Correspondence with HG Wells Estate


From: Phil Taylor - [phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 18 August 2010 17:24
To: dwells@rvc.ac.uk
Cc: Wells, Dominic J
Subject: HG Wells estate enquiry
Ref: HG Wells Estate.

Dear Dr Wells,

I'm writing to ask if you would be able to advise me on how to approach contacting the HG Wells Estate? For the 2 months I've been tentatively working on outlining ideas for a musical version of 'The Time Machine' and as I'm getting further into this project am thinking I should get some kind official green light on this. Any help or advice you might offer would be a great help.

Thankyou for taking the time to read this.

Yours sincerely

Phil Taylor
_______________________________
Effectrode Audiophile Pedals
Phone: +44 (0) 1782 372210
Email: phil@effectrode.com
Website: www.effectrode.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/effectrode
Dear Phil

Please contact Mark Casarotto (copied into this e-mail) who will be able to take you through issues associated with performance rights.

with best wishes

Nic

Professor Dominic J Wells
________________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 23 November 2010 23:01
To: Mark Casarotto
Cc: mark@casarotto.com
Subject: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]
Dear Mr Casarotto,

Further to an email exchange with Dr Nic Wells earlier this year in late August, I'm writing to enquire if you would be able to advise me on issues associated with performance rights for HG Wells's "The Time Machine". Since June I've been tentatively working on outlining scripts and melodies for a musical version
and as I'm getting further into this project, I'm aware that some kind official green light is required. I'd very much like to talk to you on the phone or in person to tell you more about the approach being adopted for this musical interpretation of Wells's work.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Phil Taylor

Dear Phil,

It's always wise checking if the rights are even available before spending months working on a project! Are you suggesting a professional or amateur production, and can you give me details of the proposed venue, dates, and ticket prices.

Thanks,

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 24 November 2010 11:51
To: Mark Casarotto
Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]

Hello Mark,

I'm working on a concept album. Would it be possible to phone you to give you more details?

Thanks

Phil

Phil

Dear Phil,

I'd need the details in email form in any case, but I am also very unsure if the music rights in the Time Machine would be available. In the original deal done decades ago the legitimate stage rights (which includes musicals) were reserved but as for sound recordings I honestly have no idea - most rights were granted to the studio. I can try and find the contract in question and let you know but please don't assume a concept album based on the title will be possible (you're thinking along the lines of Jeff Wayne's work?).

Best wishes,
Mark

Phil

Hello Mark,

Yes, that's exactly right, I'm working on a concept album along the lines of Wayne's work (War of the Worlds) from 1976. This was a brilliant piece of work as it adhered to the spirit of Wells's writing and philosophy. This musical interpretation made "War of theWorlds" commercially accessible to a whole new generation and undoubtedly raised awareness of Wells' other works. There was a certain, fantastic magic that Wayne captured, and he has not been able to recreate this success again in any of his subsequent work. Perhaps it was a combination of inspiration, talent and just plain luck. The time was right - the late 70s produced several great Sci-fi movies and his musical version of TWOTW fitted right in. I'd like to adopt the same approach here with "The Time Machine". I believe the timing is right for a musical version of "The Time Machine"and have been working on the script for the narration and putting together songs. This has been happening steadily over the last few months and I wanted to get it to a stage where I would have something to show HG Wells Estate to give them a flavour of where it will go.

Again, I'm following Wayne's approach to some extent as the work would be a combination of narration, choir, orchestral, contempory rock/pop and avante garde sound effects. I'd very much appreciate it if you can investigate rights for this work further for me. If musical rights do happen to be held by someone else for the material, perhaps I would be able to approach them to discuss this proposition.

I would be grateful for any help or advice you can offer at this critical stage of this project.

Thankyou again for your time.

Best regards

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 29 November 2010 12:08
To: Mark Casarotto
Subject: [Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]]

Hello Mark,

Further to our email exchange last week, can you advise if you been able to make any progress on availability of recording rights for "The Time Machine"? Just tried calling (12 PM Monday), but you were away from your desk.

Thankyou again for your time

Best regards

Phil

Dear Phil,

I am still looking into the contractual situation, but in the meantime, could you email me information about yourself, in particular your musical/writing background, experience, and credits. I need to be able to put all this to the Wells estate should the rights be free as it's their decision whether to allow the rights to be
licensed and as you can imagine they have quite exacting standards!

All the best,

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 12 January 2011 11:11
To: Mark Casarotto
Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]]

Hi Mark,

Can you advise if you received my letter with my bio and background information yet? We'll be recording later this month and I want to get contractual aspects of this cleared up before I get anymore artists involved in the project.

Best regards and Happy New Year

Phil

Phil

Also, to let you know, I have requested all the old (1950s) Time Machine documents from our archives to try and confirm the status of the rights you would require as the documents we have in the office don't give the whole picture. I will hopefully have this information in the next day or two, but there is a significant chance that the studio did acquire all audiovisual rights which would mean that we would not be able to provide you with a licence.

Best,

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 12 January 2011 20:14
To: Mark Casarotto
Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]]

Hi Mark,

Thanks for letting me know. I did phone earlier today to thank you directly, however you weren't available. Do let me know what you come up with. There are quite a few people that want to see this project happen.

I look forward to hearing your findings.

Best

Phil

Dear Phil,

I have now been through all the contracts and past documentation we have on "The Time Machine" and I'm afraid it's bad news.

The long-form agreement in which the film and ancillary rights were sold in 1954 is no longer extant. I did find an option deal which preceded it, but it doesn't cover all rights. It is also possible that these rights were sold at another point and the documentation was lost.

Furthermore, in our correspondence file, I found a very similar request to yours from 15 years ago in which my predecessor found herself in the same position - although a lenghty correspondence took place with this chap's lawyer, it is repeatedly pointed out that the Estate cannot be sure it owns these rights. His request was eventually turned down without, as far as I can tell, any explanation.

Therefore I am in the unfortunate position of having to reply to you in the same way. The chain of title is complicated, unclear and missing vital documents, and as a result we cannot warrant that we own the rights required. Therefore we cannot assign or licence them to you in any way, and you may not exploit these rights in any territories where copyright in the work remains in force.

I am sincerely sorry we are forced into this position, but legally we have no alternative on the evidence available.

All best wishes
,
Mark Casarotto

Hi Mark,

Thankyou for looking into this for me. Just to confirm, as I understand it you have no physical record of who (might) owns the musical rights to 'The Time Machine'? I ask because as a last option I could attempt to contact anyone you might suspect would have acquired them.

Thankyou again for all your efforts into looking into this for me. I appreciate that you must have spent quite a few hours on this paper chase.

Best regards

Phil

Hi Phil,

That's right, yes. The problem is that even if you found someone who held other rights but not the ones you require, we wouldn't be able to say for sure that someone else didn't have them. As you can imagine the HG Wells files are massive, ancient and incomplete, so it's a situation we've had before. My honest advice to you would be to shelve the project until the end of 2016, when it will be public domain worldwide (except Spain).

Apologies again, and all the best,

Mark

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]]
From: "Phil Taylor" [phil@effectrode.com]
Date: Tue, January 25, 2011 8:21 am
To: "Mark Casarotto" [mark@casarotto.co.uk]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Mark,

Thanks again Mark. This had been a great help (and an education). I'll put the brakes on, however I'm still enthusiastic to see this project to completion and have the Wells Estate involved. I look forward to talking again closer to 2016!

Best regards

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Taylor [mailto:phil@effectrode.com]
Sent: 25 January 2011 14:39
To: Mark Casarotto
Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: [Fwd: RE: HG Wells estate enquiry]]

Hi Mark,

Sorry to bother you again, but would it be possible for you to divulge who made the enquiry about rights 15 years ago. This fellow could be a possible lead for me to pursue.

Thankyou again

Phil

Hi Phil,

The business was done through his lawyer and they would have assumed client confidentiality, so I can't give out details. I have a copy of a letter sent by his lawyer that says "could you give my client an explanation for turning down his request" but the lack of a response strongly indicates none was sent.

But the key issue - and an unresolveable one - is that there are no circumstances in which we *could* grant you the rights you would require, whatever the situation.

I'm sorry I'm a roadblock to your laudable attempts but I don't want you to spend your time looking fruitlessly for an oportunity that can't exist.

Best wishes,
Mark