Article by Alex Gallardo
Royalty Free Music – Entertainment
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Royalty-free refers to a specific type of contract that is developed in regard to the right to use intellectual property between the buyer, who is called the licensee, and the seller, who is the licensor.
Intellectual property includes music, artwork, photographs or written pieces that have been created by an individual or individuals, who are automatically given rights to the piece of work via copyright law.
The creator has the right to sell his creation, display it, dispense it, perform it and generate off-shoot works. A copyright enables a creator to make money from his creation.
When you hear the expression royalty-free music this generally refers to stock music or library music that is licensed for a single fee. Further royalties are not paid.
The phrase royalty-free has become more prevalent since the advent of the Internet, which makes the exchange of digital intellectual property nearly effortless.
To understand royalty-free you must know what royalty means. When a person creates a piece of work but doesn’t know how to market it or doesn’t have the tools or connections that are needed to sell his product, he hires an agent or some other type of distributor to market his work. The person who has created the product is typically paid a percentage of the money that results when the work is sold. This percentage is the royalty.
If you have written a song and the music publisher that you have hooked up with produces and distributes this song, if you have agreed, for example, to a five-percent royalty, you will get five percent of the asking price every time someone buys your song.
When there is a royalty-free agreement, the licensor (the seller) is usually not the creator of the piece of work; however, the licensor has bought the rights to the piece of work from the creator for resale purposes.
The creator is paid a fixed fee upfront or there is an agreement between the creator, and the seller mandating that a small commission is forthcoming every time the piece of work is re-sold.
The licensee that has a royalty-free agreement can use the piece of work as long or as many times as he likes without paying further royalties to the creator. When there is a royalty-free agreement in place, the buyer (licensee) cannot be socked with a copyright infringement suit.
When a royalty-free piece of music is purchased for use, for example, on a compact disc project, it is immaterial whether 10 or a million CDs are fashioned. The purchase price remains the same.
At times, there are distinctive rules and agreements depending on the company you are dealing with and, which may dictate that a mechanical license must be purchased if more than such-and-such quantities of the product are sold.
Precise particulars of the payment structure and the extent of the rights granted to vary from library to library, and are specified in a license agreement. It may be that royalty-free music is free to the person who purchases the work of art yet the creator continues to get royalties from radio or TV stations.
Many Internet uses copy songs, images, text and graphics but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s kosher or even legal. This may constitute infringement, which is a violation of the law. When downloading songs, for example, the user should download from a royalty-free site.
Artists, creators, must be savvy about their rights, or else you are going to end up giving away your work and making very little money for it. Do your homework before you sign a licensure agreement.
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