The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
I am a couple thousand into a recording at a studio DAW Software
Old 16th November 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
I am a couple thousand into a recording at a studio

I am a couple of grand into recording at a local studio and will continue but I am wondering about the rights to the recorded material. The engineer/ producer/ owner has not asked me to sign anything stating who owns what and I have paid cash all along. He seems like a nice guy but I dont know him well. Any suggestions?
Old 16th November 2011
  #2
Jack of all Trades
If all he is doing is hitting Record and then Mixing the music once recorded, then look at it this way. You are the artist/performer and you are the one doing the music, as long as it is your instrumentation, or you are paying for the music that goes behind you, then he is nothing more then a service, and should have no ownership over your music. I'm unsure what type of legal backing he might have if he tried to put out your music, but im sure there is some kind of legal action you could take against him.
Old 16th November 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
If you are concerned why not write up a simple contract and have you and the studio person sign it saying that it is your material and he/she had no rights to it. If you lack the legal skills to do this then you can probably find something applicable on line and adapt it for your purposes. Most courts will rule that what you create is yours. What gets tricky is if the engineer at the studio had artistic input into the creative process or played on the tracks. Best to have a written understanding if you are concerned.

I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV so my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Best of luck and let us know how this turns out for you.
Old 16th November 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
famousbass's Avatar
 

You'll get your tracks when you pay your bill.
That's an internationally agreed on concept.
Old 16th November 2011
  #5
Gear maniac
 
taherbert's Avatar
I think it depends on what state or country you're in, but here in NC, if an artist plays on your song or contributes to your creative process as a collaborator, then they're entitled to an equal share in ownership in the work. The exception to this is if the artist or engineer or whoever is a musician "for hire", so basically your pay upfront buys them out of any royalties. So at our studio, we make every session musician sign a musician for hire contract. We also have studio policy contracts and producer contracts specifying our hourly rates, producers fees, any royalty agreements, not distributing rough mixes, etc.

If you're not working under a contract, you should at least clarify with the guy recording this what his expectations are, and if he's a professional he should have contracts for this stuff. Sometimes our junior engineers forget to do the paperwork and we have to chase after them. If the guy you're working with doesn't have contracts, you should come to an agreement about what's fair, and then see if there's an internet contract blank or hire an entertainment lawyer to draw one up for you.

This seems like a major downer to most people, but it keeps you from worrying about what might happen later. 99.99% of the time these things just go in the file cabinet and never get used. But these contracts are made for that .01% of the time, when your songs takes off and that session guitarist who wrote that signature lick or that engineer who helped you reword that chorus wants to get paid. Or the flip side, that band you recorded on spec gets signed and the record company decides to rerecord their album that you helped them create just to jip you out of any credit or royalties, or you hand a client a rough mix at the end of the session before they paid you all their money, then they disappear but your rough-ass sounding mix is on myspace with "Recorded by You" next to it, tarnishing your reputation.
Old 16th November 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post
I think it depends on what state or country you're in, but here in NC, if an artist plays on your song or contributes to your creative process as a collaborator, then they're entitled to an equal share in ownership in the work. The exception to this is if the artist or engineer or whoever is a musician "for hire", so basically your pay upfront buys them out of any royalties. So at our studio, we make every session musician sign a musician for hire contract. We also have studio policy contracts and producer contracts specifying our hourly rates, producers fees, any royalty agreements, not distributing rough mixes, etc.

If you're not working under a contract, you should at least clarify with the guy recording this what his expectations are, and if he's a professional he should have contracts for this stuff. Sometimes our junior engineers forget to do the paperwork and we have to chase after them. If the guy you're working with doesn't have contracts, you should come to an agreement about what's fair, and then see if there's an internet contract blank or hire an entertainment lawyer to draw one up for you.

This seems like a major downer to most people, but it keeps you from worrying about what might happen later. 99.99% of the time these things just go in the file cabinet and never get used. But these contracts are made for that .01% of the time, when your songs takes off and that session guitarist who wrote that signature lick or that engineer who helped you reword that chorus wants to get paid. Or the flip side, that band you recorded on spec gets signed and the record company decides to rerecord their album that you helped them create just to jip you out of any credit or royalties, or you hand a client a rough mix at the end of the session before they paid you all their money, then they disappear but your rough-ass sounding mix is on myspace with "Recorded by You" next to it, tarnishing your reputation.
Very nicely said!^^^^^ and oh so true...
Old 17th November 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
This whole thread is dumb.
Old 17th November 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
This whole thread is dumb.
No, your face. heh
Old 17th November 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post
I think it depends on what state or country you're in....
In the US, this has nothing to do with what state you are in. You are correct in saying that it might depend on the country, however.

In the US, trademark, patent and copyright law, and ownership of intellectual property, are goverened not by the states, but by the US government; the laws are the same regardless of what state/city/jurisdiction you are in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taherbert View Post
... if an artist plays on your song or contributes to your creative process as a collaborator, then they're entitled to an equal share in ownership in the work.
Speaking of the US (and most other countries, but perhpas not all), this is completetly false - unless by 'collaborator', you mean that they aided you in the composition of the song (or songs). If they have not, they are not entitled to any ownership, nor royalties - unless you signed a document before hand that says that they would be as a form of compensation.

You are an artist/songwriter. You go into a recording studio to record and mix a song.

The recording and/or mixing engineer is not entitled to anything above the hourly/daily rate you have been quoted. He/she is NOT entitled to any ownership nor royalties.

You (or the studio) hires a musician to play on your song. All they do is play on your song, what you tell them to play. That musician is not entitled to anything above the hourly/daily rate you have been quoted. He/she is NOT entitled to any ownership nor royalties.

A musician is hired to play on your song. That musician aids you in your arrangement. Say it's a drummer, and you had no drum beat when entering the studio. You play the music you have for the drummer, and they a) add their own drum beat b) tell you you should cut the first verse in half, and double the length of the last chorus - which you do, and c) tell you that the strumming pattern you have for the bridge doesn't really work rhyhmically, and suggests a different pattern - that you use. That musician is not entitled to anything above the hourly/daily rate you have been quoted. He/she is NOT entitled to any ownership nor royalties.

A musician is hired to play on your song. That musician aids you in your composition. He/she reworks the vocal melody line, and changes the chords in the bridge. That musician IS entitled to more than the hourly/daily rate you have been quoted; he/she IS entitled to part ownership, and royalties.

Cheers.
Old 17th November 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
suedesound's Avatar
 

when i do session work as a drummer i'm generally paid for the day/session unless i'm involved in the project as a producer and there's points attached.

i understand if it's the law but i have trouble understanding if i have a hand in completely re-aranging/re-structuring the song how that means nothing compared to changing a line or melody. just curious.

bottom line is to have an agreement in writing before anyone hits record.
Old 18th November 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 
jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by suedesound View Post
when i do session work as a drummer i'm generally paid for the day/session unless i'm involved in the project as a producer and there's points attached.

i understand if it's the law but i have trouble understanding if i have a hand in completely re-aranging/re-structuring the song how that means nothing compared to changing a line or melody. just curious.

bottom line is to have an agreement in writing before anyone hits record.
Because the law only deals with composition or creation. Sometimes the job of a producer is like a good book editor, but ultimately a book editor isn't credited with an original creation. You would have to demonstrate to a judge that your contribution significantly altered the basic song, subtracting and moving things around doesn't really affect that in the eyes of the copyright office. Of course, as stated, if you're getting a share by contract with the artist then you're getting a share, but the rights of the composer by default are protected against an unscrupulous producer moving lines or sections around to gain a share of the copyright.
Old 18th November 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
suedesound's Avatar
 

thanks, that was really just curiousity. i've had enough experiences in the past that i make sure everything is clear upfront but i have fallen in the role of doing way more working of a song than i thought i was getting into but only had a work for hire agreement.
Old 18th November 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy.c. View Post
No, your face. heh
haha! The reason I say what I did is because normally the paranoid guys like this aren't very good to begin with and its always some melodramatic question session that starts with "So, when I get signed...." I've been known to kick these people out of my place back in the day.
Old 24th November 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
famousbass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
This whole thread is dumb.
Wow, amazing.
You're really well developed in that area you've been developing lately.
Old 24th November 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Speaking of the US (and most other countries, but perhpas not all), this is completetly false - unless by 'collaborator', you mean that they aided you in the composition of the song (or songs). If they have not, they are not entitled to any ownership, nor royalties - unless you signed a document before hand that says that they would be as a form of compensation.

.
this is the muddy grey area. If someone plays a hook on the guitar which you then use as the melody, well you've opened yourself up to that guy saying he collaborated even if that wasn't your intention. People have tried to get points and probably succeeded in so far as they were paid extra to **** off because they suggested the word baby. This is why you have a really good producer that is a control freak and has the musicians play what is on paper.
Old 24th November 2011
  #16
Gear addict
 

Everything in writing, with witnesses...even between friends.

An agreement on paper, no matter how small the project, is an agreement in writing, not in someone's head.

The very fact that the OP seems nervous is exactly why things should be in writing. Every time.
Old 25th November 2011
  #17
A label will normally have the engineers, etc sign a "Work For Hire" agreement before getting paid.

Similarly artists who are hired to play on the album will sign "Side Artist Agreements" before being paid.

http://railjonrogut.com/downloads/Si...0Agreement.pdf

Rail
Old 26th November 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Closet View Post
Everything in writing, with witnesses...even between friends.

An agreement on paper, no matter how small the project, is an agreement in writing, not in someone's head.

The very fact that the OP seems nervous is exactly why things should be in writing. Every time.

Old 16th February 2012
  #19
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
I know this is late on this post and probably deserves a new thread, but the engineer/ producer/owner refuses to give me several tracks now on anything but a rough mix on CD. He refuses for no obvious reasons to give me the tracks on a hard drive. What it feels like is he is holding my tracks hostage. Without the full file I cant take them to another studio or do anything other than rough work at home. He has several tracts now and alot of money and I dont want to do any more unless I feel I am getting what I paid for. What I am curious about really is why? Any ideas?
Old 16th February 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdorkus View Post
I know this is late on this post and probably deserves a new thread, but the engineer/ producer/owner refuses to give me several tracks now on anything but a rough mix on CD. He refuses for no obvious reasons to give me the tracks on a hard drive. What it feels like is he is holding my tracks hostage. Without the full file I cant take them to another studio or do anything other than rough work at home. He has several tracts now and alot of money and I dont want to do any more unless I feel I am getting what I paid for. What I am curious about really is why? Any ideas?
Have you paid him in full? Is he asking for more money? More than what was initially agreed on, or the same amount? Has he done what he was expected to? Is it just that you arent happy and dont want to pay him because of that?

More info.....
Old 16th February 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Well, if you're all up to date on paying for studio time, and he refuses to give you your tracks (make sure you get his refusal in writing- an email will do), then I would hire an attorney.

Most likely a phone call from a lawyer will get him motivated to hand over your work. I personally would not hesitate one minute on this- do it ASAP.

Good luck- some studios and engineers just suck. I've had a couple of bad experiences as well.

Go get 'em.
Old 16th February 2012
  #22
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Well, if you're all up to date on paying for studio time, and he refuses to give you your tracks (make sure you get his refusal in writing- an email will do), then I would hire an attorney.

Most likely a phone call from a lawyer will get him motivated to hand over your work. I personally would not hesitate one minute on this- do it ASAP.

Good luck- some studios and engineers just suck. I've had a couple of bad experiences as well.

Go get 'em.
Hes got drums, bass and guitar tracks for five tunes and everyones paid cash, in full, at the end of every session. I am really disappointed because he has done a good job. It almost feels like a control thing. And other than this, its been a good place to work. I have pressed him on a couple occasions just gotten lame excuses or outright lie but I confess I dislike confrontation so I havent cornered him on it yet. I suppose I will have to start the next session with this and if it doesent work bring in some legal motivation. I appreciate the comments and views. Thanks.
Old 16th February 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Well, if you're all up to date on paying for studio time, and he refuses to give you your tracks (make sure you get his refusal in writing- an email will do), then I would hire an attorney.

Most likely a phone call from a lawyer will get him motivated to hand over your work. I personally would not hesitate one minute on this- do it ASAP.

Good luck- some studios and engineers just suck. I've had a couple of bad experiences as well.

Go get 'em.
I would ask the said atty to please prove that the money spent was for the physical tracks and not the time recording them, when he couldn't, I would tell him to quit wasting my time, unless he wanted another bill. If its not in writing, you are screwed.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com
Old 17th February 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
I would ask the said atty to please prove that the money spent was for the physical tracks and not the time recording them, when he couldn't, I would tell him to quit wasting my time, unless he wanted another bill. If its not in writing, you are screwed.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com
Well, then (note to self) you too would be yet another engineer to avoid.

I've been in many studios and I've never known any studio owner to think that they own someone's tracks (that is, unless payment is not made, and even then there is no true default ownership, as in the studio having rights or the ability to use those tracks).

Call 100 well established studios and I can tell you that you will get 100 answers that concur. Call 100 newbies and possibly get 100 different answers.

Seriously, this kind of misinformation is scary. A whole generation of engineers that think they can just hold someone's music captive for no legal reason. With some lame perspective that the client was paying for time, but not the actual recordings?!

Ask people with EXPERIENCE and you will see how wrong you are.
Old 25th February 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
Well, then (note to self) you too would be yet another engineer to avoid.

I've been in many studios and I've never known any studio owner to think that they own someone's tracks (that is, unless payment is not made, and even then there is no true default ownership, as in the studio having rights or the ability to use those tracks).

Call 100 well established studios and I can tell you that you will get 100 answers that concur. Call 100 newbies and possibly get 100 different answers.

Seriously, this kind of misinformation is scary. A whole generation of engineers that think they can just hold someone's music captive for no legal reason. With some lame perspective that the client was paying for time, but not the actual recordings?!

Ask people with EXPERIENCE and you will see how wrong you are.
I'm just showing you how impossible this situation will be for you, and trust me pal, you avoiding me wouldn't be a negative thing from my perspective.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com
Old 25th February 2012
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
I'm just showing you how impossible this situation will be for you, and trust me pal, you avoiding me wouldn't be a negative thing from my perspective.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com
Thing is everyone would eventually avoid you til you had no business. I never had to sign any contract going into a traditional recording studio. Pretty much the verbal agreement was always you get your recording when paid in full.
Old 25th February 2012
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
I'm just showing you how impossible this situation will be for you, and trust me pal, you avoiding me wouldn't be a negative thing from my perspective.
So it is your opinion that a studio can hold someone's recordings, even if the client has paid in full, because there was no contract that says otherwise?

It really is contrary to how business is being done and has been done over the past 50 or so years.

Seriously, as someone who has been in many studios, I would avoid anyone who felt entitled to keep something that wasn't theirs. And frankly, opinions like yours are scary- no wonder your name is 'Halloween.'
Old 26th February 2012
  #28
Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Animus View Post
Thing is everyone would eventually avoid you til you had no business. I never had to sign any contract going into a traditional recording studio. Pretty much the verbal agreement was always you get your recording when paid in full.
.

Bingo.

I get the feeling we're not getting the whole story.

A work for hire engineer/studio holding off giving back tracks - when already paid in full? WTF.

There's something we're missing here.

If the OP had an agreement to do a $5k recording (just for example), and now the OP is bailing because he doesn't like the quality, environment, engineer, etc.
then maybe the engineer/studio thinks he's getting shafted.

In any case, I still feel like we're not getting the whole story here.

I swear, there is more drama between artists, producers, engineers, labels, managers, studios, etc.

I'm glad I'm a mostly one man operation, these days. I'm so over all that ****.

This is exactly why SO MANY artists, songwriters, producers, labels, etc. get their own recording facilities.

And I'm NOT saying it's the fault of the engineer - it's just all the drama and BS, distrust, ulterior motives, power tripping, etc.

Oyoyoy...

.
Old 26th February 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Halloween's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaphappy View Post
So it is your opinion that a studio can hold someone's recordings, even if the client has paid in full, because there was no contract that says otherwise?

It really is contrary to how business is being done and has been done over the past 50 or so years.

Seriously, as someone who has been in many studios, I would avoid anyone who felt entitled to keep something that wasn't theirs. And frankly, opinions like yours are scary- no wonder your name is 'Halloween.'
Its not my opinion that they should, but it is my opinion that the studio could, if for nothing else but to drag this out. I agree with the guy above me, we.don't have the whole story. This guy comes in with his half and everyone loses their heads, what would be a reason you would hold someones demo? One of those reasons (i assume payment) is more than likely the same reason this guy is. I'm sure if you take the case to court the 2nd district county clerk/judge would be totally hip to the last 50 years of "whats cool bruh" and out would end up looking like the climax from bill and teds adventure.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz App
Old 26th February 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Halloween View Post
Its not my opinion that they should, but it is my opinion that the studio could, if for nothing else but to drag this out. I agree with the guy above me, we.don't have the whole story. This guy comes in with his half and everyone loses their heads, what would be a reason you would hold someones demo? One of those reasons (i assume payment) is more than likely the same reason this guy is. I'm sure if you take the case to court the 2nd district county clerk/judge would be totally hip to the last 50 years of "whats cool bruh" and out would end up looking like the climax from bill and teds adventure.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz App
OK, then to simplify- your opinion is that a studio HAS THE LEGAL RIGHT to withhold a client's recordings, even after a client has PAID his bill in full?

So does that mean (in your opinion), that the studio actually LEGALLY OWNS those recordings (unless there was a contract that states otherwise)? And if they do NOT OWN the recordings, what is the LEGAL STATUS of those recordings? Does no one own them?

And if the studio LEGALLY OWNS those recordings, then what? Can they sell or license them? Put them on a compilation of other music that they've recorded and have not been given permission to use (I suppose they do not need permission)? Can they erase them before the client (who has paid in full) takes possession?

And even after the client takes possession, does the studio still own those recordings?

So it seems in your view, every studio session, requires a specific written contract. And if this is really such a cut and dry legal issue (that the studio is the default owner of all recordings), then those 'session contracts' would be a common thing at most studios.

I'm curious how you've arrived at such a contrary view of who owns the recordings (when a client has paid their bill). You seem so confident that the law is behind you on this- could you tell us the reasoning behind your opinion.
Mentioned Products
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump