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  • mikeymo1741
    replied
    Here's a good explanation of how songwriter royalties work. When your eyes stop bleeding, you've got it!

    Leave a comment:


  • yod1948
    replied
    BMI doesn't charge anything to join as a songwriter. I think ASCAP is about $30-40 but it seems like they represent songwriters a little better from what I'm told by my friends who are with them.

    But, yea, as Mikey pointed out your chances of making anything are small until you have a major hit. Christian music is usually broadcast on non-profit stations which pay very, very, very little in royalties in the USA; about a tenth of what it might get on a commercial station (per play)

    But I expect foreign markets will continue to grow as the USA loses prominence in the current world scenario, especially Brazil, S Africa, and Europe.

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  • mikeymo1741
    replied
    A “lyric reprint” license is required by Federal copyright law to compensate the songwriter(s) and publisher(s) for using their product. CCLI is only about collecting royalties for lyric reprints of intellectual property being used in multiple churches. I doubt they would even accept you as a member if your song is only being used at one church.
    CCLI will take anyone who pays the fee. But even they will tell you it's not worth it unless your songs are being used at multiple churches. And really, that means a lot of churches. CCLI doesn't compensate for "use" in church, it compensates for "copies." So if my church want to do a song, I report one projection master and one or two charts. If I reuse everything, I never report it again, no matter how many times we use it.

    Unless your song is commercially successful, most worship songs will not be subject to compensation for live performances due to the religious service exception.

    It's really a cost/benefit thing. By the time you spend a couple of hundred bucks registering with various organizations, you'd have to have thousands of copies sold or hundreds of non-exempt performances to break even. If you think that's going to happen, go for it.

    As Yod pointed out, the "poor man's copyright" is pretty useless. But registering a song with just one agency is sufficient to fix the copyright. So, you pick where you think it will do you the most good.

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  • yod1948
    replied
    That isn't any better than having your mom testify about the date you wrote a song. In other words, it might establish that you are indeed the writer of a song by establishing the date, but you won't be able to sue for punitive damages if someone took your song.

    You could sue for exactly what they might have made from it but you can't sue for the potential loss of income or anything else.

    If you are looking for the cheapest way to copyright your music, you could make a compilation of every song and call it, "The Works of Me". Then send it to the Library of Congress with the proper forms and $40.

    To be completely legal, you would have to always play all of those songs and in that order, but there is a way to correct & clarify that. After you have received notice of acceptance, you file the "clarification" form. (Can't remember the exact number/name of that at the moment) and for another $40 you have copyrighted every song.
    Last edited by yod1948; 09-22-2010, 09:47 AM.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Quick way to copyright

    As I've written songs, I came across someone who told me that a good way to protect the copyright was to mail several copies of the song to myself. Just leave the envelope sealed once it arrived. That way you have a post marked, sealed envelope of the song should a problem ever arrive. That's exactly what I've done.

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  • yod1948
    replied
    Originally posted by mikeymo1741 View Post
    Those are all PRO's (Performance Rights Organizations) They do nothing for songwriters, they protect the royalties of artists' performances.

    The organization that would help you is CCLI for church use. For mechanical rights, you need to go to an agency like Harry Fox or Music Services, but it's usually better to publish your own music unless people start requesting to use your music a lot.
    Though I have a lot of music being played in hundreds of congregations, I've never gotten a penny from CCLI because the publisher hasn't been diligent about record-keeping (at best). CCLI won't talk with me about that, btw, because I'm not listed as the publishing administrator though I own half the publishing rights.

    I have gotten paid by BMI for broadcast airplay and foreign live-performance (churches) though. Most people I know are using ASCAP and I've been wanting to switch since the mid-90s and just never got around to it.

    PROs help songwriters and publishers collect from broadcasters who use their music and artists/venues who perform them live. Even CCLI says that you should join a PRO.

    A “lyric reprint” license is required by Federal copyright law to compensate the songwriter(s) and publisher(s) for using their product. CCLI is only about collecting royalties for lyric reprints of intellectual property being used in multiple churches. I doubt they would even accept you as a member if your song is only being used at one church.

    They can issue blanket licenses to churches so they won't have to chase you down for permission to reproduce your lyrics. They also are supposed to monitor what songs are being used by churches and issue payment to the publisher, who is supposed to pay the songwriter.

    If anyone (including a church) wants to make a recording that will be distributed (free or commercially), it's a different issue. If you think that one song on your church's CD is all you will ever do, and you are happy to give them permission for that right, then none of this is of much account.

    But if you think that song would ever to be recorded by someone other than your home church...or broadcast on a radio station or television....or performed publicly in a foreign country, you should join a PRO first without neglecting to join CCLI also.
    Last edited by yod1948; 09-22-2010, 09:50 AM.

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  • mikeymo1741
    replied
    You should probably also look into joining one of the licensing societies (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc) if you think that songwriting is something you'll continue doing. It doesn't cost anything...
    Those are all PRO's (Performance Rights Organizations) They do nothing for songwriters, they protect the royalties of artists' performances.

    The organization that would help you is CCLI for church use. For mechanical rights, you need to go to an agency like Harry Fox or Music Services, but it's usually better to publish your own music unless people start requesting to use your music a lot.

    Leave a comment:


  • yod1948
    replied
    Originally posted by bbrunskill View Post
    give the church written permission to use the song on said CD.
    .


    yea, maybe that is contract enough?



    You don't have to list yourself as a publishing company if you own all of your publishing, but the church may not understand that. Some churches might think that their CCLI license covers it. It doesn't.

    At the very least, it would be good to write a letter (keep a copy) that gives them the "non-exclusive rights" to record (my song) and then notate it on every copy, written or recorded, from this time forward with this legalese:

    SONG TITLE
    by (my name)
    copyright (whatever year you wrote it)
    administered by (my name)


    I'd probably get 2 copies of that letter signed as a publishing agreement just to be legally covered. That doesn't guarantee you'll ever get paid anything but it does state what was agreed to. :-(


    You should probably also look into joining one of the licensing societies (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc) if you think that songwriting is something you'll continue doing. It doesn't cost anything...


    I pray the Kingdom will prosper through you!
    Last edited by yod1948; 09-21-2010, 12:32 AM.

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  • bbrunskill
    replied
    Originally posted by worshiptheKing View Post
    Not worried so much about the copyright as much as maybe there being less interest in a future cd?
    I really think (not trying to be a dissenter) that there won't be a huge interest anyway - the worship music market is very, very flooded. I have no issues with your church making a CD, but making it as a FUNDRAISER seems a little naive to me. Unless it is totally DIY, and costing nothing to make.

    In you place, I would copyright my songs, and give the church written permission to use the on said CD.

    Don't turn down an opportunity to have your songs heard.

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  • worshiptheKing
    replied
    Thanks y'all! Good advice as usual.

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  • tlhartsfield
    replied
    Just another point to ponder. You might want to have a document drafted stating that you do, in fact, own the copyright to your own songs. If they were written as part of your duties for your congregation, it can be legally argued that it's not your intellectual property, and therefore any re-purpose or potential profit from them would be at the church's discretion. Not yours. The same could also be said for pastors who publish their sermons.

    I know... it sounds paranoid, and of course YOUR church would NEVER do that.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'd jump on it. Do what you can to keep the material protected, and go full steam ahead. Chris Tomlin is still doing "How Great is Our God" and it is all the more powerful now. Don't worry about it.

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  • yod1948
    replied
    You want anyone who likes your songs to record them. Period.

    Your song was copyrighted the moment you put in a fixed form with lyrics and music. It wouldn't hurt to have that legally documented with the Library of Congress.

    If you don't give away any of the publishing, you're church will be paying you royalties on every unit sold AND you will always have the option to record them at a later if you get the funds/time.

    The best possibility is that several people will record your songs. Let them.
    Last edited by yod1948; 09-17-2010, 04:31 PM.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Copyright Registration - Legal cover

    For peace of mind, IMO you should -

    - Get those songs registered with the Copyright Office. I think if you do this online at U.S. Copyright Office it costs $35 per song. This provides legal protection should you get into a dispute with, say, someone who hears a demo or the church CD and commercially records the songs as their own. Hard to believe, but this happens even with christian music - happened to me.

    - Get the church to sign an agreement with you about your songs on their CD. The first recording of a song is by permission only, with your or your publisher setting the terms. Subsequent recordings can be made with mechanical licenses, without your express permission. See www.harryfox.com more more details.

    - It may be worthwhile to set up a Copyright Owner account with CCLI.com - costs $50, and tracks usage of your songs by other churches...
    Last edited by betnich; 09-17-2010, 02:36 PM.

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  • MarkSnyder
    replied
    Jump on the opportunity to get your songs recorded and the platform for them expanded. This opportunity is a good one I would say. At the same time, get the recordings on the internet, monetize via iTunes, etc. What you do as an artist later can still use them. Plus I bet more inspiration blessings will come, and good songs too, pleasing to the Lord and a blessing to His body!

    Sent from my Milestone using Tapatalk

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