Page 1 of 4
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#1
Okay... after answering the same old questions every other week, I've decided to a series of posts (mostly because I don't have time to post it all at once... if I tried to do that, it would never get done) on copyright.

I'm intending to do the following:
1 - Basic Principles
2 - copyright and live use of covers (performance rights, performance royalties, etc.)
3 - copyright and recorded use of covers (mechanical royalties, etc.)
4 - copyright and your own material (myths, half-truths, and truths)
5 - copyright and the use of samples
6 - Help! Someone stole our band name!!

If anyone wants me to address anything else, please fire up a suggestion here. (you can PM me, but I'm much better at responding in threads than I am at getting back to my PMs)

If the mods would be so kind as to sticky this thread, it would be most appreciated.

Chris
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 27, 2009,
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#2
(FP edit: There's another copyright thread in the archives, here - https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=150654 )

1. Basic Principles

First off... copyright law changes from jurisdictional region to jurisdictional region. Though most countries have very similar copyright laws, one cannot assume that they will be identical from place to place. What I will try to include throughout this series of articles are general principles that are common throughout the developed world, but keep in mind that wherever you are, there may be some differences.

Any creative work or invention can be copyrighted. As it pertains to music, we can copyright songs, symphonies, fugues, etc. Considering the demographic, we will focus on songs in this thread.

You CAN'T copyright:
- band names (this might be worthy of section #6, I think....)
- song titles
- chord progressions

None of those are indicative of being a creative work.

Now, for all intents and purposes, a "song" is comprised of lyrics and a melody for purposes of copyright. In general terms, drum beats, riffs, bass lines, etc. don't count. Just because you jammed with your buddies and came up with a full band arrangement of a bunch of chords and riffs strung together, you have not made up a song. You have made up an 'accompaniment' to a song. You most likely have no legal leg to stand on in terms of copyright.

If someone clearly rips off your melody and/or lyrics, there is really not much question as to whether someone has taken your song, or some "compositionally important" aspect of your song. A good example is the Rolling Stones' song "Has Anybody Seen My Baby?" Though the lyrics are entirely different, the melody is remarkably similar to a song by Canadian alt-country artist KD Lang's song, "Constant Craving." It was really indisputable in its similarities. The end result was that KD Lang was given songwriting credit as a co-writer for the song, and she is entitled to all royalties payable from that song - including those royalties payable prior to her being assigned co-writing credit.

It's worth noting here that the Rolling Stones did not intend to infringe on her copyright and plagiarize her melody. That doesn't matter a stitch. Point is... they did, and they had to make good on that. Apparently, Keith Richards' daughter was listening to KD Lang's album while they were writing their material. He figures that the melody just kinda crept in subconsciously, as he claims he is not a fan and wasn't actively listening to the song.

Now, there is some vagueness in this regard. If something is "compositionally important" to the song, then a judge may determine that copyright has been infringed. Steal the guitar riff from Fight For Your Right to Party and you'll sound like a thousand or so other songs. Steal the guitar riff for Black Dog by Zeppelin and you could find yourself in trouble.

Why the difference? That riff has clearly unique melodic content, and is of a duration that goes well beyond 'just a few notes strung together.' It's a full four-bar melody (not one bar repeated four times or anything) and makes up among the most recognizable parts of the composition!!

It is important to recognize that, beyond obvious lyrics and melody rip-offs, taking a copyright infringement case to court is a risk. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to decide if copyright has been infringed. Quite simply.... it is a judgment call. Taking a case to court really has to come down to a question of "what could this potentially cost me; how obvious is it (meaning how likely is it, really, that I will win), how well can I prove my case that I am the copyright owner, and what do I stand to gain (or lose) from this. More on that later.

I might add to this later, but the rest of my thoughts at the moment seem to directly relate to my other upcoming topics.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 24, 2009,
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#3
2 - copyright and live use of covers (performance rights, performance royalties, etc.)

This is the easy one.

When you write a song that is likely to be performed (see below) by someone other than yourself, and if you're smart, you will join and register your songs with a Performing Rights Association. (from here on called PROs) In Canada, it is SOCAN. In the USA, it is either ASCAP or BMI, and in the UK it is PRS. For more info...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_rights_organisation#International)

Now, the legal definition of a 'performance' as it applies to copyright includes both live performances of the material, or performances of the recording itself - this includes radio, TV, online sources, etc. In other words, when your CD gets played on the radio, you receive a performance royalty.

If your material is not likely to receive any commercial radio or TV play, there isn't really any point in registering your songs with those organizations just yet.

When you do join (which is typically a free membership and can often be done on line), you only need to join one. So, for me, even though I am a SOCAN member, I don't need to join BMI. The reason is that these PROs have what is called 'reciprocal agreements' with each other, meaning they share their data and ensure royalties are paid as appropriate. So, if one of my songs is played in SanDiego, SOCAN will receive this data from BMI or ASCAP and I'll still get paid for it.

These PROs get their money from fees paid to them (called tariffs) by music users. A 'music user' is a person or organization that uses music to sell or enhance their product or service. This includes, but is not limited to radio stations, TV stations (even for things like the music they play when they roll credits on a news program or underneath a traffic report), dance clubs, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, telephone 'hold' music, festivals, school boards, and even the shoe store who plays CDs in the background.

Commercial radio and TV pay a monthly licence fee which represents a percentage of their revenues. They are required by law to track every piece of music they use by title and artist. Those tracking sheets are submitted to the country's PRO and checked against their database of artists. The PRO then uses this data to pay their members. Commercial radio play is about five cents per play per station, and commercial television is about $1 for every ten seconds used. (which varies, I think, depending on context, etc.)

Performance royalties are not payable if you have a video played on a music video station like MTV or MuchMusic. The rationale is that they are playing a commercial for your band, and they're not charging you, so you should be happy. Stupid, IMHO.

Most other music users pay an annual licence fee, or in the case of a festival or something, a per-event fee. This annual license fee is collected by the PRO and divvied up among their top 'X' number of artists. That means, when my song gets played on campus radio, Celine Dion gets paid for that. Well... she gets a portion of those blanket license fees. The rationale is that it is unreasonable to ask a lot of those music users to track the music they use, and it is unrealistic to have SOCAN track a further tens of thousands of entries, just so Celine Dion can get a pile of money for her inevitably many recorded performances beamed into supermarkets all over the world, and I can get my measly 35 cents for getting a half a dozen plays on campus radio. I wish there was a better way, but I can't think of one.

Now, what does that mean for the average Joe playing in a band in a local club? Well... since the pub pays their annual blanket license, they are allowed to have performances of music from anyone from ABBA to ZZ Top. So, if you want to go in and play a Van Halen cover, or even cover a song from your friend's band, or any other song you didn't write yourself, you can. The band you used to be in who doesn't want you playing their song can't come in and tell you not to play it any more than Robert Plant can stop you from playing a Zeppelin tune.

The onus is on the club to pay this fee. You have to assume they have. If the copyright police swoop in and find out they haven't paid the fees, that's their problem - not yours.

One thing to watch, though, is playing songs that you did not write in a venue that is not required to pay a tariff as a music user. Let's say you're having a street party. You would be required to pay to use that music. Logically, this would be a small fee in comparison to the fees required of a large festival drawing thousands of people.

Another place to be careful of is banquet halls. Depending on how they operate, they may not be required to pay this fee. The survival of their business does not depend in any way on them having music. It depends on their ability to rent out their space. The success of YOUR EVENT might be dependent upon the use of music, but not their banquet hall. So, you might want to ask about that before booking a place like that.

For a list of Canadian tariffs, here is the exact link to the SOCAN tariffs to give you an idea of how they work.
http://www.socan.org/jsp/en/resources/tariffs.jsp

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 24, 2009,
Gord@k
Twoist
Join date: Feb 2008
349 IQ
#4
Very good so far. Great job!
My gear:
  • Fender American Standard Telecaster
  • Ibanez RG450
  • Laney VC15
  • Electro Harmonix HOG
  • Vox Satchurator
  • Blackout Effectors Musket fuzz
  • Electro Harmonix Pulsar
  • Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport
  • Malekko Chicklett

axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#5
Thanks, man!

Gotta go for now... more to come.... promise.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Nilpferdkoenig
Banned
Join date: Jun 2008
1,460 IQ
#6
You can't copyright names?

So I could start a band called Black Zeppelin Roses and name myself Blackmoore?
Rock Pig
\/ my passport photo
Join date: Oct 2008
428 IQ
#7
Somebody direct Coldplay here

Thanks. Brilliant thread. Can't wait for section 4, which I'll certainly need.
pandora_grunt
Keys Blaster
Join date: Feb 2007
62 IQ
#8
Can't wait for the next two sections Chris! Even though I Live in Holland I think I know which agency is like Your SOCAN and stuff. My band already had idea of doing a cover just so we could learn how this **** works XD
demonofthenight
UG Spammer
Join date: Mar 2007
976 IQ
#10
Hmm, riffs can be copyrighted. That Ice Ice baby used a sample of a riff written queen and David Bowie. He now has to pay royalties to whoever owns queens rights and David Bowie.

You should say that songwriters are automatically protected for copyright. You don't need to apply for a patent when you write a song. And please don't say things like you NEED to go to a lawyer when you write a song, it's just idiotic.

Great posts.

Also (to the guys who posted above me), we should delete our post when chris finishes the posts. Otherwise they'll be spread across 5 pages.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
Ænimus Prime
Beginner
Join date: Jul 2006
116 IQ
#11
Quote by mike
You should say that songwriters are automatically protected for copyright.
When the song is written down or recorded - not just an idea (in Australia)

Quote by mike
You don't need to apply for a patent when you write a song.
Just like you don't need to get a boat license when you buy an ipod.

Aussies, look here for our copyright laws:
www.copyright.org.au
More specifically for music:
http://www.copyright.org.au/information/music/music.htm
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#12
Quote by demonofthenight
Hmm, riffs can be copyrighted. That Ice Ice baby used a sample of a riff written queen and David Bowie. He now has to pay royalties to whoever owns queens rights and David Bowie.


The problem wasn't that they used the riff. The problem was that they took a sample of the *actual original recording* without doing what they called "clearing the sample." To be discussed in part 5.

Quote by demonofthenight

You should say that songwriters are automatically protected for copyright. You don't need to apply for a patent when you write a song. And please don't say things like you NEED to go to a lawyer when you write a song, it's just idiotic.


All to be part 4 - copyright and your own songs.

Quote by demonofthenight

Great posts.

Also (to the guys who posted above me), we should delete our post when chris finishes the posts. Otherwise they'll be spread across 5 pages.


Thanks! As far as deleting posts, I don't mind discussion embedded within the posts. Maybe one of the mods could put the sections in sequence at the beginning when they sticky it though? I'm adding links in the very first post so you can click on each part and it will take you right there, though, to try to make it easy to find stuff.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#13
3 - copyright and recorded use of covers (mechanical royalties, etc.)

Okay... the first thing I'll get out of the way is that you always need to pay a mechanical license, even if you are not selling your cover of the song.

First things first... we need to know what a music publisher is, because to record someone else's song, you get permission from the publisher... not the artist.

In the old days, the publisher of a composition was the person or group who actually printed the sheet music for distribution. Sheet music? Half of us have never even seen sheet music up close. In more modern, practical terms, a music publisher is the person or group who works on behalf of the composer in an effort to maximize their profits through the use of those songs.

Most of us artists are also our own publishers. Why? Because we don't have anyone else acting on our behalf to do this job. As a result, when there is a royalty paid to both the publisher and the composer, we get the whole shootin' match. Of course, for most mortals, this amounts to keeping the entire bite-sized pie.

When you sign a record deal or the like, a 'typical' contract assigns *half* of the publishing to the record company. That means they get half of the royalties payable to the publisher. You, the artist, get all the royalties payable to the writer, and the other half of the royalties payable to the publisher. You also allow an outside third-party (ie. the record label) to have an equal say as you as to how the material will be used. Because their job, as the publisher of the music, is to maximize the profits of the use of those songs. But remember... they give you half. Though you relinquish solitary control of your own work, you get a 50% share in what could potentially be a great big mother of a pie.

So, what does this have to do with covering someone else's song? Remember the bit about not getting permission from the artist, but getting permission from the publisher? Ah, yes. As the publisher, they are the ones in charge of maximizing profits for the artist for their compositions. That means, if you are offering them money to use their composition, they will grant it on behalf of the artist.

Many music publishers enter in to agreements with licensing agencies in their territory. In Canada, it is the CMRRA ( Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency). In the United States, it is The Harry Fox agency, and in the UK, it is the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. (MCPS) These are the main ones, but there may be others in those regions, and there certainly are others worldwide. These agencies standardize and centralize the process of granting rights to reproduce the work of other artists.

If you want to reproduce the work of another artist, you can usually go through one of these agencies. They have agreements with the publishers and facilitate the process of gaining the mechanical license you need in order to do this.

What is a mechanical license? “Mechanical” refers to the reproduction of copyrighted music in a “contrivance” for the “mechanical reproduction of music.” This language comes from the days when music was reproduced for music boxes. Still today, though, “mechanical license” is the customary industry term for such permission.

Note that a mechanical license allows you to 'cover' the song. It does NOT allow you to reproduce the original sound recording. To do that, you would need permission of and pay royalties to the person/group who own the master recording. This might be the record company or the recording studio, and for artists not tied to a record company who pay to record their own material with their own money... it would be the artist themselves. This point will be significant later when we talk about sampling and 'clearing samples.'

The rate for a mechanical license is negotiated within the industry and varies from territory to territory. In Canada, it is 8.1 cents for the first five minutes, and 1.62 cents for each minute thereafter. This is calculated per song, so if you do three songs, you will do this calculation three times - once for each song.

IMPORTANT - This is payable prior to manufacturing your copies of the cover, and is payable for every copy made. In other words, if you make 1000 copies and give them away... you still pay for all 1000 copies.

Watch out for this too... you can't just pay 8 cents to make one copy of your cover tune. Here is a quote from the CMRRA mechanical royalty application:

"The minimum number of copies for which a mechanical license will be issued is 500, whether or not you are pressing or importing a smaller number of copies. Licenses for this quantity are issued at the price of $40.50 per song (assuming that the running time of the recording in question is five minutes or less; the rate for each additional minute or partial minute of running time in this case is $8.10). A pressing order is not necessary for less than 200 copies but it does not exempt you from paying mechanicals."

There is another way of doing it, by entering into a Standard Mechanical Licensing agreement, but this process is generally reserved for larger projects.

So, you contact your mechanical licensing agency and fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit the required fees based on how many copies you're going to make, etc. If the publishers are listed in their database (typically searchable online), you're good to go. If they're not, you have to find out who the publisher is. That could involve contacting the artist directly, or their record company. Another simple, easy resource is the liner notes of the CD if you have them. Also worth noting is that some publishers opt not to participate in these licensing organizations because they may want a mechanical rate greater than the standard negotiated rate.

One final thing... if you intend to attach your cover of the song in a film, TV production, etc., you must apply for a synchronization license.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 25, 2009,
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#14
4 - copyright and your own material (myths, half-truths, and truths)

Again remember that this process may be slightly different from country to country. Here is the Canadian version of the story. You can be reasonably well assured that the information here will be at least similar to laws and procedures in most other developed nations.

Technically, you own the copyright to a piece of music the moment you first create it.

If only it were that simple....


Although a moral victory here, the crux of the matter is that this is usually only worth disputing when the time comes when someone needs to make a claim. Then, for all practical purposes, you need to prove that you composed it, or the other person needs to prove that you didn't (or that they did). You'd be laughed out of court if you said, "Hey, I thought of it first. I had all the ideas in my head and then this person came along and stole my idea!" Almost equally preposterous would be, "I played this song once when he was over, and now he recorded it, so I should be entitled to the royalties!" Yeah... prove it. The other guy proceeds to show evidence of owning the work while you sit there insisting that you played it first.

Assigning the work to a fixed medium is generally considered a critical step in this process. This could be something as simple as your lyrics on a sheet of paper, or as developed as a full-on recording of the whole composition in full production.

The next step, now that you have a physical product to show that you owned it, is to prove the date on which you owned it. It is taken as truth that if you are the first owner, then you must also be the creator. (although, technically, it doesn't matter who created it - what matters is who owns the copyright NOW)

The most formal way is to file an official copyright. You can do this on a title-by-title basis. You can also record an album and copyright that as an album of works. Either way, the fee is the same. Obviously, it makes more sense to copyright your collection of works at once. In its most simplest terms, all you need to do is get on line, fill out the paperwork, submit your fee of $50 (if online... more if done on paper), and you're good to go. Although a legal declaration and registration, no lawyer is typically involved in this process.

Check:
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr00039.html
http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr00090.html#no5

It is worth noting that even a formal copyright boils down to paying someone to file a piece of paper that says you owned the song/s on a certain date. It does not provide a guarantee that you are not infringing on someone else's copyright (ie. no searches of prior works are done, with your work being compared to other copyrighted works); nor does it mean that they will help you enforce the copyright. (ie. they won't be on the alert to make sure nobody is stealing your work). It is up to you, as the owner of the work, to enforce the copyright, and to be responsible for any liabilities or rewards that that work entails.

Although not entirely idiot-proof, this is your 'best bet' for securing the protection you need for your material. It is akin to protecting your physical property by double dead-bolting the doors, barring the windows, and having a hungry pit-bull patrolling the perimeter. If someone wants in bad enough.... they'll find a way.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you can choose to simply do nothing and not worry about it. Although this seems foolish on the surface, consider that there are a lot of us who have left the house without locking the door who have come home to find everything perfectly untouched. Mind you, there's a big difference between leaving a plasma TV on your front lawn and hiding some knick-knack under your mattress... the odds of theft are in direct proportion to the value of the property and the ease of access to it.

It's the in-between stuff that leads to some odd discussions....

The 'poor man's copyright' - The old 'put it in the mail and send it to yourself' trick. In doing so, you have a government stamp from the post office that shows the date of sending, thereby 'proving' that you owned the contents of the envelope on that date. (for goodness sake... DON'T open the envelope....) It's not the worst thing you can do, but it is miles from idiot-proof. Think of it as akin to leaving your bike out in the yard and merely closing the gate to the yard. It will be fine for most people most of the time - but if you think that your bike will never ever go missing.... well.... you get the idea. That said, a friend of mine who has a string of gold and platinum albums (who is now releasing albums independently) is an advocate of this style of copyright. (though technically not a copyright...) His rationale is that if someone else infringes on your work, they're either going to make next to nothing on it (so, really... why be upset?), or will be backed by a major label who will have a team of high-priced entertainment lawyers on retainer to go and fight the case for far longer and far harder than you will be able to afford. The old, "if they want to get in bad enough.... they will" thinking.

Now, there are a couple of different levels of this one. If you simply send it regular letter mail, there is a very good chance that someone could suggest that the envelope was tampered with. You'll be hard-pressed to prove it. You could add an extra level of 'official-ness' to it by sending it registered mail. It makes it a little more convincing, but you still can't prove you didn't tamper with the envelope. You could send it to a lawyer and get them to file it for you. It will cost you a fee, of course, to do this, but you will have the added bonus of a 'disinterested third party' who can guarantee you haven't tampered with it, because they had the envelope in safe keeping. Of course, if you're going to go through all that trouble... might as well spend the $50 and do it officially.

Considering the basic premises of:
-prove you owned it on a certain date
-have that proof be from a disinterested third party
-have that proof be a source that is regulated by law to keep accurate records


Here is what we did (no formal copyright is in place, but our paper trail is decidedly convincing)
1. Songs are registered with SOCAN and CMRRA. Titles, dates and running times are logged but no lyrics or melodic content. They are disinterested third parties, and the nature of their business depends on having accurate records. If we can produce one song, say, called "Cool Like You" of a duration of 3:24 seconds, dated July of 2006, what are the odds of us having *another* song called Cool Like You, though with a different running time from the same year? Compound that further by asking "what are the odds of us having ten songs, all with duplicate titles, but all different from the ones on the album, all written in the same year? Not bloody likely. As long as we can produce an original copy of the CD with the exact same songs, running times, etc., then it is highly improbable (and practically impossibly unlikely) that the songs in question are not the ones on the CD.
2. The receipt for duplication of the CD. Dated, track listing, song lengths. Can easily be matched up with any other copy of the CD. See above rationale.
3. A copy of our CD is in the "Library and Archives Canada" - our national archive. Our laws state that these archives must maintain accurate records, including date of receipt, etc.
4. We have recordings of a couple of our songs being played on commercial radio and network television. By law (see above about performance royalties), these institutions are required to log what songs they play and when they were played. Their records will show that we did not tamper with the recordings that we made from their media source.

Here are some not-so-effective things that I, personally, wouldn't trust and why:
1. Date-stamps on your computer - though these may suggest that the file was created on a certain date, there is no disinterested third party proof that you did not tamper with your Windows clock. With a few mouse clicks, you can create a file that will appear to have been created on January 1, 1980 - even before many of us were even born!
2. YouTube/MySpace media posts - although these may be date stamped, and done so by a disinterested third party, I wouldn't place my bets that they are strictly regulated to keep their dates and times accurate. Meh... maybe.
3. A live recording of a rehearsal or gig - how will you prove when it was recorded or that it wasn't tampered with?

Ultimately, like anything else, it comes down to this:
How valuable is it, and to what lengths and costs are you willing to go to protect it? If it goes to court and it costs you $5000 in legal and court costs, would that be worth it to you? Are you *that* sure you would win? What if their lawyers dragged it out to an end cost of $50 000? Still worth it? Still just as confident you'll win?

And sure, if you win, you'll *probably* get to pin the other side for the court and legal fees, but how much time and effort will it have taken for you to go the distance? Still worth it?

It is rare that anyone who works professionally in the industry will steal your work. Most of the thieves out there who will try this are desperate amateurs who will only do so if they think they can get away with it. If you can convince *them* that they won't get away with it, you won't need to get a judge to do it for you.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 26, 2009,
Archeo Avis
UG Nerd
Join date: May 2006
578 IQ
#15

You should say that songwriters are automatically protected for copyright. You don't need to apply for a patent when you write a song. And please don't say things like you NEED to go to a lawyer when you write a song, it's just idiotic.


We've been over this, Demon. There are significant benefits afforded to those who register their copyrights. Your repeated insistence that registration isn't important is dangerous to those who might want to protect their work.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#16
Quote by Ænimus Prime

Aussies, look here for our copyright laws:
www.copyright.org.au
More specifically for music:
http://www.copyright.org.au/information/music/music.htm


This is a good idea. If people can post the relevant links to their own country's copyright laws, performing rights organizations, mechanical licensing agencies, etc., I could consolidate them into one post by category and alphabetical or something.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Ænimus Prime
Beginner
Join date: Jul 2006
116 IQ
#17
Quote by Archeo Avis
We've been over this, Demon. There are significant benefits afforded to those who register their copyrights. Your repeated insistence that registration isn't important is dangerous to those who might want to protect their work.
We have to leave our bikes in the yard.

There is no registration system in Australia. Registration isn't very important to us.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Ikonoklast
Banned
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#18
Okay... the first thing I'll get out of the way is that you always need to pay a mechanical license, even if you are not selling your cover of the song.


Does this mean anyone recording a cover onto youtube or even our profiles here at UG should technically have to pay to record these covers?
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
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#19
Excellent. Very informative.

Can't copyright band names??

Would that be a trademark or something? I know some lady in New Zealand called her internet gift company Kookychoo and got sued by the shoe maker Jimmy Choo. She's selling teddy bears, candles, and chocolates etc. He sells shoes. It's a bit insane. But I imagine there is something similar for bands. I know Dinosaur Jr were originally Dinosaur but had to change their name because of legal action against them.

Anyway look forward to your next post. - good work should clear a lot up.

Also there is no registration in New Zealand either.

Maybe we should start one for NZ and Aus get people to send us CD's and things with their $20 and we'll date and time stamp it.

Though you could write sheet music and lyrics and have it signed dated by a Justice of the Peace and I'm pretty sure you'd be okay. They may charge a small fee for the service.

EDIT: You didn't say anything about how long a copyright lasts. Or about agencies that collect on behalf etc. I thought it might be good to know how that works.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jan 27, 2009,
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
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#20
New Zealand Copyright Law

http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/Page____7290.aspx
http://www.copyright.org.nz/administration.php

International Copyright. If your country is one of the 153 members of the WTO then your work will be protected in all those countries. Though specifics on intellectual propery law will vary from country to country you will be ensured some basic rights across the board granted by the TRIPS treaty - Trade Related International Propery rightS.
http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm7_e.htm
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jan 27, 2009,
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
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#21
Quote by Ikonoklast
Does this mean anyone recording a cover onto youtube or even our profiles here at UG should technically have to pay to record these covers?


GREAT question. Here's the short answer, as I understand it:

Yes, it is illegal to post covers of songs you haven't paid the mechanicals for on internet sites.

YouTube's terms of service are very clear on that, and they have a system in place where these things can be reported. There is loads of evidence of things being removed for exactly this reason. What I'd like to know is how they can hide behind their terms of service as a means of not being accountable for the material they are distributing. I guess all it would take would be a single higher-profile lawsuit, but nobody has been willing to go there just yet. Until fairly recently, the average computer user could not actually make a copy for themselves - it was just streaming. This would be akin to the broadcasting of a radio signal. (except radio stations track the songs they play and the artists get paid performance royalties accordingly). YouTube does not do this - nor is it feasable. With realplayer11 that allows the downloading of streaming material, now this copyright material is being *distributed*. That is going to smell like a whole other kettle of fish.

Unless there is something I missed, UG cannot allow us to post covers either. Sure, there's a forum for it, and a great many of us have covers in our profile (admittedly, myself included). Most internet sites, in the interest of not getting their hosting shut down, are quite explicit about not allowing cover songs. "post it on someone else's server, and post a link...." haha.....)

Now there is movement afoot to change the rules on this significantly. I emailed SOCAN with this very question, and they are working towards a tariff for internet sites to pay an annual license fee (a blanket license), so that they would work like most campus radio stations and community television stations. It would probably be a minimum fee (probably based on the size of the site), plus a percentage of their advertising revenue for the year.

The fly in the ointment for that, though, is that seems to cover the broadcasting or streaming of copyrighted media on their sites. Would it cover the *distribution* of this material? I dunno.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Ikonoklast
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#22
Hmm very interesting to know. I bet that Canon geezer is bummed about not copyrighting his song. Thousands of covers and Millions of hits. He could make some serious money out of youtube, no?
12345abcd3
Registered User
Join date: May 2007
707 IQ
#23
^^Downloading videos of youtube isn't new with realplayer11 there are plenty of sites on the internet that will do it, then are just not as well know (I remember the way we found out was when we got a sheet on how to do it in an IT class, we used getvid.com or something like that).

Edit:
Quote by Ikonoklast
Hmm very interesting to know. I bet that Canon geezer is bummed about not copyrighting his song. Thousands of covers and Millions of hits. He could make some serious money out of youtube, no?

I assume you mean JerryC, not Johann Pachelbel.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Jan 27, 2009,
xChristgrindeRx
Mother Earth Fire Thunder
Join date: Jan 2009
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#24
So do files of the instrumental/vocal tracks count as "evidence/proof"? Like Nuendo/Audacity/Cubase/Whatever files. Because someone else could record the same thing, or even take apart the tracks (that's just desperate) and claim it was theirs.
Retro Rocker
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Join date: Mar 2007
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#25
Now, it might just be me being an idiot, but how exactly (read: as if you were explaining to someone retarded) does the 'poor mans copyright' work?

You mail yourself something. So what?
Hypothetically speaking, if I killed Mr. Vai after he finished mastering a new album and sent it to myself, that's basic proof that I own it?
It's driving me mad trying to bend my mind around how that works.
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
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#26
Quote by Retro Rocker
Now, it might just be me being an idiot, but how exactly (read: as if you were explaining to someone retarded) does the 'poor mans copyright' work?

You mail yourself something. So what?
Hypothetically speaking, if I killed Mr. Vai after he finished mastering a new album and sent it to myself, that's basic proof that I own it?
It's driving me mad trying to bend my mind around how that works.

All mail is stamped with an official legally recognized date stamp. By mailing it to yourself all you are doing is showing that you had created the work on or before the date of the stamp. Of course the envelope/package has to be unopened and not show signs of tampering.

Let's say Mr Vai did the same thing each time he finished writing a new song for his album. You would have the final album mastered album and might be able to "prove" the date at which you got it. But the Vai estate would have his earlier mail which shows he wrote these songs earlier than when you did.

The cops would see motive and a piece of evidence officially dated around the time of Mr Vai's death and you would be arrested for murder as well as fraud.


Quote by xChristgrindeRx
So do files of the instrumental/vocal tracks count as "evidence/proof"? Like Nuendo/Audacity/Cubase/Whatever files. Because someone else could record the same thing, or even take apart the tracks (that's just desperate) and claim it was theirs.
Did you read Chris's article it was written specifically to answer questions exactly like this. keep your question in mind and read it again looking for an answer - especially the part about copyrighting your own work. Here it is again...

Quote by axemanchris
Here are some not-so-effective things that I, personally, wouldn't trust and why:
1. Date-stamps on your computer - though these may suggest that the file was created on a certain date, there is no disinterested third party proof that you did not tamper with your Windows clock. With a few mouse clicks, you can create a file that will appear to have been created on January 1, 1980 - even before many of us were even born!
So short answer no those files don't count as evidence/proof since the date is unreliable.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jan 27, 2009,
axemanchris
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Join date: Aug 2006
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#27
Quote by 20Tigers
Excellent. Very informative.


Thanks!

Quote by 20Tigers

Can't copyright band names??


Maybe tonight....

Quote by 20Tigers


Also there is no registration in New Zealand either.


Doesn't New Zealand's copyright law get somehow covered by Australia's?

Quote by 20Tigers

You didn't say anything about how long a copyright lasts. Or about agencies that collect on behalf etc. I thought it might be good to know how that works.


About duration... it varies from place to place. It seems to range between 50-85 years after the death of the most-recently deceased composer. So, even though Lennon is dead, the Beatles' stuff will be measured from the date of McCartney's death. These updated durations (they were mostly all 50 years before) are not retroactive. So, a work created before the laws changed is still subject to the old 50 years duration, and a work created after the laws would be subject to the new 70-85 years duration.

This inconsistency can cause problems, because a person would have to find out the country of origin of the composer (what if there is more than one country of origin?) and the date of the composition and then look up their copyright laws to see if the work is public domain.

About public domain... you could take a work that is in the public domain and make an arrangement of it (say, arranging Pachelbel's Canon for concert band), and your arrangement would be considered a creative work. That arrangement would be copyrighted until 50-85 years after your death.

The two biggest types of agencies that collect royalties on your behalf are performing rights organizations (like SOCAN) who collect performance royalties, and mechanical royalties agencies (like Harry Fox) who collect mechanicals. In general, though, it is up to you to collect whatever royalties you are entitled to.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
640 IQ
#28
Quote by axemanchris
Doesn't New Zealand's copyright law get somehow covered by Australia's?

No - separate countries, seperate governments, separate laws, separate enforcement.

But there are some agencies that operate on behalf of copyright holders in both countries that administer rights and collect royalites from third parties on either side of the Tasman.
Si
axemanchris
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#29
5 - copyright and the use of samples

The use of samples goes beyond simply needing permission to use the song. You are *also* using someone else's performance from a recording that is probably owned by yet another person.

This is something that can get extraordinarily complex. You have a number of stakeholders, and therefore, may need to get permission from a variety of sources:
-a mechanical license - enables you to use the composition that the sample is from
-permission from the person who owns the copyright to the recording itself - The master recording belongs to the producer until such time as the recording is paid for. Once it is paid for, then the purchaser of the master recording owns it. (similar to the idea that if a photographer takes your picture, even though it is a picture of you, the photographer owns that image until you buy it from them.)
-you *might* even need to get the permission of the musician whose performance you are sampling. (especially if there are moral rights that need to be considered - ex. using a sample from a RATM song in your song that is in support of oppression would clearly be problematic)
-and if the song gets played on the radio, for instance, you need to have an agreement in place where the creator of the work you sampled from gets a portion of the performance royalty. (though this might be part of the fee agreement)

Here is an excellent article from a Canadian entertainment lawyer, who explains it in language that most of us musicians can understand:
http://www.zvulony.com/music_sampling.html

Another UK-focused article that is very good and makes reference to the famous Under Pressure/Ice Ice Baby case:
http://www.musiclawupdates.com/articles/ARTICLE%2003thesongremainsthesame.htm

Between the two of those, I really don't have anything to add, and these links explain it as well as or better than I could.

A couple of short paragraphs from another Canadian entertainment lawyer, written in very simple English.
http://www.sandersonlaw.ca/FAQ.html#A20

A move that many artists have started to choose is, rather than sample, to re-create their own version of the sound. In other words, don't use the original recording of Joe Perry playing the riff for Walk This Way... hire a guitarist to come in and duplicate the tone and performance as close as possible and use that. The word they use is to 'interpolate' the performance.

Other solutions:

1. Check sites like royaltyfreemusic.com and other sites that offer music that may be used freely (ie. without requiring the payment of royalties).
2. Check the Creative Commons database for similar.

In either case, be sure to read the terms of service for both the site and even the specific track, if applicable. You'll find that some sites and some tracks (many, in fact) will have limitations around how the work is to be used. Many works are made free for personal use, but do not allow commercial redistribution (which would, of course, be a barrier to the use of samples).

The good news is that the artist/publisher will generally be easy to contact, and may well be receptive to negotiating a deal that you can both happily live with and will not be financially prohibitive.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jan 29, 2009,
axemanchris
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#30
Band names - the legal:

No two businesses that offer the same or similar product or service can have the same name in the same market.

What does that mean, exactly? If I own Bob's Card and Gifts in London England, and find out there is another Bob's Card and Gift in New York, that's okay. We're offering the same product/service, but we are hardly competing in the same market. It's not like anyone is going to get us confused. In fact, since the market for a card and gift shop is generally a community market, or at least a local market, you could have a Bob's Card and Gift in pretty well every city and town. People don't tend to go to the next town to buy birthday cards.

Now... I can NOT open up a restaurant and call it McDonald's. McDonald's has successfully managed to expand their market to a point where they are global. No matter where you are, if you are a restaurant called McDonald's, there is another McDonald's already offering that product/service in that area. Funny, too, that you really start tempting trouble if you were to call yourself anything really close to that either. I wouldn't use MacDonald's, McDoonalds, etc.

So what does this mean for band names? Bands, like any other business or service, CAN share a name, as long as they are not competing in the same market. In other words, if one band is in Australlia and the other is in Florida, that’s fine. You're offering a similar product/service (musical entertainment), yes, but not at all in the same market. At least not yet. It's not like someone out there is going to confuse the two bands and buy the wrong product. You're half a planet away!

If, at some point, one band gets big enough and starts to do business in the other band's market, then one band will have to change their name. (Bush had to operate as Bush X, but only in North America IIRC... there was no other confusion in any other market) The band who had the name first *in that market* gets to keep the name *in that market.*

Similarly, the Raconteurs work as the Saboteurs in Australia. http://www.nme.com/news/the-raconteurs/22744 Note that the two bands aren't even in the same genre, but are still providing musical entertainment, so there is a problem. Kinda like you could open a bowling alley and call it McDonald's, but you can't open a restaurant and call it McDonald's.... even if it is an up-scale vegan restaurant. It's still a restaurant.

Generally what happens then is that one will buy the other out for rights to the name, or like Bush/BushX/Raconteurs/Saboteurs will change their name to work in that new, previously un-tapped market.

Here is a corporate example....

There was a little independent bookstore in a small town in Ontario called Chapter's. There was another much larger bookstore who started to become a small chain of bookstores in British Columbia called Chapters. (note the difference in spelling....) No problem. They're offering a similar product/service, yes, but in entirely different markets. Literally three time zones away.

What happened, though, is that the chain in British Columbia continued to expand. Eventually, they expanded not only into Ontario, but to a medium-sized city about 10 minutes away from the small-town Chapter's.

Now, we have two businesses offering the same product/service, with *almost* the same name, operating in the same market. Could one easily confuse Chapters with Chapter's? You bet. If someone asked you to go to Chapters and buy the latest Harry Potter book, would you know which of the two stores to go to? Nope. Now we have a problem.

The mega-chain Chapters, to make a long story short, could have been disallowed the opportunity to use the Chapters name in their new market, as the other Chapter's was there first. Ultimately, as I understand it, the smaller independent Chapter's in the small town was paid out handily enough by the much larger corporate chain Chapters that he pocketed the money, changed thename of his store, and kept going.

BTW... you don't need to be a hugely successful business to prove that you are doing business in a certain market. Do you have product for sale? Are you gigging? Can you prove that? Then you are doing business in that market. Can they prove that they are doing business similarly in their market? Then they are doing business in that market.

Just because it is available on the web doesn't mean you are doing business around the world. Sure, some person *could* log onto iTunes from Zimbabwe and buy my song from iTunes, but what are the odds, really? Assuming they're not likely to buy (never mind, even *find*) some random song/album from some random band they've never heard of except for the 30 second snippet iTunes lets you hear, why would they buy it? Have you toured there? Gotten radio play there? Any print articles about your music? Nope. You're not doing business in that market, then, are you? I mean have *you* ever bought music off the internet from some band *you've* never heard of? :lol:

We sell our stuff on line through our own website. Same idea. We have international distribution now, right? Well.... I'm in Canada near Toronto. We have sold 99% of our CD's to people within an hour's drive of here. We've sold the others - one to New Jersey and one to Ottawa - to people farther away. (though we have had *listeners* from much further away, they don't count as doing business as they are not spending money) It really seems unreasonable for us to declare that we are now doing business in the New Jersey market, though, doesn't it?

It should be pointed out, then, that none of the following mean anything in this matter:
- who is better
- who had it first (at least until someone moves into the other band’s territory)
- whether or not you or they are signed or not

- adding “the” in front of your name won’t make a lick of difference. Do you think McDonald's would be satisfied with another restaurant called "The McDonald's?" Nope.

Protecting your name:

You can't copyright a band name. You can register it as a business, which allows you to prove that you are offering a product or service in a certain market, but doesn't really do much else as far as someone else using the same name. Now, you can *trademark* a name (or more to the point... a "service mark"), but that is a whole other kettle of fish in terms of red tape and monetary cost. A trademark is usually done to protect a logo or something. Think of McDonald's golden arches 'M' for instance, or the Nike swoosh. You don't copyright a logo. You register it as a trademark.

http://www.registeringatrademark.co...aw-basics.shtml
...apparently takes about a year and costs about $1500....

Canadian link says up to two years and costs nearly double that...
http://www.sandersonlaw.ca/tradememo.htm

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
20Tigers
1
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640 IQ
#31
Should definitely be sticky'd. This is very insightful and helpful stuff to any wanabe pros. Best thread I've seen all year.
Si
axemanchris
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#32
Thanks, man!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
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#33
Coming soon:

-Home taping (personal copying)
-fair dealing/fair use

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
axemanchris
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Join date: Aug 2006
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#35


Thanks!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
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#36
...bumped for EndtheRapture51

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
EndTheRapture51
pretentious wank
Join date: Oct 2008
8,710 IQ
#37
Thanks for this...

longing rusted furnace daybreak seventeen benign nine homecoming one freight car
time_for_food
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2007
840 IQ
#38
Hey, quick question.
If I were to use speeches from films in my music, would that go under the samples copyright thing you wrote about, or is it different?
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
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#39
I would guess so. Being as you'd only be using the audio, you wouldn't have to worry about any visual copyrights or anything, I wouldn't expect. Mechanical license to use the copyrighted material, and permission from whoever owns the master reel. You may well also need permission to use the person's voice you are taking as well.

Best bet would be to contact the film's publisher.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
NearDissent
Train Dodge...Dig It!
Join date: Mar 2009
357 IQ
#40
I have a question. You know the trick for copy writing your music by mailing it to yourself and not opening the envelope? How do you get Canada Post to record the date that it was mailed?
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