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A singer/songwriter collaborates with a bunch of musicians to record a produced demo. The working relationship is that it is a collablorative project. The musicans create thier parts and contribute to the arrangements. No money changes hands - its a band project. The Demo is completed - the singer/songwriter then states that it is his Demo, and his songs. He states the project is no longer band, but a solo project with a "back-up band". He refuses to give the the musicians any compensation, or arrangement credit - and will not give them a copy of thier work. He starts heavily shopping the Demo to the industry- who is quite interested. Do the musicians have any recoruse to either:get paid/comensated, or have thier tracks removed from hte source recording? (or anything else i may not have thought of) Thanks very much for you input!!
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The default position of the copyright law is that each person who made a copyrightable contribution to the recording is a coauthor of the recording. Each coauthor has the right to do whatever he/she wants with the recording, so long as he shares the income with the other coauthors. The musicians should get a share of whatever money comes from the demo and should get credit for their contributions. Removing their parts from the demo, however, is probably not an option.
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The bottom line is that no one individual involved with writing the song/songs can legally do anything with them (publish), without an agreement with the others involved. If you all contributed on the creation, you all control the outcome. It's all or none.

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If the singer wrote the words, but did not write the music, then the other musicians have a claim to the copyright since their work created the dbody of music, i.e., a collaborative project. They all get a piece. If they were brought in to play a part that was written by the singer/songwritier without change parts or structure, then effectively, they were for-hire even if money didn't exchange hands. The lesson-friend or not-so-friend, get it in writing...

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If you haven't sent the recording to the proper authority to register the work as yours, then it'll be your word against the singer/songwriter's word. If you have registered the audio with the proper credit being given to the people involved, then you won't have a problem getting money from any earnings made by the use of the demo. I agree. GET IT IN WRITING! :thu: Hope you sort it out to everyone's satisfaction.

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it doesnt matter if money changed hands or not, what matters is if there was a written contract regarding the songs and the recording,if not,be that as it may,i seems that that type of situation will have to be settled through litigation remember its the music...business
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From what I've read case law is pretty straight forward on this. Without a prior written agreement, when a group of people are in a room writing together the copyright must be split evenly. Even if someone doesn't contribute anything significant !! It get's even better, if you hire a musician for a session, but stiff him on the session fee he has a right to take a piece of the copyright and royalties. Seems like you'll need a good lawyer when the guy signs a deal, but you'll probably come out ahead. Rob

Rob Hoffman

http://www.robmixmusic.com

Los Angeles, CA

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ajcamlet The simplest and least expensive course of action at this point is to file a copyright with everyone's name on it. It doesn't matter that your singer may have filed his own first. If you do have to go to court you or your lawyer will have to file one anyway before a court will allow you to argue your case. Conflicting copyrights on file at the copyright office, especially with near dates, will be sufficient evidence for a court to at least freeze all assets until the matter is resolved
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If a guy's songs have lyrics, melody and harmonic structure ( to where his song could be written out in a lead sheet), and the other guys(the band, in this case) are just coming up w/ their "parts"- the "band" doesn't really have anything coming to them except compensation for their "performances." They didn't really "write" the music. A perfect example is the guy that came up w/ the organ part to Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Is any one arguing that he "wrote" the song? Granted, it IS a very fine line, and I don't know if the "band," in your case, actually changed major elements of the songs.

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[quote]A perfect example is the guy that came up w/ the organ part to Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Is any one arguing that he "wrote" the song? [/quote]I would say in a case like that it would depend on if he was (1)payed for the session or (2) had an agreement beforehand as to whether or not he had a claim to a percentage of the copyright. As you know when a work is done for hire those who do in fact write the material are not the copyright owners.
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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]If a guy's songs have lyrics, melody and harmonic structure ( to where his song could be written out in a lead sheet), and the other guys(the band, in this case) are just coming up w/ their "parts"- the "band" doesn't really have anything coming to them except compensation for their "performances." They didn't really "write" the music. A perfect example is the guy that came up w/ the organ part to Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Is any one arguing that he "wrote" the song? Granted, it IS a very fine line, and I don't know if the "band," in your case, actually changed major elements of the songs.[/b][/quote]There are two copyrights in question here: the one covering the composition itself and the one covering the recording. While the organ player didn't have anything to do with the composition, his contribution to the recording would (in the absence of an agreement to the contrary) be independently copyrightable and thus he would be entitled to coauthor status. Granted, the contribution could be characterized as minimal, but the law doesn't distinguish based on "amounts" of creativity, for obvious reasons.
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For the purposes of the SR copyright, it's my understanding that he who pays for the sessions (in many cases the record company) is the owner of the SR. In the above Bob Dylan example, the session players were paid a fee for their time and ability and in all probability asked to sign a sideman waver. This precludes them from having any claim to the copyright. I remember reading about a case where a session player said he would play on a session for free. No paperwork was drawn up. Months later when the player heard the song on the radio and how much his parts were featured he sued the artist and record company. He won partial ownership of the copyright and production. This is just one of the cases that has set precedent. Rob

Rob Hoffman

http://www.robmixmusic.com

Los Angeles, CA

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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]If a guy's songs have lyrics, melody and harmonic structure ( to where his song could be written out in a lead sheet), and the other guys(the band, in this case) are just coming up w/ their "parts"- the "band" doesn't really have anything coming to them except compensation for their "performances." They didn't really "write" the music. A perfect example is the guy that came up w/ the organ part to Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Is any one arguing that he "wrote" the song? Granted, it IS a very fine line, and I don't know if the "band," in your case, actually changed major elements of the songs.[/b][/quote]This is true as well. If the band added nothing else to the song but their playing ability it might be hard to argue the publishing case, but you are at least entitled to compensation for your session time. Rob

Rob Hoffman

http://www.robmixmusic.com

Los Angeles, CA

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[quote]Originally posted by robmix: [b] [quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]If a guy's songs have lyrics, melody and harmonic structure ( to where his song could be written out in a lead sheet), and the other guys(the band, in this case) are just coming up w/ their "parts"- the "band" doesn't really have anything coming to them except compensation for their "performances." They didn't really "write" the music. A perfect example is the guy that came up w/ the organ part to Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Is any one arguing that he "wrote" the song? Granted, it IS a very fine line, and I don't know if the "band," in your case, actually changed major elements of the songs.[/b][/quote]This is true as well. If the band added nothing else to the song but their playing ability it might be hard to argue the publishing case, but you are at least entitled to compensation for your session time. Rob[/b][/quote]Anyone know how to reach Al Kooper? He played the Hammond part on "Like a Rolling Stone" and wrote about it in his book "Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards". Didn't he use to have a forum here? Steve
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[quote] [b]A singer/songwriter collaborates with a bunch of musicians to record a produced demo. The working relationship is that it is a collablorative project. The musicans create thier parts and contribute to the arrangements. The demo is completed.....[/b] [/quote]Judging from the above it is difficult to determine if the song was actually written before the collaboration began as opposed to everyone coming together and coming up with a track from scratch. Also it appears that this project was still at the demo stage and not necessarily ready for an SR form used to protect a master recording ready for mass duplication.
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