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Thoughts on cover band demo rights

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Blatz, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Blatz


    Feb 11, 2012
    1)My cover band made a demo for our website
    2) Band agreed to use money from 1 show to fund the recording of 5 cover songs Basically note for note recordings. No contracts was signed. Paid for recordning in cash
    3) Fired Guitar Player
    4) Guitar player wants band to stop using demo on website

  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    5) Guitar player will not get what he wants. Tell him to move on/pound sand/insert euphimism here
  3. too bad, not his songs.
    re-mix without his part, done.
  4. Blatz


    Feb 11, 2012
    The guy actually sent an laughable legal sounding email to everyone. He wants us to believe he has a legal right to force us to take down demo. The guy became to much of a dick to keep in the band. Now he's acting like a bigger dick
  5. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Tell him to have his lawyer contact your lawyer ... otherwise STFU. He has no claim or rights in this matter. It's done, it's over ... whatever he was going to get from the session(s) ... which is nothing ... he's already got. Do be sure he is credited on your website for the work he did, though. It's only right.

    Question for the band ... if the guitarist has been replaced by another why do you want to put up a demo if it's not what any new listener will hear when they see you live?
  6. Blatz


    Feb 11, 2012
    It for the time being until we get to redo the recording. It's not going to sound much differant
  7. Unless the recording is legal, I doubt he has any legal rights to it whatsoever.
  8. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Tell him this:

    "I'll ask my lawyer. And if he advises me to do it, I'll get a different lawyer."
  9. Mark Nye

    Mark Nye

    Sep 18, 2012
    Columbus, OH
    He has no rights here. Yes, he played, but he doesn't own the songs. Unless there is video evidence of him playing the tracks on the recordings, he has no way of proving that it's even him on the tracks.

    I had an identical scenario a few years back. Cover band made a demo/promo recording, fired the guitarist, who then wanted us to stop using the demos. He threatened us. We told him to go fornicate with himself. Nothing ever came of it. He was bluffing, and he knew it.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    He has no legal binding on someone else's works. Wanna hear something funny? A band that I used to be in had a female singer once. We fired her and she ended up forming her own band. Guess who's demos she used on her band's website? Yeah, the demos we recorded for our band! Cover band stuff so we legally couldn't tell her jack! Her voice was the lead on the tracks she used.

    On another note, an old band I used to be in, fired me! Yeah, inconceivable I know! Anyway, they still had pics on the website with my likeness. I asked them to remove all photos of me.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Tell him that your lawyer advised you to sue him if he contacts you again. :D
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Isn't that how that often goes?

  13. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    As long as your ex-guitarist isn't a lawyer or is married to one, I think you're safe.
  14. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Could you tell us what cover songs they are so we can laugh a little harder?
    I could see this guy being mad if they were his own originals, but sheeesh....
  15. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'm not a lawyer, but I would think he has no rights to the music. Anyway, what can he do, spend money on lawyers? Personally I would hurry up and replace the tracks though, I wouldn't want to use recordings that has the wrong players on it.

    Depending on where you live, if there is a legal issue here, I think you may have a bigger problem with publishing the covers online in the first place. A lot of people do, but few have permission from the record companies or artists. Maybe it's fine unless you make CDs and sell copies of the demos, but the copyright owners could go after you. Not likely, but possible if you are in any way successful using the recordings.
  16. Guys - while I agree with the sentiment, I'd be careful with the assertion he has no rights. Did he get paid for playing? If he did, then you could argue he gave away the rights in return for the payment - just a like a session musician. If he didn't get paid, and even paid towards it by giving away his share of a gig fee, then he would indeed have a right to control the recording of his performance. In the UK, we have one agency (PRS) to protect the rights of the composers, and another (PPL) who protect the rights of the people who played on it, and the record company. If you didn't bother with a formal contract, then your argument in court would have to be that he had verbally agreed to allow his performance to be used - which no doubt is what happened. If he's an idiot, it's unlikely he would have performed at the recording if he was unhappy. His subsequent fallout shouldn't impact at all.

    Have you paid the fees to use these songs on the net? Here in the UK, web usage isn't that cheap, but equally not that expensive. If you are an Abba tribute, then you realise that using a B&B song means you have to pay, so how is this different to the rights you all have if somebody uses your demo without permission.

    Rights are real - and we all have them. In his place, knowing the way things are, he's unlikely to take a legal route - but this doesn't mean he couldn't and would probably win. My own band have exactly the same thing, but the guy I replaced is perfectly fine with it being him on the CD we sell, and not me. However, if we fell out, in the absence of a written contract detailing this, it would be not so cut and dry. Could the band be in trouble? Perhaps. This sort of stuff is tricky because it's dull and unexciting, so needs an expensive test in court. My best guess is that Judge Judy would say that because he gave permission when he was in the band, it's unreasonable to remove it, just because he left - but Judge Judy may well know some legal precedent we don't!

    I'd still tell him to stuff it, of course, but I'd not be so certain that he might well withdraw permission to use his performance, and there's no doubt that his performance is covered by his copyright on it, if it wasn't signed away!

    Good fun!
  17. +1, Yep.

    Give him credit on your website for the work that he did - until you remove and or replace his tracks with new tracks.

    EDIT: Also, since you fired him, I'd give him back his share of the gig money that was taken for the recording too.
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    He has no case here, but why not take the high road? I'd offer him 100% of the sales revenue from this booking demo. ;)
  19. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    None of you have any rights to the music unless you paid for a license. If you paid for the use of the songs, he may be able to force you to stop using his parts, but not without a legal battle and you're going to replace him anyway so why would he bother?

    If you didn't pay licensing he "could" report you to one of the licensing agencies and blow the whistle on you for using copyrighted material without permission. Worst case there, you have to take down the songs and/or pay the licensing fee which is pretty small if you're not selling the recordings. You might also attract long-term attention to yourselves from such an agency...

    Just tell him you're going to sop using his tracks as soon as you can get them replaced, and in the meantime... [bleep] off.
  20. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member