Affiliate your company with ASCAP or BMI.
The societies will not let you use the same
or similar name as another publishing company, so you have
to clear the name with them first. (Count on approximately
five (5) weeks to get approval.) Complete an application and
provide three (3) potential names (ranked in order) for your
publishing company. Visit www.ascap.com and/or www.bmi.com
for more information and to obtain/fill out an application.
(If you are a songwriter and have not yet affiliated, you
should affiliate with one of these societies at the same time
[you cannot affiliate with both]. You will have to affiliate
as a publisher with the same society that you affiliate with
as a songwriter. If you will be publishing other people’s
songs as well as your own, and unless all of your writers
are affiliated with the same society, you will need two publishing
companies…one with BMI and one with ASCAP.)
2. Create a Business Entity or File
a Fictitious Name Statement.
You may want to create a corporation or Limited
Liability Company to act as your publishing company. If you
are not a corporation, then you should file a fictitious name
statement with the Secretary of State or similar governmental
entity. This informs others that you are doing business under
a name that is not your own and makes it legal to do so. You
may need this statement in order to open a bank account and/or
to cash checks made out to that name.
3. Register Songs with the Copyright
Register the songs with the Copyright Office
in the name of your publishing company. If the songs have
already been copyrighted in your name, you will need to file
an assignment transferring them to the publisher’s name.
Visit www.loc.gov/copyright/ for more information.
4. Register Songs with the Performing
Register the songs with the performing rights
society with which you affiliated in Step 1. Visit the society’s
website to obtain more information about the necessary registration
forms. (You only have to register the songs as the publisher
or writer, not both.)
5. Congratulations! You Have A Publishing
Now you can issue licenses to record companies
and others, make foreign sub publishing agreements, print
deals, and other agreements regarding your publishing.
Note: ASCAP and BMI represent publishing
companies and songwriters, so you can affiliate as a songwriter
and you’ll be paid directly from the society. Writers
can affiliate with ASCAP for $10 and BMI for free, but writers
can only affiliate with one society.
Paul Gardner, Esq. is a Corporate &
Entertainment attorney with the law firm of Gardner Law Group
in Maryland . © 2005