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Is it ellegal for club owners to by pass me, band mgr. & talk to my band members to play when i refuse a show?

San Diego, CA |

i've been playing at this club for over 3 years & the owner has a band too. and he goes behind my back offering my members to play with him for more $$ and quit my band.
And when i turn down a date to play cause of the cut in pay he offers , he goes to my players to get them to play anyways behind my back , which cuts me out
call me at 619 288-6936 Daryl

Attorney Answers 6


Generally speaking, unless you have a non-circumvention agreement, the owner of the club can compete with you, including soliciting members of your band.

However, depending upon the facts in your situation, you may have a viable claim for intentional interference with contractual relations and/or intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. Such lawsuits, however, are expensive to fight, and might not be worthwhile pursing unless you are talking about major monetary damages.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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Mr. Chen's suggestions are good. It may be too late, but could you get exclusive contracts with your musicians, or at least the key ones? It may mean more commitment to them than you are willing or able to make, such as regular paychecks even when the band is not playing. If you had such conmtracts, the musicians' union might help. (??) Perhaps you should consult with an entertainment lawyer.

DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in California. (Bryant) Keith Martin

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If this has not happened often or more than beyond recently, then the damages may be small. If they are small, it may be time to shore up your contractual relationships with everyone, especially in light of the IRS attack on independent contractors. If the band members are really employee like, and you have them playing all the time, maybe they should be employees.

If they are fungible, you should have arms length contracts with them that obligate them to play any venue established by you exclusively through the contract.

However, beware, if you become an agent, you will need to register and follow agency laws.

You said "quit my band" which is a final verb, and you said "goes" which is a continuing verb. Is it true that people are just hanging out and playing with who they want to?

Some people want to maximize employment and others want to do their own thing. Talk to them and try and find out why they are offered more money without you. Is it because the club owner is selecting them over you for other reasons than money?

You may be at the cusp of being more of an institution/employer and are just now making the transition. Are you going on the road? You going to schedule other clubs? Maybe the guy wants you and your people to be employees of the club.

Possibilities are many.

Good Luck with your examination of your situation and decisions on configuring it the way you want it to be.

Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.

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You should look into joining the American Federation of Musicians [ ] [your local chapter is ] and hiring other members to play in your band.

You don't say whether "your band" wrote its own music or not but if it did and if you were contributor and if your former bandmates are playing that music then you're entitled to a percentage of the revenue generated. See an intellectual property attorney.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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You should set your band up as a business and conduct it as such. There is no need to have to trust someone when you can get a contract. If your desire is to be a bar cover band, then you'll probably encounter problems getting them to sign a contract AND you'll have these problems forever. If you need further assistance contact me here.

The state of Mississippi does not certify lawyers in any specific category of law and the decision to hire an attorney should be taken only after careful consideration. Jeff Padgett's profile and any answers to questions given is strictly for the purpose of advertising his services.

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I would need to know many more facts before advising you but one thing is clear---if you you did not have written agreements with the club owner and/or your band-members, you will have great difficulty pursuing claims. While it is possible that you have a claim for intentional interference with contractual relations, you would first have to establish (a) that you had a contractual relationship with band members which would prohibit them from competing with you and the band, and (c) that the club owner was aware of these contractual relationships and intentionally attempted to interfere with them by inducing band-members to terminate or breach such contractual relationships.

Fundamentally, absent written agreements to the contrary and/or a full-time employment situation, you do not have the right to stop band-members from playing in other bands or taking other jobs. Nor do you have the right to be invited to participate in performances by other band members.

Most importantly, even if you have a valid claim, it may not be worth very much money. Unfortunately, in the music business it is easy to find substitute musicians of great talent who will work for relatively low amounts of compensation. If the club owner wants you to accept a pay cut and you refuse, there is nothing wrong with the club owner offering the gig to other musicians, including members of your band. While I understand your frustration, you need to clean up your contractual relationships with your band-mates, and set the ground-rules in writing for situations like this.

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