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Legal Advice Please DAW Software
Old 29th August 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Legal Advice Please

I’m after some legal advice if I may.

I played guitar in a band writing original material about 5 years ago. The singer did a runner one day and no one ever saw him again. Let’s call him Bob. We know Bob still exists because he’s on You Tube / My Space etc…

Well, here in the UK there’s a terrestrial TV show being aired at the moment where the title song is one we used to play in the band and it’s being sung by Bob, though he’s using a new recording.

The writing in the band was a joint effort. Bob would come to me or the rest of the band together with an idea, and we would all hash it out into a ‘finished’ song. I remember us getting external help from a songwriter around this time too, but I don’t remember specifically what input he had (if any) on this song. We had an agreement that any money we did make would be split between the four of us in the band. But of course, I don’t have this in writing.

Now the title music is only an extract from the whole song (namely the chorus), but it seems rather cheeky to be using something from the band days. Especially after the hard graft we all put into writing / arranging / rehearsals and gigging. I am a trained musician and would show Bob how to structure, arrange and harmonise etc…

I’ve spoken to another member of the band who is rather passive about it, the other member is currently out of the country.

So what do you think? Do I have any legal legs to stand on? And how does one go about progressing if so? I don’t really want to pay money for legal advice at the moment as I’m currently unemployed.

I greatly appreciate any advice you can offer

Thank you very much
tv
Old 29th August 2007
  #2
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Sigma's Avatar
was the song copyrighted? if so who is on it?

people can sometimes win these cases without the proper copyright info , but you have a big burdon of proof.."old recordings? , dated materials with some sort of proof of when and who wrote the material?

I'd prob chalk it up to a lesson learned...ahh always put it in wriitng and copyright EVERY song with writers and splits

good luck
Old 29th August 2007
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Hi, thanks for the quick response.

No copyright in writing unfortunately, no. I do have (or rather, can get hold of)a recording of the band playing the song, yes.

What about evidence from people? I mean, I was prompted to post here as a friend of mine emailed me this morning to say he recognised the song after watching the program on TV last night.

I know lots of people who came to our gigs and knew our songs quite well.

Cheers
tv
Old 29th August 2007
  #4
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvhurts View Post
Hi, thanks for the quick response.

No copyright in writing unfortunately, no. I do have (or rather, can get hold of)a recording of the band playing the song, yes.

What about evidence from people? I mean, I was prompted to post here as a friend of mine emailed me this morning to say he recognised the song after watching the program on TV last night.

I know lots of people who came to our gigs and knew our songs quite well.

Cheers
tv
you need to proove

1. the song was cowritten by you
2. that you had an legal agreement to split royalties

why not contact him first?
Old 29th August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 

If you have recordings of you guys doing the song, you have three legs to stand on. The real question is whether or not there's enough money to be had by persuing it legally.
Old 29th August 2007
  #6
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvhurts View Post
Hi, thanks for the quick response.

No copyright in writing unfortunately, no. I do have (or rather, can get hold of)a recording of the band playing the song, yes.

What about evidence from people? I mean, I was prompted to post here as a friend of mine emailed me this morning to say he recognised the song after watching the program on TV last night.

I know lots of people who came to our gigs and knew our songs quite well.

Cheers
tv
you need to prove

1. the song was cowritten by you
2. that you had an legal agreement to split royalties
Old 29th August 2007
  #7
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loujudson's Avatar
Here in the USA there are lawyers' associations that will give a half hour consultation for a $30 DONATION to the legal aid society, no obligation, and they will tell you honestly if you have a case or not. I'd see about doing that, so a real lawyer can advise you...

Lou
Old 29th August 2007
  #8
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HEADROOM's Avatar
 

You need people that were actually there when the song was being written.....bandmembers or visitors that can and will testify you co wrote the song.

You dont have a strong case IMO and unless this song is going platin I think you d be better of leaving it and move on.

lesson learnt....
Old 29th August 2007
  #9
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TheRealRoach's Avatar
Hey man,

I know that in Canada copyright is immediate and automatic upon fixation of the work. Fixation as in written music, recorded music, anything that can potentially be copied and reproduced in any tangible form. Because you're in the Commonwealth as well I'm pretty sure the same rules apply. Look up the Copyright Act for your country.

Of course the difficulty as mentioned before is in proving it, and whether it is worth it. The best bet is to contact this guy stating your concern. Hopefully he will be reasonable enough to at least open up communication with you.

Keep us posted.
Old 29th August 2007
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Im not a lawyer but I took a fair amount of copyright law in college. I may be way off base but this is what i remeber. In the US you most likely wouldnt have a case. RealRoach is right, according to our laws as soon as something is put in print or recorded it is basically coppywritten, but how to prove it.

Pro tools has a time code type of thing which could be proven, or if you did it on another DAW theres a chance you could retrieve that. If you physically wrote out the music that could be evidence but youd have to have it date stamped some how which would be close to impossible to prove.

I think everyone above is correct, may not be worth your time and effort. Lots of these types of cases are lost with decent proof, of which your proof is dodgy at best. I beleive if you got other band members involved itd be his word against yours, which probably wouldnt stand up.

Again your in another country so things may be way different, but in the US thatd be an extremely hard case to win I beleive.
Old 29th August 2007
  #11
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lowfreq33's Avatar
 

I think your only chance would be if :
a) You talk to him, he realizes that you deserve a cut of the royalties since the song is partially based on your work.
-or-
b) You threaten legal action and he's intimidated enough to settle.
Old 29th August 2007
  #12
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thearnicasync's Avatar
 

Just out of morbid industrial curiosity:

Did you write the chorus? That's on TV, that is.
You said he came with an idea. What was the idea? The verse? A lyrical hook?

Unless you genuinely wrote the music in question, you should leave it alone. Just my one, unsolicited opinion.

What's a runner, anyway?


Last edited by thearnicasync; 29th August 2007 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: spelling
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