#1
Hello. I have a situation I'm in and I was just looking to get some input on what my legal rights are in this case. Can I post questions like that here?
#2
Is the question about copyright or something similar relating to your recordings? If not, then no you can't and you've also created a spam thread...

But seeing as you've made the thread now, it kinda makes sense for you to at least post the question and we can decide whether it's worth answering.
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#3
This is my story...
I was in a band for a year and we played a lot of shows with some covers and 7 originals. I was leaving the band because I was leaving the area so we decided to record 6 of those songs and put an album. One of the songs had already been recorded as an acoustic, so we skipped that one. So last Summer we all made an investment and recorded the songs. The sound engineer was under contract but he broke the time frame on the contract and the songs are finally just about to be released.

Since last Summer the other guys in the band found a new bassist and added another guitarist to the band (which is cool) and they went into the studio and cut 4 songs, one of them just redoing one of the songs we recorded, one of them doing an electric version of the song that was acoustic and then two new ones that they had already written without the two members, but had them play on. They also did an acoustic remix of another song of the 6. Now this part I was never approached about. It's great that they are recording more, but they never talked to me about this and at first told me they were adding it to the album. We got into an argument about the thank you's on the album because I wanted to thank God. Also they wanted to sell the whole thing 9 songs with two acoustic remixes for $5. I told them it should be a dollar a song at least and they fought me, I got them to talk to someone who had a lot of experience and they agreed. Then they said they were done talking about things via message and they would only do voice conference or in person. I said actually I'll be in town next week, lets talk about things.

I went and they said they had decided that they were going to release the album with only the new tracks on it and they were going to release the tracks I played on via the web for free as bonus content. One of the six songs I wrote and sang main vocal. I said that's not what we agreed to, I have a verbal agreement and a written statement of all this where we discussed. This new stuff you guys have is cool and all, but that was never part of the agreement, and I never even got asked about that, that should be totally different and out of this deal were talking about. I said if they wanted to bundle all of the songs in a CD, that's cool and the new guys can make some money putting in an investment on the printing of the CDs. They said no because the newer stuff is a little better quality and they didn't want to sell the old stuff for $1 song. I told them I can't sell this CD to anyone when I'm not on the CD, and I have a lot of people who liked what they heard and said they will buy it and I'm not cool with the other stuff being released on the net, we didn't agree to that. They said in this you're either for us or against us and they had to leave, think about it.

Next time we met up I tried to talk to them about looking at all the options, but they said no, here's the deal. We've decided we don't want to deal with you, so were taking out all your bass parts on the tracks. Bye. I said you have a verbal and written agreement, this is not what we'd agreed to. Now I'm going to eat the investment cost and time spent and have no rights or credits on the songs? The guitarist/singer who has been acting like a jerk in this walked off. The other two stayed said they wanted to sell it for $5 and they really wanted the other songs on the album, but they didn't want to raise the price, or put two different quality of songs on the same CD. I showed them they would make more money doing it that way, they said they didn't want to make money, just get it out to the most people, so I said you get it out to more people if you have me being able to market and sell this as well, plus we can send CDs out to college radio stations and different places when we make our money back faster and they said no, they didn't want to send it out to anyone. I told them I wanted win-win, and they're trying to make me lose out on this deal. Then I told them if they won't talk to me I'd have to take legal action. Then they walked away from the conversation.

At this point I think what I'm going to do is text them all and say listen, you can't do this, the way you're treating me is bogus. You're in verbal agreement with written confirmation and if you don't stop wasting my time and sit down and talk to me in the next 48 hours I'm getting legal help.

I think I could prosecute them for breaking an agreement and have this album made and make my point. I don't know if I'd get my legal fees covered. I think I should since I'd have to go to that point. I really just want to sit down and talk with them.

I think I should be able to get the songs on an album. Either with the new songs, or on an entirely separate CD. I really just want to sit down and talk to them. I'd probably be willing to say hey listen guys, lets buy 100 CDs and first one to sell 20 is able to buy the rest of the CDs at manufacturing price. But I can't do any of that when they're not willing to listen to me. It's their way or the highway.
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?
Last edited by reelbigfish2020 at Mar 14, 2012,
#4
Unless there was a lawyer involved there is no real agreement. If they replace your parts on them album and you have no proof you helped write it the. You have absolutely no chance at all especially if no copyright was registered.
Last edited by FireHawk at Mar 14, 2012,
#5
I think that they would be very dickish if they gave you no songwriting credit on the album insert and didn't put your name next to theirs for each of the songs you wrote/co-wrote, but as far as the rest of it goes I see it like this:

They have every legal right not to show any images of you/mention you in a band line-up on any promotional stuff for it, other than as I mentioned above, and you'd be pretty hard-pushed to do much about the rest of it.

Look at it this way though... unless they are suddenly very lucky, it's not like they're going to make much money from this at all in the immediate future - probably not even enough to cover the cost of making the album for a year or so, if they don't have a large label behind you to promote it. And the pricing thing you suggested is a bit crazy if you ask me... my band's new album is coming out very soon and we're looking at probably £5 at gigs, £5.99 bought online (then 79p per track on iTunes) and to me that is about right for an unsigned band. That is deliberately lower than the RRP a major release would typically cost because a smaller, less-established band has to undercut the major acts a little to encourage people to give it a try.

At the end of the day, why not just copy the songs you did with them onto CD-R's and give them to your mates? If you aren't about the money, then it won't matter that you aren't making money from it, and your mates all get to hear you/a memento. On my band's last release (excluding a 2009 demo), I wasn't playing on half the songs as they were recorded before I joined... didn't bother me
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#6
With regards to the album pricing, I absolutely agree with DisarmGoliath. Out here in LA, people tend to give them away for free or sell very cheap because otherwise nobody would even think about giving it a listen. I was at a bar a couple weeks ago with a killer band doing some amazing things. I would have bought a CD and probably dug it a lot, except these idiots were charging $15 for a 10 song CD. I can't even remember the name of the band now.... I won't pay more than $5 for a CD, and that's usually common.

As for the intellectual rights.... I would probably just let it go. Especially at this point, I don't think credits for a small handful of songs are worth the hassle. I'd just let them have the material.
#7
Quote by Reildeal
With regards to the album pricing, I absolutely agree with DisarmGoliath. Out here in LA, people tend to give them away for free or sell very cheap because otherwise nobody would even think about giving it a listen. I was at a bar a couple weeks ago with a killer band doing some amazing things. I would have bought a CD and probably dug it a lot, except these idiots were charging $15 for a 10 song CD. I can't even remember the name of the band now.... I won't pay more than $5 for a CD, and that's usually common.

As for the intellectual rights.... I would probably just let it go. Especially at this point, I don't think credits for a small handful of songs are worth the hassle. I'd just let them have the material.

Yep, and to go with what you're saying about literally giving their CD's away, my band have sold the 2009 3-track demo at gigs for the past few years for £1 each, and on our tour this December gone we were giving it away free, as we'd rather have the exposure and stay in people's minds than make a tiny profit through selling fewer CD's.
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#8
Quote by FireHawk
Unless there was a lawyer involved there is no real agreement. If they replace your parts on them album and you have no proof you helped write it the. You have absolutely no chance at all especially if no copyright was registered.


Verbal agreement is binding in Ohio, and I have a written statement.
#9
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Yep, and to go with what you're saying about literally giving their CD's away, my band have sold the 2009 3-track demo at gigs for the past few years for £1 each, and on our tour this December gone we were giving it away free, as we'd rather have the exposure and stay in people's minds than make a tiny profit through selling fewer CD's.


Well, we've got a grass roots following and really I think anyone who would buy this for $5 will buy it for $10. I talked to a mentor about this, one of the most experienced and honest guys around here who makes recordings that make the radio and little local bands and he advised me not to underprice the record because then people will think it's cheap garage music recorded with something a little better than a cell phone. We used professional studios. I get the point about getting the music out there, but by selling for $10 a copy won't cut the people who buy it in half. And, if these guys cut me from being on the album, their cutting at least 20% of the people who will hear it through me marketing, probably more. I get the $0.79 per song idea, and that sounds cool. I think you should charge more for an album because it's physical copy, and the quality will be way better than anything you can get online. I know we can make our money back easy, not worried about that.
People pay $10 for two beers, we shouldn't be ashamed of giving them a good album for that. Anyway, money or not, getting the music out to more people is still in their favor and I don't think they can just kick me out of an agreement. At this point I'm pretty POed and I'm in it for the principal of the matter. I want to have a good looking CD I can hand real people in business. Not some burnt copy that looks like crap. I'm a professional, I want a successful model and a product that is filled through and through with hard work and soul to hand to people representing us.
Last edited by reelbigfish2020 at Mar 14, 2012,
#10
Quote by reelbigfish2020
Well, we've got a grass roots following and really I think anyone who would buy this for $5 will buy it for $10. I talked to a mentor about this, one of the most experienced and honest guys around here who makes recordings that make the radio and little local bands and he advised me not to underprice the record because then people will think it's cheap garage music recorded with something a little better than a cell phone. We used professional studios. I get the point about getting the music out there, but by selling for $10 a copy won't cut the people who buy it in half. And, if these guys cut me from being on the album, their cutting at least 20% of the people who will hear it through me marketing, probably more. I get the $0.79 per song idea, and that sounds cool. I think you should charge more for an album because it's physical copy, and the quality will be way better than anything you can get online. I know we can make our money back easy, not worried about that.

Well, without giving away too much (as the rest of the band probably don't want me divulging everything about the new record, as you never know who might go trawling through google search results and find something to knock you for!) we have also used pro studios and gear, and I've done the mixing/mastering myself (have had stuff on small-time radio shows before, including preview mixes of two tracks off our new album) so it's not like people will think less because of the price, but we are in talks to have the album released on vinyl too, through a label that re-released our debut album on vinyl a few years ago and paid us fairly for it, so if that does indeed go through we'd price the vinyl higher than the CD, as a sort of collectible.

I suppose $10 isn't crazy given the currency rates between £ and $, but I'd still think $8 would be a more sensible price for a full-length by a band that aren't getting regular airtime on national radio and doing full-page interviews in the major music mags.
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#11
I'm don't have the your figures in front of me. But say for typical small scale band that use a professional studio and is maybe small scale touring so far your balance looks like this.

Cost of recording - 2000
Cost of printing cds $200 (150)
Album art/Poster campaign and Misc Costs - 300

Total project 2500
divided by 5

Your currently down say $500 a piece
Albums sold to cover $2500 recording cost @ $10.00 - 250

Cost of 2nd print. $200

Assuming you sell out that run (300 units) that gives you 500 profit split across 9 songs
55.5 dollar per song.
times that by the the six, the number you were involved in 333 (I'm keeping this simple)
dividing that 5 ways (each member of the band)
Your profit after 2 sell out runs of 150 cds. is $66

Legal costs. $75 hour minimum. Length of case for the lawyer maybe ten hours.
$750

So you want to spend another $750 to MAYBE get your $66 and lose some friends. Plus if they tour you'll lose any chance of riding coat tails.

Personally... I would get credit. Stay friends. Let them release the stuff for free and you can do the same to promote the material for yourself later.

I get it, you spent a heap of money and now you want a product to show for it. But why would a band want to release and promote old material? They have new members and as a band they need to move forward. Record promotion at this stage of the game is about increasing band awareness, building audience numbers, booking better shows and re-fining the song writing and stage-craft. Not selling a million records.

I don't want to burst the bubble here and I hope I'm wrong. But if it's your friends and extended friends/ fan base that are saying they will buy. I think you will be disappointed. 9 /10 won't they are just being nice.

If I'm wrong get them to pre-order. IF I'm wrong then you point to the pre-order numbers and convince your ex band members. Conversion to sell ratios at a high 40 to 50% (more like 5% -20%)you'll be need something like 1000 fans.

But you're an adult. Do what you want.
Last edited by Wild Hopkins at Mar 14, 2012,
#12
Wow... lots here. I'll try to pick it apart bit by bit.

Please keep in mind that I am NOT a lawyer, and this should not count as your following through on getting legal advice.

Okay, so...

Quote by reelbigfish2020
I was leaving the band because I was leaving the area...
...the other guys in the band found a new bassist and added another guitarist to the band


So, you have quit the band and have been replaced. This is important. More so the first part than the latter.


Quote by reelbigfish2020

They also did an acoustic remix of another song of the 6. Now this part I was never approached about. It's great that they are recording more, but they never talked to me about this


Why would they? You quit the band. The only permission they would need from you would be that if you wrote more than 50% of the song. If you even wrote 50% of the song, then the other band members together still own the other 50% - or in other words, enough of the song to grant whatever permissions are required.

If you split up with your wife and she decides to build a bookshelf out of the coffee table, that's her prerogative... unless you own the coffee table.


Quote by reelbigfish2020

We got into an argument about the thank you's on the album because I wanted to thank God.


You quit the band. Why are you even being included in the discussion about who to list in the "thank yous"? Particularly given that (as is outlined below), your parts have been replaced, so you don't even play on the album?


Quote by reelbigfish2020
Also they wanted to sell the whole thing 9 songs with two acoustic remixes for $5. I told them it should be a dollar a song at least and they fought me,


It's their band. If ex-wife wants to sell the coffee table for 50 cents or $500 or give the damned thing away, it's not your conversation to have, unless it's your coffee table.


Quote by reelbigfish2020

I went and they said they had decided that they were going to release the album with only the new tracks on it


Their band. Their say. Politically, this is probably easier because they know that you don't have any real hope of interfering or making their lives difficult if they can distance themselves from you entirely.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
and they were going to release the tracks I played on via the web for free as bonus content. One of the six songs I wrote and sang main vocal.


By showing up as a member of the band and playing your part when the record button was on, you authorized the use of your performance for that recording. You do have rights as a performer, but unfortunately, they don't extend very far. If they wanted to lift your bass line and use it on another song, for instance, they would have to ask you. As it is, your performances (whether they be vocal or bass) are being used for what you authorized them to be used for.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
I have a verbal agreement and a written statement of all this where we discussed.


NOW we're talking!! Maybe. A verbal agreement is usually binding in many places. The problem is proving that there was, indeed, a verbal agreement. All it takes for the other guys in the band to all deny it, and you look like an idiot there in front of the judge insisting that you had one.

The written statement could well help you. The catch is:
-what does it say, exactly?
-who signed it?
-was it witnessed?

The stronger all of this is, the more binding this agreement is.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
I said if they wanted to bundle all of the songs in a CD, that's cool


"I told my ex wife that if she wanted to sell the coffee table and the kitchen set, that's cool." Great. Not like she needs your permission to sell stuff you don't own.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
and the new guys can make some money putting in an investment on the printing of the CDs. They said no because the newer stuff is a little better quality and they didn't want to sell the old stuff for $1 song... I showed them they would make more money doing it that way, they said they didn't want to make money, just get it out to the most people, so I said you get it out to more people if you have me being able to market and sell this as well, plus we can send CDs out to college radio stations and different places when we make our money back faster and they said no, they didn't want to send it out to anyone.


Again, though... this is a business that you are no longer a part of. You can offer guidance and friendly advice, but they have absolutely no obligation to consider any of it as any more than that.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
I told them I can't sell this CD to anyone when I'm not on the CD, and I have a lot of people who liked what they heard and said they will buy it


... except it's not your CD....


Quote by reelbigfish2020
and I'm not cool with the other stuff being released on the net, we didn't agree to that.


See above. How binding does that agreement seem to be? Otherwise, it's their band again.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
We've decided we don't want to deal with you, so were taking out all your bass parts on the tracks. Bye. I said you have a verbal and written agreement, this is not what we'd agreed to.


Here is where they are distancing themselves from you. It is business and it is strategic, and it seems to me that is what their best option is, given that a former member is threatening legal action.

Unless, of course, that written agreement has some strength.


Quote by reelbigfish2020
Now I'm going to eat the investment cost and time spent and have no rights or credits on the songs?


Now, here is where you DO have ONE thing. You said you wrote one of the songs. That song is YOURS!! Ex-wife wants to sell the love-seat? Not if it belongs to you, she can't! They need YOUR permission to use the song. They also need to pay you to use the song, unless you have an agreement otherwise, or unless you want to use your legal right of ownership to not ask anything in return for using it.

How they use the song is entirely up to you, from how many copies they can make, to whether or not you are included in the liner notes as a writer, or even how much of the song they can use. You only want them to use the first two verses and the chorus, but not the third verse? Your prerogative. You want to make their use conditional upon giving in to all of your other demands as listed above? You can do that too. Be careful, though, if the price is too high, they'll say "screw it" and walk away.

There IS one other thing, though, which I will cover last.

Quote by reelbigfish2020

I don't know if I'd get my legal fees covered. I think I should since I'd have to go to that point.


... and this is always a huge consideration. How much do you want to spend protecting something? I mean, sure, if you win, you can almost always get your legal fees back as part of the settlement. But are you sure enough that you don't feel the need to be prepared to lose, thereby having to pay THEIR legal fees?


Quote by reelbigfish2020

I think I should be able to get the songs on an album. Either with the new songs, or on an entirely separate CD.


You can put your songs on whatever album you wish, as long as whoever is releasing the album is willing to put it on and you're willing to let them do it. If they aren't willing, then they aren't willing. It's their album. You have no more a say in this band than you do in Eddie Van Halen's band.

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.
#13
Now... for that one thing....

You USED to be in this band. In any business, you are either an owner, an employee, or an independent contractor. Consider Dan's Shoe Emporium. Dan is the owner. He has six employees. The guy downstairs fixing the toilet right now is an independent contractor.

What does that mean for you? Well, the difference between an owner and an employee is that an employee expects to draw a predictable wage, whereas an owner expects to have a say in how the business operates. An independent contractor expects to have the parameters of his/her contract met, which invariably amounts to some compensation in exchange for some service.

As a band member, I'm assuming you were an owner. That means, then, that there was an understood partnership. Unless otherwise defined, the expectation is that the partnership was equal. Four guys in a band means that each person owns 25% of the business.

That means, when you leave, you are entitled to 25% of the business' net assets (that is, once debts are taken into consideration). You can take that in any way the business agrees to. Could be money, materials, future interest, or any combination thereof that you agree to. BAND assets, though. The drummer's kit is a personal asset and does not belong to the business. The other guitar player's song is a personal asset and does not belong to the business.

So, when you walked away from that band, you were entitled to take part of that band with you. If it is like most bands, there ARE no band assets, so you basically walk. Is there a band account? Is there band merch? The discs aren't printed yet, so those are not yet assets. But if the money was there to print them, where was that money from - was it band money, or personal money? You might have a stake in that.

Where I'm going with this is:

It might jeopardize your friendship and relationships with the other band members to take the angle of forcing yourself into their asset pool and taking your share. But the fact that you do own SOME portion of the band could be used as a "trading point" for a place in the discussion as to what songs to include and how to include them.

"I'm not going to ask you guys for $300 of the $1200 in the band fund and for the power amp that belongs to the PA system that we bought, which I see as my 25% of the PA, but in return, I'm going to ask that you include this song and that song on your CD, and I want to be entitled to 20% of the sales of that 10-song CD."

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.
#14
Disarmgoliath and Axemanchris hit it on the head man. These guys sound like people you want to listen to bro.