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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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Using original music, but need a contract.

For a documentary I just completed, I found a musician who composed an original song for the film. He did it for free and only wants to be credited in the film, which of course I will do. I am entering the film into festivals, and although I don't think it will really win any prizes or money, that is always a possibility. I want to have the musician sign some sort of a licensing contract so that he can't come back later and ask for royalties if the film wins anything, or claim we stole his music. I don't think he would do this, but I want to play it safe.

Does anyone have a simple contract that would work? I tried looking at magnatune's sample licensing contract, but it is pretty long and confusing to me, and I think there is a lot of stuff in there that wouldn't apply to my particular situation. I just need something that says I have non-exclusive rights to use his music in my film, royalty free, all media, in perpetuity.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

Thanks!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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I don't have what you are looking for, but do have a suggestion. If the festival has categories for musical scores, make it so he does get compensation and rewards if it wins. Or at least make that clear in your offering. That might be the carrot to help get what you are looking for to go over better.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #3
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That is a good point, I will make sure to do that.

So anyone have a contract that would work for this?
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Old April 15th, 2007, 08:54 AM   #4
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This might help you....

It's a British Resource for legal templates, but has references to U.S Copyright law in a lot of the templates.

http://www.creativeinsightuk.com/legal.htm

I would trawl though this, i think you'll find exactly what you need.

If that fails, as it's a fairly simple agreement, I'd suggest writing up your own. As long as it's in writing and you both have a copy and it's signed, it doesn't matter how complicated it is. It could essentially be written on the back of a beer mat.

Hope that helps,

Neil
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Old April 24th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #5
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The easiest route is a deal memo. You just list out the items like bullet points and both sign.
Deal memos are normally just one or two pages.

And even though now he doesn't care about getting money from it, that may change when he's looking at an agreement where he signs away all rights to his music.

I spent months and months in the exact same situation. I met a musician who wanted me to use his music, I liked his stuff. I suggested a deal memo and what I got was an eight page contract from his lawyer with very confusing ideas about him getting paid. We spent months going back and forth and the idea just fizzled out.

I do think, should you make money, that your composer should get at least something. I do think for free work, the musician should retain all ownership rights of the music and grant you the rights to use the music with that project for the life of the project.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #6
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Try Here

http://www.industrycontracts.com/index.php

Jim
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