What are my rights under copyright?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights under copyright?

I wrote two songs for the band I’m currently in. I filed for copyright under my own name and then presented the songs for the band’s consideration. We reciently recorded a demo of one songs and naturally, they’ve added their own stylistic flair. However, the lyrics, melodies, and arrangement remain consistant with the original version I submitted for copyright. My singer submitted the demo for consderation to a local radio station without my permission which is further complicated by the fact I intend to leave the band for a different career. There has been no previous distibution youtube, facebook, ect. to this point and to my knowledge the song has not been played on the air. I don’t care if they continue to use the song after I leave as long as it’s clearly stated that I am the orignal author and I get a fair royalty rate. Should I get a written agreement or since I am the sole copyright holder are my rights guarenteed?

Asked on August 3, 2017 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The answer is both: yes, copyright law does protect your rights in that it does not let anyone use your song without your permission, which can be predicated on paying you appropriate royalties, providing correct acknowledgment of authorship where appropriate, etc. However, copyright law does not take care of the details: e.g. how much royalties, when and how paid? Are there any venues or media or purposes on or for which they can't play it at all (e.g. if there is some use you want to retain 100% for you)? How do you want authorship acknowleded? Etc. So have a written agreement to provide a structure and answer those questions.

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