If I Find Out I’m Paying Your Light Bill…

Welp, here’s the latest stink from the producers of the new television show Triple Rush, which will begin airing on the Travel Channel April 14 at 10pm.

A little backstory for those who don’t have it: In January, I released this song, produced by me and featuring lyricists Stoned Tone, Sunny D and myself. A short time later, while I was DJing the Golden Bike Awards at the Chrome store in NYC, I was approached by a (nameless for now) producer of the show and asked whether I would be willing to license the song for use in the TV show. I said I was interested and we exchanged information.

I asked my lawyer to check out the contract for me. They had sent over a work-for-hire contract, which would have meant signing over 100% of the songwriting and publishing rights to the song. Nice try, guys! So we turned it down and asked for a non-exclusive licensing agreement. They complied and sent over a new contract. The track has some uncleared TV and movie samples in it, and some swearing, and they requested that I submit an edited, clean version with no samples. I complied (not necessarily a cakewalk–this project was 108 tracks and the samples were a key part of the arrangement, so it meant dicing up the song, making new transitions between parts, remastering the cut, etc.) When we enquired about compensation, there was some hemming and hawing before they told us they had blown their budget (I can’t fathom how…a lot of my friends were on this show making a whopping $75 per day…if I’d known I could bankroll a national TV show for about a month’s salary as a messenger, I’d already be making moves) and they asked if I would be interested in licensing the track “on a gratis basis.” Well, it burns like hell, but what the fuck. Im the little guy, what can I do? Besides, we were at least verbally promised credit for the track, which I thought was acceptable. National exposure for me and my peoples. Okay, they can’t pay, but this is better than nothing.

Except not really. The most recent volley of emails between my attorney (G.) and their legal department (S.) follows:

G.: 1. My client would like for “promotional consideration” to be defined and enumerated.
2. Some of the clips in the track are not cleared; so he can’t represent that they are.

S.: I believe your concern with respect to the reps and warranties in the agreement has been addressed in that [F] was able to send a cleared version of the song. Further, the “promotional consideration” that [F] is receiving is the inclusion of their song in the show – they are essentially receiving free national promotion of their song by way of its inclusion. Feel free to give me a call if you need further clarification. Otherwise, if all is now in order, please arrange for [F]‘s signature of the agreement. Thank you.

G.: You’re absolutely right that the concern about the reps and warranties has been addressed. As for promotional consideration, [F] was told that he would have the song in the credits (“Fake Money feat. Sunny D/Stoned Tone/Angry Drew”), and I recall B. offering a “special thanks” in lieu of financial compensation. Identifying the song and the author seems like a necessary part of receiving promotion—having the song in the show doesn’t really mean anything if no one can identify him. This may well have been what you take promotional consideration to mean, but my lack of understanding of the term is exactly why I’d like to have it defined.

S.: Production checked with Travel Channel and they will not agree to a credit, and B. would not have been able to agree to that credit without their approval. We also cannot provide any financial compensation for the use of the song. As such, if [F] wants the song in the show (with the song appearing in the show as his promotional consideration), then we need to have the license agreement signed and sent back. Otherwise, we will need to remove the song from the show. Let me know what he wants to do. Thanks.

—————

Whoa. See what you did there? “If I want the song in the show…” Hold up. You approached me. I wasn’t exactly beating down your door trying to hawk my wares, I didn’t show up to your very well-publicized castings when you were looking for characters to film, and to get straight on this, I was beginning to get irate at having strangers with camera bags trying to strap microphones on me and get me to sign waivers every time I went to a bike race or party in NYC. You’re making money hand over fist by exploiting my my scene and my crew, but now you want to spin it like you’re doing me the favor? Please. Come on…shit, I’m (mildly) flattered, but I’m not stupid. I wonder how this would have played out if I’d had label representation. Great, my song’s on national TV–anonymously. Great exposure. If I put my balls in your mouth, and you love it (they usually do), and you don’t know what my face looks like, how the fuck do you propose to find me when you need another taste? Nevermind that you’re getting totally royalty-free use of my material, nevermind that it’s a totally pro, on-topic, perfectly germane piece of music that was written, performed and recorded both by and about the group of cyclists that you’re documenting on the show, nevermind the fact that if I tell you to fuck off, you’re probably going to have to pay to use somebody else’s music in the same slot. Maybe not. I’m no expert on IP law. I do know for a fact that a hundred bucks and a half-second of credit would have smoothed this right over. I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

And in the meantime, Mr. Technique, take it away!

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