Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
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Question: Did you sell your copyrights or did you enter into a licensing agreement? If it was a licensing agreement can you describe the terms (i.e. exclusive or not exclusive etc.)
I originally gave the copyrights and publishing to a music library for licenseing on film and TV. The original agreement was for 11 years, but I think he put some fancy language in an updated contract recently that made the agreement forever. He does own them now.
Does the copyright refer to just that recording? Would I be allowed to re-record the music selection and own that?
I do retain the rights to the composition part of the music. He owns the publishing and that recording.
if the current publisher/ owner owns the copyright outright then it is their property now and unfortunately they can do as they will. However your idea of recording a 'cover' for your own music is interesting. Let me explain:
one is permitted to record their own version of existing music and simply pay a statuary license to the copyright holder (also called a mechanical license)
in effect you will have to pay a fee to the current owner but you would be able to sell the music
I am hoping to re-record some of the music and give it to another music library to license. I am cool with a one time fee to him, but not a recurring fee for each time the new company licenses the music. Would the copyright owner own any part of the new recording?
unfortunately the fee would be for every CD/DVD/itunes sold going forward for the life of the copyright
As a side note: He did sort of dupe me and another composer into this full copyright sale. We had e mailed extensively prior to the agreement and then the agreement did not reflect those conversations and e mail agreements. We signed the agreements in person and had trusted that they reflected our conversations. Is this a form of fraud on his part?
the current owner would own the composition but not the version you recorded
So it sounds like I will not be able exit the copyright agreement without his cooperation. Is this correct? Are there any exceptions to this?
Generally this would not be considered fraud since you have entered into the agreement and had the opportunity to examine it
correct you would not be able to cancel the agreement without his acquiescence however this does not mean that there aren't any legitimate concerns about the agreement
if the agreement was not written by an attorney there is always a chance that it is deficient in some manner
and you could take advantage of it
it sounds like this composition is very dear to your heart so I would suggest that you ask an IP attorney to review the agreement
I'm sure it was written by an attorney. I suppose I could have it looked over to look for problems though or inquire into ways of breach of contract. He has not followed through with much of what the original agreement stated. He does not send regular statements and various other things he agreed to do.
there you go
I'll have it looked at. Thanks!
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