Line in the sand with music publishing myths

Music Publishing Myths – Reality Checks for Writers Pt 1 of 2

April 20th, 2015 Posted by Music Publishing No Comment yet

Music Publishing Myths – Reality Checks for Writers Pt 1 of 2
Paula Savastano and Loren Weisman discussing Music Publishing Myths in Vero Beach

The world of music publishing is filled with rumors, half truths, lies and fallacies. It’s a confusing world that can seem intimidating at times, but with the right knowledge from the right sources, you can distinguish music publishing myths from the truths and make the best choices for your music and your career.

This is a two part blog from Paula Savastano from SSA Music Publishing and Loren Weisman. The first five are below and the next five will be posted next week. Here are the first five:

Music Publishing Myths. The first five of a series of ten

10: You must register a work with the copyright office in order to be protected by copyright laws.

This is not true. Once a song is fixed (recorded or written down) it is theoretically protected by the US Copyright laws. However, if you do have a situation of infringement, you can only pursue legal action once a copyright has been registered. In the event where 2 copyrights are registered for the same work, the first one registered will be the one considered to be the actual copyright.

The burden of proof then falls upon another person claiming rights to that copyright.

9: If I send a work to myself via US Postal Service and do not open the package, it is considered protected by copyright law.

This is what is known as the ‘Poor Man’s Copyright’ and it is another one of the music publishing myths. Although it provides a level of proof as to when a work was written and fixed, it is not a way to protect you in the event of an infringement. When states governed copyright law (pre-1909 copyright act), something sent via US mail was considered governed by federal law, and therefore the copyright of a work would be protected via US laws versus less strenuous and protective state laws.

Once the US Copyright Law of 1909 was written, the US Federal Courts governed copyright, nullifying the need for this practice.

Music Publishing Myths. #8 – ASCAP BMI SESAC are not Publishers

Music Publishing Myths # 8…ASCAP BMI SESAC are publishers. If I affiliate with one of them, they are my publisher.

ASCAP BMI SESAC are performing rights organizations, not publishers. They do not publisher music, but are service providers created to pay for songs when publically performed. As a member or affiliate, the organization will track and collect for performances of your music on radio, television, bars, restaurants, stores, live venues, and other places where music can be broadcast to the public.

The PRO collects from licensed venues, and then pays the writer and publisher when their songs are performed or broadcast by these venues.

7: I can’t collect my publisher shares from the PROs unless I am represented by a publisher.

ASCAP BMI SESAC will pay the publisher shares of a song back to the writer(s) provided that none of the writers are represented by a publisher. There is a place to claim the rights on the registration forms for each society. However, if 1 writer is represented by a publisher, then all writers must have a publishing entity collect for them.

A writer can create their own entity as a d/b/a or sole proprietorship through the PRO in which they are affiliated, and collect their publisher shares that way as well.

6: If I register my songs with a PRO they are considered registered with the copyright office.

PROs do not copyright your music. In order for your songs to be registered with the US Copyright Office, you must file a registration with them directly.

Music Publishing Myths. Next Five, Next Week

Protect yourself with the right information and avoid the wrong rumors that can hurt you and your music. Next week, the next five will be posted. In the meantime, get your house in order, get your copyrights organized and make sure that your publishing is correctly in place.
SSAMP crashes like a wave about music publishing myths.

Music Publishing Myths – Reality Checks for Writers Pt 1 of 2
Senior Branding Strategist and Partner for Create Wealth Communities, Loren Weisman aligns, defines and designs individualized branding, marketing & content planning for start-up and established businesses.
Create Wealth Communities LLC
“Educate, Build, Protect, Then Profit.”
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Music Publishing Myths – Reality Checks for Writers Pt 1 of 2

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