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  1. #1

    Default Copyright for a Music Recording

    Our band has been working on an album for the past 2.5 years.

    One member (call him Sam) left the band two years ago and another (call him Ash) left a six months ago. Sam and Ash were involved in the intial concept of 5 of our songs. Sam worked on melody and Ash on lyrics.

    After 2.5 years of hard work we finally finished the arrangement and recordings of the songs. Sam and Ash did not play any part in the arrangement and recording. They did not play any instruments or invest any time or money.

    Ash copyrighted the lyrics to these 5 songs in January 2012 and said we could not use them anymore. By the way, we have time-stamped recordings of these songs from 2010. Instead of arguing with Ash we changed the lyrics and re-recorded the songs. The songs have already been released on the internet.

    Now Sam has joined Ash in claiming that we stole their songs. They have started discrediting us on Facebook and the community. I would like some advice on

    (i) what legal recourse does Sam and Ash have?
    (ii) what legal recourse do we have in combatting their accusations?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Music Recording

    They left the band and started a musical instrument shop?

    First, lets get a few things straight. Creative works are copyrighted as soon as they are created and expressed in some tangible form (tangible here isn't the literal definition of the word, it just means out of the authors head somewhere it can be seen/heard by someone else).

    If this was a collaboration (i.e., the other members of the band worked on the piece), then you probably have implicit permission to use the song. Of course, if there are royalty income ensuing from perhaps a record sale or performance in something other than just your band's live gigs, they certainly have a claim on a share. You'll all need to apportion the proceeds or go to court to duke it out.

    As far as the "theft" accusation, you can just state (if it is true) that this piece was a collaborative piece while Sam n Ash were still in the band.
    Frankly, other than a brief statement like that, you probably do your self more arm squabbling in public than just ignoring it.

    As a famous lawyer Louis Nizer once said, libel issues are sort of like having mud splashed on your overcoat. You can immediately attack it trying to get it off end up smearing it all over making it a devil to take care of. Or you can just let it be a while and soon it will dry up and flake off cleanly.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Music Recording

    Thanks flyingiron.

    Indeed, we are aware of the copyright issues related to the songs we recorded. By "Ash copyrighted the lyrics to these 5 songs in January 2012 " I meant that he registered the lyrics in the US copyright office indicating that Ash is the sole-author of these songs. I am not sure what the implication of such a registration is since the claim that he is the sole author is false.

    The proof that we worked on the songs for 2.5 years is in the numerous scratch recordings we have as well as exchanged emails. We do not expect to make any money from these songs. We just hope to have our reputation preserved. Any cut-and-dry law or case on this that can settle the dispute once and for all?

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