I agree, very interesting!
Over here in Germany, things are a bit different.
First off, we don't really have work-for-hire - the copyright always stays with the creator of a work, we can only hand out performance rights. (which is a good thing, though it can make working as a remote composer for devs based in the US complicated)
I think there are a few exceptions for creating software in a true employment relationship.
Most game companies based in Germany tend to employ composers who aren't in the GEMA (the German PRO) because they like to avoid the hassle of paying for putting trailers containing the music up on the internet. Just heard from a colleague who landed a lucrative game scoring job and one of the reasons was because he is, unlike many good composers, not in any PRO.
The GEMA is kind of notorious over here and it's not really popular even with many musicians, for various reasons - for example, they've just raised the fees for clubs playing music immensely which causes small clubs to go out of business, which in turn created an uproar among people who never even heard about PROs before. (the majority)
Also, they've got a - well, let's call it archaic - democratic structure that only enables the top-earning 5% of the members to have a saying in those things. And they don't accept Creative Commons licenses into their catalogue at all. Well, the list goes on...
I'd love to know, how popular or well-known are the PROs in the US?
I'm in the GEMA because I compose for TV documentaries and commercials from time to time and I was able to exclude the online rights from the performance right contract.
The live performance rights are still in there, though: If people should ever play a cover of my music live (unlikely at this point, but who knows?) or if I perform my music live (which I sometimes do, however no game music yet), the deal over here isn't 50-50, but 60-40. I'd receive 60%, the publisher receives 40%.
Anyhoo, I didn't want to babble on too much - my point is: Internationally, it gets a bit more complicated.
Brian, If you have any expertise working with composers and PROs from other countries, I'd love to hear it. Information on that is really scarce, though it's a very interesting topic that'll probably get more relevant in the future - maybe even for me or for other people on this forum, who knows?
Edited by Moritz P.G. Katz, 09 October 2012 - 07:15 PM.