Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

Am i being ripped off??!!

I was recently informed by my Film & TV Library that they have placed one of my songs in the forthcoming DREAMWORKS MOTION PICTURE TRAILER for ''JUST LIKE HEAVEN'' starring REESE WITHERSPOON. I was also informed that there is NO backend for theatrical trailers, is this true. How about any front end money, or a Customary fee for the use of my song in a motion picture?

Outside the U.S. you get paid for this, and I want to be sure I am not being taken advantage of in anyway.

Any help is greatly appreciated in advance, so I know where I stand. I'm sure THE CURE got paid for their song Just Like Heaven-Thanks again in advance.

Asked on 9/11/05, 6:48 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys


Re: Am i being ripped off??!!

There may be a collective bargaining agreement with the studios, BMI, your label, and, AFTRA which would apply. Call me directly at (619) 222-3504.

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Answered on 9/12/05, 2:55 pm
William Hochberg Law Offices of William Hochberg

Re: Am i being ripped off??!!

your agreement with the music library probably gives you a cut in a sync and/or master fee as well as backend royalties, yes? in many sync and master licenses there is an additional option payment that the studio usually makes to secure the right to use the song in a trailer as well as in the movie itself. These can be several thousand dollars. on the other hand, this sounds like a case where your song is used in the trailer only and not in the movie itself. there may have been an upfront fee here as well. there should be backend broadcast royalties if the trailer is shown on TV. There won't be any when the trailer is shown at movie theaters in the US, but in many foreign countries there is, as you apparently already know.

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Answered on 9/17/05, 12:03 pm
Christopher M. Brainard, Esq. C. M. Brainard & Associates - (310) 266-4115

Re: Am i being ripped off??!!

It depends. I bet you like that answer. Ok, I would need to see your contract with the library, that will likely be determinative. I would also need to see any other relevant communications.

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Answered on 9/12/05, 12:19 am

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