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Copyright Question

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,550
Just one more thing and as is said elsewhere in this thread, it is a huge difference when you use copyrighted music as an amateur or as a professional. Amateurs borrow, professionals steal. :)
Twas ever so.

In the folk world, performers would take a traditional song, record it and then publish a book which claimed copyright of the words and melody. Someone composed (should that read improvised?) it in the first place but it had become public domain. Quite what the lawyers would make of this, besides loads of money, I'm not sure. In common and I am very common, with most folkies at the time, thought it was a giant rip off.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,999
OG's post raises another question - what is copyrightable and what not?

George Harrison had a long and ugly law suit over My Sweet Lord, which is based on He's so Fine. Ignoring the details of the court case and the side switching by Harrison's ex manager, there was a clear infingement which led to litigation. But sometimes things aren't so obvious.

In the past composers regualrly used to lift parts of other composers' works - or be more open and write variations.... Most of the blues/rock and a lot of Jazz tunes share riffs or larger sections (look at the lego/building blocks thread). And lyics are often similar or share common lines. How do you copyright your own 12 bar blues which must be a derivative of countless other 12 bar blues that have gone before? How do you write/publish this without being sued for copyight infringement, possibly with hundreds of predecessors claiming rights?

And just for a little light relief: http://www.greatstoryteller.com/1/post/2010/04/how-to-write-a-blues-song-funny.html
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,719
How do you copyright your own 12 bar blues which must be a derivative of countless other 12 bar blues that have gone before? How do you write/publish this without being sued for copyight infringement, possibly with hundreds of predecessors claiming rights?

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This is less complex legally than it appears.

  • You can't have a copyright in a 12 bar blues as you can't have a copyright in a chord sequence.
  • It would be very rare for someone to challenge a very common and over used simple melody such as you get in a blues, as a valid defense is to prove that it existed before the claimant's version, which (if it is such a common blues riff) should be easy to find. They then have no case because you say they nicked it as well.
  • With a 12 bar blues, your main copyright element is the words.
 

Rock Lobster

Member
Messages
124
Dont want to set another hare running here but just another question. If you write a song, record and publish it can you stop other people recording it or using it in performances if you dont fancy them covering it?
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,719
Once you've recorded it it, you can't stop people from doing a cover. But you can stop them from certain types of exploitation, e.g. in TV commercials or films. But you would only do that if you didn't want the vast sums of money that you could make from granting a licence for that use.
 

stefank

Member
Messages
367
Dont want to set another hare running here but just another question. If you write a song, record and publish it can you stop other people recording it or using it in performances if you dont fancy them covering it?
A few years ago here in Australia I believe Bruce Woodley was successful in stopping the somewhat right wing One Nation party from using his song "I Am Australian" at their political rallies.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
I wonder where copyright stops? I was listening to a Radio 4 series of programs called History in 100 Objects (or something like that) and the programs are introduced with a theme tune. The first four notes in both pitch and, more importantly, texture are straight out of a song by Counting Crows, an American band. The opening notes are so similar its as if the Counting Crows track was sampled and then added to. I wonder what the smallest number of notes is that could be considered copyright, how about the first four notes from Beethovens Fifth Symphony for example?

Cheers

Martin
 

stefank

Member
Messages
367
I wonder where copyright stops? I was listening to a Radio 4 series of programs called History in 100 Objects (or something like that) and the programs are introduced with a theme tune. The first four notes in both pitch and, more importantly, texture are straight out of a song by Counting Crows, an American band. The opening notes are so similar its as if the Counting Crows track was sampled and then added to. I wonder what the smallest number of notes is that could be considered copyright, how about the first four notes from Beethovens Fifth Symphony for example?

Cheers

Martin
That usually requires a court case to determine!

Words like " recogniseable" are used, and arguments take place over what is "significant".
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
That usually requires a court case to determine!

Words like " recogniseable" are used, and arguments take place over what is "significant".
Oh no, lawyers again! [Simulates spitting and at great effort refrains from launching into a tirade against the legal profession]. :rolleyes:
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
I have a specific question. In general, transcriptions of solos are not available from official sources. Does the copyright of a solo lie in the recording or in the composition?

For instance, earlier today I was playing along with Sade's Smooth Operator. Which copyright would I be breaking if I transcribed the sax solos and distributed the transcription to forum members? Stuart Matthewman (sax) is not credited with the composition of Smooth Operator...

Any idea if this site is legal? http://saxsolos.com/
 

stefank

Member
Messages
367
The "Whiter Shade of Pale" case may give a few clues here.

saxsolos.com is avey useful site indeed. I would think it probably infringes Australian copyright law - I don't know about the USA (where it is based).
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,719
I have a specific question. In general, transcriptions of solos are not available from official sources. Does the copyright of a solo lie in the recording or in the composition?

For instance, earlier today I was playing along with Sade's Smooth Operator. Which copyright would I be breaking if I transcribed the sax solos and distributed the transcription to forum members?
The publisher of the song.
 
Saxholder Pro

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