Brooklyn, NY asked in Copyright for New York

Q: Can I be added to a copyright of a song that has already been registered, or it has to be an outside contract agreement?

I have been working on a music project for 10 years with a business partner. He owns the copyrights on 3 of the main songs, and we both put lots of time, money (splitting 50-50), energy and effort in the production of these songs. We have come to the point of the legal matter, and I was under the impression that we would split everything down the middle 50-50 of copyrights and publishing. He is willing to have a personal (no lawyer) contract written between us both (which I believe is binding), but if we were to release the songs and they would be successful, he would have control of the copyrights, am I right? I was on and it stated that once copyrights have been registered they can no longer be reregistered with another name attached. Is it an outside contract or can I actually be registered for 50% of the copyrights? This project has been a labour of love and unfortunately I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Thank you for yr reply, regards.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Ray Beckerman
Ray Beckerman
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Forest Hills, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You can have an outside contract which assigns rights in the copyright, and this can be publicly filed with the Copyright Office, but you MUST do this through a lawyer. Stop trying to save money; you are being penny wise and pound foolish.

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