web site sample rights

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MarkG, Feb 9, 2008.

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  1. MarkG

    MarkG Guest

    I am in the process of putting together some samples ( very short 15-20 second clips) to put up on my studio website. Most of the clips are friends who will have no problem with this.
    I want to use a sample from an artist who recorded with me several years ago who now has high name recognition ( had some pretty serious MTV airtime for a while).
    Do I have the right to use a clip, or to put it another way, how much trouble will I be in (going to jail like trouble, or just slap on the wrist like trouble)?
    I know the first response will be "call the guy and ask", but if he says no then I will feel obligated to comply. I would rather plead ignorance!

  2. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    I think youve answered your own question...
    Put yourself in his shoes ....
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    This is a sticky one. And an important question.

    It comes down to these facts. Did the artist in question hire you to record his music? Did you sign a release involving the studio? Were you paid for your time? Are you the studio owner?

    The question then is..................
    Does a Studio as an entity retain any rights to music it has recorded as far as using that music as samples of the work created there?

    This is a much different question than does the studio have a right to RELEASE FOR SALE music it was involved in the recording of.
  4. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    The first response is not call the guy and ask. It is call an entertainment lawyer and ask. If you have rights to the material, you won't have to ask the artist.

    Also, inquire, from the lawyer, what you need to do this right going forward. You will nead to obtain some kind of release.
  5. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    I think its more like , Do you have permission from the copyright /licensing holder to use the said samples to promote your studio without any compensation to the to the aforementioned copyright/licensing holder? Did you have a prior agreement to use his/hers material? seems like a very shifty way to promote your studio dont ya think?
    Seeking permission to use the song would be the right thing to do.. beside you have left your self in a spot by posting on this forum.. havent you? JMHO
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    First, I'm not a lawyer. I don't even like lawyers and I don't know anybody else who does except other lawyers? Lawyers have done a lot of things that are completely counterproductive, stupid and over-the-top. All based on legalese. So you have to ask yourself. Do I feel lucky? Well do you punk? (Dirty Harry impersonation) I didn't ask if I could use that. OK, so sue me.

    I have used examples of things that I didn't bother to ask permission for. That was quite some years ago and I never heard anything about that. I had it on my web site as samples of my work. If the people you recorded don't like you using their work for your professional promotional purposes, let them find another engineer. Obviously, they didn't have any problem with it when it was on MTV. You're not trying to rip them off by selling their product out from under them. I mean that's like, who would be stupid enough to vote for a politician that said something stupid like "read my lips, no new taxes". That's too stupid. I would ever believe that? That would never happen would it?

    Read my studio equipment list. No new microphones.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    OK bro... more free legal advice....

    You don't really give us quite enough info here, but most of what you've gotten is pretty sound advice. (Sorry... had to use the pun.)

    If you were not a performer or creator of the work, technically you must have secured rights to the work before you can distribute the work.

    The sticky issue is that you are not distributing the work in it's entirety. As far as my basic understanding goes, as long as you only have 29 seconds or less, AND do not make it available for distribution AND credit the artist, you are not in total violation of the copyright laws.

    HOWEVER, if you are a studio owner and you are using the work for promotional purposes, you can be (and likely will be) subject to paying said artist (his label) a percentage of your gross receipts that are directly traceable and responsible for income to your business. If you fail to secure rights to use the material in this manner, you are likely to also be facing penalty's and fines.

    Think of it like this... In core principle it's no different than Cadillac using Led Zeppelin for it's TV ad's.

    The smartest thing, IMHO, is to contact the artist and ask. If he (or his label) say no... you HAVE to comply. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and the fines WILL bear that out.

    But all is not lost... If nothing else, you have worked with said artist. So, you can always add him to your client list.
  8. MarkG

    MarkG Guest

    Just for clarification
    the short 15-20 second clip I was going to use was from the demo that I personnally recorded recorded for him and not the actual MTV version.
    (although he did use another song I recorded on a later album and gave the credit to a different engineer, but thats another story.)
    There was no contract, just 5 or 6 sessions and a handshake.
    I also do videography, and in that business it is normal procedure for the shooter to retain rights to use samples for demo purposes. I was hoping that would be the case here.
    I suppose the difference would be posting on the internet vs. letting someone listen to it in the studio.
    Before I posted, I was leaning toward NOT using the sample, but I was hoping someone could talk me into it!

  9. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    The advice you have received here are generalities based on insufficient information about the facts and the law. Talk to an entertainment lawyer.
  10. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    it seems that no one brought up ... COMPULSORY MECHANICAL LICENSING

    basically, you have the right to use whatever you want, so long as royalties are paid to the artist.

    i believe it's set at 9.1 cents per copy, but that could just be for when distributing CDs and other tangible mediums. it may be different for website samples.

    do a search for compulsory mechanical license on google or something.
  11. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    I thought I did.... hmmm
  12. I know nothing about the legal side here but judging by what you first wrote you basically want to include on your studio site something that links you to the named artist for promotional purposes?

    If I were you i'd simply add the artists name to your portfolio. If the demo version of the song that you recorded with this artist was a huge hit on MTV then anyone of any importance visiting your site will recognise it just by reading the artists name and song title.
  13. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I've done a pretty exhaustive search on this topic and have been unable to nail down a better answer than those that Mark has already been given.

    Short of talking to the artist (why wouldn't ya?), or a lawyer, any other contrary remarks on the matter on this site that might direct you to "go ahead and do it, to hell with the consequences", in my opinion, would be improper and incorrect from a legal standpoint.

    Considering the current litigious nature of the RIAA, etc. - I seriously think it's best to call this a question for a lawyer; therefore I'm gonna stick a fork in it, and call this thread done.

    But not before one final thought from Remy:

    Go ahead, post what you want in its entirety, i.e. a single song by the artist. Include technical information about how you made the recording, etc.. If the artist or label doesn't like what you've done, you will receive a cease-and-desist order first before action is generally taken. That would simply require you to take the sample off, or you will be instructed as to how long & how much of the sample would be allowed. Just my last two cents worth. After all, life is a series of risks. If you are too timid to take risks, you will usually not be able to advance your self to the next level professionally. We all have a high probability of being killed every time we get into our cars but that doesn't stop us. Copyright lawyers shouldn't stop you.

    Major risk taker
    Remy Ann David

    Now I'm locking this one, but it's gonna stay stickied - there's good info here.

    Thanks everybody!
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