This law went to affect in 1978 and when you add 35 years to that what do you get?


Believe me when I say the notices have been sent and the music industry is going to see major change in 2013!
So what does this mean for publishing deals?
What does this mean for record deals?

Despite the “Life of the author + 70 years” length of Copyright, termination rights give authors the ability to shorten this to a 35 year duration!!!

Does that mean all publishing deals should be considered 35 years in length???
Are all writers going to exercise this right to reversion?? (hell yeah they are)

What are your thoughts?

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