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Quick Copyright Agreement Question

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by simmonssam4444, May 14, 2012.

  1. simmonssam4444

    simmonssam4444 Active Member

    So I am working under a non-profit organization, starting up a record label that will release heritage music collected by various folklorists. One release is going to be recordings of a fellow and his family members. The man has died, but his daughters remain. As far as I can tell they have all spoken amongst themselves and have made one of the grand daughters a family representative, and she has signed our agreement for all materials we have collected. Now, my question is whether or not we have to get any sort of official documentation that recognizes the granddaughter as the family representative.
    The Copyright Office states that (202.) "A transfer of copyright ownership, other than by operation of law, is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note of memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent."

  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Yes, you do. It should be signed by all participants and some matriarch/patriarchs of the family, too.
  3. simmonssam4444

    simmonssam4444 Active Member

    Thanks for the reply John. I thought so. Do you know if such a document has a name? We have a lawyer to contact with questions, but I'd like to do more initial research in case other questions/problems pop up.
  4. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    It is a general contract. Just an agreement in writing that "this is the way things are and this is what is expected".

    Remember, anything not spelled out in the contract is subject to the default terms of the State you live in! Make sure the contract addresses every issue, such as the time limit for this contract, compensation, taxes, future claims, arbitration, etc.


    If there is an Executor for the Will, that persons signature is a must!
  5. simmonssam4444

    simmonssam4444 Active Member

    Awesome, thanks. Well we might as well get the four daughters to sign off on the original agreement then. Another problem is that the original fella died intestate (Tennessee) and I believe that means that the three sons that have now passed have passed along their fraction of the copyright to their children. So now we also have to get all of their signatures as well.
  6. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Yes, you do. Complex, but simple to do. THey all sign one form. Everybody gets a copy. If you want them to sign it quickly, then write it in plain uncomplicated language so they wont feel the need to have a lawyer look at it. Just spell out that they keep the rights and this is only a license for you to use it to make money, and spell out what their share is, and when the license expires.
  7. marcustaylor

    marcustaylor Active Member

    Hi John, if you're still trying to get your head around this feel free to drop me an email (marcus at themusiciansguide dot co dot uk) and i'd be happy to put you in touch with a friend who runs a music law firm. He produced all of the contracts here and would be able to talk you through some of this. Let me know & we can sort something out
  8. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Simonsam could use that help. PM him.

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