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i've been approached by a production company to cover a track for a promotional video for a uk charity. the track is a particularly well known pop tune..the production company have approached the bands management but the fee they are demanding exceeds the budget for the entire video hence they have contacted me. i have very little knowledge of the legal issues of doing an exact version of the tune so any advice that anyone has would be sincerely appreciated.

thanks,

chris

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Of course you can't legally cover someone else's track, and by doing so I'm assuming you would be opening yourself up for a lawsuit- that of which the production company certainly would not protect you from (they probably would be the main ones sued anyway).

Now I have heard of cheaper licenses that bands/artists will give out that allow other bands/artists to legally cover a song for a specific situation, but even in those cases the said covered material that you produce needs to sound like a different version and not like you are trying to literally copy the original track. If the production company purchased this license or not would be the determining factor for me, and even if they did I still would probably pass. Ask who their intended audience is and try writing something original, out of the box, and specific to that audience to see if they like that instead (probably won't work but you never know).
all good to know! thanks for taking the time to write..will take this back to the production company and see what they have to say!

Fredrick zinos said:
Run Forest, Run.

Sounds very fishy. If this really is a charity, the band's management can agree to limited use for charitable purpose and take a substantial tax deduction going forward. In fact under some conditions the tax deduction can and will be more than the fee they want to charge for use of the work product. Moreover, the charitable organization would have to provide public attribution so there would be additional publicity for the original work product.

If the band's management owns the work product as IP they may own it outright the same as you owning a car (assuming its paid off) or a bucket of fried chicken (assuming its paid off).

Someone attempting to induce you to utilize the work product for a purpose not authorized by the owners is possibly criminal in intent.

So, will this charitable organization "save, defend and hold you harmless" if you, at the behest of the charitable organization, utilize the work product? Will they go to court and defend you and pay all legal fees and fines without limitation, and will they somehow (through liquidated damages) repair any potential damage to your reputation? Whatever the answer to that question is, is the answer to YOUR question.
i've thought about doing a soundalike but i'm not sure if it will be doable. the video is supposed to be for "inhouse" promotion within the charity (yeah..sounds bizarre that a charity is spending money on an internal campaign)..their idea was to do a karaoke version of the track with people within the organisation singing the original tracks lyrics..all sounds like a bit of a headache at the moment..but if there was a legal way to do this then the money would be really useful at the moment..

Douglas Edward said:
Of course you can't legally cover someone else's track, and by doing so I'm assuming you would be opening yourself up for a lawsuit- that of which the production company certainly would not protect you from (they probably would be the main ones sued anyway).

Now I have heard of cheaper licenses that bands/artists will give out that allow other bands/artists to legally cover a song for a specific situation, but even in those cases the said covered material that you produce needs to sound like a different version and not like you are trying to literally copy the original track. If the production company purchased this license or not would be the determining factor for me, and even if they did I still would probably pass. Ask who their intended audience is and try writing something original, out of the box, and specific to that audience to see if they like that instead (probably won't work but you never know).

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