Dear Rich: If two songwriters collaborate and co-own their copyright in a song, can one writer issue a license for the whole song (assuming she accounts to the other for her share)? What if the other writer believes that the song was licensed for less than the prevailing market rate for that use? Can that writer sue the co-writer for destroying the value of the copyright? I'm so glad you asked. As to your first question, the co-owners share the legal rights to the song (assuming there is no agreement to the contrary). As joint copyright owners, each writer can separately grant permission (a license) for someone to use the song, provided that each writer shares the income with the others. Although each co-owner is entitled to receive money from the song, this doesn't mean that the two writers have to share money from the song equally. One writer may receive 30% of the income and the other may earn 70%. Each writer's share is usually based on the value of their contribution. This is a matter that is agreed on by the two writers. If the writers do not agree and the issue turns into a lawsuit, then a court will decide on the value of each writer's contribution. Courts often start with the presumption that all songwriters contributed equally.