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Copyright Societies

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Can you tell us a bit about the situation with Societies that handle copyright management for composers? Do you have experience using them? What is the proper time for a composer to join and how practical is the use of them? I am reviewing some of them in order to find out which suits best my situation. Do you believe international societies are better or I should turn to local? 




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Assuming you're talking about performing rights orgs such as ASCAP in the U.S., GEMA in Germany, etc., there aren't international ones.  Just national ones (and agreements among the national ones to administer rights -- e.g. I am an ASCAP member but have received payments [much later] from other national societies that they paid to ASCAP because I had a perf in their country). 


You can, if you want to, join more than one national org at a time.  Few people do this because it's more complex and needs some ongoing attention, but reportedly it can be more profitable.  Check film music discussion boards for arguments about this, pro and con -- some of those film folks are obsessed with royalties and think about them a lot more than I ever have. :)

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Oh, and the proper time to join is as soon as you qualify - no advantage in waiting.


What you do mean by "qualify"?  To join ASCAP for example, you need a social security number and $50.


Do you mean as soon as you are in position to where your compositions will be performed in situations that require the performance to be reported to ASCAP?

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As of a few years ago, in order to join you needed to show you'd had at least one reportable performance in a non-institutional venue (not a school/church/etc.).  Maybe they've since realized it's to their advantage to get people on the books as early as possible. :)


(Edit: for people who don't know, the U.S. has two PROs of about equal size -- we're the only country where this is true, as far as I know -- and they both spend a lot of money and focus on advertising to try to get people to choose them over the competitor.)

Edited by June
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