Music in films, television and advertisement




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MUSIC IN FILMS, TELEVISION AND ADVERTISEMENT

Abstract in French
Toute utilisation d'une composition musicale identifiable dans une œuvre audiovisuelle nécessite d'obtenir l'accord préalable de l'ensemble des titulaires de droits de propriété intellectuelle sur cette composition sous peine de faire l'objet d'une action en contrefaçon.
Les différents titulaires de droits de propriété intellectuelle sur les œuvres musicales sont les auteurs, qui disposent de droits patrimoniaux et du droit moral inaliénable et imprescriptible, les artistes-interprètes, bénéficiant de "droits voisins des droits d'auteur" et les producteurs de phonogrammes, titulaires uniquement de droits patrimoniaux.
Tous disposent du droit exclusif d'autoriser le producteur d'un film à procéder à la synchronisation de l'œuvre musicale avec les images de l'œuvre audiovisuelle. Le producteur devra donc obtenir l'autorisation préalable de l'auteur de l'œuvre ou de la société de gestion collective à laquelle ce dernier aura cédé ses droits mais également de l'artiste-interprète et du producteur du disque.
Le montant des redevances dont devra s'acquitter le producteur du film est très variable, de nombreux facteurs étant pris en compte pour son calcul. Si le producteur envisage de publier la bande originale du film, il devra obtenir une autorisation spécifique et s'acquitter d'une redevance supplémentaire, cette utilisation n'étant pas couverte par l'autorisation de synchronisation.
Lorsque le producteur d'un film fait appel à un compositeur pour qu'il crée une musique spécifiquement pour un film, ce dernier est considéré comme un des auteurs du film. Aux termes du contrat par lequel le producteur engage le compositeur, le producteur acquière de celui-ci l'ensemble des droits patrimoniaux attachés à l'œuvre musicale. Le producteur peut cependant décider d'utiliser des œuvres musicales préexistantes, auquel cas il devra identifier l'ensemble des détenteurs de droits, obtenir leur autorisation préalable et leur verser à chacun une redevance. Le producteur devra également s'assurer qu'il dispose de l'accord de l'artiste-interprète de l'œuvre musicale utilisée que celui-ci apparaisse ou non dans le film.
Publier la bande originale du film peut être un outil de promotion très efficace. Une fois les autorisations obtenues auprès des différents titulaires de droits décrits précédemment, le producteur du film devra conclure un contrat avec une maison de disques pour la fabrication et la distribution du disque. Certaines maisons de disque choisissent d'aider le projet de lancement d'une bande originale en participant au financement du disque.

MUSIC IN FILMS, TELEVISION AND ADVERTISEMENTS
1.- Introduction
Any use of music in an audio-visual work, if it is identifiable, shall have to have obtained the prior authorisation from the different rightholders in the music. The process of negotiation of the clearances may be long and complicated, and it is advisable to start it with sufficient time in advance. The use of a music in a film without having obtained the necessary prior authorisation in writing may be an infringement of copyright, which situates the rightholder in a strong position which will permit better conditions to be obtained in a negotiation and, in the event of an agreement not being reached, may entitle the start of proceedings in defence of the rights, and specifically the filing of injunctions or pre-emptive measures which may impede the exploitation of the audio-visual work.
2.- Different rights on musical works
2.1. Authors of musical compositions with or without lyrics have the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, communicate to the public and transform their works and to authorise others to do so. Under some jurisdictions they also have moral rights ( the right to decide if the work is to be divulged and under what name or sobriquet, the right of being recognised as the author, the right to impede any amendment or deformation of the work), which are unwaivable and unassignable.
2.1. Artists or performers have “other intellectual property rights” or neighbouring rights, which are the exclusive right to authorise the fixation, reproduction, communication to the public and distribution of their performances, the recognition of their name, and the right to impede any deformation, mutilation or attempt to their performance which may damage their prestige or reputation.


    1. Phonogram producers have the exclusive right to authorise the reproduction, public communication and distribution of their phonograms or sound recordings of musical works.


3.- Need of authorisation
All of the mentioned rightholders have the exclusive right to authorise the synchronisation of their musical work, performance or phonogram with the images of an audio-visual work. By means of a license agreement these rightholders may assign the synch right to the film producer. The film producer shall always have to obtain this consent prior to starting the production either directly from the author or from any third party to which the author may have assigned the administration of its rights (publisher or collecting society), as well as from the artist and record company if the film producer wants to use an existing recorded musical work.
In some jurisdictions the collecting societies and publishers are authorised to assign the synch right. For example the British PRS may assign this right in the name of the author, but the USA’s ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or the Spanish SGAE are not authorised to do so. Any musical rights acquisition shall have to be carefully planned and care should be taken to verify that the assignor (when it is not directly the author) has the right to do so.
The subsequent administration of the income from the synch rights by the collecting society shall be possible if the film producer has provided the cue-sheet or musical program of the film in which is contained the title, author and duration of every piece of music included in the film.
The exploitation of a film without having obtained such authorisations in writing may be a copyright infringement which may permit the rightholders to start the actions in law for its defence.


4.- Price of licenses
License prices shall vary case by case depending on such varied factors as the reputation of the artist, the duration of the music, the territory, term of duration, record company policy, genre of film or format of exploitation (theatrical, TV, video, soundtrack album, etc…), amongst others.
If the film producer intends to publish a soundtrack album it shall have to be specifically authorised to do so in the license agreement, because it is a different use from the synchronisation of the music with the images of the film, and therefore the license fee may also be different. The record company which assigns the right to use a piece of music from its catalogue may also finance the project if it receives back from the film producer the right to record the complete soundtrack and distribute the album.
5.- Types of agreements
6.1.- Acquisition of rights of a musical work specifically created for the film: composer agreement
In many legal systems (specially in those of “droit d’auteur”) the composer of the music specifically created for the film shall be considered an author of the film, and therefore may have specific rights. By the contract the producer hires the composer services (to compose, select the performers, make the arrangements, direct the orchestra, control the production...) and acquires from the composer the right to synchronise the music created with the images of the film, the reproduction right in copies of the film, the right to communicate the music to the public, and if the producer wants to publish a soundtrack album the right of phonogram recording.


    1. License of use of pre-existing music

Even though it may seem very convenient to have the music in advance and to be able to listen how it sounds with the first images, the use of pre-existing music has the inconvenience of the difficulty of identification of the several rightholders which generates a longer and more complex negotiation of agreements. A license of use should be obtained from all the rightholders, i.e. the composer or publisher, the artist and the record company if the film producer wants to include an existing phonogram.


In some countries (e.g.. USA) a "reuse fee" shall have to be paid to the corresponding union (e.g. AFM, AFTRA) or a license shall have to be obtained from the music producer, because it is considered that this new use was not foreseen when the performers assigned their rights to the original record company.


    1. Artist agreement

The film producer shall also have to obtain from the artist or performer his or her consent for the fixation of the performance, its reproduction, communication to the public and distribution. The performance of the artist may be visual (if he or she appears in the film performing the music) or not (if the music is reproduced as a background to the images). Due to the fact that an artist’s professional life is closely tied to his or her record company it should be checked if the label has any exclusivity right in order to clear it in advance.


6.4. Soundtrack album
The music of the film is normally a marketing tool to promote the film but can also be an income producing source by itself. If the producer is interested in launching the soundtrack music it will have to have previously obtained from all of the mentioned rightholders their prior written consent for this specific way of exploitation which, once acquired shall also be assigned to a record company in order that it can proceed to manufacture and distribute the soundtrack record. The record company may be the same which has assigned to the film producer some themes of its catalogue list, and therefore a double contract with the same parties and different object may have to be signed. The record label may also be interested in supporting the project which may be a source of finance for the film producer. The soundtrack album and the film have a closely linked commercial life and the marketing departments of the film producer and of the record company shall have to work together to synchronise their efforts.


Enric Enrich


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