Performing Rights Organizations

December 26, 2006

If you’re a songwriter and your songs are being played on the radio or internet, there may be income waiting for you.

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) collect royalty payments on behalf of publishers and songwriters for public performances of their songs. Here’s how PROs work.

If you’re a songwriter, you have the exclusive right to publicly perform your song under Section 106 of the Copyright Act. However, it’s virtually impossible to know when your songs are being played and by whom. PROs were set up to remedy this problem. Songwriters (and publishers) sign up with a PRO, giving the PRO authority to collect public performance royalties on behalf of the songwriter. It turn, the PROs have licenses all across the country (and even beyond) with radio stations, internet radio providers, shopping malls, restaurants and anyone else who plays music in their establishment. The PROs collect money on behalf of the songwriter, take a small fee, and distribute the money to the songwriter.

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