ASCAP Announces Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers

By • April 22, 2008

ASCAP has announced the creation of its “Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers” in an effort to “remind the public, members of the music industry and U.S. legislators of the central role and rights of those who conceive and create music,” according to the performing rights organization.

The ten-item list includes items such as “We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate” and “We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used” The bill is available here com/rights].

While addressing issues of interest to the public, the “Bill of Rights” did not address the rights of composers vs. songwriters regarding ASCAP’s royalty payment rates, where a minute of song within a television show is paid 500% more than a minute of score within the same show, watched by the same number of viewers. This, despite no difference in the rates paid by broadcasters for song vs. score when ASCAP receives the money it pays to its members for these performances.

“The signatures that we collect on this Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers will be shared with key legislators in Washington, as well as numerous other leaders both inside and outside the music industry,” said ASCAP CEO John A. LoFrumento. “Now is the time to ensure that everyone who has a stake in determining the future of music, both as an art and as an industry, recognizes the importance of protecting creators’ rights.”

ASCAP has also released a position paper on its Bill of Rights available hereand invites members of the industry to sign the Bill of Rights online.

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