Copyright issues

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Johnisfaster
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Post by Johnisfaster » Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:46 pm

oddly enough about the madonna issue. I was in world music class today and my teacher pointed out a japanese track that was exactly a madonna song that was released before madonnas song. he thought it was pretty obvious that madonna must have ripped it. though I don't recall what song it was. but if this is true then I wouldn't doubt that she's done it before with artists from other countries. there was no court case over the issue by the japanese artist so maybe it was settled in other ways. or for all we know they cleared it before had... I don't know...

your point is taken though. but still I think my point stands just as valid. extensive copyrighting of riffs and chord progressions is eating up the usable possibilities. I remember being a kid and being in bands and writting a riff and the band would say "dude we can't use that it's exactly like such and such song" and thats just sad. in some cases it's totally fine to play the same thing, but in other cases it's a punishable offense. to me it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. and I think it is dangerous because eventually no matter what you play someone will say "ive got a copyright on that" not that it will hold up in court but I think there will be endless amounts of accusing over even the most basic progressions in the future.

I guess what I'm trying to say is "wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where you could play whatever the fu** you wanted to play without wondering if it's done before and wondering if someone will sue you over it" ?
It was as if someone shook up a 6 foot can of blood soda and suddenly popped the top.

Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:51 pm

well it's just a matter of personal will to be "original", to convey an emotion that is unique.
If you sound like someone else, the copyright thing won't matter, people will just say, "this sounds like this" it's not original.

Regarding copyrights, it's always been there, (I mean since records exist) you create a song, you publish it in some form, and you're copyrighted. It hasn't gone worse.
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Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:12 pm

Chris J wrote: Madonna "frozen" court case
he claims he saw her in 78, and so she would have stolen the ideas then, but she didn't even write the song. I don't see how the guys who wrote the song could have known about that.
I stand corrected, Madonna wrote the song. I came across a blog and she says :

"I assure everyone that I wrote Frozen. I have never even heard this crappy song that guy wrote. I can't even pronounce that crap!!!! I intend to fight this in an appeal and I will WIN! Let's see how long that guy can afford an attorney!"

that last phrase is really disturbing, that really means that even if she stole it, she would win because of her money, the guy having no chance as he's got nearly no money. Thinking it is one thing, putting it on her blog is another and it's obscene. At least she's honnest (if only with that and unvolontarily) with her power.

I don't like her, and I'm not going to remix her . oops sorry that's another thread ? there's no ableton remix contest for Frozen ? shit...
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Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:19 pm

Madonna wrote: I have never even heard this crappy song that guy wrote. I can't even pronounce that crap!!!!
and she's good at recognizing crappy songs, she's done so many.
Also you don't need to speak a foreign language to steal some chords. I begin to wonder if she didn't actually steal it
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louZ
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Post by louZ » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:13 pm

How do you know if Madonna really wrote that?

Anyway, I heared both the songs on tv and to me copyright infringement sounds far fetched.

Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:20 pm

louZ wrote:How do you know if Madonna really wrote that?

Anyway, I heared both the songs on tv and to me copyright infringement sounds far fetched.
no, in an earlier post I said some guys had written the song for her (you know writing teams), and then I found out that she did, meaning the writing credit is hers.
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smutek
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Post by smutek » Thu Nov 24, 2005 1:15 am

noisetonepause wrote: 100 Miles And Runnin', anyone?
That was pretty cool, here was my 30 second submission:

http://www.downhillbattle.org/3notes/so ... _dobre.mp3

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Post by Chris J » Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:21 pm

I really find all this downhill battle 3 note complete bullshit as most of all entries are making noises rather than music, the ones that make a melody are using the sample in such short loop to create a synth sound that ANY other source would give the exact same result.
More importantly the clinton sample in the NWA track is (whatever they say...) recognisable, as it's been pitched down slightly, but the whole riff is there, which is not the case in most of the entries I've heard.

Most of the entries could not be sued for using the sample because it could be anything else, as opposed to the NWA track.

Don't get me wrong I've used samples in my tracks, but if I ever get sued it would be legitimate, just like NWA, I knew what I was doing. At the time though it wasn't so common, or made public, that people were sued, so you thought it could go through the net. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

I understand their point of view, in saying that paying a flat fee would solve things rather than go through lawyers but in the end, if you really are creative, you don't need samples, if you need samples, then sample public domain recordings (that's what I do as I'm not creative enough )
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smutek
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Post by smutek » Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:50 pm

Hi Chris,

I'm a little confused as to why you think the 3 notes thing was bullshit.

Correct me if I am wrong, but you are saying that most of the submissions don't sound like music, are totally unrecognizeable and as such could not be sued for copyright infringement, but the NWA use of the same sample is recognizeable and as such does not fall under these parameters and was fair game for a law suit?

If this is what you are saying I agree. However, I don't think that was really the point of the exercise. I think it was directed more against the ruling than it was a defense of NWA's use of this particular sample. I think the ruling stated that royalties must be paid even if the use of the sample can not be recognized by anyone.
"The ruling reversed a district court finding that because "no reasonable juror, even one familiar with the works of George Clinton, would recognize the source of the sample without having been told of its source", sampling clearance should not be required.

In doing so, the court broke from decades of established sample practice by ruling that all samples, regardless of how heavily manipulated or unrecognizable they may be, are subject either to "clearance" (obtaining permission for use of the sample, usually in exchange for money), or litigation. The ruling reversed a district court finding that because "no reasonable juror, even one familiar with the works of George Clinton, would recognize the source of the sample without having been told of its source", sampling clearance should not be required.
So, I am not arguing that the NWA use is unrecognizable, but technically all of the entries in the contest are subject to either clearance or litigation because they all use that riff as their source material; even though most of them are utterly, completely, and totally unrecognizable. And I think this makes an interesting point.

On the other hand, I do see where it is kind of pointless. For example, if I were to release my 30 second submission I would not even bother to tell anyone that I used that sample and I would not be caught - because without prior knowledge there is no way anyone will relate what I made to the original source.

But on the third hand, this was kind of the point of the whole thing.

If anything, I think art should serve to stimulate thought, be it positive or negative, and this project definitely seems to have done that given there has been some lively discussion regarding it. Given that, I think it was pretty effective.

Best regards,

smutek

smutek
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Post by smutek » Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:08 pm

Johnisfaster wrote:I guess what I'm trying to say is "wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where you could play whatever the fu** you wanted to play without wondering if it's done before and wondering if someone will sue you over it" ?
Yeah, thats such a good point John. And it is the same everywhere.

My bread and butter is graphic design, and the same issues arise. On one hand there are some people that just rip designs off, but on the other hand if I am doing a logo for a telecommunications company there is a finite combination of shape combinations for a simple logo that reads as telecommunications, so it is easy to accidentally make an original design that bears a striking resemblance to something already out there.

Things are tough all over. I suppose the problem is that there are few original ideas. Every piece of art, be it music or visual, pulls inspiration in some way from something that has already been done.

Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:23 pm

smutek wrote: On the other hand, I do see where it is kind of pointless. For example, if I were to release my 30 second submission I would not even bother to tell anyone that I used that sample and I would not be caught - because without prior knowledge there is no way anyone will relate what I made to the original source.
Hi smutek,
exactly ! That's really making a fuss for nothing. Downhill battle is using that example to protest against something that has always been there, pretending it's gone worse.
Before that court ruling, there wasn't a law that said " you can use copyrighted recordings as long as it's not recognisable". It's nothing new, all recordings bear the same "reproduction prohibited etc...".

This whole thing would have made sense if the NWA track had transformed the guitar riff into similar noises that people uploaded, ie completely unrecognisable, and yet lost the case. But it just can't be. They lost because IT IS recognisable.

It's up to you to seriously disguise it if you don't want to license your samples and get caught, nothing new here.

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Anubis
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Post by Anubis » Thu Nov 24, 2005 7:08 pm

Johnisfaster wrote:...extensive copyrighting of riffs and chord progressions is eating up the usable possibilities. ..."wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where you could play whatever the fu** you wanted to play without wondering if it's done before and wondering if someone will sue you over it" ?
I know that in the sixties it was commonplace for bands to use other's chord progressions as inspiration for their compositions without any fear of retribution. Even the Beatles used the chord progression from Do you believe in Magic (The Loving Spoonful) as the source for one of their many hits.(I can't remember which one atm) The composer, John Sebastian was quite flattered that John Lennon was inspired by his song. I'm sure Keith Richards and Eric Clapton and even Hendrix borrowed a few riffs from the vintage blues masters.

I think it's a sign of the times now that music has become such a lucrative business that someone wants to cash-in on somebody elses success, which apparently wasn't the spirit of the sixties. Just another manifestation of the letigious society in which we live.
Now, the sampling issue is a completely different issue which was primarily the impetus of the recording industry as an attempt to perpetually profit from their investment.
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Chris J
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Post by Chris J » Thu Nov 24, 2005 8:00 pm

Anubis wrote:Now, the sampling issue is a completely different issue which was primarily the impetus of the recording industry as an attempt to perpetually profit from their investment.
and artists...
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bigbone
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Post by bigbone » Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:42 am

jethrosipho wrote:Ray Parker is the shit. Seriously, check out his guitar playing on Herbie Hancock Secrets.
Not the same Ray PArker.......sorry..... :wink:
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Suade
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Very interesting stuff about copyright

Post by Suade » Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:00 am

If any of you are really interested in Copyright Issues I'd suggest reading Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture. it's freely available from his website www.lessig.org. I haven't yet read his other books but this one is a fascinating read, very in-depth on copyright issues and full of fantastic anecdotes which illustrate the main point which is that the idea of copyright has been misused and transformed by greedy middlemen with little or no interest in the views or financial health of creative people.

Did you know that ASCAP, the organisation which collects songwriting royalties sued the Girl Scouts for singing their members songs around their campfires without paying?

Check this book out.

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