Some contracts say the songwriter gets 50% of the publisher’s receipts from “mechanical, synchronisation, and transcription income,” or words to similar effect. The problem is that the language is sometimes a limited list of monies for which the songwriter is paid. This means that the publisher could be collecting monies that it doesn’t share with the writer, and this is definitely something to avoid (If you’re a songwriter).
This problem isn’t cured by adding everything you can think of to the list. For example, even the most complete list of income sources in the 1950s wouldn’t have included income from home video, since it didn’t exist. What you really need, at the end of the list of items, is a catch-all. This is a phrase that says the writer gets 50% of “all other monies not referred to in this agreement.” Often, you’ll find the contract states just the opposite: The writer is only entitled to a share of monies specifically set forth in the contract. So cross this out, and add your Catch-all.
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