Everybody wants to be the Next Big Thing. Right? The Voice, American Idol, Rap Wars. The Network chose you, from millions of potential contestants, to appear in this season’s series. That’s flattering. Right? Your appearance on the show guarantees you a successful career, even if you don’t win. Right? It’s really tempting. But who truly benefits from your services on the show?
Two words: The Network. The Network will require you to sign a series of contracts that are essentially non-negotiable. So, you want to be on the show? Here it is, take it or leave it. For example, with a music-based series, such as the Voice, the Network will require your exclusive services for the duration of the series season in which you appear, plus a period of time following the conclusion of the series. You’ll be obligated not only to appear in the series (to the exclusion of most every other entertainment enterprise), but to also be available for promotional activities and sponsor-related commercials (if Tide sponsors the show, you can be required to do Tide commercials playing upon your fame as a participant on the show); you will waive any recourse you may have for pretty much anything that happens to you while on the show, including the right to sue for damage to your reputation on account of how the Network presents you to the world. In real life you’re not really an adulterous leprosy carrier? Too bad for you if that’s the way the Network decides to portray you.
Whether or not you win the competition, the Network will own all rights to all of your performances. If you perform original musical material, you will likely be required to assign a portion of your publishing rights, and the Network, of course, owns the rights to your master recordings produced on the show. Often, though, you will retain your rights to material you wrote before being selected for the show; material that you write for the show will typically belong to the Network, as a work for hire. Continue reading