Licensing Notes from Leisa Korn for 5-14-2012: Entitlement Part 2

Last month as we were all beginning to enjoy the beauty that Spring provides, I jumped on my soapbox and tackled the topic of entitlement. I received several notes confirming the perils of this behavior along with a few humorous examples of other people’s experiences with the entitlement generation. And just as I was getting over my righteous indignation, I received a contract request with the following language inserted and I had to build a bigger box…

“Licensor hereby assigns in full a 100% share of the publishing rights and all publishing income to Producer resulting only from the public performance of the Compositions in the Infomercial, Production, and Advertising, if any. In order to accomplish the foregoing assignment, Licensor reserves the right to re-title the applicable Musical Works in the cue sheets for the Infomercial, Production and Advertising, and maintain 100% of the copyright of the re-titled Musical Works.”

This is not exactly a trend I want to see continue! Since you’re reading this, you already know the responsibilities of a music publisher so I won’t go into detail here except to say that we hire and pay the composer for a track. We master, edit, digitize, market and license the track. The Producer selects the music and inserts it into the program. We receive a competitive synchronization fee (this is production music, not commercial mind you) The composer receives their share of performance income and the publisher receives theirs…both of which are slowly dwindling as performing rights organizations adapt to changes in the market.

So why is the Producer entitled to the publisher’s share of performance income? This is how publishers traditionally earn a living. Publishers do not ask for a share of the revenue earned as a direct result of a catchy musical theme sticking in people’s heads driving them to buy a product! Once again, the creators of a musical work, the copyright owners who have poured their heart and soul into the creation and promotion of their music are and justly should be the rightful recipients of performance income.

Time to turn my soapbox over and fill it with flowers!

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