Legal Question in Entertainment Law in United Kingdom

backing vocals rights

I sang the backing vocals on a demo

which subsequently was used in an

album and as the b side to a single

both of which have gone platinum. I

never signed any buy out agreement

nor received anything for the actual

demo recording itself. The record

company have now contacted me

and offered me a Musicians Union fee

buy out, which isn't much

considering this album has sold

100,000s of copies worldwide - am I

entitled to anything more? I am

listed on the album and single b side

as the backing vocalist.


Asked on 5/30/07, 8:16 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Richard Howard Richard Howard & CO

Re: backing vocals rights

Assuming that your singing was technically a performance unde Copyright Law (CDPA) your contibution should qualify as a performers’ property rights under sections 182A and 182B of the CDPA. Section 182A provides that a performer’s rights are infringed by a person who, without the performer’s consent, makes a copy of a recording of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance (the ‘reproduction right’). Section 182B provides that a performer’s rights are infringed by a person who, without the consent of the performer issues to the public copies of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance (the ‘distribution right’).

Consent normally must be in writing so you could hold out for much more as they will want you to sign a release.

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Answered on 5/30/07, 9:02 am
Gordon Firemark Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark

Re: backing vocals rights

If you are a member of the Musician's Union, you may already be bound by a collective bargaining agreement. Check with the Union.

If you're not a union member, you can certainly negotiate your price.

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Answered on 5/30/07, 4:07 pm


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