Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

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Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

A Songwriter collaboration agreement helps to regulate the relationship between collaborators working on a project together, which is a piece of the song. This agreement specifies the relationship between the collaborators and states their respective duties.

Who Takes the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement?

A Songwriter collaboration contract is made between the songwriter and producer. If two or more persons collaborate to write a song, each person must then have an ownership share of the song and split publishing royalties appropriately.

Purpose of the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

This agreement helps to avoid ambiguities with your collaborator. It explains the nature and scope of your relationship. Without a signed agreement in place, questions might be raised relating to the ownership and control of the work, as well as the ability towards disposing of any rights towards the work.

Contents of the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

1.Costs 

Writers are required to share the following costs:

  • The cost of making demonstration recordings;
  • Copyright registration fees
  • Costs relating to the collection of royalties;
  • Fees charged by agents, sub-publishers, or administrators.

2.Credit

In all contracts relating to the exploitation of the Composition, the Writers will use their best efforts to ensure that each Writer shall receive credit as an author of the Composition in all media where credits are customarily given to songwriters

Payment and credit are simple. For Payment, you must know how much money each person would get if the song is a financial success. For the credit, you must know who would be named as writer of the lyrics and writer of the musical composition for the song.

These agreements could be reached informally and orally, but when the potential for commercial success is good, it might be wiser to work this out in writing. What cannot be agreed to orally is a transfer of rights? Rights (who possesses the song) is something that could only be exchanged in writing.

Payment and credit are simple. For Payment, you must know how much money each person would get if the song is a financial success. For the credit, you must know who would be named as writer of the lyrics and writer of the musical composition for the song.

These agreements could be reached informally and orally, but when the potential for commercial success is good, it might be wiser to work this out in writing. What cannot be agreed to orally is a transfer of rights. Rights (who possesses the song) is something that could only be exchanged in writing.

How to Draft the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement?

One must keep in mind few provisions while drafting an agreement

Percentage Ownership: As joint owners, your co writer and you need to divide your song ownership in whatever proportion you want. In the absence of an agreement, you are likely to share equally.

Grants of Rights: Granting rights is crucial to the exploitation of the song that should be there is a central place to license the work and collect money, thus the rights and should be defined.

Co-administration of Rights: It is convenient for just one music publisher to collect and also divide all the income. Many co-writers insist on a separate administration among the various publishing companies to help control over the scope of the licenses, to whom licenses are granted, how much is charged, how the money is collected, and what costs are incurred.

Division of Income: The coauthor is entitled to the same ratable share of income and should be defined explicitly in the agreement.

Pursuit of Infringement: One obligation that a co-owner can sue if others do not wish to in case of infringement.

Copyright Duration and Transfers: The duration and transfers of the copyright in case of joint work should be defined.

Terms and conditions: This agreement covers terms and conditions that regulate the relationship of the collaborators, for example, by determining the:

  • the focus of the collaboration that is its overall goal. The focus of the collaboration might be, for instance, for the parties to contribute expertise and know-how regarding the design and development of certain software.
  • The extent of the collaboration among the parties. The terms and conditions of this agreement would apply when either party wishes to propose towards the other a project that falls within its focus. It would be up to the parties to determine whether the proposal materializes into a project.

Project Schedule: A project schedule could be entered into once the parties agree that a proposal could be formalized. Such a schedule would not have any effect under this agreement (and form part of it) until it is agreed and signed through all the parties. The project schedule shall usually contain:

  • A description of the project is what it would involve. Each party’s contribution to the project, for example, services, resources, manpower, or other tangibles.
  • Any fees charged regarding the project that one party should pay to the other.

A Songwriter collaboration agreement gives legal protection for music writers and composers, music agents, music recorders, music producers, musicians and singers, music distributors as well as music marketers

Benefits & Drawbacks of the Songwriter Collaboration Agreement

Benefits

A Songwriter collaboration agreement helps towards avoiding uncertainties with your collaborator, by stating the nature and scope of your relationship. Without a signed agreement in place, questions might be raised regarding the ownership and control of the works jointly made, as well as the ability near disposing of any rights in work. It is also important in determining what takes the place of the collaborators separated for any reason.

Drawbacks

The main disadvantage is that many songs written by multiple writers and musicians are not subjected to any agreement concerning the ownership of the song. Without an agreement, a song written through multiple people is subjected to the default rules of the Copyright Act(1).

Without any agreement to the contrary, you and your co-writers shall be the joint authors at work. Joint authorship is difficult to understand conceptually. It doesn’t mean you and your coauthor are 50/50 owners at work. You and your co-authors are essentially all 100% owners of the work. Each who adds to the work, as soon as they add enough material and contribution to meet the requirements to get copyright protection, have a complete right to exploit the work in any of the ways that the sole owner could.

Joint owners of songs are subjected to several additional obligations to their co-owners that sole owners are not subject to. For instance, although any coauthors could license a song and make money without the knowledge or consent of any of the other coauthors, the co-owner has a responsibility to account for the money made with the work as well as share that money with the other coauthors.

[ Also Read: Songwriter Contract]

What Happens in Case of Violation?

In the Songwriter collaboration agreement, each participating collaborator would hold the option to revoke this agreement upon written notice not late than 30 days before the termination date.

Any party’s withdrawal from this agreement would terminate the agreement in its entirety, which includes those made between other participating members.

All remaining parties would have the opportunity to begin a new agreement upon termination of the present agreement.

It is not difficult to understand that a song could have multiple authors when you understand that each songwriter would often have input over the portions of songs that they contribute to. Thus a well-written Songwriter collaboration agreement is required, which specifies the relationship between the collaborators and states their respective duties.