Re: [Harp-L] Re: Harmonica Documentary Website Update

Maybe these guys could offer some kind of  equipment deal or set the winner 
up to record that song at a good studio with  the opportunity to record his 
other stuff too. I'd do it for that. I'll write  you a song you can have but you 
gotta let me record all of my other stuff. (time  constraints within reason) 
Plus my name has to be on it any time you use it. At  least that way the person 
who writes the song can get something from his  abilities. Let's see if these 
guys reconsider.
In a message dated 4/17/2007 3:45:09 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
kenneth.d@xxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

>  That is it. An opportunity for anybody, anywhere to have an original
>  song in a that not enough?

No it is not.  Anyone who  thinks that his statement makes sense is in for a 
bitter experience in the  music business.

We should presume that this producer means very well  and doesn't understand 
that the sheer ugliness of this "offer" shows  tremendous disrespect for 
harmonica players everywhere.

He probably  doesn't realize that anyone who has enough craft to write a 
piece of  material that could actually be of value to this project is almost  
certainly aware of their rights.

Two paragraphs from their  agreement are particularly troubling.  First

> "You hereby  grant to Omni-Harmonica a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty
> free,  worldwide license to use, publicly display, distribute,
> sublicense,  modify and otherwise fully exploit any Content that you
> submit to  Omni-Harmonica."

The world is crawling with composers who agreed to  this kind of thing and 
then bitterly complain that someone else is making  money from their 
work.  It may feel like you're giving your work away  free now to get it in 
a movie, but the first time you hear this music in  some other movie or 
commercial uncompensated, you'll be so angry you'll  give up music. 
Remember, nobody demands all the stuff in that paragraph  for their health.

Have you never read an interview with a blues  man?  I can't think of a 
blues musician who has actually gotten all  the royalties that were coming 
to them, and none of them mention that not  getting paid feels good.  Not 
getting paid is not an honorable  tradition, it poisons one's feeling toward 
the music itself.

>  "Omni-Harmonic reserves the right to make changes to any part of this
>  Agreement at any time without notification to you. Therefore, you  should
> review this Agreement as posted on the Site from time to  time."

Does it really have to be said that this is no agreement at  all?  Consider 
this: what if you use your song on your own CD?   Even if the agreement 
currently states that you have that right (which it  doesn't), the 
filmmakers can change the agreement anyway they please, and  suddenly demand 
that you pay full royalties for use of the song AND take  your name off the 
songwriter credit.

Arthur Crudup wrote That's  Alright Mama, the song that got Elvis Presley's 
career going.  It has  sold zillions of copies, without a nickel going to 
Crudup.  The guy  who sub-published Elvis Presley's publishing company 
decided many years  after the fact that Crudup should share in the 
bounty.  He invited  Crudup to NYC.  Crudup came.  He sat outside the big 
man's  office.  He waited for hours.  The Big Man was informed that Mr.  
Crudup was waiting.  The Big Man thought about it for a moment and  then 
said "Tell him to forget about it."  Crudup went home empty  handed.  Do you 
want to feel what Crudup must have felt?

I'd  advise the producer to revise his 'offer' to include an outfront 
payment  of at least $500, a per DVD fee that reflects industry standards, 
credit  on the box and in the credit listings in the film itself.  This 
offer  would instantly cancel the insult to the harmonica community that the  
original offer may be construed as.  Why make a documentary about  harmonica 
players and then treat harmonica players like fools who, unlike  other 
musicians, take delight in working for free?

It appears that  the producer is saying that simply by submitting your 
material you agree  to his terms, so if you submit your material, you submit 
it pretty much  unconditionally -- you can't even say "If you use my song I 
must get $500,  a per DVD fee and credit."

Again, let's presume that this producer has  the very best intentions, and 
that in his lack of experience he has  unintentionally proposed to bamboozle 
harmonica players out of their  rights.  Mr. Producer: do the right  thing.

Harp-L is  sponsored by SPAH,

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