Royalty Agreements

A significant amount of income for entertainers can be acquired in the form of profits from a royalty agreement. The complex nature of royalty agreements is best addressed by an entertainment lawyer. An experienced entertainment lawyer can take care of all your royalty agreements with ease.

The first step to a royalty agreement begins when a songwriter pens their original piece. From being produced in tangible form, the artist receives a copyright. The writer then may wish have their song exposed and published by a recording company. The songwriter will assign a copyright to a publisher who will market and promote the material. Those that wish to use the copyrighted material will then begin the process of establishing royalty agreements and be issued a license. The proceeds from the sales and use of the copyrighted material by anyone will then be required to pay royalties to the publisher which represents the writer selected.

Types or royalties a songwriter may be entitled to include:

  • Print rights such as sheet music and lyrics
  • Performance royalties
  • Mechanical, or physical production, royalties
  • Synchronization royalties
  • Royalties paid in compliance with the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992
  • Publishing

The royalty rate an artist may negotiate proves very flexible and heavily based on the promise and clout of the songwriter. For example, the current statutory mechanical royalty rate set by U.S. Congress is $.08 for songs shorter than five minutes and for each additional minute over five the rate increases $.0155 per minute. For example, an eight minute song being played will be paid at the statutory rate $0.124 per use of the song, and one million uses of this record would result in a hypothetical royalty amount at the statutory rate of $124,000. This rate, however, is negotiable, and many other negotiations and factors play into the actual amounts of royalties which will be actually received include stature in the industry, prior and present success, and negotiating ability. With the aid of a competent entertainment lawyer, an artist or songwriter can ensure the royalty agreement that they agree to is in their best interest.

Are you in the midst of negotiating royalty agreements? An experienced entertainment lawyer will help you gain the royalty agreement which your entertainment efforts deserve today!

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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