Library gets sold, shouldn't composers get paid?

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  • #25468 Reply

    So I have a cd of music in a library that got sold. It was not a WFH, but copyrights were assigned to the company. Contract states that I get 50% of all income. Say the lib has 100 cd’s and gets sold for 5 million (making each cd worth $50,000), shouldn’t I be entitled to $25,000? (all numbers are hypothetical, but the scenario is not). Really gripes me how a library can sell assets that they acquire for nothing. It won’t happen again on my end, for sure! Any advice?

    #25471 Reply

    I’m certainly no attorney, but it seems like the deal you have with the original company would transfer to the buyer, and you’d continue to get 50% of the income your music generates.

    Any one else have a perspective on this?

    #25472 Reply
    Mark Lewis

    Exactly. Providing a collection of music that the company owns the copyrights to does not make you a partner in the company. Having an agreement to earn 50% from the sales of the music they now own does not give you a stake in the sale of the company (unless of course it says that in your contract with them, I doubt it says that though).
    Your hypothetical math is off as well as the value of the company is not based solely on the contracts they have with their composers. I think the fact that the company owns the copyrights to “your” music puts you in a fairly weak position here.

    If I sold my company the contracts I have with our composers would simply transfer to the new owner and the composers would keep earning their licensing fees as always.
    It would be ridiculous to expect the proceeds of the sale of my company to be divided up into 30,000 pieces (the number of tracks in the library) and then distributed to over 200 composers.
    That’s not how business works.

    #25473 Reply

    Terlingua and Mark are correct. Mark’s anaylsis is spot on. You have no equity in the company.

    #25474 Reply

    Ok, but what does the company own? Nothing, besides my copyrights. The company that bought them out, doesn’t care about the little lib’s clients, their clients are bigger. The lib didn’t own a building, etc. I know I will never see a dime of the sale of the company, but when then only assets a company has is what it’s composers provided them for no upfront money, shouldn’t logic dictate, the composers should get some kind of compensation. Building a catalog, that you didn’t pay a dime for, and then selling it, is a total racket. I’ve seen it several times, and it really turns my stomach. Keep in mind that I composed music for a mid tier company (for nothing, yes, my stupidity), and one of the biggest names in music bough them out. If the same cues had been written for said “big dog” they would have been a buyout for around $1000 a cue. I know you guys are speaking the truth, but just because it’s true, doesn’t make it fair. Just venting I guess, and hopefully helping out the next guy, who is thinking of giving his stuff away for free. Thanks for the comments!

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