Intellectual Property Law

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I am a lead singer and writer in a band and we recently fired…

I am a lead singer...
I am a lead singer and writer in a band and we recently fired our back up singer. She is claiming that she owns the copyrights to the harmonies on the songs that I wrote. Is this correct?
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
6/25/2010
Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,467
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
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Various rights can apply, you may have the copyrights in the lyrics but separate from that are the rights to the music. If the singer created or was a joint creator of the music then yes she may have a claim. FYI she has to register her copyright (which is easily done) before being able to file a lawsuit, and she would likely have to hire an attorney...so unless she is irrational she will not go to that trouble unless she thinks she has a good case.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Here's the problem...
She is a lawyer and she is irrational.
We recorded a demo with her on it and we fired her before we started recording our full length album. I recorded the harmonies on a demo years ago but I never copyrighted through the US office. Does she still have a case. Mind you we have not made one cent on this project. In fact we are about 12 grand in the hole.

If you recorded/created the harmonies then they are your copyright, regardless of whether you registered them with the US Copyright Office. Clearly her case for damages will be difficult and there is no profit/revenue to claim so I don't know what she could get other than an injunction preventing you from using the work....but I don't see the basis for her claims?....is she a creator of the harmony/music? For some helpful info on the benefits of copyright registration see the first link on this page along with other sections: http://coursecracker.com/4/7487/college/law/intellectual-property-law/links/index.html

 

 

Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,467
Experience: Experienced in intellectual property law
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
She is not the creator of the music and basically all she did was sing along with me in a different pitch/ note. Nothing she did, I think, could be construed as totally original, but she did send me a scathing email so I got a little worried. Thanks so much for you help. I might need someone on retainer knowing this woman!
Thanks again,
Jon
If she did not create something herself or as a joint creator then she won't have a case, so gather any witnesses and evidence you can that shows this e.g. get signed statements from witnesses and gather any documents, emails etc that shows that you created the work or that indicates she did not create the work. Ultimately she will not have much of a case if she has no proof of her alleged creation....witnesses, documents and other evidence will be very important here.
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