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Top Lies They tell to get out of Commercial and Broadcast Rights


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I know there’s a lot of grey areas when it comes to commercial and Broadcast rights (at least for voiceover. I can’t speak for every other freelancer out there.)

Therefore, I try to make it crystal clear what I deem as Broadcast and Commercial rights on my profile.

For me, anytime you are mentioning a business or promoting a business I charge commercial rights. Now, if you are putting together a radio or television commercial I will charge commercial rights and broadcast rights on top of that. I know there are some that charge Broadcast rights for podcasts, youtube ads, etc. For me though, I just charge commercial rights for anything else outside of radio and television commercials. Most pod-casters don’t have the budget for my Broadcast Rights fee, while many production companies and Ad agencies do.

If someone sends me an incomplete order that does not include commercial and broadcast rights I add the extras and expect the buyer to place the order for commercial and broadcast rights. I’ve done over 600 orders, and in that I can always spot a pattern of excuses of why they can’t pay the commercial rights.

Here’s some of the excuses I get.

"I don’t need Commercial rights"

It’s as if I’m offering ketchup with their hamburger and they don’t “need commercial” rights. It’s not what they need. It’s me granting them commercial rights to use my voice for commercial purposes.

"This is for an internal project within our company" we will pay for commercial rights later if we choose to use it for that purpose.

You will never hear from these people again if you allow them to get out of commercial rights. I guarantee it. I make it clear in my profile commercial rights are based on what’s written in your script not your intentions or your plans for it.

"This is for a school project".

I have one friend on Fiverr who would get this a lot. He finally put on his profile that all school projects required a copy of their student ID and a syllabus from their professor for their school project. That eventually made all these people making this excuse leave.

I raised my rates to 25.00 for X amount of words instead of 5 dollars for. One of the main reasons is that I would get too many people who would order at 5 dollars and then would argue with you why they should only pay 5 dollars for your services when their order required more then just 5 dollars. Now, if someone is going to give me a hard time about commercial rights at least we are starting at 25.00.

So, how do you deal with these people without having to cancel?

I hate canceling because that affects my completion rate.

I have always had an established special that I can provide them if they are trying to get out of commercial rights. Many times the discount is actually more money then they were initially willing to pay but they will go for it because they feel they are getting a good deal, and they really are.

I may have not have received the price that I want but I’m not going to turn away an order that’s 100.00 that should of been 200.00.

It’s very important not to get into an argument. You need to be in control of the process.

Getting into an argument about commercial rights and broadcast rights with buyers makes the ordering process uncomfortable and gets buyers angry. Don’t do it.

At one point in time I would send all these links about what’s commercial and broadcast rights. I would also try to explain why I charge commercial rights for the order. The best thing to do is ignore everything and respond directly.

My response is this when someone refuses commercial rights.

Thanks for your message. The price is XX…

Don’t get into any arguments. They may decide to pay the commercial rights in the end, but they are less likely to pay if you spend time and effort making your arguments for why you charge and why they should purchse…

If I get no response, time is your best friend. If they have already ordered or even if you are just messaging back and forth, wait a day. Come back and say,

" Yeah, I would need commercial rights in order to complete this order, the best I can do is offer my discount special I give for “XXXX” (could be new buyers, could be a Half Off Friday special…whatever…) a lot of times that discount is a little more then what they wanted to charge in the first place.

I think you are better off to sticking to your guns and be direct. When someone tells me they only want to pay 25.00 because it’s a school project or internal project or whatever the reason… I don’t get into it, I just say thanks for your message, in order for me to complete this order it costs XXX. You explain you lose, You argue, you lose. Be upfront and direct you have a good chance of saving your order.

If someone is lining up a ton of reasons why they won’t pay commercial rights and their project is waay to large for what they are willing to pay…I’ll cancel…especially if my completion rate is high for that month. If my completion rate is teetering on the edge I’ll grit my teeth and do the order. If I get someone trying to get out commercial rights and the order seems fairly small and won’t take me a ton of time to do, I’ll probably offer the discounts and if they don’t bite at the discount I’ll probably do the order.

Try to be professional and straightforward as much as you possibly can in the process. Every now and then, you get people who are super demanding and abusive. I absolutely refuse to work with those people, and if that means canceling and canceling will hurt my stats so be it.

There are instances where you decide to cancel but I make it a rule of thumb to try my best not to cancel.

Just some thoughts for what has worked for me.

Will Stauff 🙂

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Oh, how I wish I could ride the commercial license money train. I’d even work for free in the dining carriage to milk that cash cow.

To be honest, if I was a VO guy, I’d model myself on @torrelles and boast about all my movie dubbing and big fish clients. Then as soon as someone tried to weasel out of paying I’d say, “Sorry love, I’m onset dubbing Game of Thrones at the mo. If you can’t pay, I can’t play.”

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I never charge for commercial rights. I’m not interested in filling contracts and bothering with that nonsense.

Furthermore, in the real world I never dealt with actors and their unions. Instead, we hired talent that was non-union, which our clients like since they hate paying residuals.

Besides, if sellers insists on commercial rights, maybe they should price their gigs accordingly. All TV and radio commercials have a commercial purpose, except maybe for PSA’s. PSA’s are often created pro-bono by ad agencies, they do it to win awards and get publicity, and the charity benefits from getting creative work for free.

By the way, Fiverr allows sellers to sell stock photography, and those pictures already include commercial rights. I don’t do it because the client pays $10 and I get $2, unlike regular gigs where I get to keep 80%.

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