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unlicensed music remix stolen for commercial release

 
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LLAnime
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Joined: 26 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: unlicensed music remix stolen for commercial release Reply with quote

I won't go into too many details regarding the artist involved in this, but they're a massive-selling artist in the UK and a well-known name.

I own a small label and an artist under my label created a remix using samples from a song by 'major artist' without permission. It's a great song and so we sent it to 'major artist' to request permission to release it publically. We never heard back from him.

A year on, and we hear 'major artist' is releasing a new song, with the exact title my artist named his remix. It also sounds identical to the remix we sent him a year ago.

I contacted 'major artist's manager as I believe we still own copyright to the artistic idea within the arrangement of this remix. He disagreed and they've had their solicitor send a letter to us demanding we destroy all copies of our original version of this remix within 7 days.

While my artist didn't ask permission to make this remix, 'major artist' has stolen the whole idea of my artist's remix.

If we made a claim of copyright infringement could it be argued the copyright to my artist's remix was void in the first place?

Obviously this is very complicated. Can anyone advise on our rights here (if we have any at all.)
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CopyrightAid
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a tough call, but I personally think you have a case.

Unfortunately, as the work your artist created is an adaptation of the original - rather that a new musical work, the original artist can (quite correctly) state that this is a derivative work. i.e. you would never be able to legally publish this work yourself without the original artists permission.

The issue that the 'major artist' solicitors are glossing over is the fact that copyright will also exist in your artist's sound recording. If you can demonstrate that this remix is itself a work of labor, skill and judgment, then I believe that you have grounds to claim that the 'major artist' has acted in bad faith. Furthermore, if the remix released by the major artist is a direct copy of your artist's remix, it may be reasonable to expect your artist to receive a share of royalties in respect to the sales of the remix.

From what you have said so far it sounds like you will have an uphill battle, but I do think you have a case and it is certainly worth discussing the case with a solicitor.
As always in these situations, you have to weight what you hope to gain against the risk and potential costs. Principals can be expensive - be realistic and only fight for tangible gains.

Please understand forum posts (including mine) are just peoples views and opinions - and are not a substitute for formal legal advice, and I would certainly recommend that you discuss the details of this case with a suitably qualified solicitor.

Please keep us updated - we'd love to know you get on.
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LLAnime
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response, CA.

I too feel we have a case, as does a solicitor I've spoken with. My only problem is from a financial point of view. My opponent has money, I do not. I suppose this is something you hear a lot, and most family have advised me to leave it alone and not risk my money on fighting this. Surely we don't live in a society where someone can get away with this simply because the victim doesn't have the money to make a legal case?

I will see if my solicitor will work on a letter to their solicitor that tries to settle it out of court. If that's unsuccessful, what do you think I should try next?
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Warlock
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ask your solicitor if it is possible to obtain insurance for your legal costs.
(It's a bit like pro-bono, but the solicitor still gets paid - the insurance company takes the risk.)

I know such a thing exists, (I heard it from a solicitor), but I don't know how available it is, or if you could even get it - worth asking though.
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LLAnime
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warlock wrote:
Ask your solicitor if it is possible to obtain insurance for your legal costs.
(It's a bit like pro-bono, but the solicitor still gets paid - the insurance company takes the risk.)

I know such a thing exists, (I heard it from a solicitor), but I don't know how available it is, or if you could even get it - worth asking though.

That sounds great, I'll definitely ask about that. Thanks man Smile

I've decided to go ahead with legal action. I wouldn't be able to live with hearing this song being a massive hit in the knowledge it's stolen from me and my artist.

I'll post back the results at a later date.
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