Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



Collaboration--the act of more than one songwriter writing a song--has seldom, if ever, been more popular or prevalent in popular music. A perusal of a recent Billboard Hot 100 singles chart revealed that 85 of the charted songs had more than one writer in their credits. Of the fifteen with single writer credits, thirteen were by the recording artists. The other two were remakes of decades-old hits. More often than not, especially on the pop charts, some of the co-writers are the recording artists or the producers of the recording. Many times these artist and producer co-writers have actually written part of the song. Other times, however, they may have been involved in a deal that granted co-writer credits in exchange for recording the song. What are the implications of the creation of phony co-writer status for the copyright ownership and for the rights of the "real" authors? This Article attempts to unravel the situation created by overreaching artists and producers. It argues that "real" authors have a remedy to get their copyrights back by utilizing the statutory right of termination of transfers.