Anyone Here ever have to fill out an NDA before working on someone’s project

Justindrums

New member
Hey all,

I have a potential client that needs drum tracks. I can perform them remotely. I want to do them but he is reluctant to send his files for me to work off of because they are not copyrighted. I thought there might be some sort of contract that might ease their concerns and move things forward. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Hey all,

I have a potential client that needs drum tracks. I can perform them remotely. I want to do them but he is reluctant to send his files for me to work off of because they are not copyrighted. I thought there might be some sort of contract that might ease their concerns and move things forward. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
The client can copyright the files fairly quickly if doing so is important to him. As he owns the content, it's his responsibility, of course, to pursue the copyright. If you decide to write up a contract, however, I suggest having it prepared by an attorney. You'll want to certify that the agreement is clear to avoid any complications down the line.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
You also need to set up an LLC, so that if the worst happens, you can’t be sued for your personal possessions (house, car, savings account, etc.). Be careful.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
An NDA isn't needed here. I could see one being required if you were laying down tracks on a big budget production, but if this is just you laying down drum tracks for some guy, an NDA seems like overkill.

People are often confused about certain aspects of intellectual property laws (eg. copyright, trademark, patent, etc.), such as when they arise, how long they last, and how they can be extinguished, for example, and about how remarkably different they are from one another in terms of them. Your potential client's copyright arose the moment he created the work at hand, and all the rights that flow from it arose the moment the work was created. Filing is not needed to establish copyright of his work. Although filing was once done to provide evidence of the date a work was created, it's not as important in today's digital age, provided one has a digital copy of the work establishing the date it was made. Your potential client sending you a piece of work that neither you nor anyone else can show was created before he sent it to you is good evidence of him having created the work. Consequently, he would already be in possession of any rights flowing from the copyrighted work, and no written agreement would be necessary to establish that.

But filing a copyright can grant global protection, as long as the country you file it in is a member of WIPO. Realistically, though, if you're at the stage where you're filing copyrights for musical works, chances are you've already made it and have representation to take care of things like that for you. I don't know any amateur, or even semi-pro, musician - or artist, for that matter - that files copyrights of their works.

That your potential client is asking you to sign an NDA suggests he isn't well versed when it comes to things like this, or the scope of his work doesn't merit one. Either way, it's reason for you to not enter into an NDA. But if you do enter into something in writing, do not draft it yourself and present it to him - at least, don't draft something that he's asking for his own benefit. It's a general rule in law that any deficiencies found in a contract are held against the person who drafted it.

If I were you, I'd let this guy know that you'll agree to delete all copies of his work from your devices immediately after you've finished laying down your tracks and have been paid for your services. Do the job, get paid, keep your word, and there should be no problem. If he insists that you sign an NDA before he hires you, make sure to read it thoroughly and refuse to sign anything that doesn't sit well with you.
 

roncadillac

Member
It's never come up for me but I'm usually doing recordings for friends. If Omar Rodriguez-Lopez called me up for a session I'd sign any damn thing he wants, if Craigslist Joe wanted me to sign an NDA for his 'album' he is trying to record after just buying his first acoustic guitar during week 1 of quarantine... I'd tell him to Eff off.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I have filled out countless NDAs for my day job because I see & photograph new inventions every year. Most of the time, the item being protected has had a patent applied for but not yet approved. It‘s not a big deal, and increases the level of trust all around.

The composer you are playing for simply needs to copyright his song and provide to you a form that you your performance will be copyrighted under his name/publishing company. You will lose the right to use that performance for other works (e.g., sampling sections for your next hip-hop EP).

And if he thinks he doesn’t need to copyright it, he’s wrong. To get a project through something like Discmakers, it must be copyrighted prior to distribution, or they won’t distribute the works.
 

roncadillac

Member
I have filled out countless NDAs for my day job because I see & photograph new inventions every year. Most of the time, the item being protected has had a patent applied for but not yet approved. It‘s not a big deal, and increases the level of trust all around.

The composer you are playing for simply needs to copyright his song and provide to you a form that you your performance will be copyrighted under his name/publishing company. You will lose the right to use that performance for other works (e.g., sampling sections for your next hip-hop EP).

And if he thinks he doesn’t need to copyright it, he’s wrong. To get a project through something like Discmakers, it must be copyrighted prior to distribution, or they won’t distribute the works.
Also, no access to iTunes, Spotify, touchtunes, etc without copyright and publishing which essentially just makes recording a fun home project if you have no intention of distributing it in some form.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Hey all,

I have a potential client that needs drum tracks. I can perform them remotely. I want to do them but he is reluctant to send his files for me to work off of because they are not copyrighted. I thought there might be some sort of contract that might ease their concerns and move things forward. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
IMO, if he's worried about it, then he needs to take care of all the copyright stuff. He needs to go ahead and file it, and he doesn't need drum parts laid down to do so. If he wants to do an NDA, let him take care of it.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Hey all,

I have a potential client that needs drum tracks. I can perform them remotely. I want to do them but he is reluctant to send his files for me to work off of because they are not copyrighted. I thought there might be some sort of contract that might ease their concerns and move things forward. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
Not worth the hassle mate, is he paying you for your services, charge double (bullshit surcharge!)

Throw it back at him, what happens if these songs make it and he's making millions from your drum tracks. Is he there a royalty option seeing as you're playing on the 'next big thing!' ;)
 

roncadillac

Member
I've been handed 'nda' documents before that literally were the owner of a company hand writing on a piece of paper, "you will not talk about any aspect of your employment here" then made me sign it. I chuckled and signed it because it's not legally binding by any stretch of the imagination.

Uh oh... I just broke that nda by talking about it! Lol
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I've been asked to sign an NDA for music gigs twice:
1) My group was going to play a private event at a lifestyles club (swingers), and they asked us to sign an NDA basically saying we won't discuss or divulge anything we see or hear at the club. We never rec'd the NDA to sign and the gig never happened because there was a huge fight w/ the club membership and owners and it ended up closing.

2) My group was the entertainment for a Dîner en Blanc event. We had to sign the NDA which stated until right before the event started, we wouldn't reveal the location, date, or that we were performing there. That was a VERY cool gig.
 

roncadillac

Member
I've been asked to sign an NDA for music gigs twice:
1) My group was going to play a private event at a lifestyles club (swingers), and they asked us to sign an NDA basically saying we won't discuss or divulge anything we see or hear at the club. We never rec'd the NDA to sign and the gig never happened because there was a huge fight w/ the club membership and owners and it ended up closing.

2) My group was the entertainment for a Dîner en Blanc event. We had to sign the NDA which stated until right before the event started, we wouldn't reveal the location, date, or that we were performing there. That was a VERY cool gig.
See, those are two perfectly reasonable examples of when to request an NDA. Not some Craigslist Mook who thinks he's the next Jimmy Buffet.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
9/10 times someone freaking out about an NDA is a newb who thinks he is a guitar god that is about to send you a 12 bar in open G lol.
My thought too.

This says far more about his lack of confidence than it does about OP.

When I used to work in music retail, people would come in with their "invention" and want an NDA to show it to us, while trying to sell us on the their idea. Every time it was an incredibly non-original product that already existed.
 
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