Composer Interviews


Work-For-Hire, Buyouts or Direct Licenses?

We are pleased to rollout another new resource for Australian composers, this one called Work-For-Hire, Buyouts or Direct Licenses?

We have been seeing the terms Work-For-Hire, Buyout, and Direct License a lot more lately, especially with all the media surrounding Netflix and Discovery of late, and had the following questions:

  • What do these terms mean? 

  • How do they alter the scope of rights being granted to producers?  

  • What are the financial repercussions of signing 'work-for-hire', 'buyout', or 'direct license agreements'?

We also wanted to know if these questions were even relevant for Australian Screen Composers and learnt that the short answer is a definitive YES. While those of you working on international commissions are likely to have encountered these terms, they are also creeping into Australian contracts. We therefore decided it was time to create a new resource for Australian composers. It is called Work-for-hire / Buyouts/ Direct Licenses? and is important reading. Remember, signing these sorts of music agreements (or any agreement with a complete assignment of Copyright!) can have huge financial ramifications so please read on, learn more, and consult a qualified entertainment lawyer for specific contractual advice. Caitlin (prez), Brett (vice) and the entire AGSC board.

AGSC Disclaimer

"The Information on this website is provided as general information only and on the understanding that the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) is not providing professional advice of a legal, financial or otherwise nature to any user on the matters covered by this information. Whilst the AGSC makes every effort to keep the information on this site current, the information on this site is subject to change at any time and as different laws and legislation currently exist and operate between the States, Territories and Federal Government of Australia, the AGSC does not warrant or represent that the information on this site is free from errors or omissions.


Users of this site should also be aware that the information provided may be in the form of summaries and generalisations derived from other sources and may omit detail that could be significant to a particular scenario or context.  Users of this site should seek independent verification of any information on this site that they are seeking to rely on. The Guild can only provide general information and not advise you on specific points of your music contracts or on the law more broadly. Any questions relating to a contractual agreement beyond general ones should be directed to a qualified lawyer. For specific advice, the AGSC strongly recommends that: members seek information from the relevant Government authority, lawyer, tax professional or other industry professional.

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