Sandwich8080
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2010
719 IQ
#1
I checked through the Copyright for Dummies thread and I didn't see this (but I could have overlooked it.)

Long story short, in 2010 the band I was in broke up after releasing a 12-song CD. The bandmates are no longer interested in working together, but all three of us seem to be interested in re-recording some or all of the songs on solo projects or with a new group. So what are the legal procedures of doing this? I doubt it will happen, but if "Joe" starts making money on one of our songs, I want my fair share. I also don't want to start recording and get a cease and desist order. So what do we need to do?
ccannon1
Band Geek
Join date: Sep 2010
1,331 IQ
#2
Write new songs. hahaha.

If you want to keep those songs, you have to prove that you own the copyright to them. Do any of you have any idea who owns the copyright at this moment?
Captaincranky
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2011
288 IQ
#3
Copyright automatically attaches when an artistic work is "made tangible".

so, you had to have written down said songs, and attached the writer's names to it.

I suspect if you created this music in a full band context, or didn't file formal copyright paperwork, y'all are gonna hafta sit down and talk it over.

But wait, there's more. Even with original music, in the artists own hand, but without filing for copyright, that sheet music would only amount to "plaintiff's exhibit one", in court proceedings.
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#4
A song, by definition, is conventionally defined as lyrics and melody. Nobody cares who wrote the drum beats, or the guitar riff, or the solo or the bass lines. They're dressing. Production. They do not, in their own right, generally qualify as a part of the actual composition.

So...

Let's say the Beatles break up in 1970. "Do You Want to Know a Secret" is a Lennon-McCartney composition. They own it 50/50. McCartney wants to re-do the song with his new band, Wings. No prob. He owns half of the song. John can moan all he wants, but he doesn't own any more of it than Paul, so he doesn't have a leg to stand on. George Harrison decides he wants to re-record it too. He needs to get permission from and pay royalties to both John and Paul. George can step up and say, "but Dude.... I wrote the guitar part, and I even SANG the bloody song!" Sorry, George... nobody cares. Point is, you didn't write the song.

Now, Lennon decides that the Plastic Ono Band should re-do Eleanor Rigby. It was written by McCartney alone. John needs to get permission from Paul and pay him royalties.

Now, Ringo's band is on tour, and because he is Ringo and a former member of the Beatles, people want to hear some Beatles' songs. But he doesn't own any of them. At all! That's still okay, because to play them live, you don't need permission, and generally speaking, it is up to the venue to play a blanket license to a performing rights organization (PRO) that allows them to host performances of copyrighted material.

But in the end, yes, you need to sit down with your former band mates and hash out who wrote which parts of the songs. If there is animosity, and you want to win, but do it right, try this....

"Hey guys.... we need to sort out who wrote what from these songs for copyright purposes. Ringo... you wrote the drums, right? George, you wrote all the guitar parts, right? Paul, you wrote the bass part, right? And is everyone in agreement that I wrote the lyrics and melody? Great. Sign here." If people are in agreement with those statements, they'll be happy to claim that as their own. If you, indeed, wrote the lyrics and melody, they should be happy to agree to that too. If anyone contests anything, you need to talk about it.

Of course, if they're savvy, they might know that you're trying to make sure that the song ownership belongs to you entirely. That might be a problem.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at May 31, 2013,
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
Join date: Aug 2008
1,703 IQ
#6
Yeah a lot of this suff boils down to in the end either making a written agreement with your bandmates to a certain effect or otherwise being realistic about what you actually contributed to the writing if a song.

I was in a band that was due to record an EP soonish. Bass player quit. We needed a new bass player. Got one who recorded the songs for the EP. Note that these songs were written before the bass player joined, bass player wrote some new basslines for the songs.

Soon after the EP was written, the bass player sought songwriting entitlements to the songs, as well as the rightto control her likeness re: photos of the band on the cd. Ended up having no photos of anyone on the cd as a result, rather than simply omitting the bass player.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#7
Quote by AlanHB
the bass player sought songwriting entitlements to the songs,


Which isn't really unusual, even if they only "wrote" the bass line or whatever. Many bands will do this (ex. "all songs written by Obliterated") as a gesture of good faith to keep everyone happy and "equal."

Quote by AlanHB

as well as the rightto control her likeness re: photos of the band on the cd.


That's a bit petty. I mean, really... you're going to use her likeness for band promo material. You can just ask her which photo she wants used, if any. If she quits the band, and it's an original band, and she wants to have the authority to veto the use of her image on a re-issue of the CD, well... wow. Imagine having to change the iconic "Queen II" album cover because Brian May got all in a snit for some reason and said "you can't use my picture." Petty. If she quits the band and you're putting up show posters for promoting a gig, you're going to use a picture of the band with the new bass player - not yer. Her being able to veto the use of her image there is a bit redundant.

I'm really curious as to what her concerns are and where she's coming from.

Quote by AlanHB

Ended up having no photos of anyone on the cd as a result, rather than simply omitting the bass player.


So the rest of you didn't give in. Probably the best possible solution.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jun 2, 2013,