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WOS Radio Artist Victim of Song Pirates - A Must-Read for All Indie Songwriters

Posted on March 19, 2010 at 1:25 AM

Eurovision launched the careers of big name artists like ABBA and Céline Dion, yet when Leah West discovered her tune was en route to the world?s biggest song writing competition, she was anything but happy.


According to West, she penned the song, entitled "Spring" by herself in January and February of 2008, and she recorded it in spring of that year in Los Angeles with noted producer Marty Rifkin ? who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and others ? at the controls. It was released in 2009 on her CD Beyond Words and the song and video have been up on Youtube for some time.  The pop tune has an upbeat feel and catchy melody and it caught he ears of some producers in Slovakia, who liked it so much they though they?d enter in the music contest. The only problem was, they neglected to credit West and in fact claimed they had written it themselves. 


West was not even aware the competition existed, let alone that someone was passing her work off as their own, until she saw a video clip sent to her anonymously.  "I was horrified," she said.

From her guitar licks to the song?s timing, the music is virtually a verbatim copy of the tune West released in July 2009, with the addition of Slovac lyrics which even bear a great similarity in the chorus to West's original English lyrics. The clip itself has since been removed from the Internet, but one of Leah's fans tracked down the footage from the show so you can compare the two clips below.


West took the whole sordid tale straight to her blog as she tried to fight for her rights in a country where she does not speak the language or know anyone.  Leah?s fans were quick to respond to the media and soon new supporters started helping overseas.


In the YouTube clip she watched that has since been removed from the web, the producers she claims lifted her song appear to describe how they came up with their inspiration to write?though the clip is not in a language West understands.  "I just wanted to say: You are a bunch of liars and you stole from an innocent person,? said West.


West made sure her version was copyrighted and registered with the performance rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. in the United States before she released her album last summer. She immediately contacted her lawyers. Leah advises, "My advice to all my lovely artist friends: Do not put demos up on your MySpace or ReverbNation for all the world to hear, unless you have officially filed a Copyright with either the US Copyright Office or Copyright Board of Canada or copyright office of your country. Secondly, I advise all my friends to find a performing rights organization. In the US it?s BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC. In Canada it?s SOCAN. In the UK it?s PRS. Find a good lawyer to have on hand if you should ever need one. Not just any lawyer, an Entertainment Lawyer. Very different! If your lawyer has knowledge of international entertainment law, even better".


Here is Leah West performing Spring:


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Here's the footage from the Show tracked down by a fan


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Categories: Articles, Interviews and Resources for Musicians and Music-Lovers

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