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  #1  
Old 12-15-2019, 08:19 PM
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Default Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing company?

O.K., here's another one for you all. Howcomzit you have to re-file your copyright registration forms in your own publishing company's name if you, as a "self-published" artist [e.g. you don't have a deal with a "real" third party publishing company], join ASCAP as a publisher.

It seems that, if you don't join as a publisher as well as a writer, ASCAP is going to be withholding 50% of your performance royalties since that 50% is seen as the publishing portion of the money.

Its worth noting that BMI will just give you the publishing income anyway if you are a writer without a publishing company. They do not require that you join as a publisher also. But if you do join as a publisher, then they have the same requirement that you re-register / transfer all your song copyrights to the publishing company. ASCAP does, which is no big deal, I guess.

Anyhow, I do not understand why both ASCAP and BMI apparently require you to assign all of your copyright registrations to the vanity publishing company that you create to join their organization with.

Anybody? I've had lousy luck getting any kind of cogent answer to this question elsewhere.


Here is a link, btw, to a blog by someone named Bobby Borg, where the situation I am talking about is described. The part about re-registering all your songs in your publishing company's name is toward the end of the page.https://www.bobbyborg.com/advice/art...shing-company/



Here is a link to the BMI page describing the same thing [about transferring / re-registering your copyrights. Again, its toward the bottom of the page https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/how_t...ishing_company



And here is the Songtrust page describing the same thing. It's number 3 on the page. Of course they end with their "and then hire us to be your administrator [so we can snatch 15% of that U.S. publishing]" spiel. : ) https://blog.songtrust.com/publishin...ishing-company



Thanks.

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Last edited by mightyduck; 12-15-2019 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

The entire industry has always been structured for separate music publishers. Songwriters ought to be informed they need to set up a publishing company before they register their copyrights.

Unfortunately, finding information about how to actually get paid is very hard to find on the internet. I set up a forum 15 years ago addressing this:https://web.archive.org/web/20040502...ndex.php/f/12/

The current version is: http://www.recpit.net/ It isn't very active but could be!
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The entire industry has always been structured for separate music publishers. Songwriters ought to be informed they need to set up a publishing company before they register their copyrights.

Unfortunately, finding information about how to actually get paid is very hard to find on the internet. I set up a forum 15 years ago addressing this:https://web.archive.org/web/20040502...ndex.php/f/12/

The current version is: http://www.recpit.net/ It isn't very active but could be!
Thanks, Bob. But that doesn't speak to the question. I appreciate the link to the forum, though.

Most of us understand the way performance royalties are divided 50/50 writer / publisher. Many people have a separate publisher who receives that. But not all publishers are given the whole 50%.

I would respectfully disagree with the idea that "Songwriters ought to be informed they need to set up a publishing company before they register their copyrights". Many songwriters don't need their own publishing company as they are signed to a deal with another one. Any many of those third-party publishing companies, although they are members of PROs for the purpose of collection of royalties, do not get the writer's copyrights assigned to them lock, stock, and barrel, or even at all in some cases. Also, BMI will pay you your publishing even if you don't have a publishing company set up. ASCAP wants the publishing company though.

I'm not disagreeing with you that a publishing company is a good idea, btw.

I looked at the forum you set up, btw, and did not see anything addressing this question, which I guess is a little esoteric.

I did reach out to ASCAP and BMI on this, and got a little info. ASCAP says they do not really have that as a "requirement". I haven't been able to get anyone from BMI on the phone who could answer. Neither of them are especially available to deal with by phone, as I'm sure you are aware.

If you have any idea what the rationale for the policy is, let me know. I am interested to see if it creates advantage or disadvantage, or neither.


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Old 12-17-2019, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

Of course it's not a requirement but you are throwing away half of your performance royalties if you don't. It doesn't cost anything to set up a publishing company and no business license is required.
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

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Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Of course it's not a requirement but you are throwing away half of your performance royalties if you don't. It doesn't cost anything to set up a publishing company and no business license is required.
Yeah, I understand all that, although I guess its worth mentioning that BMI will give you your publishing half anyway, even if you don't set up a publishing company. ASCAP won't, though. I don't know about SESAC.

But my question was about something else, and maybe I'm not getting it across good or something.

There is a recommendation or requirement [depending on who you ask, apparently] that, when you set up your "self" publishing company and join the PRO with it, if you have already registered your works with the copyright office in your own name, that you go and transfer the copyrights out of your name and into the publishing company's name. I do not see why that would be required or recommended. Do you have any idea? One site says something about "an added layer of protection", or some vague b.s. like that. I dunno. What do you think?

And they seem to be talking about the entire copyrigt being transferred, not just the publishing half. I don't get it. Check out those links I posted, if you get a minute, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

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Old 12-17-2019, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

The ASCAP board is half songwriters and half publishers. The BMI board is all broadcast executives.
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Old 12-18-2019, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

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Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The ASCAP board is half songwriters and half publishers. The BMI board is all broadcast executives.
Yup. That probably goes to why ASCAP requires a publishing company and BMI doesn't.

Still can't figure the rationale behind transferring all of one's previously registered copyrights to one's own sole-proprietorship publishing company. Any idea? Something about "an added layer of protection" ??????

I did get BMI on the phone also, and they kind of said the same thing as ASCAP [e.g. "We don't really require that, we just go by how the songs are registered", or something like that]. But there are a bunch of "pundits" saying it "needs" to be done, and I would like to know what the heck they are getting at.

Don't you have to have a least some portion of copyright ownership to claim, or be entitled to, royalties from a PRO? Would ASCAP have to pay you the writer's share if you had transferred 100% of your copyright to another entity?


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Old 12-18-2019, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

The industry has been structured that way since the beginning of ASCAP, the very first performance royalty collection agency. Writers wanted separate payment and publishers wanted a single collector. ASCAP is a membership organization (aka a union) while the others in the US are private corporations. Publishers do all of the record promotion outside of North America. A lot of people don't realize that we'd have never even heard of the Beatles had their manager not wrangled a co-publishing deal out of Dick James Music. Motown's income from Europe went up by something like five times after striking a similar deal with Carlin Music in London. That income exceed the American by quite a bit.
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Old 12-19-2019, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

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Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The industry has been structured that way since the beginning of ASCAP, the very first performance royalty collection agency. Writers wanted separate payment and publishers wanted a single collector. ASCAP is a membership organization (aka a union) while the others in the US are private corporations. Publishers do all of the record promotion outside of North America. A lot of people don't realize that we'd have never even heard of the Beatles had their manager not wrangled a co-publishing deal out of Dick James Music. Motown's income from Europe went up by something like five times after striking a similar deal with Carlin Music in London. That income exceed the American by quite a bit.
Great history, Bob. But, again, not a lot to do with the question. You are talking about big publishing companies that are working a catalog. Meanwhile, I am wondering why it would be recommended or required to assign one's preexisting copyrights, in their entirety, to a self-owned "vanity publishing company" that has been established just to facilitate collection by the songwriter of the publisher half of performance royalties.

Does anyone have any thoughts on that question?


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Old 12-19-2019, 03:52 AM
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Default Re: Why does ASCAP require you to re-register copyright to a vanity publshing compan

I am not a lawyer, and this should not be considered legal advice... but as I understand it the idea of assigning your IP to the publishing company vs. yourself is to protect you personally from legal trouble if it arises. My understanding is if someone sues over a copyright dispute; your house, car and other personal assets are not at risk in the event that you get a judgement related to the copyrights since the IP is owned by the company instead of you. Definitely something a music business lawyer could answer better than me.
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