A Songwriter Split Agreement is one of the most important agreements for any musician, especially if that musician is co-writing with others.
This easy-to-understand Songwriter Split Agreement will allow you to clearly indicate the percentage each co-writer owns of a composition. This protects your interest in the composition and also reduces any confusion or arguments regarding ownership percentages later on after the composition has been written.
There have been many horror stories in the music business of co-writing disputes and it is something you want to avoid since publishing income from songwriting is still the most viable income stream from music. One story involved a superstar band (whose name IAR cannot reveal for confidentiality reasons) and the members of this band wrote a hit song together. As is typical, there were one or two girlfriends and other entourage members hanging out in the studio with the band when they wrote this particular hit. The band recorded and released the hit and significant money started rolling in. By this time, some of the girlfriends were wives and some had become ex-girlfriends. One particular ex-girlfriend contacted the band and said that she had contributed some lines while they were writing their hit song and therefore was entitled to a percentage of ownership (and therefore royalties). The band argued she did not contribute anything to the song. The ex-girlfriend had no proof she actually contributed, but the band also had no proof she didn’t contribute. So what happened? The band was forced to give the ex-girlfriend the percentage of ownership she was demanding. Had the band completed a Songwriter Split Agreement at the time they wrote the composition, they could have shown that the writers listed on the Songwriter Split Agreement were the actual writers of the song and been able to squash the ex-girlfriend’s demands.
This example is precisely why all musicians should complete a Songwriter Split Agreement at every co-writing session to protect your ownership interest in each song you write with another musician. Also, this Songwriter Split Agreement can be used again and again, making it a great value by providing on-going protection for a one-time price.
This Songwriter Split Agreement has been prepared by an attorney licensed to practice in the State of California for California residents and under California laws. If you are a resident of another state besides California, the laws of your state may differ from those reflected in this Songwriter Split Agreement and you should retain an attorney in your state to advise you and draft a songwriter split agreement on your behalf, and/or review this Songwriter Split Agreement template before you use it.
The purpose of a songwriter split agreement is to delineate the ownership of intellectual property to attempt to avoid any questions of ownership in the future. It is impossible, however, to anticipate all issues that may be related to the ownership of intellectual property, and this template Songwriter Split Agreement does not cover or purport to cover every issue that a creator(s) or artist(s) might encounter. The template also is general and is drafted to address basic ownership, not specific scenarios. This template (and Indie Artist Resource, www.indieartistresource.com, and Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.) do not purport to provide and are not providing you with legal advice or acting as your attorney. If you would like advice about the ownership of your intellectual property, you should consult with a lawyer licensed in your state who can give advice directed specifically to your needs and issues.
This Songwriter Split Agreement template is made available for self-help purposes. The availability of, or your download of use of this Songwriter Split Agreement template is not legal advice or the practice of law. There is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Indie Artist Resource, Erin M. Jacobson, Esq., or any other attorney or employee at Indie Artist Resource and the parties listed herein are not acting as your attorney. You should not rely on, act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking the professional counsel of an attorney licensed in your state.
By using this Songwriter Split Agreement, you understand and agree to these conditions and shall not hold Indie Artist Resource or Erin M. Jacobson, Esq. liable for any potential or actual liabilities or losses incurred from your use of this Songwriter Split Agreement.