What to do when an exclusive library goes out of business?

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  • #22173 Reply
    OverDub
    Participant

    Hi wondering what you do with your tracks when an exclusive library goes out of business. Is the contract null and void? What options do you have as a composer? Send to other exclusives, treat as non-exclusives, forget you ever wrote them?

    #22174 Reply
    Desire_Inspires
    Participant

    Contact the company and ask for the rights to the music to revert back to you. Get a formal document signed by both you and the library stating that the original contract is voided and that you retain the rights to your music. It is that simple.

    #22175 Reply
    OverDub
    Participant

    That would work great IF you can contact them. Not so simple if you can’t!

    #22176 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Contact the company and ask for the rights to the music to revert back to you. Get a formal document signed by both you and the library stating that the original contract is voided and that you retain the rights to your music. It is that simple.

    Not only is it not so simple OverDub, the above statement not legally accurate!
    ________________________________________________

    It really depends on what you mean by “exclusive.”

    If you only allowed the library to be the exclusive distributor of your music but DID NOT TRANSFER ownership of the music to the library, it’s still your music.

    Generally under contract law, when a party to the bargain is no longer able to perform their part of the agreement, the contract becomes void. If they’ve gone out of business, and they are no longer performing as agreed, then the contract is void.

    A former member /owner /shareholder of the defunct company would have no legal authority to continue distributing your music. There should be a clause in the contract that spells out what happens if the library ceases to exist.

    If, on the other hand, you transferred ownership of the music to the library, as in a work-for-hire agreement, the music is theirs to do with as they please. The most likely scenario is that the library would try to sell its catalog to another library, in which case you should have an ongoing interest if everything is done properly.

    #22180 Reply
    Happy Ears
    Participant

    Keep all emails you sent asking about the issue on file and gather all the evidence you can about them going out of business, ex. taking screen shots of their website or non existent website. Also read your agreement if there is any other company names associated with the agreement if so try contacting them. Keep all this on file. Also shot them an email saying that you will threat this agreement as nullified unless you get a response.
    I’d say 90 days of trying to contact the company with no response should be sufficient time. Then treat the deal like nullified. On the off chance someone would sue you for it, you have reasonably evidence and cause for terminating the agreement. Plus a company who has gone out of business most likely wont spend a bunch of money on suing you for breach of agreement. Don’t fall into a trap where you create a bunch of problems and extremely unlikely scenarios which prevents you to further exploit your music. Also beware of lawyers who use scare tactics to get you to pay for their services. Suing someone is a huge undertaking that most will wanna avoid unless there is a big pay off and those Pawnestar/Kardashian placements aren’t going to be worth it.

    #22181 Reply
    Happy Ears
    Participant

    Opps I didn’t see Michael had responded to this already.

    #22182 Reply
    Desire_Inspires
    Participant

    Don’t fall into a trap where you create a bunch of problems and extremely unlikely scenarios which prevents you to further exploit your music.

    This makes sense.

    A defunct company is not going to sue someone to keep the rights to music. You have to think of it this way: a defunct company has music from hundreds of composers. If the company couldn’t make money from licensing the music, the company doesn’t have enough money to force hundreds of composers into staying in a deal. What would be the benefit?

    Just contact the library and see what response you get. I have gotten the rights back from exclusive, in-perpetuity deals just by asking. Sometimes the company hasn’t made any licenses or sales and doesn’t want to further restrict the composer.

    The worse thing that can happen is that you are told that the rights to your music was sold to another entity. Even then, the new entity may opt to not publish your music anymore. Companies don’t want to hold on to songs. They want to make money. If they cannot make money, the songs don’t really hold much value.

    Communication with the publisher/library cuts out all of the speculation and guessing. Every scenario is different. Working directly with the source provides the best answer all of the time. It is that simple.

    #22184 Reply
    Advice
    Participant

    Contact the company and ask for the rights to the music to revert back to you. Get a formal document signed by both you and the library stating that the original contract is voided and that you retain the rights to your music. It is that simple.

    Pretty ridiculous (“It is that simple”?) since in many or most situations like this you have no means to contact them anymore when they are out of business. Most composers find out a library is out of business or suspect they are out of business when all efforts to contact them no longer work, the website is gone, etc.

    #22185 Reply
    Desire_Inspires
    Participant

    Pretty ridiculous (“It is that simple”?) since in many or most situations like this you have no means to contact them anymore when they are out of business. Most composers find out a library is out of business or suspect they are out of business when all efforts to contact them no longer work, the website is gone, etc.

    If contact cannot be established and a resolution cannot be found, the deal still stands.

    It would just be better to not worry about those cues until contact can be established. I don’t see what is so difficult about these situations.

    If you can get back the rights to your songs, do it. If you cannot get back the rights to your songs, move on. Why all of the frustration and speculation?

    #22186 Reply
    OverDub
    Participant

    Thanks for the info guys. DI, no one is frustrated, but if you spent 3 hours on each cue, and you lost 10 of them, then you might like to get that work back. This deal was exclusive in perpetuity WFH, but looking at the contract, all rights were exchanged for the “sum of $1”, which I never received, so I am thinking, since I wasn’t paid my $10, then they don’t own them…maybe? I know it was a terrible deal to start with, but we all make mistakes!

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