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Ask Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor Yo...
Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor
Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor, Entertainment Industry Executive
Category: Entertainment
Satisfied Customers: 2897
Experience:  Entertainment Consultant 25 yrs. Record labels. PR firm. Published Writer. World Traveler.
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I am a music producer and I did some pro bono production and

Customer Question

I am a music producer and I did some pro bono production and arranging for a former friend. He wrote the song, but I did the production, engineering, and some arrangements. I don't any monetary compensation as I had already agreed to do the work free of charge, but I would like to post a sample of the song (just the music, no lyrics) on my website as a sample of what I can do. Seeing as I did not charge him for the work, (nor do I expect to) am I legally entittled to do so? I will not get ay financial gain off the song itself. I will not sell it nor distribute it, nor pass off his composition as my own. I merely want to show it as a sample of what I can do as a recording engineer. What is your advice?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Entertainment
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Hello lerato,

Did you copyright the song, did he or did you copyright it together?

Have you mentioned it to him? If so, what was his response?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I have not mentioned it to him. We are not exactly friends anymore so I wanted to get info first.


He has yet to copyright the song, bit I do believe that he's in the process of it.


I did write some of the arrangements of the production, though, and we collaborated on the rest. I don't know if that matters. So should I be involved in the copyrighting? I don't necessarily want to. Like I said, I don't want any money. I just want to be able to show samples of the sound quality and production arrangements on my website.

Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
you wrote the music and he wrote the lyrics? or you both worked on both?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He wrote the the lyrics/melody and most of the music. I colloborated with him on the guitar, drum, bass arrangements. I wrote the live strings score. I did all the recording/engineering/mastering.
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.
Since you did work on the music, I would say that you should be included on the copyright. If you think that the work you did was too minimal, then it's your choice whether or not to give up a position on the copyright, but in that case, you would need his permission to put the music on the site, even if only to show what your studio is capable of because now he is the owner and his work cannot be made available without his permission. If you think he should make it available since you did not charge him, you'll have to talk to him about it and explain that you only want to use the music.....because he did most of the music, as you say, it will be his choice. In the future, you may want to have every artist sign a waiver that says you are allowed to use their music as sample on your studio site. Even if you do put it on the site, you have to make sure that it cannot be downloaded or taken from the site in any way.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
what about the fact that i never released any rights to him, as far as my production, recording, or arranging? I never signed anything that would release my rights to my work. Shouldn't he have to get me to release my rights to whatever work I have done before he has that kind of power (as to whether or not to allow to display samples)
Expert:  Ms Chase - JA Entertainment Mentor replied 8 years ago.

I'm going by what you're saying. You said he is in the process of copyrighting. You should talk to him and have him include you on the music copyright. However even if he doesn't, for the purposes of your question, co-owners of copyright have a legal status known as "tenants in common." Each co-owner has an independent right to use or non exclusively license the work--provided that he or she accounts to the other co-owners for any profits. Since you both worked on the music (production/arranging), it would be considered a joint work, and you both would be entitled to be a part of copyright and be able to use it, but if he files copyright on his own, then it will be assumed he is the sole owner, particularly if you don't file. As for the recording part, you already said you did that for free. Its usually a paid service and not included in copyright anyway. You're going to have to talk to him..I realize when there are disagreements, how difficult this can be, but if you let him know that you want to file joint copyright for the music, and he can have the lyrics copyright, then he may understand.

I hope this helps better, let me know if you have any other questions