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VIC Reforming Band Without All Original Members - Copyright Issues?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by kjd, 11 May 2015.

  1. kjd

    kjd Member

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    Hi there, this may come across as trivial and perhaps ridiculous to ask, but i'd like to seek some legal advise on reforming a band (music) without all the original members, in this case one other person.

    About five years ago I teamed up with a pal, in this case we'll call him "Chad Kroeger", and started a musical project, and in this case we'll call it "Nickelback". Initially it was just to perform some songs that Chad had written over the previous years. We did some live shows under Chad's name and I played piano while he sang along. All the music at the time was written by Chad as well as the lyrical content.

    After a few shows, I suggested to Chad that we expand on the idea of playing shows and actually start writing some material together. He agreed, and one night while we were driving through our city the project name, Nickelback, came to me. I voiced it and immediately Chad agreed on the name.

    Over the next couple of years, we spent a lot of time working on new material that would eventually phase out the initial songs written solely by Chad. Chad had written three new songs, all the music and all the lyrics, while I had written six new songs, chosen the name titles and at that point Chad was to write the lyrics as he was the lead vocalist also. We began performing these songs under the name Nickelback and then went on to record an album, make a few music videos, do a tour, etc.

    Three years ago we disbanded due to personal reasons. I advised that I no longer wanted to continue with Nickelback, and as such it was left at that.

    Now, three years on, I have spent a lot of time continuing to write music, and I am still very proud of the songs I wrote for Nickelback. Now, I want to launch the project again, perform six of the old songs I had written musically (while Chad had written the lyrics), and also perform new material that doesn't involve Chad whatsoever.

    My question is: can Chad stop me from doing this, or file a law suit against me that would actually hold up (e.g, breach of copyright or intellectual property law)?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi kjd,

    Have you spoken to Chad and asked if (i) he would like to participate, or (ii) would consent to you (and the new bank) using his lyrics? Although you wrote the music, given he wrote the lyrics, there may be a copyright infringement here if you don't receive Chad's consent.
     
  3. kjd

    kjd Member

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    Hi Sarah

    No, I haven't spoken to Chad and asked if he would like to participate. When the bad dissolved three years ago, it was due to a serious breakdown in our friendship, so that would never be an option.

    Just to be clear, there is no intention to record existing songs that I have written, where Chad has done the lyrical content. It would only be performance of those songs.
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi kjd,

    Even though you are not recording them, performing them may be a breach in itself since you may be using his copyright without his consent. If you are making a financial benefit from this, then Chad may have a claim. However, there may be an argument that Chad contributed his rights over the lyrcis to the band. I'm not sure whether this argument would work in this case, best to speak with an IP lawyer who is specialised in this area.
     

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