Original Band Copyright, who owns the music

This is a discussion on Original Band Copyright, who owns the music within the Intellectual Property Law Questions forums, part of the Legal Questions & Answers Forum category; being in an original band (project) has a lot of drama in that, some come and some go ( players) I plan on meeting with a local attorney about this, ...

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  1. #1
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    Original Band Copyright, who owns the music

    being in an original band (project) has a lot of drama in that, some come and some go ( players)

    I plan on meeting with a local attorney about this, but would like to know very simply (if possible).

    If 5 guys all come together to write a song(s) and the Guitar riff came from one guy, the bass line came from another, vocals, drums, and so on.....Who legally owns this song/copyright?

    My understanding is that if 2 or more people come together and collaborate on a song with the goal of creating a song, and with no "Band Agreement" in place, and all parts recorded, then all 5 members own 1/5th of that song.

    Any help would be great as it's very frustrating to say the least. Thank you


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    Read the joint ownership section here, it should help answer your question:
    Copyright Ownership (BitLaw)
    Legal Disclaimer: Answers to questions on this forum are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute Legal Advice. No attorney-client relationship is established through this forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Help View Post
    Read the joint ownership section here, it should help answer your question:
    Copyright Ownership (BitLaw)

    Thanks a bunch for your reply and that think. I used that link as well as my own research and wanted to ask an additional question, if you have the cycles to answer it.

    My understanding of the law as it relates to an original band, with no documented band agreement in place is:

    The Copyright Act §101 defines a “joint work” as “work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of the unitary whole.”


    In our case, we have played LIVE with this music and recorded it with the intentions of distributing it. Both guitar players decided to leave the band and create a separate project. They claim that they own all the music since they wrote the guitar parts. Not considering that the rest of us help author those guitar parts and we created the Vocals, Melodies, Drums and Bass lines to create a "Whole Song".

    With no documented band agreement in place, and the intentions of playing LIVE and distribution noted above, shouldn't the following statement apply to this situation?

    Parts of a unitary whole are “inseparable” when they have little or no independent meaning standing alone. That would often be true of a work of written text, such as the play, that is the subject of the pending litigation.
    By contrast, parts of a unitary whole are “interdependent” when they have some meaning standing alone but achieve their primary significance because of their combined effect, as in the case of the words and music of a song.


    I really appreciate your time and your opinions and I understand that any comments made can not me taken or understood as legal advice. Not an attorney, so I hope that's good enough. LOL :-)

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    Although I agree with you, a judge may see it differently. Ultimately it is difficult to say and the only way it may be decided is through the legal system. I am sure there is some case law on this so you should do some research on google to see what has happened in the past with fact patterns similar to this one.
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    Thanks again for your reply. I really appreciate it.

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    In this case both of two guys have equal rights in the song and this equation is also implemented on the band too.


 

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