What happens when you use auditions as spots on demos?
Who does the custom voice sample of work you’ve auditioned for but not booked belong to?
In this article, we’re going to discuss the consequences of what might happen if you use an audition spot on your demo and publicize it online.
Using Auditions As Demos?
From time to time, we come across demos on talent profiles that suggest those files are not actual work samples or demo samples but custom reads from auditions that were recorded for clients posting jobs online.
Is this a problem?
As a best practice, audition material should never be used on a demo unless the client has consented to its use in that capacity.
Thoughts From eLegal
A couple of years ago, I interviewed a lawyer, David Canton, and asked him number of questions about just who audition audio belongs to.
Below, you’ll see a portion of that interview.
Please note that laws vary by country, and even by state/province within countries. Legal answers always depend on the specific facts at hand, and small changes in fact can lead to different results. So David Canton’s answers here are for general guidance and information only, and are not to be considered or relied upon as legal advice.
Another thing to consider is that rights owners vary greatly in their inclination and desire to enforce their IP (intellectual property) rights. Some may not care, or may let violations slide on the basis that it is good publicity. Others may be overly aggressive and try to stop things that one is legally able to do.
Excerpt From an Interview with David Canton
VOX: Voice actors do auditions every day at Voices.com and through other services. Usually a script is provided by the client that a voice actor can partially record for demonstration purposes. This allows the client to review the samples and get a better idea of how that person would sound representing their company.
Should that ad copy or script be considered “off limits” to voice actors if they don’t get the job? In other words, is it OK for a voice actor to use the audition spot they recorded as a sample of what they could do and post it publicly on the web or include it in demo materials that they send out to prospective clients or agencies?
DAVID CANTON: If the script is provided by the client, the best approach is to ask permission to use it as a sample and get that permission in writing. Indeed, that should be standard practice for the voice actor. In addition to removing all doubt, it shows a very professional approach that the client may like to see. It’s the same issue as Question 1 (Stephanie’s add – using a company’s name or slogan in a demo without having worked for them / asked permission). One factor here is that if the sample script is close to the final ad, the client may not want versions other than by its final voice choice to be floating around.
VOX: There have been a couple of instances where we have received complaints from clients who noticed that auditions submitted featuring their scripts had been used as promotional materials by talent who were not hired for the job. Those voice samples were removed from the profiles of the talent in question and the client was pleased with those actions.
This may seem obvious, but would you advise that talent simply archive their auditions and not use the audio for other purposes, particularly promotional purposes that may endanger or misrepresent the company’s brand?
DAVID CANTON: Yes, that’s a wise approach. Again – the best approach is to always ask if one can use the audition for samples.
To read the interview in context, click here:
Interview with David Canton
David’s answers to these particular questions make it clear from a legal standpoint, intellectual property and copyright perspective that obtaining permission, particularly written permission, should occur before using ad copy or a brand name.
What Are Your Thoughts?
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this. What do you think?