Acting as agent or 50% Copyright Owner

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  MichaelL 2 years ago.

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  • #23119 Reply

    pcomp
    Member

    Hi, I wrote as Composer J before but I now re-activated my paid account and realized I used to be pcomp.

    Anyway, maybe this is mostly aimed at MichaelL since you seem to have good legal knowledge and experience in the RF world. Anyone else can chime in of course.

    There’s been a discussion going on GearSlutz where, as usual, there’s a lot of bashing on RF libraries. Etch-A-Sketch there claims that “all of them” demand a 50% Copyright ownership instead of just acting as an agent.

    I was contacted by The Music Jar (themusicjar.co.uk – which I can’t find here?) to join their library. It seems like a great site but upon reading the contract I see this:

    “The Writer hereby assigns to the Publisher the non-exclusive copyright in and to

    the Compositions and/or the Writers contributions thereto as defined in the Copyright…” etc.

    Here is a link to the entire non-ex contract:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14678192/TheMusicJar/TMJ%20NON-EXCULSIVE.pdf

    Now, could this be what Etch-A-Sketch was talking about? They want you to sign for 3-5 years.

    I was under the impression that MOST RF libraries DON’T demand any copyright ownership and just act as agents. I, as the author fully own my tracks.

    This is from SoundVault: SoundVault acts as an agent for and on behalf of each Music Supplier, who own and/or control all copyright in the Music Recordings and any and all underlying rights in respect thereof (including but not limited to copyright in the music and lyrics).

    Sounds better yeah?

    This is from AudioJungle:

    What we don’t own: We do not own the items on Envato Market; our authors do…..

    We are, however, your agent only for the limited purposes of your warranties to buyers in

    This is from ProductionTrax:

    Rights to Member Content: You will retain all rights to your Member Content. You hereby grant to Productiontrax.com a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, right and license to use your Member Content in connection with the advertising, promotion, production and sale of the Tracks you choose to sell in accordance with this Agreement;

    I’m not entirely sure what it means when they can own 50% of your copyright. Should I stay away from The Music Jar?

    Thanks so much for any help and sorry for the lengthy post!

    #23122 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster
    #23123 Reply

    pcomp
    Member

    Thanks Art, that was quick! 🙂

    #23124 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Yes, pcomp — I am a lawyer.

    Etch-A-Sketch there claims that “all of them” demand a 50% Copyright ownership instead of just acting as an agent.

    Absolutely false. I have not encountered a royalty free library making any such demand, and I would not agree to it.

    “The Writer hereby assigns to the Publisher the non-exclusive copyright in and to

    I can’t really address how they do things in the UK, but in the US there is no such thing a a non-exclsuive copyright. That would be an oxymoron, becase the “copyright” provides the holder with an exclusive “bundle of rights.”

    In the US, if you do not explicitly transfer your copyright in writing the most that the other party may have is a perpetual non-excluive license.

    #23125 Reply

    pcomp
    Member

    Thanks MichaelL for the quick reply.

    This is the GS thread I was referring to: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-picture/1032613-licensing-royalty-free-music-2.html

    The lengthy post toward the end in particular. I’m sure some of it’s correct for some library but I can’t really judge. Maybe he’s referring to a particular library like Getty or something?

    He refuses to acknowledge AJ and the like as marketplaces just like iTunes or Amazon. On AJ you sell a music usage license. You pay 50%-64% to use their buyer traffic but you get no help from them (fair or not is another discussion). On iTunes you sell a personal listening license. Am I completely wrong in thinking like this?

    IF you have time, did you get a chance to take a peak at the full MusicJar contract? It does seem like a very nice website and A&R is done by a very successful RF composer.

    This wording just scared me (as well as the world’s longest sentence above it): The Writer hereby assigns to the Publisher the non-exclusive copyright in and to the Compositions and/or the Writers contributions

    Thanks again!

    #23126 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    This is the GS thread I was referring to:

    I’m really avoiding forums these days. Never partcipated in GS.

    IF you have time, did you get a chance to take a peak at the full MusicJar contract?

    Unfortunately, at the moment, I have less than no time, even for myself. Additionally, I cannot get involved in direct review and advice, because I do not live where I am licensed, which will eventually change. Once that happens, I will practice again.

    But, again these words, “non-exclusive copyright,” mean nothing to me. That is a legal fiction, or an inartful way of saying what they mean. It may have meaning in the UK, but none here, of which I am aware.

    Cheers,
    Michael

    #23138 Reply

    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    Your question made me curious, a quick search shows the term “non-exclusive copyright” in this Stanford University article:

    Copyright Ownership: Who Owns What?

    I don’t totally understand it, it’s still confusing, so I won’t comment. Just wanted to point you to the article.

    #23139 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Thanks Michael. Here are the magic words:

    If the license allows others (including the licensor) to exercise the same rights being transferred in the license, the license is said to be non-exclusive.

    This is the language that operates, when the copyright owner does not transfer his, or her, entire bundle of rights. It is, as I suspected, a non-exclusive license to exercise one or more of the copyright owner’s right — like the right to make copies distribute a work.

    I would want clarification / confirmation from the library, but I think that they’ve taken a roundabout approach to a typical non-exclsuive contract.

    Cheers,
    Michael

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