This bill of rights will surely protect any songwriter from any means of depriving the rights to earn money from the songs we wrote. I received this info from ASCAP via their newsletter. It makes me sad though, a lot of music related companies are fighting to reduce copyright rates for which they are earning money well from the songwriters hard work.
Just like the bill of rights of the constitution, the songwriters bill of rights is simple and straightforward to understand.If you are ASCAP songwriter and living in the US, I suggest to support this rights by signing http://www.ascap.com/rights/. And you can read the entire rights on this page: http://www.ascap.com/rights/billText.aspx. .
My own understanding on the songwriter bill of rights:
1. Right to be compensated for every creative works– yes it is, by copyright law the creator of the work has the right to earn from his work. And in every dollar of income the music industry earns, a portion of it should go to the songwriters pocket.
2. Right to license our works – by licensing, is to have income. So for every use of copyrighted work, a license will enable a songwriter to earn income as well as the user has the valid grounds to use a song. As a songwriter, we have the right to license the work , for it is important to be compensated by the creative works we done.
3. Right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds– There are some works for which we do not like it to be used for some purposes. Such purposes could be violating your rights or the songs will be used for illegal purposes. In this case, you have the right to withhold permission for uses of such works until they can get the songwriter approval.
4.Right to protect our work from the fullest extent of the law. – songs today are heavily pirated especially on the internet and mostly developing countries. But with the fullest extent of the law and full implementation of international anti-piracy laws. I am hoping in the future, I cannot see anymore pirated CDs on the streets.
5. Right to select when and where our creative works will be used for free. -as a legal owner of the songs, we have the right where our songs can be used for free. There were times when we do like our songs to be featured in non-profit projects such as worldwide charity. If we do feel that our songs could inspire the songs and it should be used for free, why not?
6.The right to develop, document and distribute works in new media channels while retaining the share of the profits.– This is very important, a lots of new media channels are appearing today and business owners are doing the best to cut royalty rates. As a songwriter, we are protected with these rights, that we can develop works, document and distribute in any new media channels that may appear while retaining our right to earn.
7. Rights to select organizations that will represent– this means we are free to choose what organizations would like to represent us as a songwriter.
8. Right to earn from all types of performances– this means any performances for profit by any busines establishments, songwriter wil get a share of it too in terms of performance royalties.
9. Right to decline participation in business models that require songwriters to waive their creative rights – There were some music corporations that practices on unfair contracts to the songwriters in favor of their business models. If you find it grossly unfair, you have the right to decline.
10. Right to advocate for strong laws and push the Government for strong implementation to protect songwriter rights– This is very important, a right will not be realistic without implementation. Government should respect these rights to the fullest and protect creative rights according to what has been agreed.