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What's on your Mind? General musings from the SCGC community, Share your music!
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    • Publishing rights- be careful what you agree to

      Hey everyone,
      First Post! (Although I’ve been a longtime lurker…)
      I feel so very fortunate to be a part of this great group. Such a fantastic resource for a composer and our profession in general . Please forgive the lengthy email but I thought I’d share some of my experience regarding the relinquishing of publishing rights.
      First off I do everything I can to retain it. It’s always starts as mine and simply my right to keep. However, ultimately though we all know this has become a much harder to pull off in these times.
      So I believe it is a matter that could always benefit from discussion.
      Of course every situation is different but here are some polar examples:

      THE BAD:
      Way, way back on a gig for a cool indie feature I gave up my publishing rights for a better upfront. Unbeknownst to me it was then sold to Lifetime who the Parent company AETN (who subsequently owns the likes of A&E History, FYI, H2 etc …) then categorized and dumped the score into to their Extreme Music Library as well.
      Years later I’m changing channels on the TV when I hear the tracks I wrote for that indie movie cut up, gutted and all over a reality TV episode.
      Looking over my contract I thought:
      Wow. I guess they CAN do that.
      Then I thought cool, more royalties.
      Then I thought , shiza. I just unwittingly took a gig away from someone else, got my career involved in a project I didn’t sign up for and lowered their production costs considerably. Ultimately I devalued our craft and padded the bottom line to a huge media conglomerate by simply signing over the rights.
      Shame on me in a big way!!!
      Imagine is this was the norm. And believe you me, many folks are trying to make it so. It would simply end our industry. We would all become stock music writers. Not knocking those who are by any means, but the typical film composer role would then be deleted. Our investment into any project, and what we can bring and take away from it would be bypassed completely. Instead film music would consist of typing in the tags of emotions into a predetermined online database and sliding the resulting music files onto the editing scroll.

      THE GOOD:
      I was super fortunate to work on a high profile mini-series with a director/producer who is notorious for re-using his scores in his films (and also, for firing composers btw). The project demanded and owned the publishing but were not allowed to use the music outside of its direct originally intended show-related use. Any additional re-use placements inside the series where to be negotiated in good faith. Because the series had the right to use the music the way it wanted within the show the director/producer almost re-scored the whole series from the couple of episodes I did. He also then ended up re-licensing it in another film. As a result I’m accruing terrific royalties and now on his next feature.

      So my two bits:

      If we absolutely MUST give away our publishing (which is unfortunately becoming more of a disturbing norm) we should be sure to add language in our contracts to protect ourselves in the case for it’s unrelated re-use . As I found out anything can happen. We should at least be able to be given the opportunity for an approval. Otherwise our professions could be at stake. Or better yet, just say no . Hang onto your publishing!!!!

      Started by:  James Jandrisch

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    • 3 years, 3 months ago

       James Jandrisch

    • Victoria Members

      Just rejoined the guild and looking forward to reconnecting with fellow composers from my days as a board member. Hey, how y’all doin’??
      Also just sold my house and in the process of moving to Victoria– would love to meet members living there.
      Also available to give out autographs for my 3 seasons writing the songs for the Irrelevant Show. Oh darn, that’s radio……

      all the best
      Jan Randall

      Started by:  Jan

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    • 3 years, 5 months ago

       Jan

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