Commission Woes

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Jackkel Dragon
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Commission Woes

#1 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:51 pm

Not sure if this is the right forum, but I'm a little annoyed at the moment and feel like this is the closest thing to what I need.

A few months ago, I made some commissions from people in the Recruitment forums on this site, and for the most part things seemed to go really well. However, I've recently played a game that was made over two years ago that has a BGM track that sounds exactly like one that I got from one of the commissions from a few months ago. When I PMed the composer, they refused to give a decisive comment on why the tracks are nearly identical.

I really don't want to make a scene, being really new here, but I also don't want to find out that I paid someone to give me tracks owned by someone else. Since the project I commissioned this BGM for is my first attempt at a commercial game, I really can't find out post-release that one or more of the BGM tracks belong to someone else.

I'm not sure how to handle this situation, and I don't want to point fingers until I understand the situation completely. But I'm not sure how I should go about finding out what's going on if the composer won't respond to me.

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Re: Commission Woes

#2 Post by papillon » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:56 pm

Ugh, that stinks. Can you privately contact the author of the older game and find out the origin of the track they're using? That would probably be a good place to start.

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Re: Commission Woes

#3 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:00 pm

papillon wrote:Ugh, that stinks. Can you privately contact the author of the older game and find out the origin of the track they're using? That would probably be a good place to start.
I started by trying to find the original track, but it leads to a dead end: the site the readme claims the track is from is down. I also tried looking up the track's filename, but no good there either.

It'd also be difficult to contact the author since they're Japanese and I'm not fluent in that language, though I could ask the translator of the game if they know where the BGM can be found. I might try that next.

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Re: Commission Woes

#4 Post by Fungii » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:04 pm

Have you done a direct side-by-side comparison of both the tracks? Like say overlayed in audacity. It could be a case of limited creativity on the composers side but either way this really sucks to find out; it's like paying a buttload for some new sprites and finding out they were just recolours of an old work.

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Re: Commission Woes

#5 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:09 pm

Fungii wrote:Have you done a direct side-by-side comparison of both the tracks? Like say overlayed in audacity. It could be a case of limited creativity on the composers side but either way this really sucks to find out; it's like paying a buttload for some new sprites and finding out they were just recolours of an old work.
Yeah, that's one of the first things I did when I started suspecting. The track I received is about half as long as the one from the older game, but aside from a filter or two it sounds the same and has similar waveforms.

Edit: The link in the game's readme was broken, but the translator was able to give me the site where the original track was from. It's still there, and still sounds like the track I got from the commission.

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Re: Commission Woes

#6 Post by Asceai » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:32 pm

If someone is selling royalty-free tracks downloaded from the internet as commissions please let us know.

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Re: Commission Woes

#7 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:38 pm

Asceai wrote:If someone is selling royalty-free tracks downloaded from the internet as commissions please let us know.
Who should I go to about this, and what should I be ready to provide?
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Re: Commission Woes

#8 Post by SundownKid » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:41 pm

It IS possible that the composer gave you a license to the track that allowed him to use it in multiple games. You have to make sure that the contract you signed says that the song is only licensed to be used in your game. Sometimes composers charge less if they are allowed to rehash an old track.

If they are selling royalty free stuff then you should report or make an alert about them on whatever forum they are offering their services. But I wouldn't assume that just yet.

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Re: Commission Woes

#9 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:03 am

SundownKid wrote:It IS possible that the composer gave you a license to the track that allowed him to use it in multiple games. You have to make sure that the contract you signed says that the song is only licensed to be used in your game. Sometimes composers charge less if they are allowed to rehash an old track.

If they are selling royalty free stuff then you should report or make an alert about them on whatever forum they are offering their services. But I wouldn't assume that just yet.
I thought it might be a case of a reused track, but the original track is from a site that doesn't seem to be linked to the composer, so I'm not sure anymore. (Plus, the original track was available on that site as a free download, so it seems a bit strange to sell a slightly-modified version of a track available for free...)

Is there a specific way I can get this checked out? I'm actually really worried about this now, since I'm not sure whether or not the other tracks from the commission are also from other sites. I'd rather be forced to patch in music into my game post-release than get in legal trouble because I unknowingly used copyrighted music that I didn't have the rights to.
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Re: Commission Woes

#10 Post by Greeny » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:30 pm

I would very much like to know who this composer is. You might not be the only one who got scammed (yes yes, I know, not proven guilty just yet), just the only one who found out about it.
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Re: Commission Woes

#11 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:37 pm

The "not proven guilty" part makes me want to be sure before I start pointing fingers. I feel suspicious, but I don't want to cause a misunderstanding. Though I'm still not sure how I should go about this...
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Re: Commission Woes

#12 Post by Vin Howard » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:43 pm

Jackkel Dragon wrote:
SundownKid wrote:It IS possible that the composer gave you a license to the track that allowed him to use it in multiple games. You have to make sure that the contract you signed says that the song is only licensed to be used in your game. Sometimes composers charge less if they are allowed to rehash an old track.

If they are selling royalty free stuff then you should report or make an alert about them on whatever forum they are offering their services. But I wouldn't assume that just yet.
I thought it might be a case of a reused track, but the original track is from a site that doesn't seem to be linked to the composer, so I'm not sure anymore. (Plus, the original track was available on that site as a free download, so it seems a bit strange to sell a slightly-modified version of a track available for free...)

Is there a specific way I can get this checked out? I'm actually really worried about this now, since I'm not sure whether or not the other tracks from the commission are also from other sites. I'd rather be forced to patch in music into my game post-release than get in legal trouble because I unknowingly used copyrighted music that I didn't have the rights to.
Under what license was the commissioned work done, and under what licence is the original piece of music? (For example, a CC licence?)

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Re: Commission Woes

#13 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:38 pm

Vin Howard wrote:Under what license was the commissioned work done, and under what licence is the original piece of music? (For example, a CC licence?)
Looking over the license for the music commission again, I can't tell if its a specific type of license or not (which, with my inexperience, didn't cause me suspicion earlier). The license does say that I should have "exclusive worldwide rights" to use or edit the tracks for commercial or non-commercial purposes, and notes that the composer has the legal rights to grant me this usage.

I'm not sure what the original track operates under since the site is in Japanese (link), but it sounds like it's meant to be free-to-use from a machine translation of the terms. (Since the tracks can be downloaded for free, I feel like the tracks are provided for free at least for non-commercial projects.)
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  • Eldritch University: A Horror/Romance Visual Novel; the follow-up to Eldritch Academy. (itch.io) [Nightshade]
  • Blooming Nightshade: A lighthearted Romance Visual Novel set at the school from Eldritch Academy. (itch.io) [Nightshade]
  • Novels and short stories. (Shireishi, Those That Linger: GhostSense, and more) [Nightshade]
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Re: Commission Woes

#14 Post by SundownKid » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:40 am

If the composer refuses to explain, then you have the right to point the finger at them if you have proof the original song isn't theirs. It seems like a lazy composer trying to make a quick buck by taking free songs and passing them off as theirs. A composer shouldn't be using existing songs in a custom composed soundtrack.

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Re: Commission Woes

#15 Post by fleet » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:32 am

@jackkel Dragon,
In your original post you said "...When I PMed the composer, they refused to give a decisive comment on why the tracks are nearly identical."
What specifically did you ask, and what did the composer write in response (exact words)?
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