By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If more than one person contributes to a work, who can copyright it?

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Do you ever have that awful feeling that your two best friends are hanging out without you? Oh yeah, no, me neither. But that’s clearly how Jason Van Dyke felt when he asked his two co-bandmembers in the group The Lumineers, known mostly for their song Ho Hey, why they hadn’t produced music recently, only to find that the other two had moved to Colorado to pursue the music thing without him.

So he sued, claiming that they were denying him his copyrights to songs he said he helped write.

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If more than one person creates a work, who can copyright it?

In general, if two or more people jointly contribute to a single work and their contributions are inseparable, they both could have equal rights to the copyright. But that’s not always the case, as, for example, when one is the primary author and others have added a small piece.

Similarly, in what’s called a work made for hire, one person pays another to help him, then, in exchange, he alone owns the work that’s created.

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The easiest thing to do, of course, is to assume that your garage band will be the next Beatles and decide up front – and write down – who gets credit for what before one of you has to say ‘Ho, hey about that copyright you owe me. See you in court’.