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COPYRIGHTS
Update: FreePlay Music Seeking $2,500
To "Settle" Demo Copyright Infringement
June 28, 2012

Note: The author - a voice actor and attorney - sends VOXtra this update to his original article (repeated below) ...

Voice actors who have received emails from FreePlay Music seeking a large sum of money (the going demand is $2,500, from what I've seen) to "settle" a copyright infringement claim with them, are invited to contact me prior to paying any money to FreePlay Music. I am attempting to assemble as many talents as possible to "spread the risk" and approach FreePlay in a unified manner to dispute these claims. I can be contacted at robscig@usa.net or toll-free, 877-638-3631.

Now, the original article explaining what's happening ...

By Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr.

Attorney, Voice Actor & Actor

It has been brought to my attention that Freeplay Music (freeplaymusic.com) is targeting voice over artists regarding their demos, and websites that host voice over demos, for unauthorized use of Freeplay's music on those demos. 

The company is sending letters and emails to voice talent and website owners regarding music on demos that have not been properly licensed from the site, and requesting substantial statutory damage payments under the U.S. Copyright Act for infringement.   

The Freeplay Music website allows free personal use of its music and sound effects library, but NOT for profit-making purposes or web broadcast. 

FREEPLAY'S RULES

Here is the Freeplay Music policy:  

2(c) Free Personal Use: Subject to your full compliance with the terms of this paragraph 2 (c) and full execution of a FPM license, FPM grants free master recording and synchronization rights, to the FPM Production Music Library, excluding the FPM Indie Artist and Sound Effects Library, when FPM music is used for personal non-commercial purposes (personal listening pleasure, personal family slide show  - cannot be posted on a website).

The use / purpose must be non-revenue generating, either directly or indirectly (promo, demo or other similar uses are consider indirectly revenue generating for the purposes of the preceding sentence).

Free personal use excludes broadcast use of any kind, including without limitation: web, blog, and podcast, gaming or shareware.  

For use on demos, the site allows payment of a licensing fee.   

I urge all voice talent and those who display voice demos to ensure that no unauthorized music appears on the demos, especially music from freeplaymusic.com.  
ABOUT ROBERT ...

Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr. is a popular voice actor, actor and attorney representing voice actors, actors and other performers. He is also owner of All In One Voice, a voice over instruction and business/legal services firm. And he is author of the 120-page Voice Over LEGAL eBook, a comprehensive guide to business and legal issues for voice actors and other performers, including demos and copyright issues.
 
Web: www.allinonevoice.com
Voice Over LEGAL eBook: www.VoiceOverLegal.com

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Comments (8)
Terry Thompson
1/14/2013 at 6:09 PM
I have a jingle production company and I am currently being harassed by Freeplaymusic.com for using music that they claim is theirs on my website. I recorded music for a client (the client gave me an mp3 30 second instrumental which client claimed was their music). I used the client's track & hired a vocalist who recorded an English and Spanish version of the jingle for client. I had a sample of the jingle on my website (now taken off). Freeplaymusic.com is trying to get $2500 from me for usage. By the way, the recorded jingle and the freeplaymusic mp3 "Brighter Day" do not resemble one another at all. I have had my attorney (not a specialist in copyright law) communicate with freeplaymusic to no avail. Any thoughts you may have would be welcome. I live in St. Louis, MO.
Rob Sciglimpaglia
12/4/2012 at 8:50 PM
Hi Lee. Here is what a quick search turned up as far as lawsuits over this issue filed by Freeplay Music. I did not do an exhaustive search, so there could be more out there.

Freeplay Music, LLC v. Mog, Inc. et al
Trademark Infringement New York Southern District Court Filed: 3/22/2012

Freeplay Music L.L.C. v. Sportsbrand Media Group et al
Copyright Infringement New York Southern District Court Filed: 1/27/2010

Freeplay Music LLC v. M-1 Global et al
Copyright Infringement New York Southern District Court Filed: 11/24/2009

Freeplay Music L.L.C. v. G2 Media Group et al
Copyright Infringement New York Southern District Court Filed: 7/17/2009

Freeplay Music L.L.C. v. Access Media International et al
Copyright Infringement New York Southern District Court Filed: 4/27/2009

Freeplay Music Corp v. X-Cast Entertainment LLC et al
Copyright Infringement California Central District Court Filed: 7/25/2007

Freeplay Music Corp. v. Exquisite Multimedia Inc. et al
Copyright Infringement California Central District Court Filed: 7/25/2007
Lee
12/3/2012 at 9:29 PM
Has anyone who refused to be "extorted" like this by Freeplay been actually served with a lawsuit for retroactive copyright infringement?
Matt
7/7/2012 at 11:34 PM
Our company received one of these settlement notices last week. Apparently some promos that weve commissioned in the past contained some of their music. Can't wait to see who will be on the hook for paying them off...
Chris Mezzolesta
6/28/2012 at 10:02 AM
It's the RIAA all over again. Yes, unauthorized use is not a nice thing etcetcetc., but targeting individuals and basically extorting payments is far from good PR. Develop better models in the first place.
Jeffrey Kafer
6/27/2012 at 5:43 PM
Is it just me or is this heavy-handed approach going to shoot themselves in the foot? I use a lot of production music, but I guarantee I'll never buy any of Free Play's music as a result of this.

It seems to me a better approach would have been a simple Cease and Desist letter and "if you'd like to purchase a license, here's a 20% off code so you can keep using the music."
Larry Culley
6/21/2012 at 2:40 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, Rob! This is something we all need to be concerned about.
Ed Thompson
6/21/2012 at 10:29 AM
As a radio production director, I deal with copyright infringement issues on an almost bi-weekly basis. This stuff is serious and it can cost BIG BUCKS.
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