Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

I wrote music for a new musical for several years and then was dropped by the writer of the book and lyrics who is now using the same lyrics with a new composer. Our songs were recorded but never performed in a production. Do I have any rights in this situation?

Asked on 10/28/13, 11:56 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Lapin, LLC

You may. We would need to understand fully all the facts and circumstances in order to reach a conclusion. For example, are there any written agreements in place? Were you considered an employee at the time these works were created?

I suggest that you discuss this over with a lawyer in private to explore your options.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis

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Answered on 10/29/13, 6:03 am

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

While I can't say I disagree with the previous answer, I am somewhat more doubtful that you have a case, for the following reason. It sounds as though you were composing the music only, and not writing the lyrics. Now, they're using a different composer to write the music for the same lyrics -- which lyrics were written by a third person. Based on this analysis (which may be incorrect), I'd say you have no creative connection or influence on the final product, and therefore have no claim under intellectual-property laws. You would have a claim, of course, if you were an employee or under contract and the terms of your employment or contract were breached.

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Answered on 10/29/13, 8:40 am

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