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Hi Everybody!

Just making a general enquiry here. Does anybody know what is in a contract? By that  I mean If somebody were to show an interest in one of my songs, how would the contract be worded?

Any ideas??    ::)

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Hi sparrow,

As always in legal/biz, be as as specific as you can.

I'll try and answer some general things.

"What is in a contract".

Whatever :)

First point (and it is a very important point), a contract is not a law. So a contract can contain anything, as long as there's nothing in it against the law. That's the only point of contact between a contract and the law.

"If somebody were to show an interest in one of my songs, how would the contract be worded? "

It all depends on the kind of "interest" somebody would show.

First case:

An artist, band, etc. wants to perform you song. As long as your song is registered within an established and recognised authors' organisation (BMI, ASCAP, SACEM in France) no contract at all is needed.

If your song is not registered within such an organisation (and someone is really interested in that song), make sure it is at least copyrighted (at once), and then I would suggest to go to an author organisation.

Second case:

A publishing company is interested in your song.

Basically, a publishing company is doing nothing, apart from collecting 50% (your mileage may vary) of your royalties.

A contract with a publishing company would typically express that some of your songs (or all your songs) are "published" by the publishing company. They are supposed to give you something in return, but generally it would be some vague hints at promotion.

As far as possible, delay the submission of your songs to a publishing company, until you know exactly what you are doing.

That was part of Bowie's success strategy at the beginning, keeping all his publishing rights.

Third case:

A company is willing to record one of your songs, performed by you, or not.

If the song is to be performed by you, then it's a typicall recording contract. They usually will try to give you a publishing contract in the package, and it's not always easy to refuse that part.

The contract would specify your royalties share (not as an author, but as performer), the number of recordings commited by both parties, etc.

If the song is not performed by you, then you go back to case one. I.e., assuming you're covered by BMI/ASCAP/SACEM, you've got nothing specific to do.

Hope these general pointers will help.

Didier

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What I was hoping for was a sample contract! Perhaps some one on the board has signed a contract for a song thats been written? I would love to see what it looks like?

:)

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What I was hoping for was a sample contract! Perhaps some one on the board has signed a contract for a song thats been written? I would love to see what it looks like?

:)

Hi sparrow,

Again, what kind of contract? :)

Publishing, licensing, recording, whatever?

Tell us what you have in mind, and then we may (or may not) find a sample for you.

Didier

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OK

"I like one of your songs and I want to use it in my act, I also want to record a demo of that song for possible inclusion on my next album!"

Send me a contract!

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OK

"I like one of your songs and I want to use it in my act, I also want to record a demo of that song for possible inclusion on my next album!"

Send me a contract!

Hi,

Nightwolf has provided you with samples which I hope will keep you happy for a while.

Now, to discuss your question, without samples :)

"I like one of your songs and I want to use it in my act,"

Supposing your song is registered with BMI/ASCAP or a European equivalent, no real contract has to be done. In France (but I suppose it's mostly the same in all European countries), all you have to do is to declare, each time you play live, the author and writers of the songs your performed. Then the performing rights associations will take care of forwarding the money collected to the author.

In the US, I've heard you're supposed to have a licensing agreement even for live performances.

A simple contract for the cased mentionned above could be:

"I, author of the song xxxx, authorise the band yyyy to perform the above mentionned song in its live performances, provided the performance is declared to the relevant performance rights organisation for this venue, and that the performance record mentions explicitely the name of the song, as well as the author."

"I also want to record a demo of that song for possible inclusion on my next album!"

There, you're unto unknown territory. If the band is a signed band (which means they will actually record a real album), then you should contact their record company, and start negociation. Assuming your song is unpublished (i.e., no publisher claims rights on it), negociation is up to you. Normally, you will try to obtain as much as possible for each CD sold.

Anyway, as far as the demo is concerned, I would authorise the band to include my song on their demo for free, with reasonable restrictions (no online presence, for instance), and assuming they always mention fully, and on all material, that you are the owner of the song.

Didier

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and of course you could out and out sell the Song to someone. I don't advise this, but it is an option.

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LOL Too True

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