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Public Domain Art Question

Thomas asks…

I’m making a game and want to upload concept art to Facebook. Do I retain my copyrights to the content?

Working on a game as part of a homemade independent studio. If I upload concept art to Facebook, will I retain my copyrights or will the content become part of the public domain/Creative Commons?

scottparat answers:

Read the Creative Commons act, and Facebook terms and conditions VERY carefully.

Carol asks…

What do musicians get paid if their song is used as a theme?

So my morning radio show plays the same popular song every morning at the start. It’s just the intro and the host comes on before the singing takes place. Also, whenever the news girl does her section, they start it with a different song which happens to be instrumental. Assuming that they are your typical songs (not public domain stuff like Happy Birthday), do these artists get a royalty every time it’s played?

scottparat answers:

When we are contracted to compose a musical piece for a certain thing, such as the radio music that you are talking about, or a commercial, we get paid a lump sum. The amount may vary from 500$ to 50 000$ or more depending who is hiring you. The company that bought the piece of music is now the owner of the rights of this piece of music and can use it as they please and do what they wish unless otherwise stated in the contract.

For exemple, musical scores for video games are commissioned and the artist is paid to write the music. Generally those artist would put a clause in their contract to enable them to use their creation in their portfolio as a way to show other companies in the future what they can do, but they cannot sell the same piece of music that they created for company A to company B as they do not fully own the rights. Most often the rights are shared between the composer and the company with certain limitations.

If you wrote a song for any other reason that was not commissionned by the company and they ask you to use your piece of music for their commercials, you get royalties for every use of this piece. You own the rights and they cannot do what they want with it without your conscent.

Another exemple, NHL 09 uses many songs from bands such as panic at the disco, The Kills, Bullet for my valentine .. Etc. Those artist receive royalties for the use of their music in the game, but Electronic Arts does not own the rights to the song, therefore, if those bands wanted to give another company the rights to use their music for a commercial or another video game, they could without problem.

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