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Miscellaneous Use of Existing Recordings and Copyright

rhysonsax

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When making a new recording lots of us use backing tracks and then share the resulting masterpiece online for the enjoyment of others. I always assume that it OK from a copyright perspective, provided that the backing track was obtained legitimately and was sold for such purposes (e.g. Aebersold, Hal Leonard, KaraokeVersion and similar). Maybe it matters whether the new recording is being sold for profit or not.

But what would the copyright position be if the "backing track" was not sold as such - for example if we recorded along with a piano trio recording by Nat Cole or played along with a Sonny Rollins recording (if feeling brave) ?

And would it matter if we used just a small segment of an existing recording or messed about with it (e.g. changed tempo, key, added new drums) ?

I expect it's a legal minefield. And maybe it matters whether the artist(s) are alive or dead and how old that recording is.

Rhys
 

Jimmymack

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If you’re doing it in the privacy of your own home it doesn’t matter but if you publish it then you will need to pay a fee relative to the amount you use if it’s taken from a commercially available recording, I know some goes to the artist, it’s standard practice with recordings using samples, but whether the record company etc get some I have no idea. Of course, people try to get away with some of the more obscure stuff, I used to know somebody, the sort of person who knows the matrix numbers around the middle of vinyl, who used to inform record companies of the people they owed, she had a phenomenal knowledge of recorded music and found 20 quite obscure samples on one track, told the label and she says they paid.
 
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rhysonsax

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If you’re doing it in the privacy of your own home it doesn’t matter but if you publish it then you will need to pay a fee relative to the amount you use if it’s taken from a commercially available recording,

But what does "publish" mean in this context ?

All those people who perform "transcriptions" along with recorded solos and post those "combined" performances on YouTube - does that count as "publishing" ?

For example:
View: https://youtu.be/GDFVZQALibw


Rhys
 

Colin the Bear

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If you try to upload to sound cloud you get a warning.
If you make a load of money you'll get letters. ;)
 

Jimmymack

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They're publishing it and using somebody else's copyrighted material. They are getting away with it because there's too much, nobody interested enough, they're not looking to make money from it or it's not worth the bother. It's become common practice but they are still infringing copyright although there is the fair use for educational purposes category which I suppose the one above fits into. If it was for profit or promotion they would most likely get a notice to take it down and possibly an invoice, if it was noticed. I know several working photographers who do that on a regular basis.
 

Pete Thomas

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Uploading to any site on the internet is basically publishing a track.

There isn’t really any automatic fair use except for news items or possibly very short extracts for educational use but I’d need to check that. And educational does not just mean people can learn something from it, or even that it may be instructional.

YouTube is OK in that the rights holder is informed when it’s uploaded and they can then decide on either a take down, to monetise it, to just allow it.
 
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rhysonsax

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Thanks everyone. My idea was to play along with this recording by Ahmad Jamal which is great and seems to leave lots of space for a saxophone.

View: https://youtu.be/mwiAAw8aSH0


But I guess that if I posted the end result for others to "enjoy" that would be a problem in terms of copyright, not to mention upsetting Ahmad Jamal.

Rhys
 

Pete Thomas

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not to mention upsetting Ahmad Jamal.
If it's on Youtube then I think you are sort of covered by their policy as mentioned above. The problem might be if their algorithm didn't recognise it so it bypasses the usual checks.

If it was deemed to be a breach of copyright you would in fact be infringing two copyrights, the copyright in the recording and the copyright in the composition. Plus possibly another infringement if it is deemed to be an unauthorised parody.

So there is a difference between you playing to a backing track and you playing along with an existing work, just as with cover versions.
 

Ballymenaboy

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I often import tracks to Zoomr8 by various artists and then insert sax tracks but do not publish them anywhere as we are now in a litigious society.Better to be safe than receive threatening letters in my view.
 

Jimmymack

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Thanks everyone. My idea was to play along with this recording by Ahmad Jamal which is great and seems to leave lots of space for a saxophone.

View: https://youtu.be/mwiAAw8aSH0


But I guess that if I posted the end result for others to "enjoy" that would be a problem in terms of copyright, not to mention upsetting Ahmad Jamal.

Rhys
I doubt that Ahmad would care, he might even be pleased and I see he is still alive, but the copyright holders may have different ideas. The worst that would probably happen is that you'd get the option of paying for the use or taking it down.
 

thomsax

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  • Backing tracks: You can share legaly backing tracks (paid) or if you have the owner of the backing track permission to use it. I remember I asked Pete Anderson if we could use his blues backing tracks here on CS when CS started the Blues (Key of the Month). It was ok back then but maybe not today? I don't share an "empty" backing track that sounds and is named as XXXXXX. If you play with a legaly backing track it's ok to share to friends, but you can't sell it (commersials ...... ).
  • Sheet music. Of course you are not allowed to sell or share sheet music. Andrew Clark made a transciption of Bruce Spingsteens song "Rosalita" for Saxophone Journal. He transcibed just what Clarence Clemons played. Before they published it the checked. Even if there were no excisting sheet music/transcription , the rules was not clear so he descibed in words what CC played. I don't share any sheet music or horn arrangments anymore. Just with the guys I played with.
  • Live music. The organizer of a concert (even small club gigs, Pub Rock, Jam, festival ...) shall pay for the music that is used at the event(s) to the composers and the artists/muscians organizations. Last year I organized concert, jam, club concerts and Pub Rock ...... I paid c 400 s e k/ year. Not much, but this is something that most smaller organizers forget.
This is what I did here in Sweden. I don't know, we can have differnt rules around the world?
 

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