Question about authoring two versions of one song by Two bands.

GreatJedi7GreatJedi7 Road Warrior
edited April 2010 in The Rock Band Network
Okay so my band and my friend's band have a dilemma.

I wrote a song called 'Save Us' back in early 2009 in anticipation of an upcoming concert for our band (and this was when I was in my friend's band) and just recently, they spent 12 hours in a recording studio, recording and mixing that one song. The owner of the recording studio told the band that the song could be a hit, and that all I need to do is copyright the lyrics.

Problem is, both bands hold the rights to the song.

We have the rights because I wrote it and copyrighted it, and they have the rights because they recorded it AND copyrighted the instrumentals.

So how should we do this? we can't seem to agree on whose version goes on RBN. Theirs is harder on drums, has a more metal-ish tone and is slightly longer because of a very hard intro drum solo. Ours on the other hand, is harder on guitar because of a guitar solo in the bridge, has a lighter (but still heavy) tone, and sung by a girl.

So are we allowed to author both versions? or will we have to flip a coin or something?

Comments

  • JoshVanHalen87JoshVanHalen87 Road Warrior
    edited April 2010
    bring´em both :D
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited April 2010
    GreatJedi7;3660350 said:
    Problem is, both bands hold the rights to the song.

    We have the rights because I wrote it and copyrighted it, and they have the rights because they recorded it AND copyrighted the instrumentals.
    There's no gray area when it comes to copyright. Once a song is created in fixed form (meaning written or recorded), it is copyright protected. You wrote it? You own it. But in spite of fixed form copyright, official registration can also determine rights if it comes to an infringement lawsuit. So who actually sent the song off to the US Copyright Office to be registered? That's the real question.

    If you wrote it and registered the copyright before they recorded it, the song is yours. But if you wrote it and DIDN'T register it, and then they recorded it and THEY registered it, it's theirs. If neither of you have officially registered it with the USCO, then it's still yours because of the aforementioned fixed form copyright protection.

    You don't both own it. It's one or the other, and pretty simple to determine.
  • GreatJedi7GreatJedi7 Road Warrior
    edited April 2010
    davidshek;3660366 said:
    There's no gray area when it comes to copyright. Once a song is created in fixed form (meaning written or recorded), it is copyright protected. You wrote it? You own it. But in spite of fixed form copyright, official registration can also determine rights if it comes to an infringement lawsuit. So who actually sent the song off to the US Copyright Office to be registered? That's the real question.

    If you wrote it and registered the copyright before they recorded it, the song is yours. But if you wrote it and DIDN'T register it, and then they recorded it and THEY registered it, it's theirs. If neither of you have officially registered it with the USCO, then it's still yours because of the aforementioned fixed form copyright protection.

    You don't both own it. It's one or the other, and pretty simple to determine.
    I registered the lyrics, and they registered everything else

    Brief timeline: (In order)
    April 2009: Song written
    Late-May 2009: Song preformed in front of roughly 125 people.
    Mid-February 2010: Friend's Band Recorded, Copyrighted
    instrumentals.
    Late-February 2010: I copyrighted lyrics
    Mid-March 2010: Song preformed again on front of roughly 175 people
    Late April 2010: I typed this up.


    And my question was if we are allowed to author both versions for RBN.
  • GreatJedi7GreatJedi7 Road Warrior
    edited April 2010
    JoshVanHalen87;3660365 said:
    bring´em both :D
    Are we allowed to do that? That's what I'm asking.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited April 2010
    GreatJedi7;3660378 said:
    Brief timeline: (In order)
    April 2009: Song written
    Mid-February 2010: Friend's Band Recorded, Copyrighted instrumentals.
    Late-February 2010: I copyrighted lyrics
    Unfortunately, performance doesn't count for anything when it comes to copyright, so that part is irrelevant. I've removed it from your timeline. The only parts left are what counts.

    According to what you wrote, they registered the song with the USCO, and therefore they own the copyright. So regardless of the fact that you wrote the song, you cannot legally submit the song for RBN without their express written consent.

    But in all honesty, music copyright is a highly tangled business. This is something you should be asking an entertainment contract lawyer. I have a lot of experience in the area from working with said lawyers with my own copyrights, but I am not a lawyer. :)
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