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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 37972
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Good Day to you;My daughtor, Jennifer ******

Customer Question

Good Day to you;
My daughtor, Jennifer ******, is a very acomplished and talented Christain singer-songwriter working on her debut album. One of the songs she wrote is entitled "The Price".
After writing the song, she produced a demonstration of the song in her portatbe studio and took it to her then boyfriend, a music producer. They co-produced the music production/tracks as a team without any written agreements. The producer/boyfriend made a verbal agreemnet not to charge for his sevices. As they worked togther on the song, Jennifer provided input throughout the production.
Shortly after the completion of the song's production, the relationship soured and they broke up. The heartbroken ex-friend/producer, we'call him "Joe" upset with the break up, decided to cease all commincations and said that he could not directly communicate with Jennifer, but assigned his mangers to handle all furture communications and matters concerning Jennifer.
In addition to our many attempts to reach out to Joe, he continues not to respond. We reached out to his managers, who on three occasions agreed to, and set times for us to meet, via telephone, to discuss the song and the return of several personal items.
For each scheduled meeting, they were a no show. Hence, we are seeking your guidance.
What we want:
1. We want to include the song on the album
2: We want to insure that Joe gets his fair performance fees according to his associated performing rights organization (BMI, ASCAP, etc.) WE are trying to get his performnace number to regsiter.
3. What are Jennifer's rights to the song? Remember, Joe said he would not charge for his services. Our fear that that if we include the song on the album, we dont know if he can create a problem later.
In addition, Jennifer has another song called "I Am Elijah" that is currently under Joe's publishing company, again without written agreement, through a distribution company called CDA Music Group because she did not have a company at the time for the distribution company to use. Joe agreed that as soon as Jennifer setup her company, that the song and it's royalities would be transferred to her company. The founder of the distribution company is aware of this and is just waiting for Joe to say, "Transfer" however, he and his managers are unresponsive.
Thank you for your response.
Ted ******, Dad
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 months ago.
Hello, Your specific question is: What are Jennifer's rights to the song? A: Jennifer wrote the song, and she apparently has proof based upon the digital recording created in her portable studio. This is sufficient evidence for Jennfier to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office as the composer (and, presumably the lyricist). Jennifer's ex cannot claim ownership of the original composition, because there is proof that it was composed before the ex became involved in any production. Jennifer and her ex are, however joint copyright owners in the "sound recording," which is the specific production of the song. The sound recording is what is known as a "derivative work," which means that the ex cannot release the recording without a license from Jennifer, because she owns the copyright on the song which is the subject of the sound recording. Jennifer can produce a new version of the song and release it, as long as her production is creatively distinct from the jointly owned sound recording. Jennifer can also release the sound recording, but she will be liable to her ex for 50% of the profits generated from the sound recording, because the ex is a joint owner. Concerning the "Elijah" song, I don't have sufficient information to analyze the respective parties' rights and obligations. if the circumstances are the same as exist with "The Price," then the answer is the same. If you are interested in a more comprehensive review, or perhaps having a lawyer who may be able to bring the parties to the negotiating table, then I can send you a premium services invitation, and we can take this matter offline (customary legal services fees will apply). Please let me know if you're interested. If not, then I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.Thanks again for using Justanswer!
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 months ago.
Hello again,I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) – otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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