August 15, 2023 at 2:56 am #43327SebmoParticipant
Hello dear colleagues,
I have been a composer for many years (various media and production music). I have been contacted by a computer company to use a piece of mine as a “derivative” piece for their sequel. It would be great to hear your expertise in this case. And – I have hope – it is also interesting for this community.
The original music was used for the first version (as a kind of theme music) of the computer game. They bought it on a non-exclusive website (some years ago) there. Paid around $50. This game became very successful and I was contacted by the company, because I protected it on Youtube via Adrev and saw that many game youtubers uploaded videos with excerpts (tutorials, gameplay…) there – and consequently received many coyright claims. (In fact, I also earned something from it. This was very annoying for the company and the youtuber, and they asked me if I could take this track completely out of the adrev. I agreed at that time – on urgent request – to do it for a payment of $600. In retrospect, I certainly earned more if I had taken the adrev money. But I would also have had more stress with angry youtubers.
Now I have received a message from this company asking for a “Permission to create a derivative track of x”. They are working on a sequel to the game and literally: “Considering its importance to our fans and our past agreements, would it be possible to have our team create a derivative of it for the new game? It would be a completely new track that just plays homage to the original.” ps – They obviously don’t have exclusive rights to the track and had they foreseen its success, they would have commissioned an exclusive track for it.
So, now you ask me if I agree. “hoping we can get your blessing”.
I would like to know what you think about it. Should I just say “yes”? Is there anything else I can say? Am I entitled to some kind of “copyright”, compensation? What about things like “broadcast rights”, in case the derivative piece appears on TV? … .
I’m really curious what you think about it.
Best regards, SebastianAugust 15, 2023 at 7:59 am #43330Art MunsonKeymaster
Sounds like you need an attorney who specializes in licensing.
But, my two pennies worth.
As far as YouTube Content ID goes you could just collect the royalties and not issue Copyright strikes. That’s generally what Identifyy does and could be very lucrative.
I would not give up the the Copyright on the new piece. I would give them an exclusive license, for a fee, for x number of years, on just the game. You could renegotiate for a new term as you approach the end of the first term. The success of the game might determine what those terms might be.
As for broadcast rights: You would still get paid as writer and publisher as long as you did not opt to sell them the Copyright.
I’m not a lawyer and, again, just my two cents worth.August 16, 2023 at 11:00 pm #43336SebmoParticipant
Thanks Art. Very helpful thoughts and advise.