Case Studies

Breaking up is hard to do … what happens when a band member leaves.

A photo of a music recording studio featuring equipment but no musicians.
Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

Arts Law recently advised members of a band on the copyright status of a number of their songs after one of the band members had decided to leave the band. Upon leaving, the member stated he did not want the band to use any of the songs he had contributed to and wanted to be removed from all the promotional materials the band had spent significant funds creating.

We advised the clients about copyright and the ownership of rights in musical works, lyrics and sound recordings under the Copyright Act. We also provided some advice about the sort of letter the band could send the leaving member, and suggested the use of a partnership agreement in future to outline what the rights of the various band members are upon leaving the band. We also provided advice on how mediation might be useful in dealing with the dispute in relation to the copyright material which was owned jointly.