Chuck Lorre, Charlie Sheen

Mathew Imaging/WireImage

If Charlie Sheen is playing the Two and a Half Men theme in his shows, doesn't he have to pay a royalty to the songwriter: Chuck Lorre?
—Paul S., via in the inbox

It's criminal enough that Charlie Sheen is playing that over-precious faux doo-wop frackery during his show. But enriching his mortal enemy at the same time? Can it be?

Oh, you are gonna love this:

Because by all reasonable reckonings, yes: Chuck Lorre—credited as a co-writer on the Two and a Half Men ditty—will probably get some money off of Sheen's Torpedo of Cravenly Cashing In Tour.

No, Sheen won't directly pay Lorre with a check—a check that likely would carry a warlock curse along with its legal cash value. Instead, show creator an public Sheen nemesis Lorre will likely get the money indirectly, through the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

"If this is a comedy-club-like scenario," or something similar, and not, say, a Broadway venue, it's likely that the licensing for the songs are handled through an ASCAP fee, says Damon Booth of the Notable Music label. That fee is paid by whatever theater Sheen is gracing—not the actor himself.

In other words, it's most likely the venue—say, the Fox in Detroit—that pays ASCAP, and it's ASCAP who pays Lorre and his cowriters. Only indirectly does Sheen help enrich his former buddy by playing that song. (For more on how all this works, check out my archive on this very topic. And what does any of this have to do with John McCain? Hey, glad you asked.)

Just how much is Lorre making off of this tour? Well, if you're a Sheen fan, you'll be pleased. At most, Lorre might make a four figure sum, perhaps $7,000, off of the whole tour, I'm told. At the very least, it might be, say, $500.

Not exactly the type of boon a TV mogul might crow over.

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