Posts Worth Reading: Copyright Law Made Simple

ClearBox Rights is an Intellectual Property Management Company with a significant Southern Gospel presence. If you want to record a song from the publishing divisions of Daywind (Dianne Wilkinson, Kyla Rowland, Marty Funderburk, Ronny Hinson, Scotty Inman) or Crossroads (Sandy Knight, Mark Bishop, Daryl Williams), you would obtain your license from them and send them the royalties for distribution to writers and publishers.

Several months ago, they launched a blog that explains complex copyright issues in simple English. Several of these posts clear up common misconceptions and are worth taking a few minutes to read. “The Standard U.S. Mechanical License Ceiling is No Longer 9.1 Cents” explains that, although there are circumstances where you can get a compulsory license and pay the statutory rate, most of the time, a copyright owner could charge more than that if he or she wanted. (Most stick to 9.1 cents as a ceiling, some by choice, and some from a misunderstanding of the law.) 

Another post particularly worth reading is “How Long Does a Copyright Last?” After a multi-decade drought of songs not entering the public domain because their copyrights keep getting extended, it looks like we are about five years away from the point when some of the Southern Gospel convention songs dating back to the 1920s will start entering the public domain.

Finally, “Simple Complexity – Music Licensing in a Digital Age” explains the astonishing variety and complexity of various licensing types in today’s digital era.


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6 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I’ve always been stunned by music publishers who deliberately make the process of obtaining a mechanical license more difficult than it should be. Some charge “processing” fees above and beyond what a compulsory license would require. Others sit on a license request for months before issuing a mechanical license. I even had one that deliberately waited past the street date that had been provided months in advance, so a compulsory license would no longer be an option.

    That first article sure sounds like ClearBox is toying with the idea of making it even more complicated than it already is. Imagine the tedium of negotiating a mechanical license rate for every song. It would reverse the recording process, because the very first step would be to obtain mechanical licenses in order to manage the recording budget…but then, you really can’t do that if there’s any chance your arrangement might exceed 5 minutes.

  2. Daniel,

    Don’t know if it is happening only to me, but for some reason the text of your top post and your profile poc keeps overlapping with your next post. Im viewing on an Iphone 4s. Just curious if it is happening to anyone elses mobile device besides mine.

    • Jeremy, thanks, I’ll look into that. I don’t have a smartphone, so I hadn’t been able to test that.

    • It’s done that on my android when I’ve used it too (at least recently).

    • It’s doing it on my “ancient” iPhone 3 as well. But, the problem is solved when I turn the phone on its side (lengthwise)

  3. Jeremy, Q-M, and Donnie, since the picture was causing some iPhone issues, I just pulled it. Does everything look OK now?