Various parties are involved in a composition commission: commissioner, performer(s), programmer, publisher, funds and other sponsors and, as a matter of course, the composer. A proper agreement is based on a shared view on the joint responsibility of all parties and a candid, timely and comprehensive communication.
The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a guideline for making balanced agreements.
1. Fair compensation in accordance with the fee schedule
- a) For any composition, the client will pay at least the relevant fee as stated in Nieuw Geneco’s fee schedule. This fee schedule is the Fair Practice calculation matrix for composition commissions, which is supported by the entire sector. The schedule is made on the basis of the duration of the composition, the number and type of instruments/parts and complexity.
- b) Performance costs, such as scores and other activities are not included.
2. Clear arrangements beforehand
- a) All parties will make contractual arrangements in time and will comply with them.
- b) The client (commissioner) and the contractor (composer) make clear arrangements beforehand on the fee referred to in 1. and compensation of any further activities and expenses, for example accompanying rehearsals, giving lectures or introductions, travel and accommodation expenses.
- c) All parties involved will make clear arrangements on the (feasible) costs of the performance, which includes additional musicians, instrument, scores and technical provisions.
- d) All parties involved will be open and clear on the budget and the financing scheme, which includes all of the composition fees, rights and additional production costs.
- e) The composer will in an early stage be involved in the preparation of the wording and contents of applications for subsidy. The quality of such an application is enhanced by appropriate artistic coordination and motivation.
- f) The parties involved lay down their agreements on financing and the consequences of insufficient financing in financial scenarios, as well as a clear moment for making the decision (go/no go, guaranteed sums).
- g) Monies awarded by subsidy providers as a fee for the composition will be paid to the composer in full and will not be used for any other purposes (see also I. b).
- h) All parties involved will cooperate in the making of clear agreements on deadlines and the delivery of performance materials.
3. Settle copyrights. Small or grand right? Arrange it separately
- a) The producer is responsible for the payment of copyrights and the license. Make sure that consent for the use of music is obtained in time and make sure that the correct source, name, etc. are stated.
- b) The producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee, for example a publisher) will make clear arrangements on the copyrights due upon publication of the music, including arrangements on mechanical reproduction rights and any grand rights.
- c) Grand rights (music for theatre, dance, etc.)* must be agreed on separately between the producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee) and must be a permanent item in the budget of a dance and (music) theatre production.
- d) Mutual understanding of the flow of income, as well as the flow of investments of all parties, is an important factor for determining the composer’s fair share of the profit.
- e) If needed, the Complaints Board for Copyright Contract Law may be consulted.
4. List of performed programmes and broadcasts
- a) The user of the composition will timely provide a list of the fully played programme and the broadcasts for Buma/Stemra, the collective management organisation. It is of vital importance to submit an exhaustive list of the entire program of the works performed (both works protected by copyright and the public domain repertoire) because this is the only way to ensure that the money is received by the parties entitled to it.
5. Make separate provisions for performance materials!
- a) The production of scores and parts is not included in the composer’s fee (see I.). The commissioner must reserve a separate budget for publishing materials and the costs of renting or buying the scores.
- b) All parties involved will make timely arrangements on the production, costs and planning of the performance materials.
6. Sustainability: development of the public, repertoire and performance opportunities
- a) All parties involved will do their utmost to facilitate several performances of the commissioned work and, as a consequence, build a sustainable relationship with the public.
- b) The commissioner, the author, the performers and the publisher will cooperate as much as possible and support each other’s promotional efforts.
- c) Exclusive rights on the performance of a composition may be granted only if the work is performed/broadcast a substantial number of times within the relevant period of time.
- d) The commissioner and the composer will promote co-productions and performance of the work by others.
- e) The commissioner and the composer will ensure that the scores will remain retrievable and that they are handled and preserved with due care.
- f) The commissioner and the composer ensure that any audio or audio-visual registration or professional recording will remain retrievable.
*) ‘Small rights’ include all entirely musical works (compositions with/without lyrics). In the Netherlands, Buma/Stemra is responsible for the collective exploitation of those rights. The commissioning/organising party enters into a licence agreement with Buma/Stemra for the use of music and ensures that the rates applicable according to Buma/Stemra are paid, or ensures that payment is made by the relevant stage. Any new organising party is required to make arrangements in that respect in advance.
‘Grand rights’ include works (of music) forming part of a ‘narrative performance’ or a dramatic musical story involving several copyrights, e.g. for lyrics, music, choreography, lighting and costumes (for example ballet, opera, operetta, musicals etc.). Or, to put it differently: music that is written especially for the production.
Copyrights on music forming part of a ‘Grand Rights Production’ are not collected by Buma/Stemra: the producers of ‘Grand Rights Productions’ enter into agreements with all entitled parties, authors and publishers and may make any arrangements they prefer on the use of the music. (Source: Buma/Stemra 2019)
The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a specification of the Fair Practice Code from Kunsten ’92, drawn up by Nieuw Geneco in consultation with many commissioning parties, composers, authors’ associations and the Performing Arts Fund NL.