Contract for a score help. Any composers in?
eddie.machete
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#1
4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
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Contract for a score help. Any composers in?

Hi guys. I've had a look around and I can't find some type of business sub forum or something, If there is one I can post in I'd appreciate a heads up!

My issue is, I've just accepted a request to write a score for a three part drama for free to build my portfolio before I launch myself as a business, I'm happy to do it, since it's for free there's no way I want to just give the music away and we have agreed there will be a contract involved stating the music can't be used anywhere else with all rights and licensing completely belonging to myself.
So I'm at the point now where I'm building themes and putting a mock together for the Director to hear, but I need to get this contract sent out to him.
I've never had to worry about these contracts as I am new to scoring.

Can anyone help with how to word the contract?
I'm not paying for a Lawyer.
What would be perfect would be If someone had a template in a pdf they use for such things!



I just don't want to hear my music on some tv drama thats making money and I'm not profiting from nor being credited for, down the line.
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4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
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I suppose you could do a search and find some "standard" contract with a bunch of legal-speak. But, I would just write up a contract in plain English stating clearly what you are agreeing to.

When you say "three part drama", is this a movie? tv?
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4th June 2012
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4th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
Hi guys. I've had a look around and I can't find some type of business sub forum or something, If there is one I can post in I'd appreciate a heads up!

My issue is, I've just accepted a request to write a score for a three part drama for free to build my portfolio before I launch myself as a business, I'm happy to do it, since it's for free there's no way I want to just give the music away and we have agreed there will be a contract involved stating the music can't be used anywhere else with all rights and licensing completely belonging to myself.
So I'm at the point now where I'm building themes and putting a mock together for the Director to hear, but I need to get this contract sent out to him.
I've never had to worry about these contracts as I am new to scoring.

Can anyone help with how to word the contract?
I'm not paying for a Lawyer.
What would be perfect would be If someone had a template in a pdf they use for such things!



I just don't want to hear my music on some tv drama thats making money and I'm not profiting from nor being credited for, down the line.
a few points:

1) we need to know what country you are in in order to possibly point you towards a contract.

2) is this company in the same country you are? If not, then this gets complicated.

3) the ones who really need that contract are the other guys. Register your work with your PRO, and copyright it formally if you wish. But realize that if no paperwork exists it is this 3-part drama that is screwed if they use your music without expressly granted rights. As far as I can see it, the only reason you would need to worry about putting a contract together is if you wanted to control the negotiation by setting the tone of the first volley contract. I'd let them spend the money and time writing up the contract since they are the ones that need it. And there is no need to rush this on your end. The further you get into this, the more committed they are to your score, the more leverage you have. You will do better negotiating the terms later on than right now, so why rush it forward?

4) I understand the need to get experience and write for free to build a reel and credits list. So I'm not going to say anything about working for free because I get it. But if this is an established production company with distribution already worked out, and their revenue stream secured you really should get paid. Our industry is in crisis over this and it is frustrating.
eddie.machete
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4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhizomeman View Post
I suppose you could do a search and find some "standard" contract with a bunch of legal-speak. But, I would just write up a contract in plain English stating clearly what you are agreeing to.

When you say "three part drama", is this a movie? tv?
Hi, to clarify: This a three part drama for a University TV Station.

I might end up just making a simple agreement/contract myself and doing it through the post, but I will need a more professional contract in the future anyway, so might as well ask a few questions!
eddie.machete
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4th June 2012
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Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
a few points:

1) we need to know what country you are in in order to possibly point you towards a contract.

2) is this company in the same country you are? If not, then this gets complicated.

3) the ones who really need that contract are the other guys. Register your work with your PRO, and copyright it formally if you wish. But realize that if no paperwork exists it is this 3-part drama that is screwed if they use your music without expressly granted rights. As far as I can see it, the only reason you would need to worry about putting a contract together is if you wanted to control the negotiation by setting the tone of the first volley contract. I'd let them spend the money and time writing up the contract since they are the ones that need it. And there is no need to rush this on your end. The further you get into this, the more committed they are to your score, the more leverage you have. You will do better negotiating the terms later on than right now, so why rush it forward?

4) I understand the need to get experience and write for free to build a reel and credits list. So I'm not going to say anything about working for free because I get it. But if this is an established production company with distribution already worked out, and their revenue stream secured you really should get paid. Our industry is in crisis over this and it is frustrating.
I'm in the UK, and they're not profiting from it, it's to safeguard the possibility that my music somehow might end up being kept and used for future productions etc. It's a student film, sorry I didn't make that clear, I thought by stating I was working for free that the client wouldn't be making money themselves from it. I wouldn't work for hours for free when others are getting paid. This is my second free job. I will do six then fully expect a fee. This one is a three parts twenty minutes each, that's a lot of work for free as a person who is doing nothing but trying to get paid, and working on projects I think are $h8t..I mean where are all the good indie film makers that are inventive and daring, evocative and brave and have a great sense of the human condition and the eternal truths of us, sometimes I feel like picking up the bloody camera myself just because there is nothing I see that excites me. //end rant// Thanks for your reply bud. It's early doors here.
eddie.machete
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4th June 2012
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Originally Posted by Barajevic View Post
Check PM
Hi, I got the PM, I don't feel like opening a link to download a contract that has to be housed in a rar file, thanks.
#8
5th June 2012
Old 5th June 2012
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Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
Hi, I got the PM, I don't feel like opening a link to download a contract that has to be housed in a rar file, thanks.
Sorry for that, it's in .rar because there is approximately one hundred examples of various contracts in music/post business, and it's hosted on mine drop box account. I could send you in some other form if you would like that.
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5th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
I'm in the UK, and they're not profiting from it, it's to safeguard the possibility that my music somehow might end up being kept and used for future productions etc.
cool. i just wanted to point out that you don't need a contract to prevent them from keeping the music around and using it for other things. That would be just as illegal without a contract as it would be with one; you do not need a contract in order to prevent somebody from using your music without your permission.

So if you don't get a contract, no big deal. If they use your music without permission just tell them that they need to negotiate with you to get you paid. They would be in a pretty bad place if that happened and would have little choice but to come up with whatever money you asked for.

So again, let them handle the contract, or not. all the same to you.
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5th June 2012
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I'm not sure I agree with you, here. If it's a "work for hire", and technically I think it could be even though he's not getting paid this time around, then "they" could own it. Just for clarity sake, I would put together something very simple that stated that he retains ownership and is simply giving them permission to use it for this project, and this project only without fee. Otherwise, it could get into a he said, she said.

I would also make sure I registered it. And one very simple way to establish ownership immediately is to send a copy of the score or score notes (whatever you are working from) to himself registered mail... MAKE SURE YOU DON'T OPEN IT WHEN YOU GET IT IN THE MAIL. It will be postmarked/dated and no one else can provide that kind of documentation so it should be enough to establish ownership in a court of law.

But the best thing to do is obviously copyright it. But do the mail thing before you start giving them anything.

That's what I would do anyway.
eddie.machete
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5th June 2012
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Originally Posted by Barajevic View Post
Sorry for that, it's in .rar because there is approximately one hundred examples of various contracts in music/post business, and it's hosted on mine drop box account. I could send you in some other form if you would like that.
Hi, didn't want to come across rude. But you know what the internet is like. Don't want to be opening a virus and ruining the only pc I have to work with.
eddie.machete
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5th June 2012
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Hi guys. Thanks for the replies and the info.
I'm not registered with PRS or any other organization that would look after my music yet. I wouldn't know the first thing about it(yet).
I think I will just go ahead and do a plain English agreement between the two us through the post. I was wondering though, if me uploading to my soundcloud or other sites would be enough if it came to it, I mean it would have the date it was uploaded.
Cheers!
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5th June 2012
Old 5th June 2012
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Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
I was wondering though, if me uploading to my soundcloud or other sites would be enough if it came to it, I mean it would have the date it was uploaded.
The only thing I can think of is that if soundcloud were to shut down one day, all this evidence you'd have uploaded would then vanish. At least the mailing-it-to-yourself method means you have a physical copy.

Alternatively, maybe you could register your work with the US copyright office? They'll keep a record of the date of registration.
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5th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
Hi, didn't want to come across rude. But you know what the internet is like. Don't want to be opening a virus and ruining the only pc I have to work with.
Don't worry -
1) possibility of getting a virus is no greater if the file you're receiving is packed inside a .rar archive.
2) Barajevic is a real knowledgeable guy - I highly doubt you'd get a virus from him. (but scan the archive anyway)

Go for it
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5th June 2012
Old 5th June 2012
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Originally Posted by jroode View Post
I'm not sure I agree with you, here. If it's a "work for hire", and technically I think it could be even though he's not getting paid this time around, then "they" could own it. Just for clarity sake, I would put together something very simple that stated that he retains ownership and is simply giving them permission to use it for this project, and this project only without fee. Otherwise, it could get into a he said, she said.

I would also make sure I registered it. And one very simple way to establish ownership immediately is to send a copy of the score or score notes (whatever you are working from) to himself registered mail... MAKE SURE YOU DON'T OPEN IT WHEN YOU GET IT IN THE MAIL. It will be postmarked/dated and no one else can provide that kind of documentation so it should be enough to establish ownership in a court of law.

But the best thing to do is obviously copyright it. But do the mail thing before you start giving them anything.

That's what I would do anyway.
jroode, this is not good advice. First, the mailing things to yourself with a postmark is not a good copyrighting strategy - it is a myth. Second, you are confusing the need for a musician to prove copyright of a musical work against other musicians who also claim to have created the same idea with a completely different situation, where filmmakers who acknowledge the proper creator of the work foolishly, and without permission, synchronize a master recording and work of IP to a moving picture.

* In this situation there will be no confusion about who created the work. The film with have credits, yes?
* There is no need to prove the creator of the musical work has rights to it -- that is the default.
* So there is no need for the composer to go out of his way to put together a contract in order to establish his rights to his music.
* anybody who uses somebody else's music needs to be able to show documentation of their rights.
*It is the burden of the filmmakers to have this. Without it they would have no rationale at all as to why they would have the rights. It doesn't pass automatically just because they asked a composer to write for them as you imply in a "work-for hire" scenario. And it is not a work-for-hire situation when there is no money involved anyway.

And lastly, the composer will burn this bridge if he insists on copyrighting everything before giving it to the filmmakers. There is no time for this silliness for one thing.
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5th June 2012
Old 5th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete View Post
Hi guys. Thanks for the replies and the info.
I'm not registered with PRS or any other organization that would look after my music yet. I wouldn't know the first thing about it(yet).
I think I will just go ahead and do a plain English agreement between the two us through the post. I was wondering though, if me uploading to my soundcloud or other sites would be enough if it came to it, I mean it would have the date it was uploaded.
Cheers!
Eddie, seriously, just write the music and don't worry about it. If you want to spend your time thinking about the business side of things, use this time and energy researching and choosing a PRO. They are free to join. The register your cues with the PRO and submit a cue sheet.

good luck
eddie.machete
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6th June 2012
Old 6th June 2012
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Thanks for all the replies guys its been a great source of info. Helped me out. And no doubt others who will stumble upon the thread another time.

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