My son was originally a drummer and got to tour for about 9 months with 2 bands that needed a fill-in. He enjoyed the touring but wasn't really thrilled about playing other people's music. Last fall he started a new band where he wrote all the music and played all guitars and bass on the recordings, they programmed the drums as he said it was easier to get a better sound cheaply. The singer wrote the lyrics,although my son wrote the melodies for the lyrics.
They got some local steam they are a punk pop band and were doing okay selling t shirts so they did a 3 week summer tour and did fine. The got to play Webster Hall in NYC and got an indie artice in the back of Alternate Press in July. The singer gets all "fame drunk" and wants to keep touring so they go out for another 2 weeks and come home broke. My son suggests that they play 1 local show a month and then do some weekend gigs within a 200 mile radius until next summer. He is a student, so he wanted to stay in college. The singer makes my son's life miserable so he quits the band. The band continues to sell the songs on bandcamp and just released 2 more songs my son wrote the week before he quit.
He has a poor man's copywrite on all but the last 2 tunes. He told his band he didn't have a problem with them playing the tunes live as he didn't have a beef with anyone in the band except the singer.
I think my son should protect any future earnings those songs could potentially make? Am I wrong?
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak with me?
Thanks for your wonderful input mellow.
Yes, he should take the necessary steps to copyright his music.
Nothing would be worse for him to be listening to the radio/pandora/insert new media here in 10 years and hear one his songs, and not be able to enjoy any royalties.
According to the many threads here on copyrights, not sure if a poor man's copyright provides the guarantee he deserves.
I assume by poor man's copyright you mean they mailed a recording to themselves and kept it sealed. Do they specifically name the songwriters in that mailing. If not, then the songs belong to the band as far as Copyright and CD/download sales go. A band agreement would specify how that should be split. If no band agreement then the sales still go to the existing band. The singer quit the band....he get's squat. If members of the current band were involved in writing the music then the band has the right to perform the song when and where they desire. The singer has the same right.
Royalties are going to be available only if the song gets radio airplay or is used by someone else to record. But since you did not properly copyright then you are not setup to receive royalties anyways so it is a moot point. You must properly copyright the work and in that process you register your song for the ability to collect royalties. There are online services that will collect on your behalf and pay you your royalties. But to be honest.....it ain't gonna be much.
singer still in the band, my son wrote the music and vocal melodies. Yes the songwriters are named in the poor man copyright. I assume it means nothing financially. He wrote every note, the other members of the band were not even present when they were recorded.
Just upload the earliest recording to the web, I'm sure their are plenty of "time stamps" etc. their that could prove prior art :).
Truthfully, the only thing of significant value is the "lyrics". That is the publishing, or "where the money is at". It is unfair, for sure, but unless he owns the words I wouldn't bother.
And if he doesn't own the words, for the love of all things holy, push him to get a hold of them somehow.
He said " I wrote those tunes in a few hours, they can have them, I will just write more."
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