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Help my friend out: antagonistic record label

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Jeemy, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member


    My friend and client of 8 years has just put out his annual CD. He runs a local gig venue and it puts on bands 7 nights a week, 3-5 a night. The best he publishes on a CD each year and distributes them FOC to students etc.

    To cut a long story short, I just mastered and pressed 5,000 of these for him. During the pressing, and after the discs themselves were made, he was called by a record label named I believe Seeca, an internet-only label, who told him they had signed one of the bands.

    The band say the label gave them permission to give him the track. The band clearly gave him the track as otherwise he would not have had a copy. In Scotland a verbal contract is law. The label says they have exclusive rights to the band catalogue and if he distributes it they will sue. They've had their bluff called and are standing firm. They say he will be breaking 2 laws and they will prosecute.

    I offered to print 5000 leaflets letting people know about this situation and insert them for free as we were assembling the CD packages. They refused and told my client to 'go away'.

    Its my personal belief they see my client as a way they can make money. I don't get it. They are a tiny internet record label with no mechanical product. Does anybody know anything that can help him?


  2. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Well...it's may be painful, but repress without that track.

    Most small lables would be happy for you to promote their acts for free, especially since you are not making a profit. Let them do it themselves.

  3. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Well we have had to take that option, even with me assisting as much as I can without totally killing myself it is costing the client the equivalent of $1500 to repress without......

    Funny thing is when I went to make a new master and actually worked out which band it was, that track was the worst IMHO on there.
  4. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    In future if this happens, try to get hold of the contract they signed. Read through it to see if it covers all previous unpublished works and always, always get a release contract signed by bands who's work you are releasing stating that they are legal copyright holders of any work to be published, with a caviat stating that you as publisher are not responsible for false or incorrect information passed and are not liable for any costs incurred or damages as a result of publication.

    This will always cover you if an act gets signed in between recording, signing the form and publishing the work. If they (the record company) wish to stop you publishing they then have two options. Pay for any losses incurred with compensation for possible loss of earnings (buying the contract out) or biting the bullet and letting you proceed with publishing.
  5. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I didn't liaise with the bands, or the label, my friend did. In Scotland verbal contracts are technically law but that is no excuse for him not obtaining a release form.

    Trouble is, the band swore and still do contest that the label gave approval for the track to be used.

    Unfortunately the label do own all previous unpublished works.

    I was just hoping I could help him out.....
  6. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Oh and PS for anybody reading this in years to come, the band were happy to sign something saying they had authorised the track to be used, but the label contested that they had no authority to do so either at the time or retrospectively, as they had signed with the label before making the agreement to release the track.

    Be very careful....even if you have a band signature they need to confirm they aren't in discussions that might affect the copyright of what you are compiling.

    Difficult when they are insigned and hence have no lawyer, label or other representation....
  7. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Probably quite true, but it's all about liability. It is not the job of a publisher to contest a statement made by the band if they believe that they are the copyright holders of a published or unpublished works especially if they have signed a statement to that fact.

    The fact that they had no authority to do that is between the band and their record label. They have no grounds to sue you unless you are aware before publication that the contact was null and void.

    You in law will have the option to recoup any financial loss from the band who originally signed the agreement (if this is stated as a clause on the release/licence form) - although seeing as your friend is not likely to be a money grabbing bast*rd (unlike Secca, whoever they hell they are), he's not likely to do this.

    Verbal Contracts, although legally binding are notoriously difficult to prove. Never rely only on verbal contract, always get someting signed. If they are signed - always get agreement from the label, not the band, as they are most likely copyright owners.

    Plus it would be interesting to see a copy of their contract. Most bands aren't that stupid and won't sign their entire life away to a poxy little internet only label on the basis that they'll 'publish' it.....or maybe they will - silly buggers.

    I have a copyright release form you can have to give your mate. If you want it send me your e-mail.

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