by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec
Copyright Registration

If a portion of the copyright in the new composition is being transferred to the music publisher of the previously existing sampled composition (an occurrence which is the norm and not an exception to the rule), the parties will register the new composition in the Copyright Office of the United States via a registration which reflects the mutually agreed upon ownership percentages.

For example, if the ownership split is 60% to the publisher of the existing sampled composition and 40% to the publisher of the new material, such will be stated in the sample agreement.

If the publisher of the new material has already registered the new composition in its own name, an assignment will be prepared to transfer the appropriate share to the publisher whose composition was sampled.

The publisher of the sampled composition usually has the right to sign such an assignment on behalf of the sampling publisher as its attorney-in-fact if the sampling publisher does not do so within 10 to 20 days after request to do so by the music publisher of the composition sampled.

Administration of the New Composition

In many cases, each of the publishers will have the right throughout the world to administer and exploit their respective shares of the new composition as well as enter into license agreements for the new composition provided no such licenses are exclusive and no mechanical licenses are issued at less than the statutory mechanical rate (with reduced rates sometimes being permissible only for those types of sales for which music publishers customarily grant reduced rates to non-affiliated record companies).

The sampled publisher usually demands that there will be restrictions placed on certain agreed upon types of commercial exploitation of the new composition and will provide that its share of the new composition not be subject to or adversely affected by any controlled composition clause in the sampling writer/artist's or writer/producer's recording artist or producer's agreement with a record company. For example, the publisher and writer of the sampled compositions will many times receive a statutory mechanical rate for album and single sales even though the artist's or producer's controlled composition clause may provide for a 75% reduced rate.

In addition, synchronization licenses, advertising commercial licenses, and other such licenses may only be issued jointly by the sampled publisher and sampling publisher (with approval to be withheld in either party's sole discretion).

Under this common scenario, if a motion picture producer, television producer, or advertising agency wants to use the new composition in either a motion picture, television series, video game or commercial, they must negotiate with both the sampled publisher and sampling publisher for the right to use the new composition.

In addition, the sampled publisher and sampling publisher will agree to instruct all licensees that the licensee will remit each party's respective share of monies directly to that party and that a copy of the signed license will be sent to both the sampled publisher and the sampling publisher.

For example, if the negotiation of a motion picture license fee for the new composition results in a fee of $40,000 and the agreed upon money split is on a 50/50 basis, the film producer will send $20,000 directly to the sampled publisher and $20,000 directly to the sampling publisher.

© 2006 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec

This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Industry" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).

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