Because of the lack of education in the film production community about cue sheets, we get a constant flow of questions about cue sheet filings. This post’s question is about sound effects.
Question: We purchased some audio sound effects from Productiontrax.com recently, and are filing cue sheets. Do we need to include every sound file we used on the cue sheet? How do we do this?
You can breathe a sigh of relief, because this one has an easy answer: no. Sound effects are not entered on cue sheets (unless it’s a bona fide musical composition).
There’s a technical copyright-law-legalese explanation for why that is, but basically, one can’t stake a claim to the underlying intellectual property of a fart or a honk or a quack or a bark or a… you get the idea. While the actual sound recording is copyrighted, and yes, you need to license it, there is no public performance right associated to it, and therefore, there is no need to track it.
As briefly mentioned, however, the one exception is when a sound effect contains a musical composition. For example, a sound effect of someone playing or singing Happy Birthday would need to be reported on a cue sheet. Why? Because the song Happy Birthday is under copyright (yes it is) and has public performance rights and royalties attached to it.
Hopefully, this should come as a relief to all of you out there who like to throw a million sound effects into a single production project — like we did in our YouTube video. Leave the sound effects off your cue sheets (in fact, our automated cue sheet tool will not even let them be entered) — and sit back and enjoy the fruits of you labor for once.
The new cue sheet tool allows customers to quickly and easily create a cue sheet for their project, using pre-completed information taken directly from your track information.
License B customers will receive an automatic email reminder to complete cue sheets a couple days after their purchase. The cue sheet tool is available right from the download page (which has also been re-designed). The customer will be able to enter the info about their project, how much of your track was used, and how it was used. The composer and publisher information is pulled directly from the information you have provided in your account.
Once the cue sheet is finished, the completed form will be assembled and automatically get emailed directly to the appropriate performing rights organization. A copy will also be cc’d to you via email, as well as a copy for the customer. We will also keep a copy on file. Because the cue sheets are being sent in completed form, the info will not be stored in your account, so be sure to keep your email address current on your account.
You can edit publisher information for individual tracks right on the track pages. If you already have entered publisher information in the composer profile, it has already been pulled to match the corresponding tracks (no need to go in and edit all your tracks). If you aren’t sure, you should check a few of your tracks.
If you do not have a publishing company set up, entered in your track information, or just don’t care about performance royalties, Productiontrax will be listed as your publisher (Twin Light Music Publishing – ASCAP), and will distribute you any publishing royalties we receive on your usual 65/35 split, and will be listed on your monthly statement as ‘additional royalties.’ We recommend setting up your own publishing company to collect these royalties yourself.
For more information about cue sheets please visit the cue sheet information page on our web site.
And don’t forget to check out the latest Royalty Free Music, Sound Effects, Video Footage and Stock Photography.