These materials are prepared for the Austin Songwriters Group Symposium by Chris Castle.

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Chris Castle contact

Chris Castle is Managing Partner of Christian L. Castle, Attorneys based in Austin, Texas.  Founded in 2004, the five lawyer firm represents a variety of clients in music, motion pictures and television, as well as technology companies and video game publishers.  Chris also consults leading organizations on public policy matters relating to copyright, artist rights and the Internet, and is admitted in California and Texas.

Before founding the firm, Chris was Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel at SNOCAP, Inc., Senior Vice President, Business Affairs at Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. and Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs at A&M Records, Inc.  He was of counsel to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto and to Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles.

In addition to being the primary production counsel for Austin City Limits, Chris also specializes in motion picture and television soundtracks.  He has been outside production counsel for many soundtrack projects including Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, and Weeds.  His first soundtrack project was When Harry Met Sally.  While he was a business affairs executive he was responsible for many soundtracks including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Three Musketeers, Don Juan De Marco, Demolition Man, Lethal Weapon 3, Mo’Money, Empire Records and Mr. Holland’s Opus.

Chris negotiated the first major use of music in videogames through A&M’s groundbreaking deal with Electronic Arts for the Roadrash 3DO game featuring Soundgarden, Monster Magnet, Paw and other A&M artists.  He also co-produced the soundtrack for Advent Rising featuring the score music of Tommy Tallarico.

A frequent lecturer and participant at professional events, Chris has spoken at the UK Parliament, Congressional seminars at the U.S. House of Representatives, the Canadian-American Business Council, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and bar association conferences, SXSW, and Canadian Music Week.  He teaches the Four Nights of Music Rights seminar in Austin co-sponsored by the Austin Creative Alliance and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts.

Chris edits the Music Tech Policy blog and is a contributor to the Huffington Post and The Trichordist.

Chris will be teaching “Digital Music Licensing: Navigating the Storm” at SXSW Interactive 2013.

Music Licensing for Games, Film and Television: Basic Rights and Clearances

Basic Rights for Songwriters

Rights Tree

A.  Songwriters/Composers Basics

(a)  Songwriter, co-writers

(b)  Music publisher (tracking the PRO membership) admin vs. copub, single song

(c)  Writer share and publisher share: 50/50, 75/25 co-publishing split

(d)  Royalty types:

(i)  Mechanical royalties

(ii) Performance royalties (including mobile apps)

(iii) Film and TV synchronization licenses—cue sheets

(iv) Videogames/Apps

B.  Songwriter Agreements:  Preparing for pitching

(a)  Split agreements

(b)  Single song agreements/Co-Publishing Agreements

(c)  Film/TV/game composer agreements

(i)  Writer’s share and publisher’s share

(A) Major studio vs. indie

(B) Songs vs. score

(ii) Soundtracks

(iii)  Exclusivity exclusions (holdbacks)

C.  Artist Issues

(a)  Splits, approvals (Song)

(b)  Ownership (Song/Master)

(i)  Do you own the master?  (Assignments, guest artists, old band)

(ii)  Do you control the licensing rights 100%?

(iii) No “public domain” licensing of commercial rights

(c)  Exclusivity/holdbacks

(d)  Soundtrack exclusion

(e)  Commissioned work exclusions

D.  Ancillary Agreements

(a)  Pitching agreements for film and TV licensing

(i)  Straight pitching agreements

(ii)  Retitling

(iii)  Subpublishing vs. pitching

(iv)  Music video producers

(b)  Pre-Existing Masters/Songs vs.  Commissioned Works

(i) Nonexclusive licenses

(ii) Exclusive

(c)   Production Music

(d)  Film/TV/Game composer or commissioned work agreements

(i)  Writer’s share and publisher’s share

(A) Major studio vs. indie: ownership, credit

(B) Songs vs. score (carveouts)

(ii) Soundtracks (Soundtrack option)

(A)  Royalty rates (master)

(B)  Mechanical royalties (song)

(iii)  Exclusivity exclusions (holdbacks)

E.  Written Materials

(a) Songs and Split Agreements

Musical Compositions

Split Agreements/Co-Writer Issues

(b)  Joint Authorship

Joint Authorship

Joint Authorship of Sound Recordings

(c)  Cue Sheets

Cue Sheets and Cue Sheet Template

(d)  Commissioned Work Issues

Artist Glossary of Industry Terms: Advance

Artist Glossary of Industry Terms: Unrecouped, Recoupment, Recoupment Rate

Podcast: A Glossary of Industry Terms: Recording Agreements

Article: A Glossary of Industry Terms

Common Music Licensing Terms

(e)  General Legal Issues

Copyright Basics

Music in Videogames: The Beginnings


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