Licensing Rights

Forums Film Scoring Business Licensing Rights

This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Evan Evans Evan Evans 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #11042
    Profile photo of Weston Brown
    Weston Brown
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 2

    Hey Evan,

    Sorry for my delay in getting back to you about my licensing questions, but here they are. They are regarding YouTube and Itunes.

    So I’m charging a certain amount for music projects (commissions), while still keeping 100% of the rights to my music. Now let’s say someone wants me to make a 10 minute piece of relaxation music. I would still own 100% of the music of course, but I do understand if they want to sell it on Itunes then I would have to “modify” the piece of music if I want to sell it on Itunes, other wise this would be copyright infringement. Is this correct?

    Another question I have is, if the person that hires me to make this music for them puts it on their YouTube channel, does that not mean I can put it on their YouTube channel? If so, what else would I be able to do with this music (licensing wise) if I can not even sell it on Itunes or put it on YouTube exactly as is because of the copyright infringement issue?

    It would be great if you could answer these questions as in depth as possible because they have been a nuisance for a while. Thanks Evan! I look forward to your answers.

    Weston

  • #11076
    Profile photo of Evan Evans
    Evan Evans
    • Topics: 31
    • Replies: 110

    Now let’s say someone wants me to make a 10 minute piece of relaxation music. I would still own 100% of the music of course, but I do understand if they want to sell it on Itunes then I would have to “modify” the piece of music if I want to sell it on Itunes, other wise this would be copyright infringement. Is this correct?

    I’m a little bit not understanding the question, maybe because you don’t have some of the information/facts right. What kins of use are you referring to with regards to the 10 minute piece of relaxation music? Is it for a Relaxation Album that THEY are producing? In that case, you would give them a (or sign their) license, so they can sell your music track that’s attached in Exhibit A (for example; common in contracts) in CD stores (ie: iTunes). If you owned the music prior to that moment, than it’s not copyright infringement, for you to license your music for this purpose, so long as the license is a non-exclusive license. If they are asking for an exclusive license, than you cannot use that track anywhere else and it can’t have been licensed anywhere else. That’s why it’s often best to make sure you’re signing non-exclusive agreements, so you have full control and flexibility. The only time anyone needs an exclusive license is when they want to buy out the exclusivity of the track. So they pay extra to make sure no one else can have that track. Usually it’s substantially extra. Just think about how many future licensed uses they would be buying out from you in that situation.

    Another question I have is, if the person that hires me to make this music for them puts it on their YouTube channel, does that not mean I can put it on their YouTube channel?

    Again, I’m a little confused. Did you mean “does that not mean I can’t put it on my YouTube channel?” If you own it, you can put it on your YouTube channel, and you can collect the royalties from it being on their YouTube channel (unless you licensed them the right to collect royalties on that music on YouTube; separate from giving them permission to use the music on YouTube). You can use a service like AdRev.com to register your recording(s) on YouTube and then anyone who uses your music will automatically generate royalties to you (very small royalties, but royalties none-the-less).

    If so, what else would I be able to do with this music (licensing wise) if I can not even sell it on iTunes or put it on YouTube exactly as is because of the copyright infringement issue?

    Well, like I mentioned, so long as it’s a non-exclusive license you are giving them, than you are free to continue to use the music anywhere you please, since it’s yours and you own and control it.

    🎹 Evan Evans, Film Composer & Mentor, www.evanevans.org
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  • #11079
    Profile photo of Weston Brown
    Weston Brown
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 2

    Hey Evan,

    No, I just want to clarify that you are understanding everything correctly. But to further clarify, I did talk with CD Baby at one point and they told me that if I was “licensing” my music for someone else to use (based on an upfront payment, non exclusive contract where I own 100% of my music), that I still could not post the same music to Itunes without “modifying” it slightly so it’s not the exact piece of music. They told me if I were to upload the music EXACTLY as it was when the other person uploads it, this would be copyright infringement. So yes, while I still own 100% of the music and can do what I want with it, this is still Itune’s rule, according to what CD Baby told me. I don’t want to take any chances, but are you certain that CD Baby misguided me on this information? What if someone else wants to license the same music from me and use it for the same purpose of putting it on Itunes? I fear that by doing this it would cause copyright infringement with Itunes and complicated things, since there are so many of the same versions of my music on Itunes. This is where I’m still uncertain. Did CD Baby misdirect me? I’m still confused and I don’t know. I hope this makes more sense to you. It’s the best way I can explain it, but do you see how this might become an issue for Itunes?

    And also, are you positive I can upload the music I make for someone else on my own YouTube channel? I thought I was told at one point by someone (can’t remember who) that YouTube would pull a video down if it had the same music from two different channels owned by different people. If this is true, I would like to know how to avoid YouTube pulling down any videos.

    If you could further clarify these things (if you can) that would be great. The last thing I want to do is give my clients the wrong information, as these are important issues to address. Worst case scenario, I don’t post the music I make for them on Itunes or YouTube and leave it for film and television licensing. I hope this is making more sense, as I can’t really explain it any more clearly over a message.

  • #11082
    Profile photo of Evan Evans
    Evan Evans
    • Topics: 31
    • Replies: 110

    Hey Evan, No, I just want to clarify that you are understanding everything correctly. But to further clarify, I did talk with CD Baby at one point and they told me that if I was “licensing” my music for someone else to use (based on an upfront payment, non exclusive contract where I own 100% of my music), that I still could not post the same music to Itunes without “modifying” it slightly so it’s not the exact piece of music. They told me if I were to upload the music EXACTLY as it was when the other person uploads it, this would be copyright infringement. So yes, while I still own 100% of the music and can do what I want with it, this is still Itune’s rule, according to what CD Baby told me. I don’t want to take any chances, but are you certain that CD Baby misguided me on this information?

    Okay, well that’s a different question really. CDBaby is a content distribution company. When you give them music or a CD to release, they put it on CD Stores around the world, well, digital ones at least, iTunes is one of them. You can’t give your music to be released, to CDBaby and then also give it to iTunes, because what CDBaby does in the first place, is give your music to iTunes. It’s not so much that it’s copyright infringement, it’s that you are stepping on the toes of someone else who you asked (CDBaby) to put your music on iTunes.

    What if someone else wants to license the same music from me and use it for the same purpose of putting it on Itunes?

    Depending on who your clients are, I don’t think you’ll find yourself in a situation where your same tracks of music will be destined again for iTunes, but it could happen for instance if you were to license one of your tracks to be included on a compilation album of relaxation music and that CD is sold on iTunes. In that case, your track would be duplicative, once on the original CDBaby submitted track to iTunes and again on the new client’s CD. That may be in violation of the terms of use of CDBaby. It’s not copyright infringement, because you still own your own music. But it could be in conflict to whatever agreement you have with CDBaby for your music tracks you give CDBaby. Their contract with you, for instance, may say they have the EXCLUSIVE right to distribute these tracks you submit, to iTunes (and other online digital CD store outlets).

    I fear that by doing this it would cause copyright infringement with Itunes and complicated things, since there are so many of the same versions of my music on Itunes. This is where I’m still uncertain. Did CD Baby misdirect me? I’m still confused and I don’t know. I hope this makes more sense to you. It’s the best way I can explain it, but do you see how this might become an issue for Itunes? And also, are you positive I can upload the music I make for someone else on my own YouTube channel? I thought I was told at one point by someone (can’t remember who) that YouTube would pull a video down if it had the same music from two different channels owned by different people. If this is true, I would like to know how to avoid YouTube pulling down any videos. If you could further clarify these things (if you can) that would be great.

    This is a more complicated subject. Maybe you should post this YouTube question, as a separate new topic.

    The last thing I want to do is give my clients the wrong information, as these are important issues to address. Worst case scenario, I don’t post the music I make for them on Itunes or YouTube and leave it for film and television licensing. I hope this is making more sense, as I can’t really explain it any more clearly over a message.

    🎹 Evan Evans, Film Composer & Mentor, www.evanevans.org
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