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Monthly Archives: March 2004

Composer Beware. Using your music on your demo may lead to a lawsuit. Really!

A recent case involving a composer's music demo has important implications for composers. When selling songs to a music library, it is of the utmost importance that the contract include a provision authorizing the composer to reproduce the compositions for demonstration recordings and other promotional purposes.

615 Music recently filed a lawsuit against composer Geoff Koch alleging that Koch's use of samples of compositions he created for 615's music library constituted a infringement of 615's copyrights. Koch, who had written the compositions while under contract with the library, later placed samples of those works on his website for promotional purposes.

Within a few days of filing, the parties agreed to an settlement, but only after the story was reported in the media and a number of prominent music industry executives stepped in to mediate the dispute.

Despite the quick settlement, the implications of this case are important. Technically, even thouh a composer may have created the work, he is NOT permitted to reproduce it without the copyright owner's written permission. So, when dealing with a music library on a work-for-hire basis, or where the copyright is assigned to the library, it's important that the composer secure this permission in their earliest negotiations with a music library.

When in doubt, have a lawyer review any contract before signing.

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