#1
Okay. I'll make this as easy as possible.

-Person A creates a song for his band.
-Band adopts the song and adds their touches of all the instruments needed
-Time moves on and the song becomes a piece of the whole band and not as that of just Person A's mind

-Person A causes dilemma for whole band
-Band kicks person A's ass to the curb.

Here's where my question kicks in... Is person A LEGALLY by any means able to revoke the use of the song he brewed within the band way in the past, even if the whole band left their imprint onto it, and he never LEGALLY copyrighted it or whatnot?

I realize this is a mildly trivial subject, but this guy I'm sure will do anything he can to tear his surroundings down if we decide to throw him out of the band. I wont give any backstory here, but it's common knowledge that he full well deserves it.
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#2
I would think that the idea is still his but each member has rights to their own parts of the song. I'm not sure.
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#3
i'm pretty sure he wouldn't have any legal power, at least not enough to take you to court or anything. if i were you and you really hate the dude, write down what his part is on a piece of paper, like tab it out, sign the bottom, write "copyright pending" put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. when you get it back DON"T OPEN IT. file it away somewhere.. kick him out, and if he threatens legal action just say you wrote it and pull out the envelope.

it's a total **** move but it would probably work if he threatened legal action.
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#4
It's like when Dave mustaine was kicked out of Metallica. The whole Kill em all record is Dave Mustaines riffs and solos. He told them not to use it. But since it wasn't copyrighted they could just deny that he wrote any of it.

I would talk to the band and ask for the lyrics and the music you wrote not to be used because it is yours. But they can keep what they wrote.
#8
well wouldn't you both have rights to it no matter who wrote i mean when you see these professional bands break up and go solo they still perform songs from when they were together does it matter who wrote it it's the bands even if one guy gets kicked out everyone still has rights to the song
#9
I don't know about the legality but you shouldn't use his song if he doesn't want you to.
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#10
Any problems that may arise will only arise when the song is recorded without the member in question.
It can be said that because the rest of the band have contributed to the end resulting song, then they are co-authors of the song, but as a co-author himself, he may require some sort of royalty payment.
Of course, he'd have to prove that he did indeed co-write the song first.
He can of course always record his own version that adheares to his original verson before any of the rest of you added to it, but if he uses any of the parts written by others, he could then be liable to pay royalties to whoever wrote the extra parts.
Remember though, copyright usualy refers only to words and melody, so if he was the person who wrote the words and melody and you guys only added very basic riffs and a beat, he may well be justified in calling himself 'sole owner' of the song in question, but that doesn't mean you can't perform it. Any band can play a cover of any other band's or musician's music at a live gig but it's when it's recorded that copyright and royalties get involved.
Royalties are payable for amount of copies made, not sold, so for each copy you make you'll probably have to pay him a royaly fee, about 2% of the wholesale price I think.
He can of course object to you recording and releasing his music, but as long as you do everything by the book, offer him the royalty payment ect, it's going to cost him a lot of money in court to get some sort of legal result for himself, so it's hardly likely that he'll do anything legal unless he realy hates you and has money to burn, think about it, why should he if the song is earning him money?

But check this with axemanchris, he knows a lot more about this kinda stuff than I do.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Dec 10, 2008,
#11
You're pretty much on there.

It sounds like person A wrote the lyrics and melody. That means that, no matter what riffs, drum beats, bass lines, fills, crescendos, or whatever else that anyone else in the band, or the band as a whole contributed the song was still written by person A. Lyrics and melodic content. That is all that counts when copyrighting a song.

Look through your CDs at writing credits. Most times, most songs are credited to one or two writers. Even look at the Beatles. They're listed as Lennon/McCartney. It would be foolish to believe for a second that George Harrison or Ringo didn't have any input. As I say... look through your own CD collection and see. The evidence is overwhelming.

Now, nobody can prohibit anybody from performing a song live. This explains why VanHagar, despite all the bad blood between them and David Lee Roth were still 'allowed' to play some of the old VH songs. You can pretty much bet that if DLR had any power to stop that, that he probably would have.

Yes, the problem comes when a person who didn't write the song, or a person who co-wrote, but is assigned less than half of the co-writing credit decides to record or re-record the song. For most songs, all that is required isn't so much permission from the actual writer, but permission from the publisher. Often times, an independent writer (along with most major label recording artists) will register their song with the CMRRA, Harry Fox Agency, BMI or whatever, assigning them the rights to administer licencing. So, if I wanted to cover a song by, say, Rush (a Canadian band), I would go to the CMRRA (Canada's music licencing resource), and see if the song is in their database of songs that they have been given permission to licence. If it is, I simply fill out the appropriate paperwork, and pay the going rate, about 7.2 cents per copy made, to the CMRRA. The CMRRA then sends a cheque to Lee, Peart and Liefson (because they are often all listed as writers) and they get their money. By the time they get their cheque, it is pretty much too late for them to rescind permission to record it.

Now, the problem here comes with who owns the copyright. Neither of you can prove who wrote it. That was dumb on his part, and is malevolently selfish on yours. Technically, a work is copyrighted as soon as it is created and committed to a fixed medium. (CD, paper, etc.) Yes, the trick now between you is proving it.

If you guys have a soul and a conscience, you'll do the right thing. If you don't, the music business has a strange way of ensuring Karma comes back and kicks your ass. Please post it on YouTube for us all to see when it does.

I think your best solution is, as mentioned, acknowledge that he is the writer, give him full credit for that, and continue to perform the song live, which is your right to do. (the venue pays a blanket fee every year to SOCAN, ASCAP, etc.) which allows them to have performances of copyrighted material). If you choose to record or re-record it, you need to compensate him for it in some way that he is in agreement to. Maybe offer a lump-sum to buy the song off him outright? Maybe offer him 5-10 cents per copy made? Maybe you can come to some other agreement between you.


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Last edited by axemanchris at Dec 10, 2008,
#12
Whenever you create anything you will immediately have copyrights for it. You don't need to apply for them. After creating something you can license it, but you will still have the copyrights to your work before licensing it.
#13
whoever copyrights it first gets it
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#14
Quote by FightinIrishPJ
i'm pretty sure he wouldn't have any legal power, at least not enough to take you to court or anything. if i were you and you really hate the dude, write down what his part is on a piece of paper, like tab it out, sign the bottom, write "copyright pending" put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. when you get it back DON"T OPEN IT. file it away somewhere.. kick him out, and if he threatens legal action just say you wrote it and pull out the envelope.

it's a total **** move but it would probably work if he threatened legal action.


That 'old man's copyright' method is a myth, it won't have any legal standing in court.
#15
axemanchris is bang on, everything he said is correct-a-mundo.

the "home copyright" method of mailing copyrighted works to yourself is pretty flimsy in court, but if you send it by registered mail which has an official date/time stamp on it, it's better than nothing.

but yeah, you guys can play the song live all you want. but if you intend to record and or profit from that song, you have to give you ex-bandmate credit and or royalties for it.

it's true that he probably can't prove anything, and in your particular case, it's probably something you could get away with. but you'd be such a ****ing dick for doing that.
#16
My general feeling of the "right thing to do" is that no matter who exactly wrote the song it's the creative property of everyone in the band at that time. So if a person leaves the song should still remain to the band that it was performed with. IMO the song was "given" to the band and belongs equally to all members since everyone contributed.

If only people who wrote lyrics and melody are entitled to having their names on songwriting credits who in their right mind would want to play drums?
#17
That's kinda like saying that all the people who work at Burger King should be entitled to the licensing income generated whenever a new store opens. Nope. Most of 'em just flip burgers or take money and make change.

Although some bands feel the same way you do, many/most do not. Take a look through your own CD collection and look at the songwriting credits. You'll find a compelling pattern that shows that the songs are almost exclusively written by one or two people. Even the Beatles... most songs are listed as written by Lennon/McCartney. Of course, Ringo and Harrison had a part in bringing them to life, along with their producer, George Martin.

Most AC/DC songs are Young/Young/Johnson. As I say... go through your own collection and see what you find.

Who would want to play drums? Or guitar for that matter? Someone who plays those instruments, plays them well, likes the music, and enjoys that lifestyle associated with being a musician. Simple, really. They either make $X playing with a band, or $X driving a fork lift.... I'd pick the music job if it was offered to me, and if I could make it work for my needs and goals.

But the real money is in the creating.

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.
#18
Sure why not, I'd like to see how well a fast food chain runs as an 18 hour a day one man show lol. Soldiers in the military generally get equal credit (in the public eye/media) with the generals and commanders in the field, maybe music should be the same?

Seriously though everything you are saying is spot on correct. I agree that most songs are written by one or two people. But I feel that a drummer or anyone else can have just as much impact on how he/she plays their instrument and writes parts for it that I feel they should deserve to be a part of the credits, not just a mechanical royalty. The lyrics and melody are what make the song what it is but I think if you can't give equal credit to the people who help make the songs sound really really good then as I said that's not the right thing to do.

If people are fighting over who's songs go on an album so they can get bigger royalty checks than their band mates well, that doesn't lead to a positive creative environment.

Would you agree that they should at least still be able to record (with co-writing credits) OR perform the song/s in question?
#19
Do what my band does, I am te only one who knows theory or alot of guitar and so if I get kicked out they wont know how to do my part. They might try but it wont sound the same and I have confidence it would sound awful to the original version. Just get the lyrics you write credited to you and they can't do much.
#20
Quote by skeleb
Whenever you create anything you will immediately have copyrights for it. You don't need to apply for them. After creating something you can license it, but you will still have the copyrights to your work before licensing it.



Exactly, some people have strange thoughts about copyright on this board. And on broader scale too, most of common people playing music have no idea, or false ideas what copyright is.

I'd advice everyone to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright and checkout your own country's jurisdiction concerning it.


In your situation I'd advice to talk to person A about it.. If he/she feels it's not ok, I wouldn't do it.