Question about writing music for youtube video. (legal)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by StephenCampbell, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #1
    So, there is a guy who is creating commercials for youtube.. advertisements for his business. He's presented me with an audio track of about one minute that is copywritten, and wants me to write a piece of about the same length that's very similar, but not similar enough that he'd be infringing on copyright.

    He'll pay me $500 for the track I produce, and he says there's no reason for me to be credited in the youtube video or the description, and that I can't sell this track to anybody else, and that basically I'm out of the picture after I get my $500. Though he did say that if someone asks him about the music, of course he'd tell them who wrote it, and not pretend it was him.

    Are these terms fair for a scenario like this? Basically where he's coming from is that he invented the "patent" and I'm basically just a worker working within that patent, because I would have never, ever thought of creating this thing on my own.. it's not really my invention. I'm just an executor of a task within his architecture.

    I feel this is probably okay, because I mean, in commercials on TV you don't see who the composer of the music is, you don't see the composers in movie trailers (i.e. immediate music).. so it makes sense to me that in a scenario like this, I do the work, I get paid, and then it's pretty much his property.

    Is this fair? Or is he tricking me?
     
  2. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #2
    Even music that is used in trailers are accredited in the film they show. I think there's a legal obligation for him to say your portion if it's asked. E.g. if you create audio for him and you include it in your portfolio for getting a job, he's legally obligated to state your involvement if your prospective employer wants to know. I would get something in writing confirming this from him before doing any work.
     
  3. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #3
    Okay.. so he's obligated to acknowledge verbally and mentally that I put the track together... but otherwise it's okay that my name wouldn't be there with the youtube video?
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    In the IANAL world, yeah, it's probably okay with the world if it's okay with you. You might want to think about what your contract says about his other use of your content. Just hypothetically...would he have the right to use your song in more videos without paying you? Produce a re-mix of your song? Would he have the right to have another artist record a cover of it? Modify it in any other way aside from mixing it into his video? If he somehow sold the content to be distributed in some other way than Youtube, would you expect further compensation? Etc. My IANL understanding is that each of these are rights a contract can address, and they can lead to problems if the status of those rights is not clearly defined.
     
  5. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #5
    What does IANL stand for?

    In any case.. what he's saying is that I'm helping him create something, and he's paying me for the work. I'm one of many people that he's hired to help put this video together. So.. I do not own the creation. I'm selling it to him. If people want to know who wrote the music, he'll tell them it's me, but he owns it. He's buying it from me. Is this logical?
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Sorry, "I am not a lawyer."

    It's logical -- of course, you can do it. Just think about whether you want to.
     
  7. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #7
    'Work for hire is an exception to the copyright law'

    Sounds like you're working for hire, and the copyright does not belong to you.

    But that article goes on to say that under the Berne convention, you can still claim recognition for it.

    IANL and all that!
     
  8. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #8
    Okay, this makes sense. Yes, I'm basically working for hire. Saying "I don't want to do it unless I'm credited" doesn't make any sense, because if I refuse, and lose the job, I lose $500, and that's all. I can't make Any money with this anywhere else. He's the only guy who is offering $500 for this.. it's not as though I could do something better with it elsewhere, and it's not as though I would have even Thought of creating this if it weren't for him.

    Very much like workers in a company like Apple or Microsoft writing the operating system. They got paid for their work.

    Thanks!
     

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