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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Music Business question) I am a composer and owner of a recording

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Music Business question) I am a composer and owner of a recording and have recorded with a member who left the band and is now demanding a session fee? yet no mention or contract was made prior and during the recording. I have also lost months of public performance gigs due to her departure. Could I counter sue for loss of earnings?

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Were they a member of the band or just brought in to play sessions please?


She was a member of the band, just as all other members were and happy to record and consented on the day. We have been approached by the musicians union stating we can't use her performance without her consent? besides this she is also claiming that she had arranged the drum parts, however I had a pre recording with a previous member.

Alex Watts : So how have you lost work if it was just recording for the day? I assume they never signed a release etc?

She wasn't a session musician, actually a band member of 12 months with gigs booked. We had to cancel existing and decline shows from Oct - Feb audition a new drummer, pay for rehearsals etc, which put us back a couple of months. She quit the band, one week after our recording to play for another, but is now out of work and demanding money as a session musician for that day. Yet no agreement was mentioned on the day. She is telling us to delete her parts OR pay her a session fee. As I mentioned she doesn't own the recording, didn't compose or arrange any parts, and I have learned that you cannot copy write drum loops or chord progressions. I was just going to get on with it, but I keep getting these demands and its getting quite nasty.

Alex Watts : If they leave the band then their entitlement goes.
Alex Watts : They could potentially sue but you can use the recordings as they were made with their consent.
Alex Watts : They can not later simply withdraw it.
Alex Watts : If they consented at the time of making then that consent stands.
Alex Watts : As for loss of earnings, if they simply left without any form of contract you can't sue.
Alex Watts : If there was an agreement that said they would need to give x months and they did not, then you could sue.
Alex Watts : But without a contract you can not make them give notice, nor would they have to give it.
Alex Watts : So sadly you can not sue just because they have left.
Alex Watts : Its a two way street, she can't stop you using her work and you can't sue her.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex Watts :

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