There is no such thing as a standard contract. Every contract is different and is tailored to the specifics of the project.
However there are standard terms and conditions that should appear in a screen composer’s contract.
The main issue to strive for is the granting of synchronisation rights, as opposed to assigning the rights in the composition. The wording is similar, but the meanings are very different.
The AGSC recommends that a screen composer does not sign a contract that demands a direct license or buyout, as this adversely affects their membership of APRA and their ability to generate any royalties.
To guarantee a screen composer’s rights, the words “subject to the prior rights of APRA” should appear in the contract.
It is imperative also when recording musicians, that they sign a release form that states that they have been paid in full. This protects the composer and producer from any claims of authorship from a musician who has only performed on the soundtrack.
The AGSC has provided members with a model contract that protects the composer’s rights along with a musician release form.
The AGSC recommends that screen composer members use this as the basis or template when engaging on any new film, television or web project. Login to download the templates – one for composing work with arrangements, one for without.