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Intellectual Property and Promo Material Ownership

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by eow, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. eow


    Mar 5, 2003
    Kansas City
    We recently parted ways with a band member and unfortunately not on the friendliest of terms. Everyone in the band always took on extra responsibilities from production, promotion etc. This ex-member would record the audio from shows live and made promo videos representing the band. Now that we have parted ways he has removed these items from our YouTube channel and shared hosting sites. We asked him about it and this was his response in part below:

    The videos you reference were my marketing materials and services. At no point did they ever become (the band) property. I don't owe the band anything.
    Same as my audio recordings. Same as any creative service, such as bit parts, dance moves, jokes or marketing content.
    You made your bed by not dealing with the issues that caused me to leave. Thus, everything I contributed to the band has been removed from your access.

    SO my question is, who truly "owns" these kind of things? Is it individual or band property? The band is still fundamentally the same less one member. It seems that this should still be ours to use until we can get new video, images and audio of his replacement.
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    • Once a member leaves the band (obviously if there's bad blood, but even if the split was amicable), that person should immediately lose administrative access to the band's accounts.
    • Theoretically, you could make a case that he contributed his work at the time he made the promo material. However, the crucial point is neither he nor the band gets anything out of making a case--that is, in shouldering the time and expense of making this a legal matter.
    Unless you're leaving out a significant detail, there was no contract b/w the band and your former bandmate; and even if there had been a contract, there are no damages on either side worth bringing a case over.

    So, set aside what can be argued under the law, and what's left? The ethical and the possible.

    What's ethical? In my view, since he's insisting on the value of his creative and technical work, you ought ethically to honor that claim.

    What's possible? Ethics aside, if you have copies of the promo materials and a way to take away the ex-member's admin access, it's possible to repost the materials. He could threaten legal action to stop you; but that's toothless unless he has so much money to burn that he can carry through on the threat just as a matter of principle.

    If you don't have copies of the material, then you have no practical legal means by which to get him to give you fresh copies. You might be able to pay him for the materials, but you'd probably get a better deal by re-recording fresh promo materials with the new band, as the old guy's not likely to give you any kind of friends and family rate on his services.

    In your shoes, I'd be strongly inclined to re-record new promo material, and chalk this up to lessons learned.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    My guess is that you will spend more time and money fighting it than you will recording new material. Plus, the new stuff will have your new member.

    To make sure, you should agree in writing what happens in the future if it happens again.
  4. The above comments were posted while I thinking about this and I was going to say over 40 views and no comments - but not so now.

    Anyway FWIW, as the video/photographer/etc, I think he owns his work. However, either way I seriously doubt its worth fighting over in court. Therefore, may be it's time to make new videos, recordings, pic's and etc with your new replacement band mate in them.
  5. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    If he was the administrator of the YouTube channel, there isn't much that you can do other than create a new one. As far as ownership is concerned, if nothing was copyright protected and he was involved in the creative process, he basically has equal rights to the material.
    I was in a similar situation about 12 years ago when I left a band that I had recorded a lot of music with. My brother is an intellectual property attorney and even though the BL had the songs copyrighted. I left the band and the BL had ne served with a cease and desist notice. I fought it and won. I can still use the songs as long as I acknowledge the BL as the owner.
  6. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    Isn't the guy who removed the materials our old bandleader, who was the founding member of the band, who kept the band going with various lineups over the years, and who you booted out because most of the band wanted to go a different direction and thought the bandleader was not pulling his weight? You know, from the two "mutiny" threads that have since been removed?

    I apologize if I am wrong about this. Maybe I am confusing you with someone else.
  7. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Whoever creates something automatically owns it, unless they are under contract to create things for others or they expressly transfer their ownership.

    It may "seem that this should still be ours" but unless he agreed to give up ownership, it's his.
  8. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    From your story,
    I guess,
    the (video and original music) footage material copyright belongs to the band, or can be belongs to who take it too (photographer/camera man etc).
    but the promo video very likely is his intellectual property.
    Your band management made mistakes in not manage thing like this (promo material, agreement in copyright - including if someone leave in the future, etc) properly before bad things happen.

    I think, all problem has it's solutions, if there's a will to start a good communication to solve it from any side.
  9. +100%. Yep, that is correct. PS - its to bad the OP deleted their two "mutiny" threads because they really told the true story.
  10. eow


    Mar 5, 2003
    Kansas City
    @Factor88 Fair question. Actually no. It was not the BL. It was the singer who suggested and was spearheading the "Mutiny". The rest of us hashed it out and decided to stick together. Amazing what a bit of open communication will accomplish. Honestly, the advice and opinions of everyone here was very eye opening. The singer was the one who was not up for compromise so he abruptly and unceremoniously "took all his toys and went home".
  11. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Lesson to be learned: When somebody leaves the band, take away all of their access privileges to everything immediately, if not sooner. Regardless of who might later be found to have "ownership" of anything, this gives you greater leverage over the immediate situation.
  12. The stuff he created is his. No sense worrying about it, just record new stuff with the new lineup. Change the access to the place you had that posted so he can't mess with your stuff anymore, but his files are his.
  13. Hmm. changing story - is that why you deleted the two "mutiny" threads? :eyebrow:
  14. eow


    Mar 5, 2003
    Kansas City
    @Joe It is not changing the story. I made the post(s) looking for advice from my peers. I got great advice and a resolution and solution was reached so there was no need for the posts to exist any longer. Just accept that fact that maybe despite some seemingly insurmountable differences among people that common sense, communication and compromise can accomplish a lot and get things back on the right track.