PRO: do I have to negotiate synch fees directly with the client?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Music1234 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #31126 Reply

    Wall_E
    Participant

    Hey everyone,

    my PRO just wrote me saying that they have been contacted by the German PRO because a track of mine, purchased via a non-excl music library, is being used by a German licensee.

    Now, my PRO is asking me if I’d like to negotiate the synch fee directly with the client or if I allow the German PRO to license the synchronization rights according to their tariffs.

    …never happened to me…any help?

    #31127 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    Very interesting for sure. I have never heard of this bizarre scenario. Quick Question: Was the music sourced in ” RF/ NE” style library? Please keep us posted. There just seems to be so many challenging issues with GEMA as opposed to other PRO’s. Not necesarily bad issues, but it certainly is my impression that they are a very “militant” PRO to the point where I have read articles where they will chase down fees from German Kindergarten Schools making photo copies of sheet music for PD children’s songs. Or even charging composers for using their own music on their own web sites in Germany. I have heard people (buyers of music licenses or libraries publishing GEMA composers) say “we had a bad experience with GEMA”…and so on…

    To answer your question though first research what GEMA would charge for this sync license? Ask what it’s end use is? A film? A TV show? an advertisement? If an Ad, How big is the brand? How big is the media buy? Factor in all of those variables and you can then negotiate your own sync license fee. Something does not add up though as it would seem that the sync license had to be purchased from some entity already.

    #31128 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    @wall_e that’s a bit of a complicated question. In the US, by virtue of a few Supreme Court decisions, agreements between composers and our PROs are non-exclusive. This allows composers to direct license their music. However, check your PRO agreement and you will likely find that you are required to report to them any track that you have direct licensed.They are basically asking you if you have negotiated a direct sync fee, as GEMA is asking you to confirm.
    And, yes, Music1234, many European PROs are very militant about direct licensing, as well as neighboring rights. Many EU PROs treat their agreements with composers as exclusive, which was supposed to change under a recent Directive but old habits die hard.
    US PROs have reciprocal agreements with foreign PROS to collect your performance royalties. It may be that that GEMA is asking your PRO to have you confirm that you did indeed direct license your track. Hopefully, GEMA will not use that as justification to not collect or pay backend for the German Licensee’s use of your track.

    #31132 Reply

    Wall_E
    Participant

    what GEMA would charge for this sync license?

    This would be very interesting but I don’t think there’s an easy way to figure it out.

    Ask what it’s end use is? A film? A TV show? an advertisement? If an Ad, How big is the brand? How big is the media buy?

    They say 131’000 DVD with this “54 seconds” track I composed (purchased via a non-excl music library)

    They are basically asking you if you have negotiated a direct sync fee, as GEMA is asking you to confirm.

    I think that’s not 100% accurate, MichealL: my PRO is asking me if I’d rather negotiate the synch fee by myself, or if I allow GEMA to decide fee according to their method.

    #31134 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    I think that’s not 100% accurate, MichealL: my PRO is asking me if I’d rather negotiate the synch fee by myself, or if I allow GEMA to decide fee according to their method.

    Are you a member of a US PRO? If you are in the EU and not a member of a US PRO then you are quite correct and this may be an effort to comply with the recent EU Directive which allows rights holders to negotiate rights individually.

    Something does not add up though as it would seem that the sync license had to be purchased from some entity already.

    But isn’t this happening after the fact and you have already licensed your track to the German Licensee? In that case, are they suggesting renegotiating something that you’ve already agreed to?

    Music1234 is correct. US PROs do not negotiate sync fees. They collect performance royalties. So, something doesn’t quite add up.
    .

    #31173 Reply

    Wall_E
    Participant

    Here I am with a little update: apparently, the track was sold with a buyout license for all media, in perpetuity and worldwide. According to the library “there are not additional royalty earnings except in TV broadcast use situations which can generate performance royalties related to public performance”.

    …thoughts?

    #31174 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    Never heard of a “buyout license”. Usually “buyout” refers to transfer of ownership and transfer of copyright. But since this is non-broadcast and for DVD replication I kind of doubt you will see performance royalties unless the track eventually airs on TV. Maybe ask the library for a copy of the license they sold.

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