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   Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
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   Author  Topic: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?  (Read 2348 times)
troswald
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Re: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 4th, 2007, 10:30am »
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I'm not sure I follow what you mean by "commercializing".  Did he contribute to music/lyrics we now perform? - only in the sense that he recorded on a small digital recorder many or most of our practices together in which I was playing keyboard and singing and writing/forming ideas while he played drums.  He never had any verbal communication or any communication of any kind about the chords, lyrics, or melody.  So I probably did a little over half the work at home writing and creating demos and such and the other chunk of work arranging and playing around with those compositions in practice with him involved with the drums.  Additionally the drums are not wildly integral to our music - meaning they're not unique to a hook or something.  My intent was not to share or include others as songwriters.  
We eventually recorded an album that he plays the drums on and he want to restrict our use of those recordings to only if we have his written consent.
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A Drummer Myself
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Re: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 4th, 2007, 12:03pm »
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If his drum playing is not integral to the work ... why are those recordings so valuable?
 
Ok, you may have put some time and money into the recordings ... but if you're hopeful that you'll get signed with a label then you should expect that a record company isn't likely to commercially release your garage recordings. Maybe you think your recordings are up to snuff ... I've seen that before ... some friend owns some studio equipment ... helped with the demo CD ... sounds great ... kinda like the squawking of a baby penguin is music in the ears of its mother ... but guess what ... your old recordings ain't likely up to the standards of a recording label.
 
On the other hand, maybe you're saying this drummer guy contributed to valuable recordings.
If that's what you're saying, what makes you think you should be scott-free to use those recordings as you like?
If your intent was not to share or include others ... why did you include him in your recording project?
 
If your old recordings are just demos with little or no integral commercial value, and if you move on to being a successful studio/touring musician signed with a label ... you'll likely re-record your better songs. If you don't beat your new drummer with a gong mallet to force him to play like your old drummer ... then the new recordings aren't likely to have the same drum parts as the old recordings. It may be that any claim he might have will dissipate when your new drummer plays his drums differently.
 
Look I'm more into patents than copyrights and other intellectual property areas ... but one thought I had when I read this thread, as a drummer, is that non-drummers in general often can't tell whether two drummers play the same or not. You may think that your song hasn't changed when you switch drummers ... but the drummers part has likely been completely replaced. You think the song hasn't changed because you're listening to your part. But a drummer listens to the drumming part. What if you're not still performing the songs that the old drummer helped you create? What if your new songs are just that ... new songs ... from a drummers point of view ... because the drum parts are completely different. Sure, you might be singing the same words and playing similar guitar and piano parts ... but that doesn't make it the same musical performance piece, from a drummers perspective, I assure you.
 
So anyway, I'm just adding some perspective as a drummer ... not as an expert in the field of intellectual property where your concerns lie. But that drummer perspective may impact your situation.
 
Look, the guy sent you a cease and desist email ... ooh ... that's scary ... I'm wetting myself ... not ... HE'S BLUFFING AND SCREWING WITH YOUR HEAD. He's just being a bitter loser dork.
 
I wouldn't worry about any of this too much unless I was actually selling copies of the recordings to which he contributed and was actually selling a lot of them. (Those few you sell from your guitar case at the coffee shop after your little acoustic gig ain't gonna get noticed by anybody).
 
If you're just looking for a moral waiver ... I hereby waive you. Go forth and prosper. Move on with your band. Forget that loser dork that sent you the e-mail. But don't ask your new drummer to carefully study and re-create that dork's drum contribution or I will recall my waiver.
 
But for now ... you are hereby waived. This waiver is good before God and will grant you entry to the Kingdom assuming you have no other alleged transgressions. So print this out, bring it with you when you die, and show it to St. Peter at the gate. Tell him I put your name on the list. This waiver may be redeemable before other deities with which we honor reciprocity. Check with your local imam, or rabbi, or whatever.
 
If you want more ... you probably will need to hire an attorney. If you're selling thousands of those old recordings ... then maybe the fees of that attorney should be considered as part of the cost of doing business. If you sign with a label ... the recording company will have attorneys. Recording companies have probably never signed a musician that didn't have any loser dorks chasing after lost opportunities by laying claim to songs they didn't write. That's gotta be a story they live everyday. Just like dogs chase mailmen, wannabe's chase successful musicians.
 
Forget the loser's email ... go forth absolved.
 
If you get a letter from an attorney ... think again.
 
Cheers, and see you in the Kingdom. I'll be the drummer.
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troswald
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Re: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 5th, 2007, 10:04am »
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The recordings he is on are not demos.  They were recorded on a spec deal at a top notch studio in Manhattan with an Engineer/Producer who would bump us because he'd have a session with Whitney Houston's comeback album or Justin Timberlake.  So ... we can replace the drums with our new drummer (and that is certainly an option) but we created the entire album with the intent of it being label ready in the larger sense.
 
But my concern is not whether he should be paid for performance royalties (should he be included on any recording we end up making money from) - my concern is his belief that he is owed songwriting credit and/or control over the "songs".  The way I understand it, whoever has the rights over the songwriting/publishing has the power over what you can do with them, etc.  
 
He didn't write the songs.  Yes he was with me (playing drums) for many occasions when I was trying out new ideas on keys and singing etc, but all the chords, lyrics, and melody were written created solely by me.  That was my intent.  
 
And as I mentioned above we didn't have a written agreement together.  I've read that without such an agreement it could be interpreted that we share the writing credit equally; this is unacceptable and wrong.  But such might be the law in default?  I believe that his drumming as a musical entity is not above what I've heard of as "de minimus".  His time was significant but his musical input was not.  
 
I'm not trying to make this personal.  I lament how everything went down.  But I'm just trying to deal with the situation at hand.  I'm not trying to bury him or stop him from his own future success.  But it seems he just wants to take our ball and go home so no one can play.  That's what I need to avoid.  
 
Where is the compromise so I can retain full control over my songs and the songwriting copyright and we can still do what we with with the recordings we've created (and still pay him for certain performance royalties)?
 
Thank you.
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A Drummer Myself
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Re: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 5th, 2007, 1:01pm »
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It sounds like you're pretty far into commercialization. There are attorneys out there with vast experience in the music and entertainment industries. They'll know what questions to ask and how to advise. They'll know whether simply pulling your old drummers tracks out of the mix and replacing them (assuming separated track recording methods were use) will fix you up or not ... etc. Good luck man ... my tongue-in-cheek comments aren't the substance you need to satisfy your concerns.
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troswald
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Re: Former drummer raising hell - what can I do?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 7th, 2007, 4:12pm »
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bump
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