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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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My ex-boyfriend & I co-own about 12 audio tapes from 2003.

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My ex-boyfriend & I co-own about 12 audio tapes from 2003. I lent him a recorder at a music festival (2003), which he used, agreeing we would share the tapes, since I forwent my own recording. He then lent me the tapes to transfer, which I attempted (I am a pro, and bought the relevant equipmnet), but the technology failed (DAT vs. analog Mac). Then he started defaming me to other people, so I stopped the transfer. He then stole my camera, film, and tapes (witnesses, 2006.) He still has my film and tapes. It is now 2009, and he is threatening to charge me with theft, claiming the tapes are worth $5K (wrong). Can he do that? I want my own stuff back, too.
What's on the tapes?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Audio from Burning Man festival, 2003.

His audio DAT recorder had broken, and I had the same recorder, so I lent him mine with the agreement that we would share the tapes. He is perpetualy broke, so i agreed to try to dub the tapes.
Tapes of artists other than yourselves playing music you did not write?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It's mostly pretty random stuff, background audio, possibly music, but mostly interviews with festival goers, festival organizers, visial artists, etc., especially w/ one guy who's the key guy who now runs the festival (Larry Harvey).

If there is music, then no, nothing that he nor I wrote nor performed.

The ex b/f's voice is also on there in palces, where he's interviewing people, or randomly commenting on the festival.

I should note that, the ex b/f has no professionally-produced body of work. He presents himself as a documentary filmmaker, but he has not produced anything at all. He as however, sometimes shot camera for other people (small projects.)

Thanks for answering my questions, and first of all let me say thank you for submitting your important legal issue to Just Answer. I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide you with an honest and easy to understand answer to your question.

I am an attorney licensed in the State of Texas. The following information is a brief answer to your question. However, if you feel that you need further information or that you have other insights which might help me in providing a better answer, please feel free to write back.

The content of the tapes are intellectual property, which you both co-own. That being the case, he has no right to claim that you have stolen them from him. Further, he cannot claim theft or file charges regarding the tapes. They are just as much yours as they are his. If he wants to gain possession of the tapes, then he would have to file a civil lawsuit. Further, the actual tapes are your physical property. He cannot allege you stole something that actually belonged to you.

As far as getting your own stuff back, there are a few ways you can go about this as it depends on he actually got the property from you. If he stole the property from you, then you can call the police and file charges. If you left the property at his home when you were staying with him, then you could ask the police to accompany you to his home to allow you to retrieve your property (tell them it is a domestic dispute and that you are afraid he will be violent). Also, you can file a civil suit against him in small claims court to have the court order him to return the property or to pay you the value of the property.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.

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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Zachary D. Norris or The Norris Law Firm. For complete legal advice and representation, you should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

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