Production Music Contracts and Lawyers

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by BenG, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. BenG

    BenG Senior Member

    Is anyone here using a lawyer to review their trailer/production music contracts? Would it be worth it to do so?
     
  2. clisma

    clisma Active Member

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    I never have, but because by the time I started writing for libraries, I was already somewhat familiar with the terms and terminology. Why, does anything in the contract not convince you? If so, either run it by someone who has done this before, or indeed, pay for a lawyer. If it is a reputable publisher though, it’s unlikely to be criminal in my experience.
     
  3. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    hi @BenG

    Given that we know almost nothing about your situation, it's not a good idea to take advice from us on a legal matter like this.

    If you want to get better informed, you could consider looking at BMI's or ASCAP's websites for information; there used to be a lot on there. Alternatively, you could check out This Business of Music, which is pretty good. Boring, though. Reminds me of why we didn't go to law school.

    If you want to hire a lawyer I know one or two whom you could contact; you could PM me if you want to go that route.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    BenG

    BenG Senior Member

    Thanks for the advice guys! There are a few details in the contracts that are a bit vague and I just wanted to confirm.

    @JohnG, thanks for that and I may take you up on your offer! Would it be like a one-time fee?
     
  5. vewilya

    vewilya Active Member

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    As a PRO member with SUISA (in Switzerland) you're entitled to legal advice (free of charge) when it comes to contracts and the likes... I know you have a similar offering in Spain with SGAE. Maybe BMI or ASCAP offer similar services?!
    SUISA lawyers have saved my ass a couple of times!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    BenG

    BenG Senior Member

    That would be great! Unfortunately, my PRO (SOCAN) does not have such a service :/
     
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  7. vewilya

    vewilya Active Member

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    Ah crap. Canada is it, right? Well in any case I would advise you to get a professional opinion concerning your contract. As someone who's still a bit of a greenhorn when it comes to stuff like contracts, I for myself always rely on such services mentioned above. And I've been surprised a couple of times what's been hiding in those paragraphs of such contracts. I think it's worth the investment! I'd certainly pay someone to do it if I didn't have this SUISA offering! Better safe than sorry I guess. But that's just me...
     
  8. gsilbers

    gsilbers Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com

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    It always depends on the situation I think. The always get a lawyer for legal advice seems like a no brainer until u realize the cost vs outcome. If u are Hans zimmer or someone doing an HBO tv show then of course. If u doing trailer music and submitting to one of the big trailer houses then it’s most likely they’ve already have a main contract for all composers and it’s a competitive and matched other companies like it. Those companies have to rely on being transparent on their contracts as they cannot risk having legal issues w a track on a big marketing campaign. It’s also about trust. Normally it’s the same type of scenario and the lingo is similar.
    Trailer music is very disposable so if u find a lawyer my suggestion would be to learn the lingo and stuff that matters. That way u can read the other 1000 contracts these guys copy from each other. And u think we are the only ones w templates ;)
    So again, depends on the situation but the More u can learn from all aspects of music production the better overall you’ll be.
     
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  9. vewilya

    vewilya Active Member

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    I think it's not only about the library music contract itself but also if it is in accordance with your PRO contract!
     
  10. Yes. And if you get another similar contract at some point, you'll know the details and can understand the jargon a little better. Some lawyers may even skim over it for free, just make sure you find one who knows the business. There must be a ton of them in Montreal.

    I'm also SOCAN, it would be nice if they offered some sort of legal advice to members.
     
  11. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

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    Music lawyers will always tell you that you need them, but unless you are a big name composer with lots of negotiation power, the legal fees would probably exceed the lifetime income of any one production track. So it is hard to see that is viable for every contract, but mileage may vary.

    Make sure you read the books availbale on the matter, so you know when to be alert, and research the companies you sign with.

    Then perhaps use a lawyer for a bulk of contracts, once in a while. Nobrainer if your PRO provides that service.

    Billboard had a list of entertainment lawyers last year https://www.billboard.com/articles/...8480478/billboard-2018-top-music-lawyers-list

    Often you can find good articles and general advice on their websites if you ggl them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  12. OP
    OP
    BenG

    BenG Senior Member

    Absolutely! It would be a huge help if SOCAN offered some sort of help for just basic legal advice/contract review, especially for younger composers in the industry. It would be in their best interest as well, since it may lead to more/higher-paying gigs with residuals.
     

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