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Business News (more headlines) 04-15-2004

RCG And AMRA To Collect Film & TV Broadcast Mechanical Royalties For Composers And Songwriters

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Website: http://www.royaltygroup.com

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Royalty Consulting Group (RCG), a new consulting firm headed by Film Music Network founder Mark Northam and established mechanical rights agency AMRA (American Mechanical Rights Agency, Inc) owned by veteran Los Angeles entertainment attorney Sindee Levin have announced a new service designed to provide composers and songwriters direct access to broadcast mechanical royalties, a special type of royalties that are paid by many international royalty collecting societies but whose writers share often does not reach U.S. writers.

Broadcast Mechanical royalties are generated by the broadcast of music on television or radio in many countries in Europe and elsewhere. Because they are technically mechanical royalties, these royalties cannot be paid to writers through ASCAP, BMI and SESAC who work exclusively with performance royalties. Instead, these royalties are often paid to foreign subpublishers who then remit the funds back to their U.S. publishers. In many cases, however, the U.S. publishers do not pass the writers share of these royalties on to the writers of the music due to incomplete information provided about the origin of the royalties or for other reasons.

AMRA for almost 40 years has collected mechanical royalties for hundreds of writers in the U.S., and currently collects over $1 million per year in mechanical record royalties and broadcast mechanical royalties for its members. The new venture with Royalty Consulting Group is designed to provide composers and songwriters for film and television with a streamlined, simple way to receive these royalties directly.

Once a writer is affiliated with AMRA, European and other societies are informed and, because of established agreements in place with AMRA, pay mechanical royalties directly to the writer through AMRA. Royalties are paid quarterly to AMRA members, and each royalty statement includes a complete detail of all monies collected. Copies of the original financial documents received from each foreign society for verification will also be available.

In addition to broadcast mechanical royalties, AMRA representation provides writers with a way of receiving other mechanical royalties directly from Europe and other territories throughout the World. Depending on the country, these additional mechanical royalties can include royalties generated by private copying and other reproduction royalties, and royalties generated by the sale and rental of DVDs and videotapes.

Monitoring Service Provides Access to Unidentified Royalties for AMRA Writers

As a benefit to AMRA members, Royalty Consulting Group uses custom database technology to build a complete works database for each AMRA client which is used to verify the client's catalog as part of the collection process for broadcast mechanical royalties. In addition, RCG works with AMRA to match each client catalog to massive files of unidentified performances maintained by many international collecting societies. These so-called "black box" files contain performances worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties that are ready to be paid but are lacking in complete identification information.

Using proprietary matching technology, RCG's Works Identification System compares client catalog information with unidentified performance information from foreign collecting societies to locate any unidentified royalty performances that may be due an AMRA client. The matching technology can identify potential matches even in cases of misspelled names or titles, and human translators are used to prepare translated film and television production titles for the matching process.

Once the database matching process is complete, each match is examined to determine by a staff member to determine if the match is valid. Clients receive complete reports of all confirmed matches and AMRA will file payment claims for the mechanical portion of these royalties. Since many of these unidentified performances also are paid a performance royalty, clients may use the information to substantiate claims with their U.S. performing rights society for the performance share of royalties

Mechanical Rights Representation Now Available for All Composers and Songwriters

"Today there's no reason why every composer and songwriter shouldn't be affiliated with a mechanical rights agency in addition to their performing rights affiliation with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC," said Royalty Consulting Group founder Mark Northam. "Broadcast mechanical royalties for U.S. film and television music are being paid every day in Europe and other territories, and there's no better mechanical rights representation for U.S. writers today than AMRA. They're established, experienced, and already collecting over $1 million per year in mechanical royalties. We're excited to help composers and songwriters for film and television finally get the proper representation they deserve for the collection of their broadcast mechanical royalties," said Northam

AMRA owner Sindee Levin said, "AMRA has been in business for the past forty years and has memberships to over twenty five foreign societies, including every major territory. There is no "guess work" about whether AMRA can collect, we've been doing it for years."

Free Broadcast Mechanical Royalty Seminars Announced for Los Angeles and New York

RCG and AMRA will host a series of free seminars to educate composers and songwriters about collecting broadcast mechanical and other mechanical royalties in Los Angeles on April 22 at the Universal Hilton Hotel and New York on May 13 at the Crowne Plaza at the United Nations. Visit www.royaltygroup.com for complete event information and to RSVP.

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