if you are excused from a band...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by stinger12345, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. stinger12345


    Jan 24, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    Do you take all the songs you wrote with you? It doesn't seem fair that they can kick someone out and still play their songs, does it? But then again, if they kicked you out, I guess that means they wouldn't want to play your stuff anyway lol. What have you guys done in these situations?

    Edited for grammar nazis :spit:
  2. WookieeForLife


    Sep 30, 2008
    We both continued to play the songs. We also picked up hooked on phonics.
  3. bobknowsbass


    Jul 27, 2009
    Monrovia, CA
    Do you have any copyrights to any of the material? Have you signed any agreements with the other band members over who owns the rights to any of the material? If no, then there's nothing you can do. It would help if you have recordings of the stuff you wrote before the material was used in the band, but it would still be hard to prove in court. It would be nice if they gave you credit but in this business no professional courtesy is required. In my band, it's all split 4 ways and we all have the paperwork to prove it. That's the only way to cover your ass(ets)
  4. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    bobknowsbass also knows a bit about copyright law, it seems. Unless you've got a recording or transcription that dates back before the band's first recording or transcription, it'll be very difficult to legally prove you wrote those songs.
  5. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    An author of an original work is entitled to copyright protection as soon as the work is fixed in some tangible form of expression. In the case of a song, copyright protection exists as soon as the song is recorded or a written transcription made. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work.
  6. The classy and gracious thing to do would be for both parties to continue playing whichever songs they like playing, no matter who wrote them. And if anyone records and releases for sale any song(s) that the other party has any authorship of, proper credit and compensation should be given.
  7. +1, and well said.

    Now, the task becomes enforcing your rights under exisitng copyright laws. You'd need an entertainment lawyer, but if you have copyright and you really wanted to pursue the issue and protect the material, you could get the other party to cease and desist from playing your material without your permission.

    It isn't cheap, and it's time consuming.
  8. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Even if you do have your music copyrighted there are no restrictions saying that the other band can't perform those songs live. They arent allowed to make any money from those songs, by say recording them, without paying the copyright owner royalties.
  9. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    3 words...

    Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  10. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    Depends who has the copyrights to the material.

    It seems that most times, bands continue playing material whether the members who wrote it are still with them or not.

    Metallica continued to play "The Four Horsemen" and "The Call of Ktulu" despite one of the people that has a writing credit on those songs (as well as others) being fired before they even recorded the first album.

    Black Sabbath continued to play Ozzy era songs after he left/was fired and made a live album even with many of those songs on it.

    Iron Maiden has played Blaze era songs after Bruce's reunion with the band.

    There's many more, I'm sure.
  11. hellfleet


    Jun 3, 2009
    Sheffield, UK
    Another +1 for this post.

    Also as for Iron Maiden, I guess 'Arry has a writing credit for most songs played whether Dianno, Blaze or Bruce era ;)
  12. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    This is true, but it won't hold up in court. The law says, once you write the song, you have copyrights to it. Once you record it, you have proof that you wrote it. Only problem is, theres no proof of WHEN it was recorded.
    Think of it from a courts point of view. You bring forth a audio production of a song. You say you wrote it all, and was the original writer. Your ex-bandmates say "No, he didnt." You have no proof, the suit gets tossed out of court.

    You can record up to 14 songs on a cd, and send them to the copyright office. It only costs 50 bux. Thats a small price to pay for your original works.

    People may tell you to take a cd, record your songs, and mail it to yourself, because of the post date on the package. That doesn't hold up in court anymore.

    For the OP, both you and the ex-band should keep the songs morally. Cream did it with Eric Clapton. I'd say fill out a simple contract, make sure that you word it right, so if the band falls apart, people in that band can't continue to play your songs and things like that. Go to a bank with all your ID's, and get it notorized.

  13. hellfleet


    Jun 3, 2009
    Sheffield, UK
    I don't know if its worth adding or not but I can't see the OP's location. I think copyright law is slightly different here. In europe (or at least the UK) it is my understanding that you don't have to send off to any copyright office.

    Can't hurt though for international protection and the provision of good evidence.
  14. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Sorry bout that! Sometimes my ignorant american state of mind doesnt let me remember that the whole world uses the internet lol. Thats the copyright info for the US
  15. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA

    Section 106 of the Copyright Act provides:

  16. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    From a "court's point of view," this is what is known as a "genuine issue of material fact." A court does not "toss out" a case when there is a material fact in dispute. It holds a trial. It is true that if you have nothing but your word to go on, you may have difficulty meeting your burden of proof at trial, but at trial the court or the jury can choose to believe your testimony and to reject the testimony of the former bandmates. The court cannot engage in that sort of weighing of the evidence on pre-trial motions.

    The way to avoid this problem is to have written agreements as to song authorship and to register them.

    (And to follow up on hellfleet's point, for the purposes of this discussion, I am assuming that United States copyright law applies, and the result may be different in other countries.)
  17. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Do the mature thing. Go to one of their gigs and if they play something you wrote start to react angrily about and rant about it to every passerby. Then at some point jump onto the stage and launch into a tirade about how they're stealing your tunes, etc. That'll show 'em. :D
  18. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Personally I'd let them keep playing your songs, they are still out there, if they make serious money on your songs, and you can prove you wrote them you'll make a lot of money. If no one hears the songs, then you'll never make money off them. If two bands are playing your songs more people will hear them.
  19. I would be very surprised if there were no formal, legally binding documents agreeing and allowing this to happen. There are no handshake arrangements when there's that much money at stake, and no one in their right mind risks violating the applicable laws and getting hauled in to court. You can rest assured that the copyright owners of those songs are being compensated for the use of their intellectual property.
  20. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I didnt say it ended at pre-trial. But if you file a copyright suit, and all you have is hear-say as your evidence for copyright infringement....they'll toss your case out at trial. Theres no viable way (that I can find at least) to proove you wrote a song before someone else without the copyrights in your name.


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