Asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports

Q: I am a singer and songwriter, I have a recorded song I would like to release. However, Its become complicated.

I perform cabaret, but record my own songs outside. The engineer and DJ hired to work for me in my cabaret performance are the same persons I used to produce the beat. I would like to release my music but my music is being held by my DJ. He does not want to give me my vocals nor sign over the rights to me. My DJ and I were in a relationship which I recently ended. Both engineer and DJ lived with me, I provided food shelter, clothing and weekly stipend.

1 Lawyer Answer
Robyn T. Williams
Robyn T. Williams
  • Entertainment & Sports Law Lawyer
  • Wilmington, DE

A: The answer to your question may lie in any agreement between the parties before working on the song. The engineer and DJ were "hired to work" for you in your cabaret performances. If a similar agreement was in place for the production of the song - also known as a work for hire agreement - the DJ may not have any rights in the song to sign over. I recommend speaking with an intellectual property attorney who can counsel you on how to proceed with this matter and draft a from work for hire agreement for you to use going forward.

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