#1November 25th, 2010 · 04:55 AM
24 threads
319 posts
Malaysia
Author's rights >> HELP! I have a question here, please help!
Hey everyone! I'm back from the oblivion to ask a question. I'm really at my wit's end here and I don't know what to do.

As some of you who might remember me (even the slightest? no? -_-), I'm a lyricist, who writes songs, although I've never recorded them or put them up here. I only posted lyrics (even though I do have melodies for them but I simply never recorded them) Because of well, technical and confidence issues.

I write poems too, well, poems are what I most often write anyways. So two years ago I wrote a very personal poem, which was written in metaphor about the story of my life at the time. I didn't share it with anyone, except a friend. He happens to make songs, too. So he liked it and put a melody to it and it was all cool y'know, just kind of like friends messing around with ideas and stuff. And that was that, nothing more. It was all cool.

Now, two years later, he told me he wants to record the song. We previously had the agreement that IF the song were to be recorded, we were to be working on the song TOGETHER. Since, the words were like, my baby. And I was fine with it just sitting there, a secret song, not officially recorded or anything. However now (he has since gotten a producer and one of his songs was in a local movie) he's with his producer recording it in the studio, with no involvement whatsoever from me. I feel like it's not even mine, the way he treats it like it's his. Of course, he credits me for the words, but that's it. Just a casual mention of "Oh, my friend  wrote the lyrics." I reminded him again and again about our agreement of me BEING INVOLVED in the making of the song, but he just brushed it off, saying I wouldn't wanna work in the studio, it's tiring and lots of work and stuff. He says if they make money I'll get a share. But I don't care about the money! It's my art!!!! I wanna be involved! my conditions were Either I'm directly involved or he doesn't do the song. That's it. He's quite condescending... as I'm a 'nobody' in music. But I have rights too.

So I'm asking here, what should I do? My nightmare is becoming a reality. But an even worse nightmare would be having to sue him or something.
#2November 25th, 2010 · 07:57 AM
187 threads / 27 songs
2,806 posts
Germany
Did you fix the date of your lyrics? Put them in an envelope, close it and send this letter back to yourself by postal mail. The date of the postmark is like a seal of an official document. Don't open it. If it comes to troubles with anyone you can present YOUR letter and voilá .....
You can sign in to an organisation who provides the rights of a lyricist or a composer and send in these lyrics before the song is published. But there are rules for that and it's not free of fees.

You have to be named as the author of the lyrics. That's a fact. Otherwise it's an infringement of your copyright.
Always communicate in written form! Spoken words are never been said. Write to your friend and the studio that you don't allow to work with this lyrics as long as you are not named as the author of the lyrics.

Why not telling your friend using his music to write some lyrics down?

Sorry, my english is not good enough to describe exactly but I guess you've got that point
#3November 25th, 2010 · 03:32 PM
371 threads / 187 songs
3,380 posts
United Kingdom
If you saved the work in MS word it will have a date it was created.

In the UK there are places you can get free legal help, do you have such organisations, or do you know anyone.

I would check your rights first, if you have a case, put it too him and tell him you mean business in a nice way, that should do the trick.

Good luck
#4November 25th, 2010 · 03:46 PM
340 threads / 59 songs
4,344 posts
United Kingdom
Must agree profusely with TK, send your stuff to your self and keep it sealed (I put all my stuff on a dvd years ago and sent it signed to my self). I do believe that posting your stuff on a site like bandAmp is also recognized proof of ownership, the time stamp on the post is set by the code and computer so it's out of your hands, literally, once it's posted somewhere.....do it before he completes something.

And yes yes yes, communicate with him through good old pen and paper... be polite and stick to the point ... never waver, never be emotional, be personal to a point. Simply state your claim, case, disagreement, disappointment, but dont be too emotional with the disappointment.
You need to make a clear picture of the situation and get his written reaction.
But then again writing letters comes at a point when you know it is the only way, because he will also know that you are at that point "building a case" against him.

I've been in the "letter writing" stage a few times by now, (divorce and I run my own company), the best letters are the ones where you know you have their signature on a quote months before, or in your case when you know you have proof that the work is yours......because you posted it to your self or on the internet.....yesterday! 

You see the word POST means 'after', the deed is then done !
#5November 28th, 2010 · 04:11 AM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,081 posts
Netherlands
Looks like you're gonna need a lawyer... But wait, first have a written (email) conversation with your friend about your terms and conditions. This will be the primary evidence required to make a case. The sending yourself stuff in a sealed envelope however, is a little outdated. Emailing it to yourself and keeping the emails will provide date markings that are just as legally viable as physical mail (although it slightly depends on the mail service you are using). If you have published these lyrics anywhere (like here on the forums, or on deviantart or what have you) than that will strengthen your case to prove that you wrote and own the lyrics. But in the end, if all that matters to you is being involved in the studio work, you should be able to argue that you just want to attend the sessions, just because it's an experience in itself to see a studio on the inside etc. By all means do sign a contract about royalty rights (and read the fine print! and don't sign it if you don't agree)..

If you just want to be there in the studio... I don't see how this could be a problem for your friend.. So you could argue that it will be an important experience for you to attend these sessions, as I have the feeling your friend sees studio work quite differently and might want to protect you from boredom AND/OR doesn't understand that this is REALLY important for you.

anyways, good luck.. and .. yes I do remember you quite well

cheers
#6December 26th, 2010 · 12:44 AM
117 threads / 55 songs
1,541 posts
Chile
Would BandAMP be a trustworthy copyright support in case of any author's right problem, I wonder...?
#7December 26th, 2010 · 10:18 AM
163 threads / 18 songs
2,320 posts
United Kingdom
re: Author's rights >> HELP! I have a question here, please help!
aetherius wrote…
Hey everyone! I'm back from the oblivion to ask a question. I'm really at my wit's end here and I don't know what to do.

As some of you who might remember me (even the slightest? no? -_-), I'm a lyricist, who writes songs, although I've never recorded them or put them up here. I only posted lyrics (even though I do have melodies for them but I simply never recorded them) Because of well, technical and confidence issues.

I write poems too, well, poems are what I most often write anyways. So two years ago I wrote a very personal poem, which was written in metaphor about the story of my life at the time. I didn't share it with anyone, except a friend. He happens to make songs, too. So he liked it and put a melody to it and it was all cool y'know, just kind of like friends messing around with ideas and stuff. And that was that, nothing more. It was all cool.

Now, two years later, he told me he wants to record the song. We previously had the agreement that IF the song were to be recorded, we were to be working on the song TOGETHER. Since, the words were like, my baby. And I was fine with it just sitting there, a secret song, not officially recorded or anything. However now (he has since gotten a producer and one of his songs was in a local movie) he's with his producer recording it in the studio, with no involvement whatsoever from me. I feel like it's not even mine, the way he treats it like it's his. Of course, he credits me for the words, but that's it. Just a casual mention of "Oh, my friend  wrote the lyrics." I reminded him again and again about our agreement of me BEING INVOLVED in the making of the song, but he just brushed it off, saying I wouldn't wanna work in the studio, it's tiring and lots of work and stuff. He says if they make money I'll get a share. But I don't care about the money! It's my art!!!! I wanna be involved! my conditions were Either I'm directly involved or he doesn't do the song. That's it. He's quite condescending... as I'm a 'nobody' in music. But I have rights too.

So I'm asking here, what should I do? My nightmare is becoming a reality. But an even worse nightmare would be having to sue him or something.

a possible useful links

http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/site/cms/contentviewarticle.asp?article=438

http://www.generator.org.uk/musician/intellectual-property

ok its UK law based and your flag reads malaysia so check out your countries laws...
but the basics may be the same???

just get him to credit you with the lyrics in writing first .....
then thats the business end sorted ....
he might just do the song and give you no credit at all....!!!
you wouldnt have a leg to stand on without evidence of the lyric pre existing without evidence .......
and a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.....

if hes such a mate then that might do....
he didnt sit on your shoulder while you chose the words
you chose to show him the words ....
once its out there its very hard to get back.

and once ownership gets mentioned then it becomes business and not just art..

fish

fish
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