Fiverr Forum

Basic VO rights cover Youtube--Change my mind

I’m a little miffed that I’ve had some issues with VO talents claiming that I need Commercial or Full Broadcast Rights to use a VO in a Youtube production. The issues have not been large or problematic for me but it’s something I’d rather avoid when paying someone for a service.

I’m not a lawyer but I’m pretty schooled in legalese since a side hobby of mine is making and selling things out of beer or soda cans. Very few people have more than an inkling of copyright or trademark laws and the legal interpretation of them.

The Terms of Service doesn’t seem that ambiguous to me and yet nowhere on these forums or in Fiverr’s elaborations can I see a consensus.

In the terms of service it says:

“For Voice Over Gigs, when the work is delivered, and subject to payment, the Buyer is purchasing basic rights, (which means the Buyer is paying a one time fee allowing them to use the work forever and for any purpose except for commercials, radio, television and internet commercial spots). If you intend to use the Voice Over to promote a product and/or service (with the exception of paid marketing channels), you will need to purchase the Commercial Rights (Buy-Out) through Gig Extra. If you intend to use the Voice Over in radio, television and internet commercials, you will need to purchase the Full Broadcast Rights (Buy-Out) through Gig Extra. For further information on the type of buy-outs, please read below.”

Youtube is a public forum. Throughout the terms it’s pretty clear that there’s a distinction with commercials no matter what medium they are transmitted on. Last time I checked, I’m not selling anything. Hell my channel isn’t even monetized. The use of the word ‘commercial’ may be at the root of the confusion since the word is sometimes interpreted as a general money-making venture. The plurality of ‘commercials’ sort of does away with that though.

So is there something I’m missing?!

Fiverr’s explanations of these matters are clearly insufficient and open to interpretation and confusion.

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You are asking a good question. It’s my understanding that for voiceovers, almost anything can require a separate commercial license but not being an attorney don’t take my word for that. It’s as if you buy the talent to make the voiceover but if you actually want to use it for anything in the public domain, you have to pay them separately for the use of that. As to whether or not you actually generate income from that is something that needs some explanation from someone who knows a definite answer.

Hopefully a voiceover artist will be able to answer this.

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I don’t see anything in the terms of service that deals with how the buyer is using the VO other than specifically for advertising.

It seems, in fact, that the basic rights quite literally cover all mediums of transmission and whatever purpose other than advertising and ‘illegal/immoral’ purposes by manner of specifically listing what rights it does not allow without any disclaimer of rights reserved other than those it specifically mentions.

What makes less sense is why the Full Broadcast Rights specifically list the various mediums:
“By purchasing a Full Broadcast Rights (Buy-Out) with your order, in addition to the Commercial Rights, the Seller grants you with a license for full broadcasting, which includes internet, radio, and TV “paid channels” including (by way of example): television commercials, radio commercials, internet radio, and music/video streaming platforms.”

So on the one hand you have a ‘basic rights’ which grants everything except a narrow list of exceptions. Then you have Full Broadcast rights which encompasses everything but additionally lists some of them out which had not been mentioned at all earlier as having been excluded or included with lesser rights. The fact that they aren’t mentioned as excluded to me clearly means they’re covered under basic rights even if they aren’t specifically mentioned by name.

What really makes this clear to me is where it says:
“If you intend to use the Voice Over to promote a product and/or service (with the exception of paid marketing channels), you will need to purchase the Commercial Rights (Buy-Out) through Gig Extra”

Obviously if the basic rights cover paid marketing channels it’s covering a serious degree broadcasting rights right off the bat. It talks up the Full Broadcasting rights as a golden goose but the basic rights cover everything except advertisements.

IMO this is likely intentionally misleading on the part of Fiverr to allow whatever interpretation the buyer and seller chooses. And that is incredibly sleezy of a site like this.

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I was told by someone who does voiceovers that since it is an acting job, you not only pay for the performance, but you also pay separately to use the performance. This is standard for any performance.
I’m not sure of the wording here in the TOS, but simply to use the performance you paid for in some way required a separate license, as an industry standard. I’m no expert however and could be wrong.

Acting jobs have their own special set of rules for how the performers are paid.

So basically you don’t want to pay what a job is worth or for how you want to use it.

You can pay a VO to read a script for $5 easily - but if you’re using it for broadcast, whether its on TV, Radio or the Internet then the VO is entitled to ask for broadcast rights.- regardless of the TOS.

It’s standard when selling VOs, TV Companies, when selling adverts, do not highlight the medium the advert will be played on - would you class watching the Superbowl Final on You Tube as ‘broadcast’ for example.

Go through an agency for a VO and you’ll not only be stung for the cost of the script, the commercial rights and broadcast rights but also the studio hire, an extortionate appearance fee and either a spot charge (where you get charged every time the audio is played) or a renewal fee every 12 months to continue using it.

Now please stop resenting paying people who are making a living here - and actually offering you a great rate.

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Since I have little experience with copyright laws but have had to understand them a little. The Fiverr TOS is stating that you can use the VO in a personal manner, or work project or in any other project as long as you’re not making money from it. If you’d like to make money from it or even have the potential to make money from it then you’ll have to buy the rights to be able to fully use that work without limitations. I don’t fully understand the difference between commercial/broadcast rights but just from the naming it can be seen that commercial rights maybe part of a product your selling and broadcast rights is based on you broadcasting it onto other platforms, like a podcast or youtube or other channels of broadcast.
Even if the Fiverr copyrights aren’t fully clear and the lines between broadcast and commercial is pretty blurred these days. We all know that YouTube has the potential to generate finances, whether it’s now or later and therefore you will need to buy the rights to the voiceover to use in your video. As for which license you may need I think you’ll be fine with either unless you’re taking the direct VO and publishing it without refining the product or adding it into something bigger.
I just want to also add an example which maybe relevant to some extent; if you buy a music CD for any artist, you’re basically buying a pre-recorded voice over with music in the background. When you buy the CD, it does not give you the right to put it onto YouTube because someone else owns the rights to that work and therefore YouTube flags your video and anything that is earned from that video goes to the rightful owner of the content. Same goes for this scenario. Buy the rights, own the VO.

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Oh my god, thank you. If you can’t afford $10 for a commercial fee, then it sounds like your script isn’t worth much to you.

Honestly, to me this just reads “I want to get this work for almost free, and I don’t care if the seller is getting ripped off. Create a custom voice over for me for pennies!”

Fiverr pays my rent (barely). And yet you will still find me charging a FRACTION of a professional working from an agency.

A lot of sellers are now just building their commercial rights fee into their base price to avoid having to argue with buyers like this. So you’re probably going to end up paying for it one way or another :woman_shrugging:

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Not to mention the fact that more and more ad agencies are getting wise to the level of talent that’s available over here…

We also operate on a VO-only freelancing platform where the rates are still less than working with a dedicated agency, but more in-line with the industry. I auditioned for a job yesterday for a TV commercial in the UAE. One line of text, a $2,000 buyout (and competing with over 100 other VO artists).

Compare that with a 300 word read we did yesterday here on Fiverr, complete with time sync, Broadcast and Commercial Rights, for $95. It was for an Ad Agency based here in the UK, but their client is one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. The Ad Agency will be laughing all the way to the bank.

I’m not complaining, we agreed to Fiverr’s terms when we joined and we set our own prices, so if we ever feel like Fiverr is too ‘cheap’ for us, we can either up our prices or walk away. I get that it’s our choice to use this platform as a source of revenue. It does irk me though when people will dedicate a 2,000 word essay to why they feel they shouldn’t pay a $10 Commercial Usage fee.

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But you would be getting a studio quality voice over.

I’m basically of the same opinion as the OP. I’ve come to this opinion after buying VOs on Fiverr, often always being confused about pricing, and often, coming away with a VO with problems like background noise, etc.

This is why I’ve said before that it would be far easier if VO sellers just built commercial rights extras into their pricing. (At least, it would be less confusing from a buyer perspective.)

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We would do this. In fact, we tried to do this. We got sick of having to challenge people with clearly commercial scripts, claiming they were for ‘personal use’.

The issue is that Fiverr removes you from too many searches, because there’s no option for VOs to bundle Commercial Usage into your main offer. It doesn’t appear as a standard gig item, only a gig extra. So as far as Fiverr is concerned, you either offer it as an extra, or you don’t offer it at all.

The issue is that when someone searches, and uses the (increasingly more relevant) filters, if they choose ‘Commercial Use’, you don’t appear, because from the system’s perspective, you don’t ‘offer’ Commercial Usage. So the only option is to switch the Gig Extra back on, putting you back to square one.

I’ve flagged it as a suggestion to Fiverr so maybe it will change in the future, because I do agree with your point, and would much rather bundle Commercial Usage at the very least.

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Ugh, I didn’t even realize this. I may consider offering it as an extra but explaining that buyers don’t need to purchase it? Then again that’s risky because I frequently have buyers accidentally order 10x extras when they only need to order 1 because they didn’t read what the extra was for…

For us, the challenge is getting buyers to pay for it, not warning them not to. I can count on one hand the number of times a genuine personal-use buyer has added Commercial Rights (usually out of confusion, and you typically get a message saying something like “I wasn’t sure, and your rates are cheap so I added it anyway”). Compare that to the number of people who try to cheat the system…

What we’ve done is written out a (admittedly too lengthy, I need to cut it down) Commercial Use, Broadcast Rights and Revisions Policy document and added it to our gigs. Then, in our Requirements, the final ‘requirement’ is a 2-choice question… One says “I’ve read the document” and the other says “I haven’t read the document”, and buyers have to choose one or the other.

It may sound silly, but it’s helped, and gives us a bit of ammunition when someone tries to sneak something through. We can go back and say “You’ve admitted you’ve read the document, now please add the necessary rights” or “You’ve said you haven’t read the document despite us asking you to, please go and read it and then add the necessary rights”.

It’s frustrating - this could all be resolved with a series of questions that the buyer has to answer when they’re ordering. ‘What is the purpose of the recording’, ‘what kind of usage do you require’ etc, and then providing the buyer with a final price, as well as giving us more push-back if a buyer is clearly not telling the truth.

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My home studio is better quality than a lot of the commercial production houses.It’s properly sound proofed and we invested in top of the range mics, leads, compressors etc. And in fairness, our experience will easily match that of anybody working in a professional commercial house - you’re looking at 25+ years experience doing this job.

Not everybody needs the rights though. You’d actually pay more for a personal gig, which I wouldn’t want to do.

We’ve done this too. Now I’ve had people clicking ‘I have not read the document’…which is a pain…it would be great if they had to click ‘yes’.

You could probably word it differently to guarantee a yes, a bit like how Apple won’t let you use your iPhone until you confirm you’ve read all 900 pages of their Ts and Cs… but I’d worry about someone complaining that it felt like entrapment!

It’s a pain, but I guess you at least know what you’re dealing with when someone says they’ve not read it.

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Honestly I’d be pissed if I received a VO with background noises unless I was specifically going for something cheap. I mean, I don’t work with sound but even I know how to remove background noises. It would be professional to provide something that’s clean and recorded with proper equipment because anyone can make a voice recording if they have a phone. The purpose of buying a VO is to get a professional to do it at high quality.

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I also think things like commercial rights and broadcast rights needlessly confuse the buyer. I buy a lot on Fiverr, and I have always been confused about exactly which one of them I need to buy. Also, I feel wary paying for something which is not actual work but just a license to actually use the work that I just paid for. I think it would be beneficial to just make it be part of the standard gig price.

I sure would never charge any commercial rights for using my translation work. And, most people use my translations for commercial use. I have had maybe 1 or 2 people out of 200 completed orders, where you might be able to argue that they were using it for personal use.

Maybe this stat is different for voice-over work. Maybe I just don’t understand the industry. But from a buyer’s perspective, I think it is confusing. If I was a voice-over artist, I would make it easy for the buyer to understand what exactly they have to pay for them actually to be able to use their work for what they want to use it for.

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If the recording is advertising anything, be it a person/product/website/service/place etc… then Commercial Rights are needed.

If the recording is to be used in any form of Paid Advertising (TV, Radio, Online Paid Advertising including Paid Social Media Ads) then Broadcast Rights are also needed.

It’s that simple.

Because it doesn’t apply to the translation industry. You’re paying to use our likeness, which in this case is our voice. Our voice is ‘endorsing’ your product, so you pay us for that. It’s the same as if we were to model for you, or act in a video for you. Comparing VO work to translation isn’t a fair comparison.

We do - we’ve included a lengthy PDF in our gigs that explains, in-depth, what the licenses mean and what is needed for a recording. Most buyers don’t read this document, despite us asking them to.

Well, I wasn’t saying that you are not a professional. However, the basic fact of the matter is that you offer several gigs fir $5, and I have ordered several VOs for $5 - $50, and a lot of them sound like they were recorded on a potato.

You might have a nice studio, but Fiverr does not give studio quality assurances. Nor as your case demonstrates, is it possible to distinguish between good VO artists and poor VO artists when it comes to price. Buyers simply have to trust their luck and that is precisely why being stung with extra charges for commercial rights is so infuriating.

It is interesting how this stat is different for VO work. I recently started work on another freelance writing platform. There I can set two prices on articles. I can sell an article for one price like $20, and this gives the buyer the right to use it however they want. I can also sell the same article for exclusive use for a much higher markup.

It is starting to become a bit like VO artists are encouraged to think of themselves a protected class of super high-value professionals. In reality, services offered in other gig categories are just as valuable and get used in the same commercial contexts. Other sellers just don’t get the option or get encouraged to charge for different kinds of rights, We just get told that all rights belong to buyers on delivery, like it or lump it.

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I disagree. I’m aware you are against the Commercial Rights for VO thing, as you’ve said it on a few posts now, and I absolutely respect your opinion.

Commercial Rights and Broadcast Rights have nothing to do with the quality of work - it’s the use of likeness. My voice is unique to me, and anyone who knows me could link my voice back to me. So I charge a (nominal) fee if you would like to use my voice to endorse your product. It’s nominal because I’m not famous. If I were famous, I would charge a much higher fee to use my voice, because more people would know me. You must have watched a TV ad and thought “isn’t that so-and-so doing the Voice Over?”

It’s no different to if you wanted to use my image to endorse your product. This is fair, and has been happening for as long as media has existed. Why is it now an issue, just because it’s happening here on Fiverr?

The quality is an entirely separate issue, and is down to each respective seller. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work, and a combination of a slick portfolio and hundreds of 5-Star reviews hopefully give buyers the confidence to work with us.