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JWB
06-23-2004, 08:50 PM
Hi,

I've been wondering about this lately. For someone trying to get into the industry, is it normal to copyright game music (much like you would film material) under the composers name even though the same material might be used in a "work for hire" situation later on where everything (except maybe writers compensation) becomes the property of the game developer?

In order to showcase music online, it seems like it would be foolish not to have it protected in some way or another. Am I correct in this concern?

Thanks,
Jon

Marcussen
06-24-2004, 07:42 AM
Well... I guess it varries alot. In my current contract I made sure that I was allowed to showcase my music online, even though they own the rights.

Jazzhole
06-24-2004, 08:24 PM
This is quite common In the industry I think, at least from my own experience.

Waywyn
06-25-2004, 06:52 AM
the same here, on my last game i asked the producer to add to the contract that i can show and demonstrate parts of the music on my homepage and that i can partly use it for demoreels etc.

MarcDerell
06-25-2004, 08:07 AM
Yea, same here.... Either put it the contract (e.g. 20% per track) or at least get a written permission afterwards. Normally, this is no problem. Everybody needs advertisment. :)

Somehow I'm wondering if he's not talking about tracks he's doing that may be used after being put online.

JWB
06-25-2004, 10:02 AM
Somehow I'm wondering if he's not talking about tracks he's doing that may be used after being put online.

Yes MarcDerell that's exactly what I'm refering to... copyrighting the music "before" it becomes the property of the developer. Should that be done regardless of future contractual obligations to a company?

Sorry if that didn't translate well :) My background is film music where basically everything is copyrighted through the LOC. For game audio, you give up a good deal of your composing rights and because I've never negotiated with a game developer, I'm wondering if copyrighted material can become an issue with them? Still, I don't want to post something that's not protected... see the dilemma?

Thanks!

dwdonehoo
06-25-2004, 03:20 PM
Your contract should say this:
"Right to Self-Promotion. Contractor has the right to self promotion and allowed to use, as creator of said works, any works created under this contract, to demonstrated the capabilities of contractor either on the contractors web site, in demo reels and CDs or computer file format at any time after acceptance of the work as final, without any further permissions required from Company."

Any works you create and claim rights and copyrights to are automatically owned by you and are protected even if you do not obtain a copyright. You have to give up your rights to your music in writing, and if you do, you need the paragraph above.

His Frogness
06-27-2004, 03:51 PM
Any of you working composers should really join ASCAP if you haven't already. They're aware that there is a need for their services in game music and have been doing a lot lately to protect composer's interests, especially now that so many game developers are releasing official soundtracks for games.

Just give them a call and talk to them.

JWB
06-28-2004, 09:57 AM
Any works you create and claim rights and copyrights to are automatically owned by you and are protected even if you do not obtain a copyright

Thanks... I know copyright is automatically bestowed upon a writer once a work is completed. Registering through the LOC basically provides proof of ownership. Are you of the opinion then that it isn't necessary to formally copyright this type of material?... especially if it will later become property of the game developer and all ownership rights will be eliminated anyway?

dwdonehoo
06-28-2004, 12:00 PM
Are you of the opinion then that it isn't necessary to formally copyright this type of material?... especially if it will later become property of the game developer and all ownership rights will be eliminated anyway?

Why do something that has to be undone later? Just document your work: burn time stamped CD's, save your midi and project files, note time and date you post music as public record, declare your Copyright on all published materials, and any other paranoid thing you can think of. You will be just about as (un-)/protected as a formal copyright. In the vast wasteland of disposable music, you will be lucky to be noticed at all, much less copied. Still, do what makes you comfortable. You will probably change the way you do things later anyway as you get a feel for the situation.