Q: Do I (the producer) own the rights to an artist’s image/likeness/master recordings?
I produced (recorded, mixed, mastered, published, etc) two albums and numerous music videos for an artist. We were a team and were good friends. The artist willingly allowed me to record him, video him, photograph him, etc. and post it all on my website and social media pages many times. No contracts were ever signed. The artist never paid me for any of my services. What rights do I have regarding the content created? What rights do I have regarding the artists image and likeness? Make note of the fact that I did almost all of the work in creating the material, including creating the instrumentals and co-writing the lyrics. I was not paid for my work. Everything was done using my equipment and time. I know I at least partially own the master recordings, but I’m more concerned about use of the artist’s image for promotion of my products, considering he explicitly allowed me to do it before.
A: Unless the artist agreed to convey to you the property you don't own it. You might try to enforce some contract by course of dealing, or attempt to show that he gave the work away, but you are going to learn a lesson in doing things without an agreement in place.
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