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Joker: Convicted paedophile Gary Glitter could profit from song included in movie

‘Rock and Roll Part 2’, a song co-written by Glitter, features in the film

Clémence Michallon
New York
Tuesday 08 October 2019 07:36
Joker final trailer (2019)

Convicted paedophile and disgraced glam rock singer Gary Glitter could financially profit from Joker after one of his songs was used in the movie’s soundtrack.

“Rock & Roll Part 2”, released in 1972 and co-written by Glitter, features in an important scene in the film, an origin story in which the Batman villain is played by Joaquin Phoenix.

Glitter was sentenced to 16 years behind bars in 2015 for historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls.

When it emerged that a song co-written by Glitter is used in the Joker soundtrack, some expressed concerns that he might receive money stemming from the use of the song. Those concerns became widespread following Joker‘s theatrical release on Friday, 4 October.

Some experts have explained how Glitter could end up making profits from the tune.

Artistic works such as music generally remains copyrighted in the UK – where Glitter is from and where the song was released – for 70 years following the artist’s death. Glitter is still alive, so going by that rule, he will likely still hold a copyright claim over the song.

Several factors come into play in determining how much he could potentially receive from his song being included in Joker.

While The Sun has claimed that Glitter could get “hundreds of thousands of pounds” from the song (co-written by Mike Leander), an expert gave The Guardian a more restrained estimate.

“The local company [that placed it in the film] will retain maybe 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the fee,” the expert, a music lawyer, told the newspaper. “Of the remainder, the local record company in the UK might take 60 per cent.

“So Glitter could get maybe 30 per cent of the fee on the recorded side and probably less on the publishing, because it is a co-write and because the publisher is also taking a cut.”

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Another expert told Yahoo Movies that Glitter could end up receiving only a very small sum of money due to various financial arrangements.

“Artists are usually paid a one-off ‘synchronisation fee’ when their songs are used on movie soundtracks,” Ray Bush, managing director of The Music Royalty Co, said.

“It can range from £500 ($615) for smaller acts up to £250,000-£500,000 ($307,000 to $615,000), depending on the artist and the importance to the narrative of the film. There are many middlemen involved, including the record label, Glitter’s agent and sometimes a ‘synchronization’ agent, with artists sometimes only receiving a measly amount from the deal.”

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In the US, “Rock And Roll Part 2” has been used in sporting events as a way to warm up crowds, but its usage has become controversial following Glitter’s 2015 conviction.

The Independent has contacted Warner Bros Pictures, which distributes Joker, for more information.