4 - Work For Hire vs Licensing

When working with music, most of your production needs are going to fall into two categories:
• Work For Hire
• Licensing

A work for hire, or work made for hire, refers to works whose ownership belongs to a third party rather than the creator.

There are (2) types of Work For Hire:
• the work is created by an employee as part of their job
• the work is created by a third party commissioning the work

In both these cases, there would be an exchange of money and transfer of rights to the buyer/employer. For this reason, think of a "Work for Hire" or a project on a "Work for Hire Basis" like BUYING.

With respect to music, if you were to hire a composer to write music for your project, this would most likely fall under a "Work for Hire".

Let's look at an example of a Work For Hire.

Let's say that Shonda is an artist. Her music is on Spotify and she is getting a lot of streams. Let us pretend that Nike hears her music and decides that she should write music for their next ad campaign.

Nike calls Shonda and explains that they would like her to write a song for their next campaign. Shonda asks, "Is this a Work for Hire?". Nike responds "Yes". This tells Shonda that this work will be a custom creation for Nike. She will get paid and, in return, Nike will own all of the rights - including the underlying composition (PA) and the sound recording (SR). When the project is over, Shonda will hand over the assets to Nike and she will not own any part of the work she created. Nike will own all rights contained within the copyright, including the underlying composition (PA) and the Sound Recording (SR) / Master.

One thing that is extremely common with Work for Hire agreements, is that the composer/writer shall be allowed to receive their "writer's share performance royalties". These royalties are paid by the television networks and Nike does not have to worry about paying these royalties.

Think of Work for Hire, like buying rights. In this case, Nike bought all of the rights to Shonda's new song.

Let us look at the second category. This is called Licensing. If a Work for Hire is like buying, Licensing is essentially renting rights within the composition, sound recording, or both.

Let us look at a Licensing situation.

Let us pretend that Shonda has a catalog of songs on Spotify. This time, Nike hears a specific song and wants that song to be the sound for their next campaign. Nike calls and says "Shonda, we would like to license this song for our next campaign". This tells Shonda that she can rent the song to Nike (most likely on a non-exclusively basis).

If you hired someone to create a logo theme, television underscore, advertising jingle, or a movie score, this would most likely be done as a Work For Hire.

If you needed a library of music ready to use for your documentary, short film, trailer, or song from a band/artist, this would most likely be licensed.

A Work for Hire is when an employee or third party hire a creator and the creator assigns all rights to the employee or third party. (TRUE)
Composers for film and television usually are hired on a "Work for Hire Basis". (TRUE)
Licensing is when someone rents rights to another party. (TRUE)

To get music in your next production, go to https://catalog.bulletproofbear.com/.

Or to get a site license at your school, go to https://store.bulletproofbear.com/products/education-site-license.
Be the first to comment