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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Are Old Rehearsal Tapes Copyrighted

    I play in a band. A former bandmate (who left under pretty acrimonious circumstances) has posted snippets of old band rehearsal tapes on his new site, which he built to find session work.

    I don't want him to use the songs in this way. Whilst he played on them, I am the sole author and publisher and copyright owner of the songs, though perhaps not the recordings, as they were made on his laptop with my permission. They are however terrible quality recordings, and I were never intended to see the light of day.

    Is he legally obliged to take the songs down, if I ask him to?

    Any advice very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Are Old Rehearsal Tapes Copyrighted

    Whilst.... I'm going to assume this is a U.S. question, but dare I ask - are you from, or did you spend some of your formative years as a subject of, the British Commonwealth? Not many Yanks say "whilst".

    You hold copyright to your compositions, assuming they were reduced to a fixed format (written or recorded); if not, it may be difficult to establish that the compositions were yours as opposed to something the band produced while jamming. The musicians in the performance hold copyright, as a collective work, to the performance. The issue would seem to be whether he was licensed to make, keep and use the recordings - at a minimum he had your permission to make and keep the recording, and to use it for certain purposes. I am skeptical that you and he had an express understanding that they were never to "see the light of day".

    Certainly you can ask him to take down the recordings. He may do so. Or he may claim that his use is licensed, in which case you'll have to decide if its worth it to try to play hardball (DMCA take-down notices, possible litigation) or to let it go.

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