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Author Topic: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice  (Read 3033 times)

aleatoric

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Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« on: February 13, 2011, 11:28:04 pm »

I mastered an album for a client about 2 months ago.  The session was suppose to be attended but the client said he was feeling sick a few hours before our scheduled start time and encouraged me to master his album unattended that same day.  I mastered the album, sent over one track as an example and the client was happy.  Next I tried to schedule a time for him to come by and pickup the discs and pay me.  It did not happen that week.  Actually several weeks went by.  He sent me more than one email saying he was having a hold up with his label and would connect with me shortly to pickup/pay for the masters.  

A little while later I get a call from the label.  The label guy has the PDF invoice I sent (originally only sent to the client) in front of him.  Knows my full address (not listed on my website), exact amount due, etc.  He promptly pays me via PayPal and comes by the following day to pickup the discs.  

Now I just received a message from the client stating that the label is holding the masters from him.  Apparently it has to do with some lack of payment for the tracking and mixing sessions (something along those lines at least).  I guess the label financed the entire album and was suppose to be repaid in some form or another and that is not happening and they are upset.  Basically the label is pissed at the artist (the guy who originally hired me) and saying "well, we have the masters".  Something about a lawyer was mentioned as well (the labels lawyer against the artist).  

Anyway, the client now wants me to give him a copy of the masters since I have been "paid".  He also asked me to not share this with the label (the guy who actually paid me).  Weird situation.  I would not have just handed over the masters without consulting the client to begin with but since he brought up the fact that he could not pay me because of problems with the label I assumed that when I got the call/payment from the label (and they had the invoice I sent) that he was in the know.  Also after nearly 2 months of these discs sitting on the shelf I was happy someone was finally clearing the invoice.  

Totally bizarre stuff and I am just trying to do the right thing here.  Advice?  Should I give the masters to the artist as well?  I'm thinking if he wants to clear the invoice independently he has a right to the masters but that seems kind of messed up (me getting paid twice for one job).  Really wish there was not a complication here as I just like to do my work, get paid and have happy clients but this is clearly a sticky situation.  Thanks in advance for any advice.  

Ben F

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 11:39:11 pm »

Technically, in Australia at least, the artist would own the music performance rights as they were the performer/writer but if the label paid for the recording and masters then they own the mechanical rights. If they artist paid for the recording and master then they would own the mechanical rights.

So I would say that the label owns the CDs in this case. I don't have an in depth understanding the the laws just the basics of what I have read.
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Waltz Mastering

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2011, 12:34:10 am »

Ben F wrote on Sun, 13 February 2011 23:39

 I would say that the label owns the CDs in this case.


I think Ben's right, but it's not like you're privy to the contracts and know the terms or know who owns the SR copyright.

The good thing is, you've been paid and can probably stall for a bit to get it sorted out.  It's tough one.  Good luck.

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2011, 06:48:58 am »

As long as you have your money you are in a good place.

I think Ben is correct for the USA as well.

As to copies for the artist...oh boy that is a matter for a good lawyer especially if the label does not want him to have them until they are paid for. I guess you need to confirm in your own mind who paid for the mastering. The person or company who actually paid you is, in point of fact, the entity that "owns" the physical material. The artist asked you to do the mastering however the record company paid for the mastering.

Contractual arrangements between the record company and the artist are really not your concern but do have an impact on your relationships with both of them.

I guess I would get myself out of the middle and tell the client that you are going to tell the record company everything that has taken place. You don't want to be at odds with either entity.

Record companies have very deep pockets when it comes to legal fees and you probably don't. You do not want to be the silent middle man and you don't really want to antagonize the record company.

Best of luck and let us know how it all turns out.

ps. This free advice is worth every penny you paid for it. If in real doubt find a good lawyer and consult with them.
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Laarsø

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 07:37:46 am »

Hi Aleatoric,
    Sorry to learn about this awkwardness.   I hope my perspective might be of service to you.
    Traditionally, if there is to be split ownership/payment for premastering services, the label would purchase the premaster, and the musician(s) would pay for the premastering session (load in and processing).  
    Since the label had the invoice, they had clearly been asked to pay for the entire premastering service (premaster, refs, processing, and all).  The fact that the musician who originally booked the session neither attended (didn't help with processing choices) nor paid for any of it, means that he really wasn't your client, after all.   The defacto client is clearly the label.  
    I should hesitate from making refs for the musician, since the premaster probably belongs to the label, outright, now.  Not only is possession 99% of the Law, they are the ones who paid for it, and the musician _hid_ for 2 months.  Not cool.  Should at least have given you a head's up on some part of this crazy chain of fulfillment.  
    Job done.  Move on dot org.



Cheers
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Greg Youngman

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 12:17:37 pm »

Just a word of caution.  Posting up too much information about work situations are Google searchable that link to this site.  I learned many years ago, that it may be more discreet to contact a respected forum member for advice via PM so you don't spill the beans in a post.

   http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&am p;am p;am p;am    p;=&q=Totally+bizarre+stuff+and+I+am+just+trying+to+do+t    he+right+thing+here.+&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq =
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aleatoric

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2011, 01:55:35 pm »

Thanks for the advice guys.  I just sent an email to the artist basically stating the fact that I can not make copies of the masters without the consent of the label to do so since they were the ones who paid the invoice.  

Greg, thanks for the word of caution, I am well aware that essentially anything you say on the internet can be discovered via searching.  That being said I would not have wrote what I wrote if I had any qualms about my post being read by the artist or label.  Not upset at anyone here and basically just wanted to outline the exact situation for others here to read in order to get a better understanding of how I should handle this.  

Thanks again for the responses.  

SafeandSound

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Re: Weird Payment Situation - Looking for Advice
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 12:57:17 pm »

I am glad you goy paid : ), usually have a couple of bad debts at the end of the financial year. It's just another thing to keep on top of, though in your instance seemed like a particularly thorny one.

cheers
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