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There may be multiple rights associated with a Sound Recording or music Video (or any other audio or audio-visual recording) irrespective of the rights in the Sound Recording or music Video itself. As this is a complex topic, this article can only provide a very-high level overview. 

And, as with all intellectual property rights, the situation changes from territory to territory.

Most Sound Recordings or music Videos embody two types of creations each of which has a set of rights associated with it. There are the rights in the recording itself and, separately, there are rights in the Musical Work that has been recorded. 

To clarify the distinction, by way of an example, Elton John’s recording of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” creates a Sound Recording which embodies the Musical Work by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Elton John (and others) have rights in the Sound Recording but not in the Musical Work. The rights in the Musical Work remain with John Lennon and Paul McCartney (and others). Using the same principle, with regard to The Beatles’ recording of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” the rights in the Sound Recording are with The Beatles (and others) whilst the rights in the Musical Work remain, separate, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney (and others).

Rights in the Work

The rights in any Musical Work are originally owned by the Writer [Link]such as the composer or the Lyricist (John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the above example). Writers are typically “signed” with a Music Publisher [Link] and are usually also members of musical work collecting societies (CMO). Both the Music Publisher and the CMO, by virtue of the specific terms of the agreements they have with Writers then become owners and/or administrators of the rights conferred on the Writer by law. The Music Publisher will also usually be a member of a CMO and authorise the CMO to administer those rights it chooses not to administer itself.

Usually, the first Music Publisher and CMO a Writer signs with, will be operating in a single territory. In order to enable the rights in the Musical Works created by the Writer to be owned and/or administered in other territories around the world, the Music Publisher will frequently enter into sub-publishing agreements which authorise another publisher to own and/or administer the rights in other territories on behalf of the first Music Publisher. Similarly, CMOs will enter into reciprocal agreements with other CMOs in different territories which authorise other CMOs to own/administer the rights of the first CMO on its behalf.

The exact nature of the rights the first Music Publisher and first CMO will enjoy in these circumstances varies significantly from territory to territory and this will depend on the legislation relevant for the territory and the specifics of the contract the Writer signs with the Music Publisher and CMO. Clearly, these differences determine what rights the Music Publisher and CMO can pass onto other Music Publishers or CMOs. In particular, there is frequently an important difference between ownership of the rights and the authority to administer those rights without any actual ownership rights.

For the purposes of DDEX messaging, Music Publishers as well as CMOs can be both Rights Owners and Rights Controllers for Musical Works. The relevant tags in the various messages are:

  • ERN-4: //WorkRightsController
  • ERN-3: //IndirectResourceContributor
  • MWN: //RightShare/RightsController
  • RIN: //MusicalWork/MusicalWorkContibutor

Rights in the Recording

When a Sound Recording is created, in many legal jurisdictions, the recording artists are the initial owners of the rights in that Sound Recording. In some jurisdiction some of those rights also extend to engineers and studio producers or at least to rights for the engineers and studio producers to receive royalties from the exploitation of the Sound Recording. However, in other cases, such recording takes place as part of the artist being “signed” with a Record Company (aka Label) [Link]which may provide the Record Company with the rights in the Sound Recordings. Even where the recording artist owns the rights initially, the recording artists will frequently still, subsequently, enter into an agreement with a Record Company whereby rights flow to the Record Company.

For the purposes of administering certain types of rights in the Sound Recordings, a Record Company will authorise a Music Licensing Company to do so on its behalf. Similarly, where rights exist for recording artists, other performers, engineers or studio producers, these are usually administered by an organisation similar to a Music Licensing Company, either together with the Record Company rights or separately.

Usually, the first Record Company, Music Licensing Company or similar organisation that recording artists, other performers, engineers or studio producers sign with, will be operating in a single territory. In order to enable the rights in the Sound Recordings created by the recording artists, other performers, engineers or studio producers to be owned and/or administered in other territories around the world, the Record Company will frequently enter into sub-agreements which authorise another record company to own and/or administer the rights in other territories on behalf of the first Record Company. Similarly, a Music Licensing Company or similar organisation will enter into reciprocal agreements with other Music Licensing Companies or similar organisations in different territories which authorise other Music Licensing Companies or similar organisations to own/administer the rights of the first Music Licensing Companies or similar organisations on its behalf.

The exact nature of the rights the first Record Company and first Music Licensing Companies or similar organisations will enjoy in these circumstances varies significantly from territory to territory and this will depend on the legislation relevant for the territory and the specifics of the contract the recording artists, other performers, engineers or studio producers signs with the first Record Company and first Music Licensing Company or similar organisation. Clearly, these differences determine what rights the Record Company and first Music Licensing Company or similar organisation can pass onto other Record Companies and first Music Licensing Companies or similar organisations. In particular, there is frequently an important difference between ownership of the rights and the authority to administer those rights without any actual ownership rights.

For the purposes of DDEX messaging, Record Companies as well as Music Licensing Companies and similar organisations can be both Rights Owners and/or Rights Controllers for Sound Recordings and music Videos. The relevant tags in the various messages are:

  • ERN-4: //ResourceRightsController
  • ERN-3: //RightsController
  • MLC: //SoundRecordingDetailsByTerritory/RightsController
  • RIN: //Element/RightsControllerand //SoundRecording/RightsController
  • No labels