Intellectual Property: How Music Ownership Contracts Work

There are lots of different parts of the standard music contract. The first place to start is understanding the legal jargon that will be involved. Here are some highlights of how a music ownership contract works.

Protection of Copyright

You want to be able to protect your piece of music. A contract has stipulations on copyright and the infringement laws. This means that more than just the words of your song are protected. The sound and the combination of sounds are also covered under your contractual agreement. You are essentially giving the studio permission to recreate and distribute your music. In some instances, the music will become the property of the studio with you retaining some of your rights.

Assignment of Royalties

The most common method for you to receive payment is through royalties. The amount of royalties that you receive will depend on what was negotiated in your contract. You’re being paid for the rights to your piece of music. Professionals, like Ian Carter of Carter West Law Firm, knows that the music itself may still fall under your intellectual property under the law. The royalties are your tie to the music ownership in a limited form. Depending on the country that you live, you may share ownership with the studio that is promoting your music.

Labeling Concerns

People are often inspired by listening to your music. This may cause them to create a piece of music that is similar to yours in some form or another. You may even be approached for the development of a parody to your music. All of these stipulations and ventures will need to be examined in your contract. Some studios will allow these things to be made in order to generate more interest in the original piece of work. This is more commonly known as labeling.

Approval for Use Restrictions

You may be asked if you want your musical property to be used in movies or commercials. This is another way that you can generate more royalties. Popular pieces of work are commonly featured in recent films. You can gain more recognition through this practice. The contract may even stipulate that this is something that is acceptable as long as the studio also receives a cut. You have the option of turning these offers down if you retain ownership of the piece of music.

There are lots of nuances when it comes to a music ownership contract. Have your lawyer look over the contract before you decide to sign it. There may be things that aren’t in your best interests that you need to negotiate.