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Music Industry Form Contracts
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Legal Notes -- SMP Hot Links Supreme
An assignment to the rights in ownership entitles the assignee
to all legal benefits provided by law, e.g., to the right to collect
royalties and to rent, sell, or lease for profit. An assignment
to act may include corporate voting rights, franchise ownership,
or estate executorship. Assignments may be made contractually
by authorized entities, e.g., by people or corporations, or by
court decree, e.g., a court appointed attorney who defends a person
being prosecuted by the state, or a court directed wage transfer
from debtor to creditor.
In the music business, assignments may occur in many ways.
For example, a business may be sold (sometimes unexpectedly as
in the case of the death of an owner) or small companies may be
merged with larger companies and rights in compositions, masters,
contracts, licenses, etc. may be transferred (assigned) to a new
company (these rights to re-assign are allowed or disallowed via
existing contract(s) with the old company). Other types of assignment
include songwriters who assign their right in copyright to a music
publisher in whole (as in work made for hire agreements) or in
part (as in a publishing agreement). Artists who are songwriters
may be required by their recording contract to assign rights in
their compositions to the record company's publishing arm. Other
agreements require artists to assign a share of their rights in
royalties to the record producer. Artists may assign certain powers
of attorney to their business managers. Or, artists can assign
their attorneys the right to
negotiate contracts to record records,
make commercials, merchandise their name and likeness, etc.. By
assigning rights, a person or entity gives up some rights and
benefits (usually monetary) to hopefully gain more benefits (e.g.,
to increase the sales volume and profitability of a product).
Assignment agreements may be terminated according to contract, by statute law, or via legal action and court decree (for example, in cases where bankruptcy nullifies an artist's obligation to fulfill a contract and the assignments it may contain).
See Cross-links: ASSIGN, SONG under "Song Administration," COPYRIGHT MORTGAGE, COPYRIGHT ADMINISTRATION, RIGHT, CONTRACT-RECORDING CONTRACT clauses #17, #19, CONTRACT-SONGWRITER/PUBLISHER CONTRACT clauses #9, #12, #13, COPYRIGHT LAW under "Transfer of Copyright Ownership," PATENT under "Patent Assignment," CONTRACT under "Mortgage."
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