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#1 Jonah-B   Members   -  Reputation: 169

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:44 AM

I originally made a post about this in the music forum because I didn't realize GameDev had a business and law forum. It didn't get much of a response, so I'm gonna ask here since this forum is more appropriate anyway.

I'm a hobby game music composer thats recently made a transition to selling stock audio through a third party licensing library called AudioJungle. I've had a decent amount of success with this, so I've been experimenting with the idea of directly licensing the stuff myself. Now, law isn't a subject that I have a lot of experience in, so I've been trying to wrap my head around how licensing works from a legal perspective.

Now, the system I've implemented into my personal website is designed to make it fast and easy for a potential media developer to purchase a license for one of my stock audio tracks. The user selects the track, chooses between two general use licenses (commercial use or non-commercial use), then he pays through PayPal and is returned to my website where a custom license is generated containing the purchase information along with a unique purchase ID. I'll keep records of purchase information and the ID to verify purchases in the future if it's ever necessary. I also make buyers aware that customized licenses and contracts are available by contacting me directly.

This sort of automated system is what AudioJungle uses. Is an automated system like this a good idea? It definitely makes it easier on both parties, but will it scare away music managers that want signed contracts and direct correspondence? How often do composers sell music like this?

Here are examples of my automated licenses. Are these ok?

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_basic.txt

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/sample_commercial.txt

Any advice on the subject would be awesome because I'm still new to this whole thing.

JB-Audio: Quality sound design for your video games and films

Check out my latest project! Specter, an original soundtrack

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/index.php?sel=01Game%20Soundtracks/Specter#content

 


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#2 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1833

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 10:17 AM

Hi Jonah,

I'm on my way to GameSoundCon, but had a couple quick comments

A "click through" license will most likely be used by indy or student game developers. Another kind of developer would almost certainly require a signed license agreement, with a lot more issues covered than your commercial click-through one.

Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.

On a similar note, the clause about performance royalties may scare off developers, who may think they'd be on the hook for those (when in fact it is the broadcasters). The game industry, especially small studios, are not well versed in music industry issues regarding performance rights, PROs, etc. So even the word "Royalty" may scare folks off.

Also, it's "copyright," not "copywrite" :)

Brian Schmidt

Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#3 Jonah-B   Members   -  Reputation: 169

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 03:31 PM

Thank you so much for your helpful reply!

A "click through" license will most likely be used by indy or student game developers. Another kind of developer would almost certainly require a signed license agreement, with a lot more issues covered than your commercial click-through one.


I was worried that was the case. I like the idea of targeting the indy scene though, at least since I'm still trying to get things off the ground. The indy scene for both games and film is growing pretty rapidly after all. Hopefully if I make it clear that I'm willing to do more detailed contracts on request I don't scare off any potential bigger companies that might happen upon my music in the future.

Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.


Hmmm... What terms are common to the game development industry?

On a similar note, the clause about performance royalties may scare off developers, who may think they'd be on the hook for those (when in fact it is the broadcasters). The game industry, especially small studios, are not well versed in music industry issues regarding performance rights, PROs, etc. So even the word "Royalty" may scare folks off.


Thats a good point. I'll remove that clause, or at least reword it. I do a lot of styles and I don't want to restrict myself to the gaming industry, but most of my music is definitely more aimed at video games.

Also, it's "copyright," not "copywrite" Posted Image


Oops Posted Image

Thanks again! Your reply was really helpful!

Edited by Jonah-B, 23 October 2012 - 03:33 PM.

JB-Audio: Quality sound design for your video games and films

Check out my latest project! Specter, an original soundtrack

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/index.php?sel=01Game%20Soundtracks/Specter#content

 


#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9870

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:26 PM

Your terms are reasonable but the terms they use "synchronization" and "master use", while common and appropriate for the music, film, tv industry, are not commonly used in the game development community.
Hmmm... What terms are common to the game development industry?


"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."

Those are common terms. The music in the game needs to be portable to other platforms if the game is to be ported to other platforms. The game wants to be sold worldwide, and without an expiration date.

Edited by Tom Sloper, 24 October 2012 - 02:07 PM.
fixed formatting problems caused by Selective Quoting

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#5 Jonah-B   Members   -  Reputation: 169

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:42 AM

"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."

Those are common terms. The music in the game needs to be portable to other platforms if the game is to be ported to other platforms. The game wants to be sold worldwide, and without an expiration...


Ok. Thanks both of you for your help! I'm gonna try to type up a new license later today. I'll post it here this evening if I get it done.

JB-Audio: Quality sound design for your video games and films

Check out my latest project! Specter, an original soundtrack

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/index.php?sel=01Game%20Soundtracks/Specter#content

 


#6 MizterRootbeeer   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

This is a very good topic. Please excuse me if I posted wrong, but if I'm the indy company that wants to use your music for a video game, game trailers, TV commercials of the game, and sell your music with a game soundtrack. What kind of license agreement would be best for allowing such use? Flexibility and freedom is what new start ups are looking for and not spend so much money that they would have to take out a second house mortgage to pay for everything. This is something I’m looking for as well.

#7 Jonah-B   Members   -  Reputation: 169

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 08:22 PM

Well I didn't finish the new license today, but I did a little work and more reading on the subject. Here is another question that I thought I might as well ask.

A lot of licensing to indy projects are done dirt cheap often because the indy doesn't have a lot of money and the musician doesn't have a lot of exposure. I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation. Is there any equivalent in the game development world? How might such a clause be worded and executed? Would it be a good idea to include something like this, or is it a bit too unreasonable?

JB-Audio: Quality sound design for your video games and films

Check out my latest project! Specter, an original soundtrack

http://jonahsmusic.leadhoster.com/index.php?sel=01Game%20Soundtracks/Specter#content

 


#8 MizterRootbeeer   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:10 PM

Well I didn't finish the new license today, but I did a little work and more reading on the subject. Here is another question that I thought I might as well ask.

A lot of licensing to indy projects are done dirt cheap often because the indy doesn't have a lot of money and the musician doesn't have a lot of exposure. I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation. Is there any equivalent in the game development world? How might such a clause be worded and executed? Would it be a good idea to include something like this, or is it a bit too unreasonable?

To me it would be unreasonable. You will get more customers when your lemonade is sweet than sour.

#9 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1833

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:36 AM

I read about a clause that often appears in contracts between musicians and indy film makers that basically states that the indy can license the audio for the agreed price, but if the film becomes an unexpected hit and leaves the film festivals to bank out then the licensor will need more compensation


For Indy games, that is not at all unreasonable to ask for. How that sometimes is done is that an exclusive license is granted for a limited time, with an option to renew or buy out. That way, if the game totally takes off, both the composer and the game developer are covered. "Covered" in the sense that if the game takes off, the game developer doesn't get held hostage by the composer, and also that the composer-- who did the gig at a massively reduced fee because the indy guy was poor and just starting out-- gets fair compensation for what is no longer a small/broke project.

Basically, there is a continuum.. If you are hiring a composer for a AAA Xbox or PS3 title, you'll pay them a pretty decent fee ($2,500/minute plus creative fees is not uncommon), but you generally get most or all of the rights to the composition.

But if you don't have that kind of budget, you start negotiating-- and there are many music rights that, if you let the composer keep them--they will drastically reduce their fee. So it's very common for the smallest games, who pay very little cash, to let the composer keep a lot of rights to their music. (Ancillary rights, publishing rights, master recording rights, rights for use on other platforms, etc.).

We just had a very energetic roundtable discussion at GameSoundCon yesterday in fact.

"All platforms," "in perpetuity," "all territories."

I'd probably take out "in perpetuity" from that list as I mentioned above.

And generally they will use clauses like "right to copy, reproduce and distribute", etc when granting license use for games.

Brian Schmidt
Brian Schmidt Studios

Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant





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