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How much should I ask for?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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audioforce's Avatar
 

How much should I ask for?

Hi,

There is a company that restores and markets "genre" films, and they have come across a couple of films that contain some of my music. I don't own the films, the producer / direct has passed away, and someone I know owns the rights to the films now.

I guess the above-mentioned company bought the elements from a post facility where the producer had them stored when he passed away. They've contacted my friend to obtain the rights so they can "restore" and market them.

So one film has some of my music in it legitimately. I gave the guy a license for money way back when. It also has some more of my music that I did not license, now that I think of it. The other film has my music in it prominently also, but no license was ever given at all for that film. So the producer basically stole some of my music [and probably a bunch of other people's too] and used it in his soundtrack. Its quality music, well produced, played and recorded.

These are B movies. One is a T and A Beach comedy, and the other is a T and A Horror film. They're o.k. films, and I guess there is a market for that stuff. Both films have been distributed previously, mostly overseas, but I've not seen any royalties because I guess they never sent in the cue sheets properly.

So the new guys need to give me some licensing money if they want to [re] distribute / market these films. These guys are set up in business and making money off their releases.

I'm wondering how much to ask for. As I say, it does appear that the films, including the infringing film, have been previously distributed and released overseas at least. I think maybe late night cable in the States had one of them for a little one.

I don't know that the guys who bought the elements [which I guess they don't really own, since my friend actually owns the films] had anything to do with the previous releases. This goes back to 1985-88 or so.

Any thoughts? What's it worth? I know licensing fees are all over the map, but I am still interested in hearing from others as to their take on it.


Best,

audioforce
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Wow - that's a tough sit.

For the legit music - did you sign a contract? If so, that contract should follow the IP.

My first thought is an attorney who is well versed in matters such as this, but if we aren't talking about a ton of dough, the money you give to an attorney may not be worth it.

Maybe a small fee of, say $10k for everything, and a 20% profit share with the ability to audit?

Cheers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Wow - that's a tough sit.

For the legit music - did you sign a contract? If so, that contract should follow the IP.

My first thought is an attorney who is well versed in matters such as this, but if we aren't talking about a ton of dough, the money you give to an attorney may not be worth it.

Maybe a small fee of, say $10k for everything, and a 20% profit share with the ability to audit?

Cheers.
Hello,

Thanks for responding. A couple questions.

What do you mean by "IP"?

What theory do you think warrants a share of the distributor's profits? I like the idea, just wondering if it is commonplace.

How much money do these "restoration and distribution" companies generally stand to make on a film once they start distributing it?


Best,

audioforce
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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1) Intellectual Property ie - your music

2) Absolutely not commonplace, tho you do find a composer here and there with points. The fact is the sit. is not commonplace either, which, IMHO, warrants some creativity when it comes to compensation.

3) There is no way for me to know that.

Cheers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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First off - understand their situation :

A legit film without all the copyrights and licenses in place is literally a nightmare for the (current) producers / distributor(s). It's not an asset. It's a huge liability. They are literally F;d to get distribution if they do not get their clearances right.

Second - just because the original producer is dead and the film sold off by a post facility that was storing them does not mean they now own the film. It's almost certainly a lot more complicated than that.

But in this situation, if all their other legalities are dealt with - you hold ALL the cards.

If there is a lot of other peoples music in there as well, they might be better off rescoring the films, and that's the approach I would take if I was in their shoes. If it's just you, they can make this go away fairly easily by making you happy. But literally, YOU may be the roadblock to them being able to release and make money on the film. So,.....the sky is the limit. Literally. You could ask for a million, and without your release, they have to go back and completely rescore and remix the film. Figure out how much that will cost them at $400-800 an hour in a dub stage. That's at a minimum. Get an attorney with teeth.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
First off - understand their situation :

A legit film without all the copyrights and licenses in place is literally a nightmare for the (current) producers / distributor(s). It's not an asset. It's a huge liability. They are literally F;d to get distribution if they do not get their clearances right.

Second - just because the original producer is dead and the film sold off by a post facility that was storing them does not mean they now own the film. It's almost certainly a lot more complicated than that.

But in this situation, if all their other legalities are dealt with - you hold ALL the cards.

If there is a lot of other peoples music in there as well, they might be better off rescoring the films, and that's the approach I would take if I was in their shoes. If it's just you, they can make this go away fairly easily by making you happy. But literally, YOU may be the roadblock to them being able to release and make money on the film. So,.....the sky is the limit. Literally. You could ask for a million, and without your release, they have to go back and completely rescore and remix the film. Figure out how much that will cost them at $400-800 an hour in a dub stage. That's at a minimum. Get an attorney with teeth.
Well, one thing to consider is how much they have spent retrieving the stuff from the post house. If they are into it for a bunch already.then......... But if not, it’s a different story. I do know they went to quite a bit of trouble hunting down the person who owns the rights. Apparently an inquiry was made and then again a year later they are still wanting to buy the rights. I don’t think they are offering much, though.

If I had a decent idea of what they stand to make distributing the films (I believe they do blu ray sales also) then I could gauge it better.

These are older films, and not big budget stuff, but there seems to be so much demand for content these days and the foreign market is there. I dunno, a lawyer might be the way to go.

Any thoughts and info here would be nice.

Best,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Does anyone know if it is common for post houses or film labs to sell elements they have stored and / or are owed money on? And are they required to send out or publish any sort of notice? Is sale of unclaimed negatives even permitted? In this case it appears that the owner of the rights in the films may not have been aware that any such negatives / elements were being stored.

Thanks.


Best,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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I would NEVER sell elements of any project I've worked on - even if the client didn't pay their tab. If I was storing it legitimately for them, they would be paying me. But that's not always the case. I often store stuff for clients who tell me it's not important to store - just because 1 out of a hundred times, it will be needed in the future. Bottom line - Intellectual Property does not change hands when a bill has not been paid.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I would NEVER sell elements of any project I've worked on - even if the client didn't pay their tab. If I was storing it legitimately for them, they would be paying me. But that's not always the case. I often store stuff for clients who tell me it's not important to store - just because 1 out of a hundred times, it will be needed in the future. Bottom line - Intellectual Property does not change hands when a bill has not been paid.
Well the person whose intellectual property it was died with the stuff stored. The intellectual property rights were then awarded from his estate to another party in a lawsuit. The current owner of the intellectual rights was not a party to the storage agreement, and probably did not even know the stuff had been stored.

Years passed, and then some distributor has come across the elements.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Depending on when the B movie was made and what formats it was shot in... kind of tell the story of how much it is worth, Was it shot in 8mm 16mm or 35mm? Was there some expertise in the gripping gaffing dp or directing? Also is the 'money on the screen' which means is it shot on a shoddy beach and in a couple of motel rooms etc. How hard would it be to reproduce the movie today? Would it be worth it? I have worked on a few run of the mill b-movies (1990s) shot on arriflex 16mm - good scripts decent actors - enough on the screen. Some effort put into them. The costs maybe 125k for the first one and about 250k for the other one. They could not be re-made anywhere near these prices today... so I am sure they are still worth that much today - maybe 2x or 3x (10x?) that today. So if you know the value of the film that is where you should start. Talk to a decent film producer/executive producer and he could probably say what it is worth. Another option would be calling up xfinity in demand and tell them you have access to a film of XXX quality like the few they are currently showing... and you should be able to squeeze out a ballpark figure from them. With that info - you know what it is worth. Armed with this info you can now approach teh new owners of the film and ask them what THEY will PAY YOU. Then have your minimum figure at the cost of re-scoring - like op said. So basic figures might be 5% of $200k value = $10k or 7% of $250k = $17.5k. It can vary wildly depending on how good the music is... as well as the film or the niche market. The one other thing is: could it be revamped for the wide international market with overdubbing or sub-titles? this could really up the value. gl
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Depending on when the B movie was made and what formats it was shot in... kind of tell the story of how much it is worth, Was it shot in 8mm 16mm or 35mm? Was there some expertise in the gripping gaffing dp or directing? Also is the 'money on the screen' which means is it shot on a shoddy beach and in a couple of motel rooms etc. How hard would it be to reproduce the movie today? Would it be worth it? I have worked on a few run of the mill b-movies (1990s) shot on arriflex 16mm - good scripts decent actors - enough on the screen. Some effort put into them. The costs maybe 125k for the first one and about 250k for the other one. They could not be re-made anywhere near these prices today... so I am sure they are still worth that much today - maybe 2x or 3x (10x?) that today. So if you know the value of the film that is where you should start. Talk to a decent film producer/executive producer and he could probably say what it is worth. Another option would be calling up xfinity in demand and tell them you have access to a film of XXX quality like the few they are currently showing... and you should be able to squeeze out a ballpark figure from them. With that info - you know what it is worth. Armed with this info you can now approach teh new owners of the film and ask them what THEY will PAY YOU. Then have your minimum figure at the cost of re-scoring - like op said. So basic figures might be 5% of $200k value = $10k or 7% of $250k = $17.5k. It can vary wildly depending on how good the music is... as well as the film or the niche market. The one other thing is: could it be revamped for the wide international market with overdubbing or sub-titles? this could really up the value. gl
Thanks for responding. These were shot on 35 mm. Decent quality films. Cost quite a bit more than the ones you’re talking about. The film that infringes my Music does not use my music all the way through the film. I’ll write more later just wanted to get back to you and thank you for responding.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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So anyway, the idea that they would have to rescore the entire film to replace my music is probably a bit much. It’s not my music through the whole film, just in a few prominent places, I think. But they would have to do some work.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
So anyway, the idea that they would have to rescore the entire film to replace my music is probably a bit much. It’s not my music through the whole film, just in a few prominent places, I think. But they would have to do some work.

Once upon a time, the channel that represents "the mouse" had it's legal / accounting team decide that they should OWN all the music in their channel's films. So a notice went out to all writers / publishers in the mouses's kingdom who had previously placed music in those films stating that it would be removed, and we would no longer be receiving royalties. Back to pauperdom!!

I had a BUNCH of pieces in a dozen or so of their films, and it bummed me out heavily. The music cues in question were mostly montage and source cues. They figured "just yank em and drop something else in". Simple, right???

Well, no need to worry. They got about 1-1.5 films in, looked at the bottom line cost, and just about had a heart attack. Needless to say, my music is still in all those films. It's much cheaper to deal with the licensing issues and not receive a little bit of residual royalty income than it is to reDub a film and make things match up, reprint, print master, etc.. That stuff is MEGA expensive. Which is why I said you could virtually name your price.

I'd hazard a guess that paying you $10, 20, 50k would be much simpler, easier, time efficient and CHEAPER than re-dubbing. Cause you never know what can of worms you're going to uncover going in on something like that. Lost dialog, missing pieces of SFX, music problems, etc..

My perspective.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Once upon a time, the channel that represents "the mouse" ....
You mean these guys?

https://www.mouser.com/
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
You mean these guys?

https://www.mouser.com/
Do they have a channel?
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Once upon a time, the channel that represents "the mouse" had it's legal / accounting team decide that they should OWN all the music in their channel's films. So a notice went out to all writers / publishers in the mouses's kingdom who had previously placed music in those films stating that it would be removed, and we would no longer be receiving royalties. Back to pauperdom!!

I had a BUNCH of pieces in a dozen or so of their films, and it bummed me out heavily. The music cues in question were mostly montage and source cues. They figured "just yank em and drop something else in". Simple, right???

Well, no need to worry. They got about 1-1.5 films in, looked at the bottom line cost, and just about had a heart attack. Needless to say, my music is still in all those films. It's much cheaper to deal with the licensing issues and not receive a little bit of residual royalty income than it is to reDub a film and make things match up, reprint, print master, etc.. That stuff is MEGA expensive. Which is why I said you could virtually name your price.

I'd hazard a guess that paying you $10, 20, 50k would be much simpler, easier, time efficient and CHEAPER than re-dubbing. Cause you never know what can of worms you're going to uncover going in on something like that. Lost dialog, missing pieces of SFX, music problems, etc..

My perspective.
All due respect man, but I’m not sure you’re following along. It’s just a couple of small areas in a movie. That doesn’t take $50,000 to re-do. They erase the unlicensed music drop in some library crap and they’re done. It’s done all the time. Now if they had to re-score an entire film and all they had was the final audio mix and no elements then they would be screwed. But that does not seem to be the case here. I am sure I can ask for a reasonable amount of money for my work and there may be something to the idea that they have some responsibility for previous distribution / infringement. So perhaps that will give me a bit more bargaining leverage. But if I try to strong-arm these guys, they will likely just walk away. I don’t think they have that much money into the film, if anything. That’s why I was asking some of the questions I was asking before. But you’re kind of assuming that they’ve paid a gazillion dollars to acquire whatever they have and that they now have to make me happy or lose a mountain of money. If I find out that’s the case then I can act accordingly, but I don’t think that’s the case as far as I can tell. So taking a good faith approach , at least to begin with may be wise. That way they could make some money and I can make some money and everyone’s happy and maybe develop a working relationship and good things come from it. But if I approach them with the "hey you guys are ****ed without me" vibe, not so much, right?

As I said when I PMd, I don't want to get real specific in the open forum because I don't want to risk "tipping them off". When I PMd, you said you had said pretty much all you had to say, and recommended that I ask some of the other members. But you've made a number of subsequent posts reiterating your position that I have them by the short hairs. : )

I definitely appreciate your show of confidence that this could be a windfall for me, btw.

I'll make the same query to the group now. Basically, if anyone who is reasonably knowledgable / experienced wants to discuss this via Private Message, let me know. Then I can tell you who we are talking about and other stuff that may make it easier to figure out what kind of money may be available / appropriate.


Best always,

audioforce
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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drBill's Avatar
I'm not sure you're understanding me. To just "replace" and drop in new library cues is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Especially on a project that no one involved was initially involved with. It can quite literally be opening up pandora's box. Do as you see fit.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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I would like to add a note for your self discussion. If you sold all your rights to the projects (total release) a work for hire type thing - (like in house - all written is owned by the house; or film) - should be taken a quick look by you. If all ownership rights are released - you may be future forfeiting 'neighboring rights' monies....? worth a quick read if you know not of overseas royalties... although its very generic: https://www.tunecore.com/blog/2012/0...ey-matter.html
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'm not sure you're understanding me. To just "replace" and drop in new library cues is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Especially on a project that no one involved was initially involved with. It can quite literally be opening up pandora's box. Do as you see fit.
I've posted a film or two, so I think I understand. What are you referring to?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
It’s a shame the OP wants to argue with @ drBill , especially when he has actual experience with these things. But as he said “Do as you see fit.“
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
. What are you referring to?

This :

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
To just "replace" and drop in new library cues is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Especially on a project that no one involved was initially involved with.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
This :
I asked, "what are you referring to", and you repost the language that I asked about. Brilliant. You're assuming a whole bunch of stuff, erroneously, and catastrophizing. I've explained to you that this is just a couple of pieces of music, all alone, and there is no need to "rescore the entire film". I worked on these films and I know.

You are arguing for argument's sake and trying to project your bad experiences onto this simple situation.

I asked you privately if you wanted to know the actual details of the situation so that you could actually speak to it without guessing, and you said no. You said that you were too busy, and had "said all you have to say" about it, and you referred me to others in the group. I said "no problem, thanks". Since then you have continued to repost your guesswork, repeatedly, crowding out any sensible replies from others.

I have decades of high level experience in this business, too, man. I promise. Please stop pretending to understand the situation when you don't. You've guessing, whereas I actually know the movies. I heard and appreciate your [repetitive] responses, including all the references to your "vast experience". But its enough. I've tried to explain that. Thanks for posting.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
It’s a shame the OP wants to argue with @ drBill , especially when he has actual experience with these things. But as he said “Do as you see fit.“

Who asked you? Try not to "chime in" with underhanded insults just to stir things up.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
I would like to add a note for your self discussion. If you sold all your rights to the projects (total release) a work for hire type thing - (like in house - all written is owned by the house; or film) - should be taken a quick look by you. If all ownership rights are released - you may be future forfeiting 'neighboring rights' monies....? worth a quick read if you know not of overseas royalties... although its very generic: https://www.tunecore.com/blog/2012/0...ey-matter.html
Thanks for responding. Yeah, I'm aware that. There's kind of a lot to this, but I'm hoping to reach an amicable, mutually beneficial agreement with the company that is interested in the movies.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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tricky. But not really your problem. If you've been contacted for a price for the license of the music then thats your jurisdiction. Everything else.... well thats what the others are working on.

Stay focussed on your requirements. You gotta be talking in the realm of $10k for the second film. The first - less sure. The license you originally struck should still be in operation (unless there was/is a break clause).

In such a tricky ownership situation I wouldn't want to have any connection with royalties via profits or net receipts. If they register all the PRO , great - but keep yourself out of the IP debate. Not one I'd want to get my arms too deep into.
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Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I asked, "what are you referring to", and you repost the language that I asked about. Brilliant. You're assuming a whole bunch of stuff, erroneously, and catastrophizing. I've explained to you that this is just a couple of pieces of music, all alone, and there is no need to "rescore the entire film". I worked on these films and I know.

You are arguing for argument's sake and trying to project your bad experiences onto this simple situation.
You asked for opinions on a public forum. I gave you mine. I'm not sure what you're so upset over. And I don't know how to explain it any more simply than I did above.

It may SEEM to be a simple thing to just "swap out a couple of pieces of music", but the reality is, it's almost certainly more complex than that if the post house is to do a professional job of it. Doing M&E's, transitions between existing sound and new sound, re-print mastering, new licenses, etc.. At an absolute minimum it's going to be a very expensive couple of days on the stage for making the fixes and then reprinting all the deliverables. That's IF things go smooth. And that's a big if.

How complex will it be? Hard to know until you pull on that proverbial thread. The entire soundtrack could end up cratering. IME, one problem leads to the next - and it's got nothing to do with the simple music swap, and everything to do with how the posting @ the previous dub was done, how well it was archived, whether the same plugins are installed, what software was used, or whether it was dubbed on a traditional console and if the automation, EQ settings, etc. can be recalled, etc.. No one ever conceptualizes all the things that will be impacted. That's what I was trying to say. Not sure why it was hard to understand.

If it was me, and I was responsible for getting the soundtrack finished and cleared, I'd much rather pay a $10-20k license and swap some paperwork around than head down an expensive unknown road that could leave me high and dry, with no recourse of easy finishing.

You want to test their resolve? Tell them to take your music out unless they want to negotiate professionally with your attorney at their cost. That will show you all you need to know. If they are experienced at this, they will negotiate. If they are amateurs, they will opt for taking the music out, and will most likely end up coming back to you later.
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