When you are auditioning for a job, regardless of its source, there are 3 things you need to be wary of once you send off the MP3.
Find out here at VOX Daily!
When you receive an invitation to audition for a voice over job, oftentimes a client will include their script and the opportunity presents itself for you to make one of two decisions:
1. Record a snippet of the script as a custom demo
2. Send a generic demo and hope for the best
While that seems fairly basic, I’m going to throw in some more factors that may be new to you.
3 Things You May Not Know About Audition Scripts
1. The script is property of the client (or, if not the same person, the copyright owner whose job is being posted by the client) and is protected under copyright law.
2. A custom voice sample, once recorded, does not belong to you but to the client and or the copyright owner who posted the job.
3. You cannot legally use custom auditions recorded from someone else’s copyrighted script as spots on your voice over demo or for any purpose other than the audition in question itself without consent from the copyright owner.
What Does All of This Mean?
Custom voice over samples for audition purposes, albeit recorded by you and featuring your voice, ultimately belong to the creator of the content. The creator of the content could either be the person who posted the job or a separate individual who created the content.
Even though the voice over recording was created by the voice actor, the original copyright holder owns the recording as the voice over is an expression of their creation (script) and intellectual property.
When you send in an audition, it is understood at the outset that the sample being provided is for review purposes only (for both the client and voice talent) and is not meant to be incorporated into a demo or used for promotional purposes unless written permission to do so is granted by the individual who owns the copyright.
You are bound by your integrity to observe copyright law and act accordingly.
The client is also bound by integrity to do the same for you. Unless they pay you for your work, they should not be able to use it to further their own pursuits.
Although this information is commonsense for businesses and is readily available to all via the Internet, in books and through legal counsel, for some reason it is rarely spoken of and is not a widely known subject in voice over, at least in non-union circles.
Primarily, I’m referring to the use of copyrighted material or trademarks in scripts for voice over demo production without the consent of the copyright or trademark owner, or the use of custom samples in demos as mentioned above.
We’ve discussed this to a degree in the past and you can read that discussion here if you like about brand names of companies you haven’t worked for being used in demos.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many upstanding companies out there who do produce voice over demos from original material or royalty-free music and scripts — this is not about them — it’s about companies or individuals who sidestep the law and take advantage of unassuming customers.
The spread of misinformation to do with demo production or custom auditions, whether it be conscious or unconscious, affects our entire industry and it needs to stop.
My hope is that through articles like this we’ll bring more awareness to the subject and take action as a community through education and accountability.
Making Things Clearer and Doing Our Part
Just as you would expect that the client has no right to use your voice samples without compensation, it is to be understood that each custom voice sample submitted by a voice talent is not to be used by the voice over professional for the purpose of commercial promotion of their voice or for any other purpose other than what the file was intended for – a sample of your voice submitted through an audition to be reviewed by the client for hiring purposes.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring an interview I did with a lawyer who specializes in trademarks and intellectual property. This gentleman has a keen interest in law as it affects technology and the online world, so I hope you stay subscribed to find out more!
Any comments? What do you think about this?