Co-writing Songs: Legal & Creative Issues
How To Avoid Songwriter Disputes
With Dean Serwin, Esq.
Wed Sep 8 at 10:30am PST
Photo: Dean Serwin, Esq.
What happens when two or more people co-write a song? Failure to communicate clearly or agree on splits can result in disputes that are time-consuming, expensive and unnecessary. Worse, an encumbered copyright cannot be exploited.
Organization and rights designation are vital to exploit and monetize copyrights. Some of the most common disputes include three versions of the same question about ownership: who, what and how much:
- Who is the author(s) and therefore an owner?
- What did you contribute? Did you make a copyrightable contribution or were you just in the room? Did you merely suggest a tweak to what was already there (arrangement vs. songwriting)?
- Splits: Is everyone equal or did some make a lesser or greater contribution? The answer to #2 can influence this.
- Who will control the copyright?
And, most importantly:
- How do I collect my money?
NARIP brings you music and entertainment attorney Dean Serwin, Esq. who will discuss the most common songwriter disputes, how to avoid them and provide strategies to protect, enhance and exploit your copyrights.
- Manage your metadata: who collects, disseminates and updates rights holder info, and how the Mechanical License Collective comes into play
- Who should file a copyright registration for co-written song
- When to file a copyright registration as a joint or individual work
- Registering with PROs: who should do it and when
- Self-publishing with co-writers
- How to assess split percentages
- Producer participation as a songwriter
- Licensing: who administers and negotiates fees
- What to do when you get a quote request for a co-written song
- Death of co-writer: now what?
- Copyright transfer
- Works for hire
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Mr. Serwin will take audience questions during the last 20 minutes of our program be sure to tune in LIVE to get YOUR questions answered. Post your questions to the live Facebook video or Tweet to @NARIP #NARIPCOWRITE
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Wednesday, September 8, 2021
1:00 pm (PST) – Program starts
2:00 pm – Audience Q&A
2:30 pm – Program ends
$20 NARIP Members
Call us at 818 769 7007 or email info AT narip DOT com.
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ABOUT DEAN SERWIN, ESQ.
Dean Sheldon Serwin began his legal career upon graduation from UCLA Law School in 1990, and expanded into general entertainment industry consulting when he opened his own law practice in 1994, formally rebranding as Serwin Media Group, or “SMG” in 2018. As a transactional attorney, Dean provides both legal and general consulting services in connection with all aspects of the entertainment and related industries, primarily, but not exclusively, in music. Dean also handles trademarks in all industries.
Prior to establishing his own private practice, Dean held various positions including stints at the Director’s Guild of America, BMI and Capitol Records; as head of legal and business affairs for a film and TV production and distribution company; and finally with another sole practitioner representing several platinum artists. Dean has addressed various industry groups and moderated or participated in panel discussions at several industry conferences. SMG also operates a successful small record label. As Dean likes to say, SMG represents creative people and those who exploit the results and proceeds of their services, where “exploit” in that sentence is a positive thing. Outside of the law, Dean sits on various boards and committees and is deeply involved in local political, financial, artistic and cultural matters in South Pasadena where he lives with Lynn, his wife of 20 years, 18 year old twins Liam & Rachel, and dog, Dusty.
Dean’s South Pasadena, CA based solo practice began in 1994 and serves clients in all areas of the music, film, video, TV, internet, distribution and social media industries, including record labels; music publishers; recordings artists; songwriters; composers and music production libraries; music, television and film producers; social media personalities; managers; television, film, internet, commercial and video game production and distribution companies, business executives and consultants; motivational speakers; authors; clothing and other merchandise companies; as well as others involved within the entertainment and related industries.
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The National Association of Record Industry Professionals promotes career advancement, education and good will among record executives. Once music is made, then what?