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  • Drummer issues

    I've been having problems with my drummer for quite sometime now, and I'm not sure what to do. My problem is that he came up with the drum rhythms, and it may be a creative conflict if I fire him. Now its nothing to unique or creative, just standard drums, and i was wondering what is the legal standpoint on it. If like say we're recording, and we have a different drummer.

  • #2
    Depends. Im assuming you havent laid tracks yet. If not, make sure the old drummer and the new drummer dont share the beats - let the new come up with them on his own. As long as the new isnt influenced by the old, you're in the clear.

    If the drums are down on tracks, thats much more dicey. See if the old drummer will take $50 or $100 to sign a work-for-hire and give away his copyright. Otherwise, the drummer doesnt just own his percentage - he is free to sell/market/play those tunes with whoever he wants in their entirety, since he is joint owner (the law treats it as if every member of the band fully owns the entire song).

    This is i advise all bands who intend to be at all commercial to form and do business through LLCs.

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    • #3
      Your sole solution:

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3577662177232726626

      Comment


      • #4
        You can't copy protect a drum beat. If you could, no one would want to learn drums because every beat has already been played and it would be a very expensive hobby... Same thing about chord changes, you cannot copy protect Am - C - D - G and have no one ever play that progression without paying you, that would be crazy.

        Kick him to the curb and let the new guy work out what he feels is the right beat for the song, even if it turns out to be the same beat as the old drummer....

        Plus, he'd have to go to an entertainment lawyer and those guys guys are mucho expensive, so there's little chance he'd take any action (if there was any action he could take)
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        • #5
          First of all, you definately *can* copyright a drum beat if you can show it is original enough. Sure, 99.9% of drum beats are uncopyrightable, but that doesnt mean its impossible as a matter of law.

          Even if a drummer submits an uncopyrightable piece to a copyrightable whole, he still owns his representative share absent a release. You'd have a chance if you could prove that he contributed zero to the piece of the music that is copyrightable but this almost never works. You basicly have to prove he didnt do something... ive never seen a case where this works.

          "Kick him to the curb and let the new guy work out what he feels is the right beat for the song, even if it turns out to be the same beat as the old drummer...."

          As I said, as long as the new drummer has no input from the old (it is not derivative), you're golden, even if it is the same.

          Plus, bassid is right. As a practical matter... he wont sue you. It is much more likely to rear its ugly head if your single takes off and starts generating cash. Then he might show up with his hand out, and an entertainment lawyer would take his case on a contingency-fee basis. This is likely the only situation you have to worry about (other than him taking those songs to another band and taking them famous).

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          • #6
            I'm a drummer myself, and unless I've contributed to the melody or arrangement of a song, I'm assuming my name is not going on the song writing credits. In most cases, drum beats are not copyright-able, though it has been done. Most commonly, however, it's the PERFORMANCE of said beat, not the actual rhythm. If you look at a disc like the ones released by Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) or Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin, and Wood), those performances are copywritten, but the purchase of the CD entitles the user to use them to their content.

            So yeah, fire him if you need to and get someone new.
            Music, music, I hear music

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            • #7
              Remember the words of Chuck D and Flava Flav,

              "Man y'all can't copyright no beats man!"

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              • #8
                its nothing too unique or creative, just standard drums


                Whatever, don't worry about it.
                *smiling politely*

                Comment


                • #9
                  First of all, you definately *can* copyright a drum beat if you can show it is original enough. Sure, 99.9% of drum beats are uncopyrightable, but that doesnt mean its impossible as a matter of law.

                  Even if a drummer submits an uncopyrightable piece to a copyrightable whole, he still owns his representative share absent a release. You'd have a chance if you could prove that he contributed zero to the piece of the music that is copyrightable but this almost never works. You basicly have to prove he didnt do something... ive never seen a case where this works.

                  "Kick him to the curb and let the new guy work out what he feels is the right beat for the song, even if it turns out to be the same beat as the old drummer...."

                  As I said, as long as the new drummer has no input from the old (it is not derivative), you're golden, even if it is the same.

                  Plus, bassid is right. As a practical matter... he wont sue you. It is much more likely to rear its ugly head if your single takes off and starts generating cash. Then he might show up with his hand out, and an entertainment lawyer would take his case on a contingency-fee basis. This is likely the only situation you have to worry about (other than him taking those songs to another band and taking them famous).


                  Wow, seems to me that I just wasted my time reading that......

                  Unless the drumbeat IS the song, it is not possible to take action over a beat, you want to ty it, go ahead, come bak and tell me when you lose.

                  I'd trust Flav-a-Flav's word on it...
                  Fender Acoustasonic Tele
                  Gretsch 9220 Bobtail resonator
                  Epi Les Paul Custom
                  Garrison G-50-E
                  1984 Martin Shenandoah
                  Stiletto Studio5
                  Upright bass w/pickup
                  Yamaha RBX 260F Fretless 4
                  Essex (SX) B-205
                  And a cool old Kingston Bass that looks good on my wall....
                  Aphex Punch Factor
                  Jekyll & Hyde dual distortion
                  Ibby Toneloc Digital Delay
                  Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III *Red October limited run*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ...other than him taking those songs to another band and taking them famous....


                    Yup. I'd be more concerned with your ex-drummer ripping off the song than your new drummer ripping off his beat...

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      If the drums are down on tracks, thats much more dicey. See if the old drummer will take $50 or $100 to sign a work-for-hire and give away his copyright. Otherwise, the drummer doesnt just own his percentage - he is free to sell/market/play those tunes with whoever he wants in their entirety, since he is joint owner (the law treats it as if every member of the band fully owns the entire song).


                      This is completely, totally false. Instrumental parts are not copyrightable AT ALL and many people have tried and failed to obtain copyright based on "I came up with the drum part" or even a distinctive guitar riff. Lyrics and melody are the ONLY parts of a song that are copyrightable. If the rest of the band gets any stake in the song, it is ONLY at the behest of those who write the actual lyrics and melody being generous enough to cut them in on the publishing (which I do think is a great idea, but it is not required by copyright law by any stretch).

                      If you have already recorded songs and released the recording, the whole band may own the copyright on the recorded work itself, but even then the copyright is limited to that version of the recording only. You could re-record the songs with a new drummer and be totally in the clear, even if he plays the exact same parts as your old drummer.

                      If the drummer doesn't have anything in writing saying he is to be paid a certain amount for hire for having come up with the arrangements, AND you don't have anything in writing that says he is a partner in your song publishing, you don't owe him a thing. This happens all the time and even famous drummers have to specifically negotiate royalties if they are to be paid anything for helping to come up with song arrangements. Many, in fact, have been unsuccessful in gaining any share of the publishing even if they came up with a very distinctive, signature drum part.
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                      • #12
                        Depends. Im assuming you havent laid tracks yet. If not, make sure the old drummer and the new drummer dont share the beats - let the new come up with them on his own. As long as the new isnt influenced by the old, you're in the clear.

                        If the drums are down on tracks, thats much more dicey. See if the old drummer will take $50 or $100 to sign a work-for-hire and give away his copyright. Otherwise, the drummer doesnt just own his percentage - he is free to sell/market/play those tunes with whoever he wants in their entirety, since he is joint owner (the law treats it as if every member of the band fully owns the entire song).

                        This is i advise all bands who intend to be at all commercial to form and do business through LLCs.


                        The drummer owns a share of what? The SR (recording) copyright (I seriously doubt it)? Or the PA (songwriter) copyright? No way he owns a piece of the PA copyright just for recording the song.

                        Terry D.
                        Telling Stories releases 2nd CD, see our WEBSITE! Please check out my GROUPIE STORY and Tales from the Road.

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                        • #13
                          he'd get a performance copyright and that's it ie if he's drumming on the cd and you sell a ****************load of them via a publisher he'll be entitled to royalties.

                          you can get songwriting credit if a part you come up with is pivotal to the tune eg if you come up with the guitar lick in the stones heartbreaker you could argue for a songwriting credit because the song revolves around that.

                          drumming on the other hand is ridiculously hard to come up with something you could argue a songwriting credit for.

                          you're unlikely to run into any trouble and all you'd need to do is tell the drummer to do different fills if this other dude is going to make an issue out of it.

                          as someone has already said, youve a bigger problem if the drummer and a new band start doing your songs than he has of a new drummer doing his beat.
                          good deals with: kpd78, kid A, sg1, chucknorris1982, red riviera, pott, heartfelt dawn

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                          • #14
                            you can get songwriting credit if a part you come up with is pivotal to the tune eg if you come up with the guitar lick in the stones heartbreaker you could argue for a songwriting credit because the song revolves around that.



                            I always thought of Heartbreaker as revolving around the Clav lick.

                            Nicky Hopkins, however, did NOT get songwriting credit on that one.
                            Pigpen said it was OK!







                            Originally Posted by mdog114


                            Boy, you should REALLY go back and slap you're teachers!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is completely, totally false. Instrumental parts are not copyrightable AT ALL and many people have tried and failed to obtain copyright based on "I came up with the drum part" or even a distinctive guitar riff. Lyrics and melody are the ONLY parts of a song that are copyrightable. If the rest of the band gets any stake in the song, it is ONLY at the behest of those who write the actual lyrics and melody being generous enough to cut them in on the publishing (which I do think is a great idea, but it is not required by copyright law by any stretch).

                              If you have already recorded songs and released the recording, the whole band may own the copyright on the recorded work itself, but even then the copyright is limited to that version of the recording only. You could re-record the songs with a new drummer and be totally in the clear, even if he plays the exact same parts as your old drummer.

                              If the drummer doesn't have anything in writing saying he is to be paid a certain amount for hire for having come up with the arrangements, AND you don't have anything in writing that says he is a partner in your song publishing, you don't owe him a thing. This happens all the time and even famous drummers have to specifically negotiate royalties if they are to be paid anything for helping to come up with song arrangements. Many, in fact, have been unsuccessful in gaining any share of the publishing even if they came up with a very distinctive, signature drum part.


                              All except for the keyboard line from "Whiter Shade of Pale". The guy who played that won in court. Of course, that was considered to be a melody line essential to the song. Can't see that happening in a drum part!
                              http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

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