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Music Video Rights - What to do...

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Tripp WattMusic Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 6, 2009 at 6:00:54 am

Hey folks--

I'm writing, shooting, and producing a music video for a smaller indie band thats coming out with their first album here in the next two months. I'm shooting the video for for free since their budget is low however they are paying for the expenses incurred. What I was wondering is what the standard procedure is when the video is completed, rights wise. While I realize the music video market isn't exactly one of superb money I just wondered what I should do. Do I sign over the rights to the band and label or do I work something out so that if they sell the video I get a cut of whatever that amount may be. Any help here would be awesomely appreciated.


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Scott CarnegieRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 7, 2009 at 4:38:11 am

They wouldn't typically sell this video, they would give it out or put it on the net for promotional purposes. When videos run on MTV or wherever the artists and labels aren't paid, they send it to the broadcaster for free in hopes that they will play it.



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Todd TerryRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 7, 2009 at 5:16:46 am

[Scott Carnegie] "When videos run on MTV or wherever the artists and labels aren't paid,"

Yes, the are paid (although not much) via the BMI/ASCAP license fees etc. that the broadcasters and cable networks must pay.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Tripp WattRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:32:24 pm

I imagined its something they're not exactly going to be making money off of--but to protect my work so that it is not re edited or my name is removed from the credits--what is the standard way to settle this?



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Richard HerdRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:18:32 am

This isn't good news.

The standard arrangement is called "work for hire." They are hiring you to do a project for them. They own the footage.

Be real: in the very very rare event this band gets signed to a major record deal, they will re-make the video, probably on 35mm negative.

Here's a pie-in-the-sky example: 20 years from now, the band is super famous, and there's a documentary in the works. Sorry, they can't use your footage because you won't let them edit it. See what I mean?

It's their footage. You work for them.

Best case scenario is next time they can pay you.



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David Roth WeissRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:21:39 am

[Richard Herd] "The standard arrangement is called "work for hire." They are hiring you to do a project for them. They own the footage. "

[Richard Herd] "It's their footage. You work for them. "

Nope, that's just not right. But, you're not alone in that belief Richard, it's a recurring theme around here that keeps getting repeated over, and over, and over again. And, it completely ignores the art of the deal.

The fact is, they only own it if you're not wise enough to write an agreement in advance that says they don't.




David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Richard HerdRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:46:05 pm

Thanks for the clarification. With all the tutorials available, you'd think someone would post a boilerplate. Perhaps you could. Thanks!



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David Roth WeissRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:00:37 pm

[Richard Herd] "Thanks for the clarification. With all the tutorials available, you'd think someone would post a boilerplate. Perhaps you could. Thanks!"

Let me just state a disclaimer right up front -- I'm certainly not suggesting for one minute that lawyers and their contracts have no place, and that all Cow members should start handling all of their own legal work in every situation. Instead, I am suggesting that every independent artist, producer, and entrepreneur needs to be able to "forge" simple agreements themselves, because there just isn't enough money in most small deals to justify paying a lawyer to write the simple stuff that most of us indies need every day.

One of the great things about simple agreements is that anyone can write an effective agreement without a word of legalese or boilerplate. In fact, the more simple the language, the less the likelihood for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

The basis for nearly all simple written agreements is as simple as forging, guess what?, an actual agreement between two parties (that's usually two people BTW). So, all you have to do is type-up a document that says:

I _______________, and ________________ agree to the following:

1.
2.
3.

__________________________
my signature

__________________________
their signature

In Tripp's situation, he would simply write something as simple as:

"I, Tripp, and ___________ (agent for the band) agree to the following: Tripp will produce, direct, and shoot the music video entitled _____________ without pay, in exchange for co-ownership rights of all taped video created during the making of the music video.

Of course, there's probably no lawyer on the planet who wouldn't try to persuade you that this is too simple, full of gaping holes, and that you need an additional ten pages of boilerplate to cover your ass. But, the simple fact is, the additional ten pages would probably make that agreement no clearer and no more binding. What is an absolute however is that those ten pages would cost you hundreds, and possibly thousands right out of your own pocket.

(BTW, for any sticklers out there ready to pounce, I am fully aware that the "agent for the band" needs to be legally designated as such, and the agreement hinges upon that person having the right to represent the band.)

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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David Roth WeissRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:05:18 am

[Tripp Watt] "What I was wondering is what the standard procedure is when the video is completed, rights wise."

Tripp,

If you wait until the video is completed you have zero rights. That's right, nada, nothing, zip.

You can hope or pray, but if you really want to stand a chance of getting anything at all out the effort, you need to write, and get the band to sign, a simple agreement that states what you want, not what you're willing to accept when you see where the chips fall after the fact.

If you're going to produce and direct you're, especially on spec, you need to get proactive. Come on, you're an taking on entrepreneur status -- you can't afford to sit around wondering what might happen if everything happens to go well, and if everybody likes you and your stuff, and if the the Gods of rock & roll just happen to smile upon you because you donated your time and artistic talent.

Everything in this world is negotiable, and there's nothing you can't put in an agreement. Just tell 'em in advance, and in writing, that in exchange for your artistic services you want to co-own everything you create, including the raw footage. Without that agreement, I think you'd be out of your mind to even consider taking on the project.

Do you get it???



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Bob BonniolRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 7:02:51 am

Yeah good luck with any of that... NO label, I repeat NO label will EVER grant you any cut of any music video revenue. Or bonus materials. Or DVD production (anymore). Forget it. Monthly, I sit across the desks of every label commissioner, presidents, chairman, whatever, all the time... They shrug their shoulders, grimace, and tell me how much they love my work, but there's just no money...

They will move on to the next candidate. They will in fact make YOU sign stacks of paperwork giving everything to them, and releasing them from all responsibility. I'm working my way through a Warner contract now... The usual thing.

The bottom has totally dropped out of the music video market. Same on the bonus materials/EPK/Doc side of things. SUPER Expensive music videos are getting budgets of $30k to $50k... Wicked rare, and fought over by people like Nigel Dick and Wayne Isham (super heavy weights). Most music videos are getting done for under $15k... Sometimes more like $5k.

Hell, even live multi-cam budgets are dropping in the dumper. We've done three big multicam gigs this year. One happened for around $250k (big name band, still a total 'scrape by'). The next happened for $50k (8 HD cameras... couldn't afford a truck there... used a decent fly pack... Think we 'banked' MAYBE $5k on that gig... it was a favor...) The third one happened for $30k. AFTER we bagged on trying to produce the multi cam part and just accomplished the Production Design. That was a MAJOR PBS piece !!

Here's some advice: Don't even try the music biz these days. Not unless you are ready to operate at super guerrilla levels, scrape by, and certainly with NO expectation of ongoing revenue. It IS a time of opportunity if you are smart about figuring out where the clients are (and I might add that aint the labels so much anymore)...

Good Luck...

Bob Bonniol




MODE Studios
http://www.modestudios.com
Contributing Editor, Entertainment Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader


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Richard HerdRe: Music Video Rights - What to do...
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:24:22 pm

I can't even get my camera in the front door of Harrah's & Harveys Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series without paying huge chunks of cash, per show. Last year's lineup was Robert Plant, Journey, Toby Keith, James Taylor, Steely Dan, Sammy Hagar, Alan Jackson, Sheryl Crow, Kiss, and Luis Miguel. This year, so far we have Kenny Chesney, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago. Even if we paid the license agreement to shoot these shows--or the band decided to pay someone else--the footage would not belong to Harrah's, and--if we had the footage--its use is very restricted to promote the band, only. The overwhelming fact is that music videos (whether live or a single) are a vehicle to promote the band.

The original poster though is in a very very very very different situation. The band he's trying to shoot is about to launch their first CD. His question was: What I was wondering is what the standard procedure is when the video is completed, rights wise.

The band gets paid by selling tickets and selling CDs. Tripp Watt, in my opinion, you need to get paid by saying "Look what I did for that band. I can do that for your band too, for only $ X,000." Use this first piece as a calling card. From there, hit up every other band you can find. (Finding the right price point is key.)

I also worked with the above mentioned bands' promotional folks. The bands trust "their guys" to edit the material. I would say, "I need a :30 spot" and a week later, I get one. Tripp, you're in a position to be cutting that stuff too, not the most fancy work around, but there's definitely a fee involved.

The four Ps of marketing:
-- Promotion
-- Price
-- Product
-- Placement



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