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Music video royalties ?


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#1 matthew david burton

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:07 PM

I have a couple of music videos playing on mtv, a friend told me i should chase up the royalties but i have no idea where to start ?
I didn't think their would be any royalties but hell if it's possible i'm all ears.
Can anybody clear this up for me ? :wacko:
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#2 Freya Black

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:51 PM

I have a couple of music videos playing on mtv, a friend told me i should chase up the royalties but i have no idea where to start ?
I didn't think their would be any royalties but hell if it's possible i'm all ears.
Can anybody clear this up for me ? :wacko:


Amused to see someone else up't north at this time of the morning!

Bizarely there is a rights society for collecting the royalties on music videos!!!
It's a division of the ppl here in the u.k. called VPL.
There are a few catches however...

Firstly you have to be the rights holder, i.e. you must hold the rights to the work which depending on your situaion might be owned by the record company.

Secondly I suspect that much of the output of tv stations might be sampled. I am assuming this based on the way that stuff tends to work with music. If my music is played on radio 1 then I will get a royalty from a rights society. If my music is played on Radio 3 however, they just take random samples of the station and it just depends on if you hit lucky or not. Same with local radio etc etc.

Thirdly I expect there is a fee to join.

However it is worth looking into I guess...

Heres the website. I havn't looked at it closely (and wouldn't understand it if I did as it is nearly 3am):

http://www.musicmall...p1?opendocument

If you find out more about it then please let me know tho. :)

love

Freya
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#3 matthew david burton

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 10:33 PM

I just got in from a job and my house is too cold to sleep in yet :o
I'm pretty sure that for one of the videos i might be in luck with the royalties.
Will have a gander at that website in the morning Though
Cheers Freya ;)
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 07:51 AM

Hi,

I've had stuff play MTV and I've never seen a penny (and it's stuff I shot for free in the first place) so I suspect you're out of luck.

I don't think anyone does music videos to get rich!

Phil
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:33 AM

It would be highly unusual for anyone except the record label and artist to receive royalties from their work. The Director and Producer specifically give up any rights to the video in their contracts, so other crew members would have zero chance of royalties, even if royalties were paid on music videos, which they're not.

It's a nice idea, but it just doesn't happen.

Edited by Stuart Brereton, 31 December 2005 - 08:34 AM.

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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:39 AM

Hi,

I've had stuff play MTV and I've never seen a penny (and it's stuff I shot for free in the first place) so I suspect you're out of luck.

I don't think anyone does music videos to get rich!

Phil


Are you a member of the VPL tho Phil? You won't get any money if you are not with a collection agency, that even goes for music, no matter how much airplay you get. The radio stations won't deal with you personally.

If you are not with the agency then you are little people.
They certainly aren't going to track you down to give you cash.

However, as I understand it the sums involved are not large and you probably need to either get a lot of videos in rotation (preferably heavy rotation) or you need to be making videos for huge stars.

...and you need to have the rights yourself which is the big one.

and you have to pay to join too, which might be a one off payment (I've not looked) but I bet you need a lot of plays to get your cash back. But I don't know. I've just woken up and I'm more concerned with breakfast and stuff right now.

love

Freya

P.S. Come on Phil this isn't up to your usual standard. We are all in England on this thread so there must have been an opportunity to have a go at this septic isle somehow! ;)
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:49 AM

It would be highly unusual for anyone except the record label and artist to receive royalties from their work. The Director and Producer specifically give up any rights to the video in their contracts, so other crew members would have zero chance of royalties, even if royalties were paid on music videos, which they're not.

It's a nice idea, but it just doesn't happen.


Hiya Stuart, I think you are mostly right, thats why I keep mentioning about if you hold the rights.

Also the sums are probably tiny, even for airplay on mtv proper. It's like if you play a song and it is played on local radio, you are unlikely to see any money from that unless you are Maddonna and your song is played over and over.

However you say that royalties are not paid on music videos, yet I've provided a link to the collection agency that deals with this, (if you follow the thread) so that bit is not true I think and I'm not sure why you said it. :)

love

Freya
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#8 Keith Mottram

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:55 AM

I cant see how an individual can ever own copyright on a music video, the ones that I've directed are always owned by the record company- why would they pay and not take the copyright, thus theoretically restricting their usage of the work. However stretching my mind back there was one very no budget video (about £6000) that I produced aswell as directed and although the video went to Virgin, I'm not sure I ever signed a contract on it. This wasn't commisioned in the normal way and is a complete exception to the rule. This VPL site is for small record companies to sort their legal mess out, not filmmakers- besides would you hand over money to an organisation with that abreviation? However I recon that if you were a director with massive kahunas and were shooting huge videos then you could get your agent to argue for it, but I'd have thought the record company would tell you to fu** off, whilst simultaneously speed dialing for someone else.

Keith
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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:58 AM

Royalties are paid on music video because the Music is being played, not because the video is being shown. Any royalties collected are therefore distributed to the artist and record label. Even if a production company were to retain an interest in a video that it made (which would be highly unusual) they would still not receive royalties as they're are not paid on the Video, only on it's soundtrack.

Edited by Stuart Brereton, 31 December 2005 - 08:59 AM.

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#10 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:05 AM

be interesting to see what happens in the future with on-demand content (Music Videos from itunes store) and if it changes things - much in the same way the DVD revenue got SAG and DGA upset

I know some guys who tried getting videos added to itunes and it was a nightmare - it seems that you need to be one of the big 4 players - or a network otherwise they will not deal with you

not sure if this has changed

thanks

Rolfe
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#11 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:19 AM

I just got in from a job and my house is too cold to sleep in yet :o
I'm pretty sure that for one of the videos i might be in luck with the royalties.
Will have a gander at that website in the morning Though
Cheers Freya ;)


If it's only from one video then it might not be worth your while. You need to chat with the collection agency about it. Also if it was played long ago beyond a certain tme period I expect they won't be able to help you.

OTOH if it was more recently you might find there is enough money to offset the membership fee so it might be worth joining in case you ever find yourself in the same situation.

Phil mentions about not getting rich. Even if you had lots of videos in rotation at MTV on a regular basis, then there is no possibility of getting rich. None at all. The sum of money involved are tiny.

Not sure if anyone had that in mind, I expect it was just Phils angle on things but he is right.
Personally I would look into it to see if it could keep me in chocolate, jaffa cakes and filmstock, but then I don't have any music videos playing on MTV.

I know what you mean about the cold BTW. These houses are like draughty barns. I call mine the castle (for different reasons but it it is appropriate). At one point I would wake up from the cold early in the morning. Now I have managed to seal up around my bedroom door to hold enough heat to warm the room with an electric heater and I have a 15 tog duvet! :)

love

Freya

Royalties are paid on music video because the Music is being played, not because the video is being shown. Any royalties collected are therefore distributed to the artist and record label. Even if a production company were to retain an interest in a video that it made (which would be highly unusual) they would still not receive royalties as they're are not paid on the Video, only on it's soundtrack.


???? Surely the soundtrack would be covered by the ppl or PRS etc already? Why would you need a VPL?

Okay I'm going to go and look at those PDF's. As I keep saying I've not looked into it.
If the PDF's bring my puter down tho, I'm blaming you Stuart! ;)

love

Freya
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:20 AM

Hi,

>very no budget video (about £6000)

That is not a no budget video.

The last one I did was shot for zero units of currency. That's a no budget video. £6000 is "Can we afford super-16", which is not "no budget."

> I expect it was just Phils angle on things but he is right

But Phil's angle on things is always right!

Phil
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:37 AM

Okay their website says with regard for who can join:

"Any company or individual who owns the UK audio-visual copyright in short form music videos is eligible to join VPL. For clarification, short form music videos are those videos produced to support the release of a single. In most cases the copyright owners are record companies, but it can be production companies or individual artists. If in doubt, you should contact a solicitor with experience of copyright law."

It's clear that they are talking about the rights in music videos themselves. The rights in the sound recordings would already be covered by the ppl and PRS. However... I do wonder if there is a more serious question as to whether the entity is considered to be that of the music video as a whole. I.e. the video with it's accompanying soundtrack. In that case someone who had created the entire music video on their own would still not own the rights to the music video because they wouldn't own the music bit (unless they created that too).

It does say audio-visual copyright!

I guess you could ring the VPL and ask them this. (I'm not doing this!) ;)

Anyway, what you are saying just isn't true Stuart. I don't know where you are getting your information from, it seems like you are just making it up, which is okay I guess because I like stories and imagination and stuff, but it is confusing me slightly in this context.

Also it turned out the info wasn't in PDF's so I won't get all growly, I was just scared off by that PDF logo.

Oh hey! I discovered one really good thing! Theres no fee to join the VPL!
Neat!

love

Freya
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#14 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:54 AM

The point is that a music video is just a commercial for a product, not the product itself. Any royalties that are paid are paid because of the Music, not because of the video, no matter how good it is.

As it says on the VPL website, 'any copyright holder is eligible to join'. A Production Co. is not the copyright holder. Any proper contract will specifically ask for any rights to be relinquished by both Director and Producer. It will also indemnify the record label against third party claims (say, from crew members). Even if you as a Producer or Director don't sign a contract, you still have NO rights to the music and the nature of your 'work for hire' puts any claim of ownership of the images into a very grey legal area.

So, if you were Director/Producer of a promo, and didn't sign a contract, and you're willing to pay for a copyright lawyer to find out if you're entitled to a part share in bugger all, and you're willing to fight a record label for it, then go ahead. Otherwise, just enjoy the fact that something you were paid to do has actually made it onto the TV....

I don't know where you are getting your information from, it seems like you are just making it up


I guess I could be making it up, but it's more likely that as a partner in a production company that has made nearly a hundred promos, I have come across this question before.....
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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 09:55 AM

I cant see how an individual can ever own copyright on a music video, the ones that I've directed are always owned by the record company- why would they pay and not take the copyright, thus theoretically restricting their usage of the work. However stretching my mind back there was one very no budget video (about £6000) that I produced aswell as directed and although the video went to Virgin, I'm not sure I ever signed a contract on it. This wasn't commisioned in the normal way and is a complete exception to the rule. This VPL site is for small record companies to sort their legal mess out, not filmmakers- besides would you hand over money to an organisation with that abreviation? However I recon that if you were a director with massive kahunas and were shooting huge videos then you could get your agent to argue for it, but I'd have thought the record company would tell you to fu** off, whilst simultaneously speed dialing for someone else.

Keith


I think it would be possible for an individual to hold copyright on a music video. They could make all the bits of it themselves or they could have a contract with the other parties to say they owned the music video.

I also don't think that the VPL is for small record companies to sort their mess out. It would be more likely be there for the large record companies where they might have huge quantities of video's in rotation, but actually I think it is for neither. I think it is for broadcasting companies to sort their mess out, specifically MTV.

When you send a video to MTV, you just send them the video, not a special contract to give them permission to broadcast it, just like with radio. They also do not want you to send them contracts through the post because can you imagine what an administrative nightmare all those little bits of paper would be! However, there are rights within music videos. TV stations can't just broadcast whatever they like. So they have to license the stuff, and they do this through the VPL. They are very happy to pay this money to the VPL because then they have the rights to play all the music videos and not deal with only one set of paper work between themselves and the VPL. Only one set of money to pay out too. It's all nice and easy for them. The record companies are happy too, because they get their video's played on MTV and get publicity for the music. So everybody is happy. Well maybe not everyone, but you know Viacom is happy and Sony/BMg, EMI, Time Warner etc are happy and well that's what matters isn't it. ;)

Also I keep saying this, but the sums involved are very tiny. You wouldn't bother going after a record company for them. That's my perception anyway.

love

Freya
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#16 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:39 AM

The point is that a music video is just a commercial for a product, not the product itself. Any royalties that are paid are paid because of the Music, not because of the video, no matter how good it is.

As it says on the VPL website, 'any copyright holder is eligible to join'. A Production Co. is not the copyright holder. Any proper contract will specifically ask for any rights to be relinquished by both Director and Producer. It will also indemnify the record label against third party claims (say, from crew members). Even if you as a Producer or Director don't sign a contract, you still have NO rights to the music and the nature of your 'work for hire' puts any claim of ownership of the images into a very grey legal area.


I see, I think we are talking about 2 different things, because I'm just talking about the rights in the music video and why the money is paid etc in actual terms. The legal side of it all etc. The theoretical side of it if you will.

You are talking about the practical nature of it all and who owns the rights in practice.

You are totally right tho, like I said at the beggining of the thread. In practice you will of course be making this stuff for the record company under contract and they will of course want to own all the rights. and quite rightly too because it's just a mess for them otherwise and they won't want to get into arguments about it all down the line. They want to make it clear where everyone stands.

I disagree that the music videos are just a commercial and not the product itself, because of course they are also sold on DVD where they are the product itself, but that of course just depends on how you want to look at it. You can see that as being a side effect of the whole process or whatever. Also from the MTV point of view the music video is the product itself, and the VPL is essentially there because of MTV. So you could argue from that angle too if you want, but these are all matters of perspective.

A production company could be the copyright holder but in practice they usually are not, because they reliquish these rights under contract.

However you are very much talking here about your own situation which is specific to you being the partner in a production company. This is generally how things will work in the industry and all very standard etc, but it isn't the way it has to work and there are exceptions to this. It's the same with music, usually radio royalties are paid to record companies and/or to publishing companies, but not always.

Any proper production company will have no contact with the VPL, no need to, and no reason to know that they even exist because they are irrelevant to that process.

Lastly, I'm sorry if I hurt you and upset you with my teasing remark. I was just being silly and didn't mean to upset you. I think you may have taken it a bit too seriously. :(

love

Freya

Hi,

>very no budget video (about £6000)

That is not a no budget video.

The last one I did was shot for zero units of currency. That's a no budget video. £6000 is "Can we afford super-16", which is not "no budget."

Phil


Gotta agree with Phil here! £6000 is a lot of money. It would be a very low budget video but not a no budget video. A no budget video would be like if you made the video with no money whatsoever or possibly, stretching it a little, I would say that maybe you could call a video no budget if it cost less than a couple of hundred pound and it was coming out of someones personal money and not something that had been allocated as a budget.

But paid work is surely never "no budget" by definition.

love

Freya
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#17 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:54 AM

A production company could be the copyright holder but in practice they usually are not, because they reliquish these rights under contract.


Production companies do not automatically 'have' copyright, which they then relinquish to the label. There is never any question that ownership resides with the Record Company. What the contract says is that the Director and Producer will never attempt to assert ownership. It's a subtle difference, granted, but most legal definitions are.

However you are very much talking here about your own situation which is specific to you being the partner in a production company. This is generally how things will work in the industry and all very standard etc, but it isn't the way it has to work and there are exceptions to this. It's the same with music, usually radio royalties are paid to record companies and/or to publishing companies, but not always.


It's specific to any production company working under contract to the record industry. Royalties are paid to Copyright holders, whoever they may be, which in this case is almost certainly going to be the Artist or Label. It is possible that royalties may be paid to a third party, but this would be at the discretion of the Copyright owner, and would not imply any transferral of ownership

Lastly, I'm sorry if I hurt you and upset you with my teasing remark.


Not hurt.....amused.
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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 11:42 AM

Production companies do not automatically 'have' copyright, which they then relinquish to the label. There is never any question that ownership resides with the Record Company. What the contract says is that the Director and Producer will never attempt to assert ownership. It's a subtle difference, granted, but most legal definitions are.


Hmmm, actually you are right, Production companies do not automatically have copyright which they reliquish to the label. This is because they are "working for hire" as I think it was you mentioned earlier. So technically they are the employees of the label in thiis case. So what I said was wrong, unless of course the production company was working for free, in which case they would reliquish those rights when they signed a contract. So basically in the context you are talking about of a commercial production in the mainstream industry, that would never happen because you would always get paid (at least I damn well hope you would!) When you work for hire the company automatically gets your copyright folks, regardless of contracts, aint that a kick in the teeth! ;)

I don't think thats a subtle difference actually. I think it's a big one. The reason they suggest that you sign a contract to say you won't try to assert ownership, is because the work for hire thing can be a bit of a grey area in copyright law. If you are a freelancer for example, you are not technically covered by the work for hire thing. In that contract they are basically not saying that you own the rights and they are buying them because they don't want to suggest you might own the rights (in a legal document!), but they are getting you to agree with them that you don't own the rights. That might also seem like a subtle difference but is also a big one! ;)

It's specific to any production company working under contract to the record industry. Royalties are paid to Copyright holders, whoever they may be, which in this case is almost certainly going to be the Artist or Label. It is possible that royalties may be paid to a third party, but this would be at the discretion of the Copyright owner, and would not imply any transferral of ownership


The record industry being the major labels. The copyright holder is unlikely to be the artist. It's rare that the artist even owns the rights to their own songs and recordings in this instance and even less likely that they will own the rights in the music video. It's basically always going to be the record company in the context you are talking about.

Not hurt.....amused.


Good! I shouldn't tease people because it is mean and I'm very easy to tease myself but I get carried away sometimes. I did try and make it clear I was joking tho.

love

Freya

Edited by Freya, 31 December 2005 - 11:43 AM.

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#19 Freya Black

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 11:54 AM

I've got another question for you Stuart because I've just realised something else. Most music videos often include actors. Often the actors are the music artists themselves. I assume that on a proper commercial production you get these people to sign release forms? Even the music artists themselves?

Presumably if you didn't and the artist tried to block release of the music video on this basis, the record company would hold you the production company liable? It's a neat deal for the record company because they just get the music video at the end and the production company gets all the legal mess to deal with right?

love

Freya
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#20 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 12:18 PM

Release forms are required for actors and extras. In fact, the release forms usually form part of the 'deliverables' in the sense that the Label could refuse to pay for the video if the Releases hadn't been signed.

The artist isn't required to sign a release. Their participation in their own video is taken for granted!
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