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Old Band Members want to continue playing originals I wrote... what would you say?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Mr Deluxe, May 19, 2011.

  1. Mr Deluxe

    Mr Deluxe Member

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    about 5 years ago I fronted an original band of friends that played out maybe 4 or 5 times a month and we played about an hour and a half set of songs I had previously written on my own. Aside from a few groups of local fans, we had never gotten very far and ended splitting due to schedule problems.

    So here we are today, I just got of the phone with the old bass player who is looking to play guitar and front a new band, with many of the old guys, playing my older original tunes. I have to say I don't know what to make of it. He offered that I could perform with them when I have time, but to be honest I've lost interest in playing these songs since I've written many new tunes since and would rather be playing those.

    What do you guys think of the situation? Aside from a few poor man copyright disc packages I've mailed to myself over the years, I don't know that I own the rights to the songs really, and don't want to be left in the dust if someone loves the songs and this time it isn't me performing them.

    I was kinda thrown for a loop when I got the call and really don't know what to think of this situation :bonk:bonk:bonk
     
  2. guzman

    guzman Member

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    If you don't care anymore about those songs, and you probably won't play them anymore, and also considering the fact that your band splitted on good terms, I guess that's ok.

    But be sure to let them know its still YOUR songs, just in case...
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel Silver Supporting Member

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    I played in a Band with a Real good friend of mine, Me and him wrote some songs together. I quit, The band got a new singer and bass player. The new singer took over the band My buddy quit. The band then released an album 8 of the 11 songs Me and my friend wrote all credited to the singer(who I have never met).

    I would let your bandmates play them.At least they have fun playing them and people will hear them. they do no one any good in the back of your head.
     
  4. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Do this - copyright them with Library of Congress (a real copyright) - then let them play them with your permission. That way if somehow they become a hit you will get full creit and payment. You may be able to do some kind of compilation (folio) type of copyright where you put all five tunes on an album and copyright it.

    But I would not just give them away. At the very least ask him to sign a contract stating they are your songs solely and that you reserve all rights to them.

    (I'm not a lawyer, just thinking out loud).
     
  5. Mr Deluxe

    Mr Deluxe Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys, I'll definitely be thinking this one over the next few days.
    At least they are good friends and I doubt they would try to pull a fast one on me.
    I mean, what are the chances one of those tunes actually becomes a hit? Maybe I'm making a big deal over nothing, but then if one does become a hit... I guess I could try to force my way back to the front spot in the band :D
     
  6. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Member

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    I'd be flattered if somebody wanted to play my songs! Why not audition some of your new stuff too?
     
  7. shane8

    shane8 Member

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    i think it's weird that they would want to play ur old stuff - very weird - still make sure u can prove u own the songs
     
  8. cbguy

    cbguy Green & Gold Supporter

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    I would consider it an honor... even if they play crappy versions of them. At least they thought a lot of the tunes. ~quick! make sure you get the copyright!~
     
  9. MBT74

    MBT74 Member

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    If you have recordings, I'd post them up on Soundcloud or BandCamp under your name. Somewhere in the public domain. This will show that you released them first, should they become a hit.
     
  10. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    They're your songs. It would be good to copyright them officially, but if people know you wrote them back then, it shouldn't be too hard to prove. It sounds like you have a good enough relationship with them that they would credit you on recordings. Most people I know who cover their friend's songs tend to give them credit from the stage at least occasionally. If I were in your shoes I would say "I'm honored that you want to record my songs. I have some new ones too, if you're interested." I would take them up on the offer to play with them if you felt like it. If you want to play the new songs, having guys who like your material out there playing the songs will likely help you if you want to put together a band and play them later. Just because they're playing them doesn't mean you,or others, can't also.

    I'm speaking as someone who wrote songs that friends covered live and on CD, and who occasionally plays with those friends in my band or theirs, and who occasionally gets royalty checks due to their recordings getting airplay somewhere.

    -Scott
     
  11. Mr Deluxe

    Mr Deluxe Member

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    Hey guys, thanks again for the response. These guys are all friends of mine, and the songs they are wanting to play are from one of the first set lists of the first album I had really written. I performed these songs with these guys for a while and you're right when you say they would credit me for writing the tunes.

    They are great guys and great musicians, though I am really the only writer out of the bunch and I can see how they would like to give another shot to some songs I haven't been playing. It was a bit weird for me at first to hear the idea, but maybe there isn't anything to worry about here. I guess the only question now, is if we ever play out together, who opens for who? :D
     
  12. gmann

    gmann Member

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    I think you should be flattered, you wrote something that endures. I wish I had.
     
  13. Heritage 80

    Heritage 80 Member

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    Copyright 'em, and ask that they give you props for the tunes when they play them live. A little publicity never hurts.;)
     
  14. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    If you wrote the words and lead line (melody) by yourself then by all rights the songs are yours. However, if you didn't copyright them then someone else can.

    No offense, but that's YOUR bad. You didn't copyright your work.

     
  15. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    Look at it this way. As a songwriter, isn't the idea to get people to do your songs? :)

    The one that gets the gig headlines if they want.
     
  16. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    These threads always remind me of one of my favorite Ben Folds Five songs - Army.

    citing artistic differences
    the band broke up in may
    and in june reformed without me
    and they'd got a different name

    Friends or no friends - my personal feelings are that no one plays my songs but me and whatever band I'm in. I've left bands making it very clear the songs are going with me.
     
  17. Thinline_slim

    Thinline_slim Supporting Member

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    Get a copyright then get terms in writing from the band members.

    I would personally give them written consent to perform the songs but state that they are your lyrics and melody and that you have a copyright in place (when that actually happens) just so there's no confusion. You stand a lot better chance of getting royalties from someone else actively pushing your song than you do not playing them at all.
     
  18. clemduolian

    clemduolian Silver Supporting Member

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    1. Under current law in the U.S., the copyright attaches the moment you create/publish/perform your songs. They are all copyrighted...they just aren't registered.

    2. In order to take advantage of U.S. federal courts and enforce your copyright rights, you need to have them registered with the copyright office. Your government had provided an excellent web site that clearly explains how to register your songs on-line (now the preferred method) and what it means to have a "registered copyright." http://www.copyright.gov

    It is a good idea to know your rights...and how to protect and exploit them. In fact, if you're trying to make a living as a musician (even part time) it is as important as knowing how to play your instrument (which, happily DOES NOT mean you need to become a lawyer:omg).

    GOod luck.
     
  19. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    It's not a matter of your friends pulling a fast one. **** happens. In our business society it's perfectly acceptable for people to do unethical things and get away with it. Everyone just says, "that's business".

    If you care at all, then get your songs copyrighted.

    Funny, this same thing happened to another guy on TGP.
     
  20. Mr Deluxe

    Mr Deluxe Member

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    Yes you are all right, I am definitely going to legitimize the copyrights to the songs. Letting them play the tunes is not letting them own the tunes, and what if someone likes what they hear and rips my buddies off, then it will become a large ordeal for me, and not them.

    I guess it's cool that they want to play the songs, and I don't have a problem with it, but I do need to take care of ownership before they start gigging. Thanks again, you've all been a big help. :beer
     

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