Music in films... Help!

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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Music in films... Help!

Post by mcrycko »

My band has been commissioned to write some tracks for a upcoming movie... we have no experience in this area and have a meeting with producers in a couple of weeks. There has been talk of fees, budgets and the 'buying-out' of the tracks.

I was wondering who owns the rights to these tracks?

And, to make matters much more complicated, we will be performing the tracks IN the film, with one of the lead actors being placed in the band for the purposes of the story... so we are technically 'actors', not just featured on the soundtrack!

I know this will create issues about ownership of the sound recording made for the actual scenes, and ownership of the song itself...

I understand this is an impossibly unique situation, but any help would be appeciated, as we are in well over our heads!

Thanks in advance!
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Post by CopyrightAid »

Unless you are employees of the film company and write the tracks as part of your 'normal employment' then by default you will be the copyright owners of songs you write.

Copyright in sound recordings on the other hand will by default belong to the person/company that made the recording (though naturally as the recording is a reproduction of your song your permission is still needed).

But of course... this can all change if you enter into an agreement to the contrary.

All this should be dealt with in the terms of the contract you sign with the film company - if you don't like the contract don't sign and DON'T do work under an agreement that you don't like on a promise to "sort out the details later" - you can either renegotiate the contract to one that's mutually agreeable or walk away. If your are not comfortable then it is really best to enlisting the services of a solicitor to check everything over and ensure you are happy with the contract/agreement up front.
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