One of the things most artists on the come up struggle with is finding ways of protecting their work once it’s done before they get it out there to the masses.
It has become common to see different artists fighting over original music rights and royalty splits, with the latest case being between West Ink founder Mampintsha and Distruction Boyz.
Organic Mag spoke to Thando Nyameni, General Manager at the KwaZulu-Natal United Music Industry Association (KUMISA), who shared his knowledge on how artists can best protect their work.
Here are his five suggested ways of protecting your music before it heads out the studio:
1. Register your song with all collecting societies (SAMRO – Performing Rights, CAPASSO – Mechanical Rights, IMPRA/SAMPRA – Needletime & RISA AV/AIRCO AV – Video Royalties).
2. Register a company with CIPC which you will have to also register with collecting societies like SAMRO and CAPASSO for full ownership of your publishing. Because publishing speaks to full ownership… many don’t know this.
3. Make sure that the splits are accurately documented and that everyone who helped in making your song is fully credited for their contribution not only on the CD sleeve but on a split agreement and are also listed when sending a notification to collecting societies. This will help to ensure that when the song goes big every involved individual is recognized and ultimately paid for their contribution. In short, please have contracts and agreements in place before the song leaves the studio.
4. Seek advice from those who have been there or those who are mandated to assist artists such as KUMISA and other organizations. You can’t do it alone whether you are signed or independent.
5. My favorite and easiest: After determining the splits and whoever is involved followed by recording do a copy of the song on a CD (even if it is not mastered), go to the police station and make an affidavit detailing the song title, people involved in making it (author, composer, producer, instrumentalists, etc) when it was made & that it is your song. Add your ID document. You can also add copies of all your other agreements for the making of the song including notifications to SAMRO etc, heck you can even take pics of when you were in the studio. Add them all together with the CD and affidavit on an envelope and post on a registered mail to yourself and never open the mail unless there is a dispute on your song.