SoundExchange has published a searchable database of labels and artists that are not registered to collect royalties owed them. A2IM urges you to use this database to search your label (including variations of spellings on your label name including common mis-spellings, if any) and also any sub-labels you control. We also hope you’ll share this database with your artists and their representatives so that they (along with you) can search their names to see if they’re missing royalties that they’re due. If you find a label name that you control/own or find one of your artists on this list please make sure that you register with SoundExchange immediately. If you find your name on the list but are already registered and collecting from SoundExchange please contact A2IM or your representative at SoundExchange to find out why you’re on this unregistered list and make certain that any errors are corrected.
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A2IM’s consistent message is that independent labels must maximize every revenue stream. Part of that message is to be aware of and collect foreign master performance royalties. SoundExchange, the not for profit U.S. performance royalty collection society announced yesterday that they’ve struck several important reciprocal agreements to collect performance royalties for U.S. labels in France, Spain, Sweden, Ireland and Jamaica. Additionally, SoundExchange announced that they’ll waive their admin fee as they pass through these royalties from the collection societies in those territories.
Read the full story HERE.
As we reported to you previously, the Copyright Office is contemplating increasing the fees to register your copyrights over 80% during a period when copyright registration has never been more important to protect your rights and recover damages. Last week A2IM filed a response to the Copyright Office in opposition to the proposed fee increases.
The Dean’s List published an item last week linking to the Fulbright & Jaworski website which noted that on March 28th the U.S. Copyright Office announced a proposal to increase the fee to register copyrights digitally from the current $35 to $65, an 85% increase. The first question is should you register your copyrights? There is no legal requirement to register your copyrights and you can assert ownership many other ways. For example you can mail a letter to yourself and not open it and use the postmark as proof or go to a notary and get your written song notarized with a date. Despite the lack of a copyright registration requirement, A2IM advises our members that you should register your copyrights. The primary reason to register is if you need to prove ownership in litigation, especially against unauthorized music services infringing upon the work of your label’s artists. Without copyright registration, a music label or artist will have no standing with the courts and will be unable to sue for statutory damages until the copyright is registered and then the damages will only be for prospective infringements. Another reason would be the pending changes at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the rights to Pre-1972 Copyrights which we reported to you earlier this year. The pre-1972 copyrights proposal is basically a ‘use it or lose it” situation where you need to keep your music “publicly available” to keep copyright protection thru 2067 (easy enough in the digital age) with a transition period of six to ten years to ensure all materials are available. The onerous part of this might be the initial; and potential renewal, copyright office registration process. A2IM will file with the US Copyright Office against enacting this proposed price increase which will cause a financial hardship upon our community. But before this potential rates increase occurs, maybe you should get an intern in to register the copyrights for your key tracks, especially any pre-1972 copyrights, as a good business practice. Register your song with the U.S. Copyright Office for $35 today.
AARC is a non-profit organization created in 1993 by the music industry for the purpose of collecting and distributing hometaping royalties to featured performing artists and copyright owners based on the US Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (”AHRA”).
AHRA compensates featured performing artists and copyright owners for the sales that are lost due to the hometaping of music. Under the AHRA, hometaping royalties are generated from the sales of blank music media, such as CDs and digital recording devices, such as CD burners and portable satellite radio devices. AARC is the sole U. S. organization that administers these royalties for featured performing artists and copyright owners. Therefore, if a featured performing artist or copyright owner is not an AARC member, they are missing out on these royalties.
Please note that membership in the AFM, AFTRA, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, The AFM/AFTRA Fund, or Sound Exchange does NOT overlap with AARC membership, as these organizations administer different categories of royalties.
AARC currently represents over 100,000 featured performing artists and 1500 copyright owners worldwide. By registering to be part of AARC’s claim, we can ensure that they don’t miss out on US private copying royalties. Please note that under AHRA, claims must be filed by the end of February for the year following the royalty year. AARC will file its claim for 2011 royalties by the end of February 2012. Therefore, we still have a few weeks for new members to be included in AARC’s 2011 private copying royalty claim.
We would like to ensure that you are part of AARC’s membership rolls. If you aren’t sure if you are a member of AARC, you may do a search
One of the issues that confronts SoundExchange is that the services that report to and pay SoundExchange royalties sometimes enters the wrong repertoire owner’s name. That is why A2IM tells our members to review their statements (excel versions are available upon request). When repertoire errors do occur, the music label with the rights to a track needs to make a claim with SoundExchange to get the ownership label designation correction. For those labels that have made ownership claim change requests, or for which some of their tracks may have BEEN CLAIMED BY OTHERS, you would have received an email in your inbox (see example
) dated October 17 which came from claims(at)soundexchange(dot)com. You must respond to the claims contained within that email no later than January 17 or SoundExchange will honor the claims made and begin making payments (including retroactive payments, debiting your account) to the other claiming label. Please make sure you respond to these e-mails and if you have any questions please call us at A2IM.