Monday, January 28, 2013

Musician Seeks Work for Hire Help

Dear Rich:I have successfully registered copyrights for my songs and filed the same songs with ASCAP. All intellectual property rights are mine free and clear as this has been a solo musical effort thus far (music, lyrics, performance). Now I'm ready to record some songs, however, since I have no band, I'll be hiring session musicians. My intent is for such musicians to be compensated for their performance and any incidental composition as a work for hire arrangement. For example, if a guitarist comes up with a delightful lead part that I did not compose but that I want to use, I don't want to have an ongoing obligation to administer his fair share of copyright for his contribution. I have acquired a work for hire agreement that stipulates the activity is a work for hire, and that the musician is assigning any and all copyrights to me. Is this adequate to achieve my goal? If you want to see the agreement, it is attached. We're torn about looking at your work-for-hire (WFH) agreement because we're not sure such personalized review amounts to the unauthorized practice of law or whether it is part of the law's information revolution. Oh well, we guess it doesn't really matter because the bottom line is that an agreement like you describe -- a work-for-hire agreement that alternately assigns copyright (we previously wrote about such arrangements) -- should achieve your goals.