How do I find the right copyright owner?

I'm planning to release a cover album of video games and found it's not easy to find the right copyright holder. Here is an example below:
Chrono Trigger was made by Square Enix and Wikipedia says the label is NTT Publishing (distributed by Polystar). I tried to upload one of the songs on YouTube, and it said that the copyright owner is Warner Chapel.

So, I'm very confused. Then who really owns the copyright exactly? Is there the easiest way to find the right copyright holder?
 

Ed Fones

Active member
It is a very confusing world of 'who the hells'. There are organisations who own the copyrights but others may own the licensing/usage rights or whatever they call it.

Christmas songs are a perfect example because they are used and annually and all radio, tv, hotels, cafes, or anywhere that plays music publicly has to have a license and that money gets divided up by many people along the way. The actual artist may get a tiny amount of each sale if anything. It all depends on what deal they struck.

If you make money out of your track in your video game, I have a feeling you will soon find out who owns what. :unsure:
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Welcome to a tricky subject. You want to release just the music, not the visuals? There is a fairly simple test or two you can do for audio. Shazam is the simplest. It identifies the music, by title and performer. Or you upload a video clip to YouTube and it too will tell you who the rights holder is.
then it gets complicated. Rights are territory based, so people like Harry Fox in the USA manage, but don’t own, the rights. They will want to know how much you use in time, who used it and will sell you a licence. In the UK, it would be a company called PRS, who collect revenue for the COMPOSER, but if the music is recorded by people, then PPL collect money from the musicians rights. Even worse, download rights and streaming are separate. some of my music can be streamed in the USA, but not downloaded, but in Canada, my UK produced music can be downloaded AND streamed. If YouTube say Warner Chappel, that’s actually good, because they are a huge licensing company working on behalf of the owners, so you can phone them up and ask for advice. They will have done it before so will be able to offer you a scheme that works. It’s damn complex and always prone to mistakes, when one bit of music has rights that Warner Chappel don’t have permission to grant. Best advice, put some of the income into a separate account and do not spend it. You need to get the rights cleared or your income gets 100% given to somebody else, like Warners, by Spotify or YouTube etc.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Copyright works in mysterious ways. I got a payment via the UK system for some of my music used in a California, er, um, adult movie - they declared it to the US organisation, they collected the revenue, passed it to the UK society who gave it to me. I also took a piece of popular 60s pop music - up tempo happy stuff and I re-arranged it as an instrumental quite slow and sad. One day this generated a payment - and there was a theatre name and a date. I did a google and discovered the piece of Gerry and the Pacemakers music was used as the coming on stage music - you know, where they wander on in the dark moody lights, they plug in and then the lights come up and they hit the first number. The band were the original artists and the rights payment was split 50/50 with the person who wrote the original - who was the act on that evening. I added it to my composing CV/Resume - composed music for XXXX, and then he died!
 

VomitHatSteve

Hat STYLE. Not contents.
Have you already checked with the Harry Fox Agency? That's usually the simplest way to get licenses cleared for general use.

Otherwise, your digital distributor (distrokid, cd baby, etc.) may have an option to handle licensing for you.

Otherwise, some of the platforms (youtube, etc.) should handle it automatically if you just say that it's a cover and of what when you upload it.
 
It is a very confusing world of 'who the hells'. There are organisations who own the copyrights but others may own the licensing/usage rights or whatever they call it.

Christmas songs are a perfect example because they are used and annually and all radio, tv, hotels, cafes, or anywhere that plays music publicly has to have a license and that money gets divided up by many people along the way. The actual artist may get a tiny amount of each sale if anything. It all depends on what deal they struck.

If you make money out of your track in your video game, I have a feeling you will soon find out who owns what. :unsure:
It's not a video game, but is a gaming cover album. Thx.
 
Welcome to a tricky subject. You want to release just the music, not the visuals? There is a fairly simple test or two you can do for audio. Shazam is the simplest. It identifies the music, by title and performer. Or you upload a video clip to YouTube and it too will tell you who the rights holder is.
then it gets complicated. Rights are territory based, so people like Harry Fox in the USA manage, but don’t own, the rights. They will want to know how much you use in time, who used it and will sell you a licence. In the UK, it would be a company called PRS, who collect revenue for the COMPOSER, but if the music is recorded by people, then PPL collect money from the musicians rights. Even worse, download rights and streaming are separate. some of my music can be streamed in the USA, but not downloaded, but in Canada, my UK produced music can be downloaded AND streamed. If YouTube say Warner Chappel, that’s actually good, because they are a huge licensing company working on behalf of the owners, so you can phone them up and ask for advice. They will have done it before so will be able to offer you a scheme that works. It’s damn complex and always prone to mistakes, when one bit of music has rights that Warner Chappel don’t have permission to grant. Best advice, put some of the income into a separate account and do not spend it. You need to get the rights cleared or your income gets 100% given to somebody else, like Warners, by Spotify or YouTube etc.
It's really a pain in the ass. Thanks for the info!
 
Copyright works in mysterious ways. I got a payment via the UK system for some of my music used in a California, er, um, adult movie - they declared it to the US organisation, they collected the revenue, passed it to the UK society who gave it to me. I also took a piece of popular 60s pop music - up tempo happy stuff and I re-arranged it as an instrumental quite slow and sad. One day this generated a payment - and there was a theatre name and a date. I did a google and discovered the piece of Gerry and the Pacemakers music was used as the coming on stage music - you know, where they wander on in the dark moody lights, they plug in and then the lights come up and they hit the first number. The band were the original artists and the rights payment was split 50/50 with the person who wrote the original - who was the act on that evening. I added it to my composing CV/Resume - composed music for XXXX, and then he died!
Off topic though.....How did you get a job with them. Making songs for the adult movies sounds interesting. But I think they don't need so much original track. Don't they?
 
Have you already checked with the Harry Fox Agency? That's usually the simplest way to get licenses cleared for general use.

Otherwise, your digital distributor (distrokid, cd baby, etc.) may have an option to handle licensing for you.

Otherwise, some of the platforms (youtube, etc.) should handle it automatically if you just say that it's a cover and of what when you upload it.
Yes, I did and....it made me more confused. lol
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I didn't have a job with them, I'd never heard of them, but they found the music somewhere, and by declaring the use, it triggers the system. When you have works available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music etc, they report downloads and streams to you. However, the old systems are still in use, and TV, radio and theatrical use triggers different system. The historic systems are totally separate from the modern streaming and download systems and yet everything still revolves around the composer, not the performers.
 
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