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What is Ecad – How They Work & What They Do For Artists

April 15, 2021 • 5 min read

You must have noticed that Music copyright laws are everywhere. On the car radio, at the party, at the bar, at the gym. Music soothes, relieves and gives us energy too. But have you ever stopped to think about what is behind the sound you listen to? About the whole production chain involved? And what is Ecad, whay do they do for artists?

It is easy to imagine that there is a huge amount of people making a living of the music industry. Besides the creators of songs and the copyright holders in music, we have publishers, record labels, performers, radio stations, streaming platforms, among many others.

For this whole production chain to work in a sustainable way, there is a fundamental body, the ECAD – Central Office for Collection and Distribution. ECAD was founded in 1973 with the objective of establishing prices, regulating and supervising the collection and distribution of copyrights in music following the regulation of the brazillian Copyright Law (9.610/98).

ECAD’s job is to bridge the gap between the creators of the music and those who will use them publicly. This ensures that the copyrights in music reach the right people. For those who make their living from art, this is essential. In other words, it is an institution that everyone involved with music needs to know.

It is important to say that ECAD does not act by itself. All its management is collective, done by several associations that are responsible for feeding a single database. That’s the main difference in how to copyright music in Brazil to other countries. It also acts by controlling and transferring royalties to rightful music copyright owners. The associations act at the end, in direct contact with the musicians. In addition, the work of the office is supervised by the Special Secretariat of Culture of the Ministry of Tourism.

How to receive royalties from ECAD?

All contact between the musician and ECAD is done through the partner associations. Therefore, the first step is to get to know each one of them and join the one that best fits the artist. Because it is a collective management, all data will be sent to a central system that gathers information about musicians and songs.

ECAD’s partner associations are:

  • ABRAMUS – Brazilian Association of Music and Arts
  • AMAR/SOMBRÁS – Association of Musicians Arrangers and Conductors / Brazilian Musical Society
  • ASSIM – Association of Performers and Musicians
  • SBACEM – Brazilian Society of Authors, Composers and Music Writers
  • SICAM – Independent Society of Composers and Music Authors
  • SOCINPRO – Brazilian Society for the Administration and Protection of Intellectual Rights
  • UBC – Brazilian Union of Composers

 

How to register a song?

After becoming a member, the artist must register his work with the association. Once this is done, the copyrights of the song will be protected regarding the economic use of the work. Here, we are talking about the rights of creation, which are non-transferable and belong exclusively to the author and/or his music publisher.

However, if the work is recorded, it ceases to be only a creation of the author and becomes a phonogram. When talking about phonograms, we need to consider the related rights.  This is because when the music is recorded, other people get involved, not just the author. The neighbouring rights are those that go to the other professionals within the production chain. That is, performers, musicians and phonographic producers.

Unlike the original registration of the work, which needs to be done only once, the recordings need a new registration with the association every time they are changed. Each new recorded version is a new phonogram. Keeping the repertoire properly updated is essential for things to work properly.

How to protect a song? It is worth pointing out that ECAD exists for collection purposes. Those who wish to register songs aiming only to protect the recognition of authorship, should look for the National Library.

How does ECAD collect and send it to the rightful owner?

When these steps are completed, from affiliation to the registration of the work and phonograms, the responsibility for the supervision and collection of copyrights in music becomes ECAD’s. This includes public performances of the songs, not only in bars and concert halls, but also in cinemas, theaters, digital platforms, among others.

To make it all work, ECAD is present all over Brazil. There are 21 of its own offices operating in capital cities, and another 23 accredited agencies and third-party representatives spread all over the country.

In a country of continental dimensions like Brazil, the inspection work is not always an easy task.  It is the full responsibility of whoever is going to use the song to inform ECAD and pay the copyright fee on the music. Failure to pay can subject offenders to face legal action.

The statements with the amounts to be passed on to the music right’s holders are generated monthly by ECAD and sent to the associations. After that, each association is responsible for rendering accounts to its affiliates.

Sync licensing

For those who wish to use the music in a more continuous way, such as, for example, a soundtrack for a movie, it is necessary to obtain an assignment or license for this.

Sync licensing is the most common way of obtaining authorization to use the work of others, and can be requested in two ways:

Directly with the song owners and record labels. The challenge here is to find and negotiate with the owners of the songs and phonograms.
Through digital music licensing platforms. Easily found online, these are a great alternative for those looking to license a song.

What is ISRC?

Does Ecad operate abroad?

Another important acronym when talking about copyrights in music is the ISRC – International Standard Recording Code. In Portuguese, International Standard Recording Code.

The ISRC has the objective of uniquely identifying the recordings. It works as if it were a kind of CPF of the phonogram, allowing it to be found anywhere in the world. The code has 12 characters with information about the country, the initial owner of the recording, the year of the recording, and a numerical sequence.

The ISRC can be generated simply and online at the portals of the associations. However, it is necessary that the registration is made by the phonographic producer, being the individual or legal entity economically responsible for the recording.

Although ECAD does not operate abroad, the associations have international partners and can help when it comes to receiving royalties for songs played outside the country. In any case, having an ISRC is essential.

There is also the ISWC – International Standard Musical Work Code. Like the ISRC, it is a unique international registration code that relates songs to their authors. It is commonly used by digital platforms, which move a lot of data daily.

After all, can I trust ECAD?

Besides acting for the sustainability of the music production chain, ECAD is a reliable source of information about copyright collection and payment in music. On the site, you can find guidelines and primers, organized in a very didactic way, for all those who want to understand more about the subject.

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