"Doing Unto Others..."
Because the band and its manager expressed that, due to a former publicist having taken approximately $1500 per month for 3 months, and had done virtually nothing to advance the band's career, and that it could not afford any promotion payment upfront, I became a "bleeding heart" for it.
The act had released a previous recording with some regional success, was gigging fairly regularly, and was at work on a new recording. I, subsequently, took a chance and agreed to work in a Booking capacity, with any current promotion commissions being payable to me from future CD sales.
However, along this merry way, we all became excited about the act's new material, as it seemed miles above the first release. Subsequently, we mutually agreed that my talents would be best served focusing on pre-promotion for the new recording, in terms of obtaining Radio and Video airplay, while the manager handled the booking end.
In the interim, it was also mutually agreed that I would script a video for the act with, again, payment to be forthcoming from the new CD sales. This would allow the act to be even more competitive on national and international levels.
Somewhere on the road, the egotistical manager, who turned out to be equally short on both knowledge regarding management, as well as the music business in general, decided he wanted to try his hand at promotion, interfering with my process.
To make a long story micro, one thing led to another, and the band, believing its hype I had generated for it, decided it no longer required my services. Add to that, the band had now produced the video from MY copyrighted script, and sent the master to the manufacturer. Hmmmm...now, why is this picture a bit out of focus?
To show you how "uninformed" (dumb) the parties are, in regard to Copyright law, they overlooked several factors:
1. The video script is owned wholly by me, and as substantiated by no less than 3 entertainment attorneys.
2. My script, sent directly to the video director, contained not 1, but 2 Copyright notices, which everyone seemed to have overlooked previously, and only became aware of it when I advised them to review the director's script. Ahem, this is BEFORE any filming began. :-)
3. There are no less than 20 Email correspondences between the video director, bass player, manager, and myself discussing various aspects of my creation of, and involvement with, the video during pre-production, production, and post-production.
4. Copyrights must be transferable from one party to another, and in writing.
5. Their video, should it be an exact visual representation of my script, is grounds for immediate seizure, injunction, lawsuit(s), or any of several additional legal measures that can (and will) be taken.
Now, the sad thing about all of this? There exists no one in the entire organization capable of running their vanity label efficiently, especially on a national level, not to mention internationally.
In fact, my continuous pleas for the manager to set up foreign publishing, as we were receiving foreign requests from radio personnel, went totally unheeded. Every task that is approached with this act, is "winged" quicker than a heavily populated chicken farm.
What's more, is I had obtained approximately (70) requests for their CD from music directors and programmers worldwide during my pre-promotion phase, which I had forwarded to them.
The greatest injury to them in the pre-promotion is, after our business relations broke down, another 140 requests or so came in, which would have been enough for the band to immediately chart on all major reporting charts, i.e., Billboard, Gavin, and others nationally.
Now, what have I learned from this fiasco? Well, the lesson I have learned is to NEVER work for anyone again, in exchange for getting paid later. No, not everyone is untrustworthy in the music industry, but who can you trust in an industry saturated with desperate people?
Desperate for money, desperate for fame, and even more desperate for desperate's sake. In these guys case, they are just plain dumb, to put it nicely.
What should this band and its entourage have learned? It should have learned that you never underestimate people you believe you know. For, you never know what one knows, or whom they know.
It also should learn that you don't trample on people in your attempt to obtain success. This same act has also managed to alienate its area fellow bands through its development of its negative mindset.
The truth is, I (sort of) feel sorry for this group because it really is a decent band in its recording, as well as its live performance. I believe that, again, its desperation simply allowed it to make poor choices and judgment without thinking its volatile situation through thoroughly before taking action.
What will be the outcome? Well, I can only surmise. If the band doesn't promote, sell, and/or have the video aired on broadcast stations, it's out a few thousand dollars to several investors.
If it, otherwise, decides to promote the video, that will bring immediate legal trouble to it, up to its neck, as a national broadcast monitoring service is now set up and ready to monitor and track airings of this particular video, should it be released.
I suppose the moral of this story, is one of old...that
same tired, weather-worn, brow-beaten axiom that
says, "Do unto others, as you would have them do