Open Letter from Anne Bryant, composer of original TF theme song
Monday, December 18th, 2006 10:34am CSTCategories: Cartoon News, Digital Media News
Posted by: Seibertron Views: 47,946
An Open Letter from Anne Bryant
Dear Transformers Fans,
Thank you for your support of the Transformers over the years, and thank you for your support of my original Theme Music, which has become associated with the Transformers products and properties. Because of your support, "The Transformers" has truly reached a pop culture status.
I also write to thank you for your many kind and supportive remarks regarding my exhausting, six-year litigation process. The blogs have been favorable, in the main, and I can tell you that your support means much to me in my David versus Goliath struggle to claim the royalties long due to me.
To clear up any confusion here as to my motives and timing, I can say that my investigation into my pathetically negligible royalties for the TF theme began in 1994, six years prior to filing a formal lawsuit in 2000; including that in 1998, I contacted BMI, and then, as instructed, I repeatedly followed their formal inquiry procedures to the letter [for two years], without a single response from them. These big organizations have all of the records, so it is difficult for a composer to unravel problems, or perhaps even to identify honest mistakes, without their help; without their cooperation. As such, frustrated with the lack of response from BMI, I packed up all of my correspondence, proofs, contract numbers, original registrations and payment forms and went to see my attorney. He also tried to get satisfactory information from BMI for several months, but lacking any serious help, we moved to file a formal claim so that we could demand records from them. Concurrent with this, it became evident that my themes and songs [Transformers and others] were being used on a multiplicity of recording products licensed by Sunbow without any accounting statements or royalty payments to me, hence, the scope of this legal action.
As indicated above, in no way was this lawsuit motivated by the new DreamWorks live action movie; the movie was not even a glimmer on the horizon when all of this began. I don’t know whether they plan to use my theme in the new movie, and of course, I would love it if they do, but this litigation is first and foremost about the past and present royalties due; the future for Transformers, Jem, ML Pony and GI Joe and the other themes, if there is one, can be handled when the case is decided or settled.
Additionally, I can tell you that I have no rights to claim royalties for music composed by Ford Kinder, my former partner in our production company, except in any instances that our interests may overlap. We were separate writers -- not collaborators -- who jointly owned a production company we formed to take responsibility for all aspects of the full and final production of music that either he or I composed. As such, we credited any music that we produced through our company to both of us. This we did in order to build our company name. Ford and I wrote and produced several hundred pieces of music each year; this was our profession. Basic fees were paid to our companies for our services as producers, arrangers, *musicians and singers. And always, we were to be compensated, personally, as composers solely through our royalty payments. This is standard in the Commercial Music Business: writers write for royalties; professional writers always retain their royalties. So, this is what I am demanding in my court action: account for and pay the past and present royalties as agreed, and correct the records for the future.
I sincerely hope this will clear up any misunderstandings any of you may have; and I hope you will continue to support my efforts to be fully compensated as I face this well-financed, brutal opponent that would rather pay millions in legal fees, than pay to settle this matter.
See you at the movies: 7-4-7.
With all good wishes,
* Additionally, you may be interested to know that no "Secondary Market Payments" have been made to union musicians and singers for the use of their performances on TF, JEM and other television themes originally produced for Sunbow and GBI. Sunbow simply lifted these performances onto recording products and licensed them to distributors without making those payments required in their Union Contracts. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Musicians are working to recover payment to the performers in actions separate from my lawsuit.
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Credit(s): Anne Bryant
This article was last modified on Monday, December 18th, 2006 4:48pm CST