Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Question of the day - April 15, 2009


t sanders ask:

What about when an artist or producer makes a change in the structure or lyrics of a song; is he entitled to a share in the copyright?

Hartmann responds:

Adjustments in a copyrighted song that relate to tempo, arrangements and variations in production do not change the ownership of the song. When lyrics are substantially changed as in the "Weird Al" type scenario you enter an area of publishing known as "interpolation." This requires a negotiated adjustment with the writer/publisher and is subject to their approval. Otherwise the statutory mechanical royalties are due to the original owners of the copyright. If a name artist is making the request a deal could probably be negotiated. If it is an unknown artist seeking to adjust a valuable copyright the request is most likely going to be denied. This is somewhat like "sampling" where the original copyright holder gets the dough.

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