Remixing: Read The Rules

As the title says, when you’re thinking about entering a remix competition, read the contest rules. If you don’t there might be some nasty surprises down the road for you. Of course you’ll probably have to signread the rules some form of contract at some point, so you can always opt-out then, unless stated otherwise. So read through them carefully! And as they’re usually full of legal mumbo-jumbo, you could well read it twice, or more, without feeling bad about yourself.

So why am I talking about this, well I stumbled over a remix competition today that I though could be fun. But after reading through the rules I wouldn’t even poke it with a stick. Too bad. Nothing I can do about that, but at least it annoyed me enough to write this.

This competition had a ‘Work For Hire’ contract, which basically means you sign over any and all copyright and claim of your work to the, in this case, company hosting the competition (here, here and here for more info and in-depth articles on ‘Work For Hire’). And in addition they wanted personal information (name, address, phone nr. aso), notarized pictures of passport and/or id card and I don’t know what else, which they could use in any way they see fit, under applicable laws. And this is just a small part of what the rules for this specific competition said. I have come across similar ones before, but nothing quite like this, at least not that I remember.

Click to see a part of how a set of rules like this can look (expands inline).

I know a lot of it is more or less standard fare but to me this reads more like a scam then anything else, a way to get their hands on a bunch of tunes, for practically nothing, that they in turn can use (if they wish) in commercials, for promotion, on albums, or whatever they want to do with it. I might of course have read it wrong, legal-speak is not my forte. If I did, my bad! But doing your remix under a ‘Work For Hire’ contract is not the way to go, unless you’re getting paid, in which case you can think about it. But if I read those rules correct it doesn’t matter if the ‘Work For Hire’ is applicable or not, the copyright and ownership of the remix goes to them anyway!!?

I know some of you will say, but you get the promotion and people will hear your stuff, that’s the important bit and so on. And yeah, I agree. Promotion is good, getting people to hear your music is good. Giving up your tune for nothing is not. Understand me right, I have no issues with doing collaborative things for free.. at all. You can use my tune for whatever just as long as I agree with what it’s used for and I keep the rights to my song, or keep my rights as a remixer/studio musician on someone elses copyrighted work (which is often the case when remixing a tune). At the very least I want the right to be credited lol. Which means if they monetize it in any way I will get a little piece of the pie, not too much too ask for I think. I mean, say I make a remix and they end up putting it in Tony Hawk 57, I sure as hell wanna get paid. But in this particular case, they take it all and they don’t even have to mention you in any credits anywhere what so ever… ever! So much for the promotion.

I think these kind of competitions are horrible. If you want my music for nothing, download it. But more or less trying to scam me into giving you music for free so you can make money off of it is not cool… on any level.

So read the rules kids… before you do anything else :)

2 thoughts on “Remixing: Read The Rules

  1. Wise words my man, more and more remix comps are adding these type of clauses, best to check em before hand. There’s a fine line between free promotion and exploitation!

  2. Yeah, people should def read the rules carefully, what really ticked me off, besides the actual rules, was the people having this competition. I won’t mention them by name, unless someone really wants me to, but I expected more from them. They could of course have no clue and be used by the same companies that are hosting the comp, but I kinda doubt that.

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