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Question about cd's being sold

Hello,  I was in a church choir that did a version of Stations of the Cross that was recorded.  Out of curiousity, I looked for it, and found the cd for sale on Amazon, cdbaby and itunes.  Is this legal?  Are the singers supposed to get some type of credit for singing on the album?  I have no idea who profits off the sale or if they are even selling any, but was curious about the legality of this.
Replies (2): Threaded | Chronological
on January 24, 2014 5:08am
Angela, you should certainly have been made aware if it was being recorded for release. If that wasn't the case, you have grounds for a complaint, particularly if you're in the union.
If you were hired knowing that it was for a recording, the hiring entity's responsibility to you ended when they gave you your check. Your contribution to the recording was a "work made for hire" under copyright law.
In standard practice, it's nice to let the musicians know when the recording is released, but again, they have no legal responsibility to do so.
on January 24, 2014 7:53am
I don't believe that there is any law that states performers must get credit on an album's liner notes.
Whoever posessess the recording & arranged for its distribution is profiting from it's sale. Have you talked with the leadership of the church choir?
Hopefully the choir itself is getting the money.
As for payment to the performers..... this is a grey area. I think that legally, if you didn't sign a contract or a waiver releasing all of your rights to your performance on the recording, you do have a legal recourse. But it's most likely not worth it.
If you are still involved/in contact with this group, you might discuss with them the ethics of releasing a recording for sale without creditng or paying the performers.
ps-- Many folks don't realize that performers legally are co-owners of recordings --- unless the makers of the recordings get a contract, waiver, or it is commisioned. 
ie-- if you ask me to sing or play on a recording for you, and do not get a waiver from me, or contract with me, I am part owner of that recording.
See below, which is from an Australian site, but I believe is correct in regard to US law.
What rights do performers have in such performances? 
The performer's permission is required for the following:
1.    to record the live performance by sound recording or film (whether directly from a live performance or indirectly from a broadcast or cable transmission) [see notes below on authorised recordings];
2.    to broadcast or rebroadcast a live performance; and
3.    certain further (knowing) distributions and uses of such recordings.
Authorised recordings 
Once the performer has given permission for a recording or broadcast of his/her performance to be made, the performer generally has no further rights in relation to that ‘authorised’ recording and cannot prevent its use (including copying, broadcasting, transmission or other use) except:
·  the right to say whether or not the recording can be used as a soundtrack for a film;
·  any express limitation on use imposed by the performer at the time permission to record was given;
·  where the recording is a sound recording (not audio-visual) of the performance and the performer has rights of copyright (discussed below).
This is also subject to any contract to the contrary or the terms of any award, and any performers’ moral rights (discussed below).
Exempt recordings 
Permission from the performer is not required in relation to "exempt" recordings. "Exempt" recordings include certain recordings for domestic use, scientific research, and educational purposes and for use by handicapped readers or institutions assisting them. Further, recordings may be made and used for reporting news or current affairs, criticism or review or for the purpose of judicial proceedings or legal advice.
Copyright in the sound recording of a live performance 
From 1 January 2005, the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (as amended by US Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act 2004and the Copyright Legislation Amendment Act 2004)(the Act) extended performers’ rights and established performers as "makers" of sound recordings of the specified live performances. Under the Act, in some circumstances, a maker of a sound recording is now the owner of copyright in the sound recording. From 1 January 2005, a "maker" of a non-commissioned sound recording is both:
1.    the person or entity who, at the time of the recording, owns the recording medium on which the recording is made (e.g. the person who owns the tape or disc – usually the record label or producer); and
2.    the performer or performers who contributed sounds to the performance fixed in the sound recording.
However, this situation does not apply if a sound recording is commissioned. If a sound recording is commissioned, then the commissioner owns all copyright in the sound recording.
In addition, a performer providing services under an employment contract does not have a copyright interest in the sound recording; in that situation, the performer's employer owns what would otherwise be the performer’s share of copyright in the sound recording.
It is important to remember that this extension of performers’ rights only applies to audio recordings, not to audio-visual recordings (like film or video), and to performers contributing to the sounds of the live performance.
When a performer is a co-owner of copyright in a sound recording, the performer now has an equal share in the exclusive rights:
1.    to make a copy of the sound recording;
2.    to cause the recording to be heard in public;
3.    to communicate the recording to the public; and
4.    to enter into a commercial rental arrangement in respect of the recording.
To ensure that a performer receives equitable remuneration for the making of broadcasts of the new sound recording and for the public performance of the sound recording, performers should register as the copyright co-owner with the collecting society, Phonographic Performance Company of Australia(PPCA). Performers should also consider whether they should register with the Australasian Performing Rights Association(APRA). For further information see Arts Law's information sheet on Copyright Collecting Societies.
Performers’ rights in pre 1 January 2005 sound recordings 
For non-commissioned sound recordings made before 1 January 2005, the makers - which are likely to be the record company or producer and the performer(s) - now own the copyright in equal shares (50% each).
However, the new rights of performers in such pre-existing sound recordings are very limited:
1.    the owner of copyright immediately before that date will be able to go on exploiting the copyright as they expected to do when contracting the performers to make the recording (for example, when the record company and the band entered into a recording agreement);
2.    the performers will not be able to stop the original copyright owner, from licensing the use of the sound recording to third parties; and
3.    the performers will not be able to sue for damages, recover infringing copies or receive remuneration for the use of the recording under statutory licences, or for the retransmission of broadcasts.
However, performers will be able to take action to stop the making, distribution or importation of pirated copies of their recording where the original owner of the copyright was not able to take action.
There are exceptions to performers’ rights of copyright. A performer will not be a maker, and therefore not be a co-owner or an owner of an equal share in the sound recording of a live performance if:
1.    the performer was performing under the terms of a contract of employment (the employer will own his/her share in the copyright in the sound recording of the live performance);
2.    the sound recording was commissioned (the commissioner will own the copyright in the sound recording of the live performance); or
3.    the written agreement signed by the performer states otherwise. For example if, under a recording agreement, the performer assigns all rights in the performance of any kind to the publisher or record company, this agreement will continue to have effect. The performer’s ownership of the copyright in the sound recording is assignable, which means it can be given away or sold to someone, provided the assignment is in writing. It is also important to remember that if a performer consents to the recording of a performance for a particular purpose, then it is implied that they have given consent to the use of the recording for that particular purpose.
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