Unauthorized Use of Track in TV Show

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  • #5371 Reply

    My tunesat account picked up an unauthorized use of one of my tracks on the Oxygen channel. Perpelexing because this song is in only one library that I know of and this library does not place music on this network or TV in general. I watched the broadcast on the internet and found out the name of the music supe in the ending credits. Any advice on how to approach this situation as I have never had an unauthorized usage to deal with before. Thanks!

    #5375 Reply

    First, I assume that by watching the broadcast, you confirmed that it was your track. Because of the proliferation of loops, misidentification of cues is not uncommon.

    Next, you said: “this song is in only one library that I know of and this library does not place music on this network or TV in general.” Contact the library to determine 1) whether they placed the track, or 2) they put your music into another library (without your knowledge).

    Start there.

    #5433 Reply

    Thanks MichaelL. It never occurred to me to check with that library because they ALWAYS notify the writer when a track is licensed. That said anything seems to be possible in the licensing business. And yes I did confirm that it was my track. I know 0:19 of instrumental underscore on a cable channel won’t pay much but it’s just the idea of either the incompetency or the underhandedness of a library to have this track in their catalogue without my knowledge or permission. That is pretty astounding and not in a good way.

    #5436 Reply

    Maybe this one slipped through the cracks, or maybe the library has a sub-agreement with another library.

    OR…is it possible that you submitted this track to another library, never got a reply, and forgot about it?

    Yeah… 0:19 on cable won’t pay your phone bill for tracking down the answer!

    #5448 Reply

    Actually I did submit the track to 2 other libraries and both rejected it. That’s what concerns me a little. With all the submissions these libraries get it’s wouldn’t surprise me if someone is asleep at the switch. Meanwhile I sent an email to the production company who handles music supervision for the show. I would bet the $1.37 in royalties that there is a blanket license agreement involved here. I have a feeling someone besides me may end up being pissed off when all is said and done and they find out that this is an unauthorized usage. To quote Bob Marley “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights”

    #5516 Reply

    I queried a few libraries and eventually got a reply from the one
    Who licensed it. Now I have to let them know that this song is not
    In their library and figure the best way to proceed. Bottom line is that
    This does not instill a lot of confidence in this library to represent
    Administrate and see to it that the composer is fairly compensated.I won’t
    mention the name of the library out of fairness to them and until I give them
    The opportunity to respond and rectify this indiscretion.

    #5517 Reply
    Dan P

    You could check your bmi/ascap statement against whats registered at your PRO
    and see who the publisher is.

    #5518 Reply
    Dan P

    You already know but for future placements check both royalty sheet against PRO.

    #5521 Reply
    Art Munson

    The below is from Abby North that was posted to the wrong section.
    I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and figured I’d add my two cents. I own a music library (SSPMC), and I also do music supervision, mainly for networks that most of the production libraries have blanket deals with.

    It’s incredibly easy to make a mistake with a cue. So many are submitted both to my library, and to be considered for shows I’m working on. As I import submissions into iTunes, I always try to put a prefix on the file, indicating the source and whether or not it’s clear, but I’m human, and therefore fallible.

    I also try to delete every cue I’m not adding to my library, but again, it’s so easy to make a mistake in managing tens of thousands of cues.

    If you have submitted a cue to a library that inadvertently got it into a show, I think the most effective plan would be to alert the library that your cue was submitted by them to a given show, and let them do a non-exclusive deal with you for that one show.

    I highly doubt anyone intentionally used a cue without having a license to do so.

    #5528 Reply
    Synth Player

    Honestly, I would not make a fuss about it.

    As long as you get paid for the usage, there is no harm done. Even if the track was signed to an exclusive deal, you could alert that library that the track was used without permission and let the exclusive library form a resolution with other library.

    Most composers just want to land one placement. Now we have folks that are not satisfied with getting placements. I just do not understand this business sometimes. 

    #5529 Reply

    All I can say on this post is: Let It Go!
    It just a cue, its not a number one billboard hit.

    You know how many cues are getting used in TV a year? more then 6 millions. Come on, I don’t think someone tries to screw you for 10$.

    #7038 Reply

    To those who say “let it slide” I have to respectfully disagree.

    A friend who was an account rep at a major library said he was watching a sporting event and heard some of the music from their library, but KNEW that the network had no agreement with them because he’d been the one to pitch their catalogue to them. They’d complained that the library was “too expensive”.

    Well, they found out just how expensive it could be.

    Seems that an editor picked up one of the library’s CD collections and assumed it was part of the “stable” of CDs he was allowed to use. Uh… NO. And the network had used a lot of the music from this particular collection in their various programming.

    So the library contacted the network and agreed not to sue — but there were some provisions: The network (1) filed cue sheets for every show/broadcast in which this library’s music was used, (2) agreed to a 2-year blanket license as a sort of “mea culpa”, with the understanding that cue sheets for every program in which the library’s music was used would be filed [the library paid their composers pro rata license fees based on actual usage, even when under blanket agreements] and (3) gave up their suite for 12 events (8 basketball and 4 hockey). The library invited the composers whose music had been used and other folks/interested parties to join them for some fun.

    So whether it’s a-dollar-three-eighty or a hundred, or a thousand — you need to monitor your music, where it is, who is claiming to represent it and how it is used. It is YOUR creation, and you should be treating it with at least the same respect you give to your cell phone. 😉


    Gael MacGregor

    #17653 Reply

    Wow, that is a sweet story. Glad the composers got what they were supposed to get.

    #17654 Reply

    Wow… A discussion with both Synth Player and DI in on it. Talk about a loop!! 😛

    #17840 Reply

    It seems to me that the people responsible for placing tracks should be responsible for using a music database keyed off of something like a track file checksum. The moment a track is accepted into a library, its checksum is stored. The track “Mary Had A Little Lamb” ID is e3a41eabbd6946baf4d835d9ab141688, the track “Foobar – Mary Had A Little Lamb” ID is aa2c4046f34bedfc494802875c6f282b – that kind of thing. This way the moment the metadata is changed, a new checksum results and that value can be tied to a project. If a file isn’t tied to a project, it hasn’t been placed.

    These are just back-of-the-napkin thoughts but more than anything I wanted to point out that there are ways to solve this problem.

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