LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

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Waxy's Dargle
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LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Waxy's Dargle » Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:28 am

I just read an interesting post from Bela which offers an explanation for the Galstonbury video ban by LC & has important information that all fans should be aware of. Essentially, LC no longer gets royalties from his back catalog as these have been sold to Sony. Hence a very plausible reason for the Glastonbury video ban. See her post here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=11753&p=129744#p129651

The full story of the lawsuit & royalty issues here: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/ ... RTM0012813

I know this world of commercial chicanery is furthest from the music of LC but he is savvy to the ways of the world & has filed some law suits & engaged in this tour to rectify his financial situation. What can we do about this? Well we are all supporting him (and enjoying ourselves immensely, at the same time) in attending his sublime concerts.

BUT, I suggest we should not dilute our efforts by buying his CDs prior to Ten New Songs as he doesn't see a cent of this purchase (please correct me if I'm wrong in this stement).

So what should we do if we want to renew fresh acquaintance with some of his older CDs - such as the recent re-release of his first 3 CDs remastered - well there may be creative ways you can think of?
Tim
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Tim » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:15 pm

Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, or a copyright expert - but my understanding is that although Leonard has lost the publishing rights to his earlier material (anything published by Stranger Music), due to Kelley Lynch having sold Stranger Music to Sony, at the very least he should still be receiving artist/performer royalties from them. I'm sure he (and his new management) are happy that people continue buying the older material, although it might be wise to wait for remastered versions of albums that haven't yet had that treatment (I'm sure that's been discussed elsewhere on this forum, and I don't know where we are with that).

I don't know about a creative way of doing it, but the best way of getting hold of Leonard's official releases - particularly the first three re-mastered albums, which sound noticeably better than the originals to my ears, and have the odd bonus track - would be to actually pay for them. I imagine if Leonard (and his management) didn't want people to buy them, they wouldn't be selling the 5-album box sets at the show. I hope no one expects this site to promote any other, illegal, way of getting the original music. (Note I'm not talking about bootlegs here, which is a different matter!)
Tim

PS hopefully a copyright expert and/or someone who knows about the release schedule for any future re-masters will be along shortly to expand or correct my points above.
John Etherington
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by John Etherington » Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:17 pm

Hi Waxy's Dargle,

One creative solution is that Leonard could re-record all of his albums prior to "Ten New Songs" with the current band...at the rate he's going, it should only take him a couple of months!

Cheers, John E
Waxy's Dargle
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Waxy's Dargle » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:41 pm

Tim,
I wouldn't suggest anything illegal - there is a legal fee paying Russian download site from which you can get full CDs (uncomprtessed) for about $5. This site pays artist royalties to ROMS (a Russian copyright agency) but the RIAA refuse to collect these royalties because they don't recognise this agancy as one of theirs. Make of that what you will!

What is the situation with bootlegs - are they legal/illegal?. Surely the artists suffers the same lack of performance royalties as is denied him with illegal downloads?

The fact that LC is selling CDs at the shows presumably demonstrates some benefit to him?

John, I would love if he recorded a set list from the concerts - I'm sure it would be a big seller.
Darling
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Darling » Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:45 pm

Tim wrote:Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer, or a copyright expert - but my understanding is that although Leonard has lost the publishing rights to his earlier material (anything published by Stranger Music), due to Kelley Lynch having sold Stranger Music to Sony, at the very least he should still be receiving artist/performer royalties from them. I'm sure he (and his new management) are happy that people continue buying the older material, although it might be wise to wait for remastered versions of albums that haven't yet had that treatment (I'm sure that's been discussed elsewhere on this forum, and I don't know where we are with that).
If someone could please clarify that, I would be very interested and I think many others too.
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tomsakic
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by tomsakic » Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:11 pm

I don't think that Leonard Cohen would like to see people not buying his old CDs. This is not wise to do; what happened, happened and can't me changed. But those are his songs and his work and he's happy with it. He's also selling CDs on the shows, yes.




As far I got it (as this talk was repeated here over last two years or so), there are royalties (copyrights) - which Leonard does not have anymore for all his songs up to Ten New Songs (in one of the interviews, Leonard said that the reason why he agreed to sell the complete back catalogue was because he didn't know he's getting paid 800,000 every year from European airplay time and CD sales and covers - that money is gone now, of course). Then, there are "performing rights" (the original recording of material, with his voice). LC has now only performing rights for his back catalogue (that means, sales of old CDs, including remasters, and provision from the radio playing are not going to him anymore as to the author of those songs - his company Stranger Music Inc., which had all LC songs on the catalogue, was sold to Sony -; he also doesn't control where the song can be used, who can cover it etc.). That's the reason why there's no Austin City Limits DVD (although Austin TV wants to make it), or new remasters edition, etc. I guess Sony still can't do much without LC's permission, as they're obviously not capable in selling the TV rights of the tour, or make new remasters, but only to repackage the old stuff in new box (titled The Collection). So I am glad that LC still has some control over his catalogue, as he never was the man of many reissues and collections and never left outtakes or alternate takes behind. And if he will stop some releases or TV airing to show them his statement, I am with him, he has the right to be little upset.

Now the new remasters. Those songs were all recorded and written before 1992. It seems that's stopped and I do not believe we will see them so soon again, as LC is away because of the tour and new CD, at least until next year. You do know Sony/Columbia - their contracts are going like "we own the air you breathe in our studio". I am sure that one day they will try to release the tracks of Leonard's breathing between the songs in their studios. Only problem is that for them LC never was the bag of money as Dylan or others, so they really never showed any interest in his work. (Presley's breathing is surely valuable!) Now they're happy, I guess, they never put much money in it (how many did LC ironically send them in an envelope, back in 1988, to pay for their investment, one dollar?), and getting some money although not so big. But hey! - the rate of investment and incomes are good one. I hope you can read my irony (you have to be sure about that on the internet 8) )
Waxy's Dargle
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Waxy's Dargle » Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:29 pm

Tom,
I get your irony about Sony not really being interested in LC because he was not considered a money spinner like Dylan or Elvis. This is one of the reasons for my post - I feel the music industry is an insatiable monster which preys on the public & artists alike. An industry like this, because of the historic enormous profits, tends to attract charlatans & n'er-do-wells and maybe even has the ability to corrupt otherwise upstanding people such as Kelley Lynch. It's now struggling somewhat (not primarily because of piracy, I believe). I don't want this to be a polemic on the music industry but this issue of LC's royalties brings into focus some things that we should all consider.

I'm still not sure about letting sentiment blind you to the fact that LC gets no royalties from purchases of his back catalog (this has still to be confirmed). I just wanted people to be aware of the issues and let them decide rather than blindly believe that buying his back catalog CDs is also supporting him. Of course it is important to keep the music alive but let's all just try to be informed. It's easy to get caught up in the sentiment. People may still decide to buy some of his back catalog.

Sorry if I'm rambling but I haven't formed my opinion yet - I'm just debating with myself and I don't trust my inner feelings, inner feelings come & go!
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tomsakic
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by tomsakic » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:49 pm

I think (as Steve said) that he is getting his percentage of performing rights for CD sales and radio playing, but not "owning" the song as before. He sold *copyrights* (under bad circumstances) for the back catalogue, that means no more "royalties" and no control over the songs. And in making money in music, it's not performing rights what counts, but owning some songs (and being paid for their use in movies, other people's CDs /covers/, etc.) and being paid for their use in every possible way.
Waxy's Dargle
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Re: LC Back Catalog - Royalties Issues

Post by Waxy's Dargle » Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:56 pm

Tom Sakic wrote:I think (as Steve said) that he is getting his percentage of performing rights for CD sales and radio playing, but not "owning" the song as before. He sold *copyrights* (under bad circumstances) for the back catalogue, that means no more "royalties" and no control over the songs.
I'm not even sure that that is the case, Tom. I researched & found the following ref: http://law.freeadvice.com/intellectual_ ... alties.htm

According to this there are 4 types of royalties/Fees:
Mechanical Royalties - paid to the publisher based on CDs sold (so this is only paid to the PUBLISHER) - this is the one I'm talking about
Performance Royalties - is based on air-play and is paid to the writer & the publisher
Synchronisation Fees - This is the one that directly relates to the Glastonbury broadcast
Print Income - goes to the publisher

Remember that LC sold both his publishing company, Stranger Music & the future royalties from his songs in two seperate deals with Sony.

Perhaps somebody, smarter than me, could read & interpret this for me/all of us? But from what I can glean the CD sales royalties all go to the publisher.
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