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#1 Dan Goldberg

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:08 PM

Hey all,

I've heard from several sources that if you use a copyrighted song for only a short period of time and you alter it enough, it doesn't count as copyright music. Is that true?

I'd appreciate the help! Thanks!

Dan Goldberg
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#2 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 02:04 PM

If you ask music clearance people or the lawyers involved in such issues the answer you'll get is that copyrighted music is copyrighted music, period. Do not risk a law suit or higher fees on the back side because you are tring to save money up front.

That being said, if a song is not recognizable because its been radically altered, or because the mix is confusing, then its a good guess that no one will come after you.

The way you asked the question though does imply that you are trying to get around the copyright, which is not cool.

The best choices are to pay for clearance, or use a composer, or use royality free trx.
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#3 Jim Simon

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 02:45 PM

In the U.S., you can use parts of copyrighted works for certain things. A reviewer can use quotes from a copyrighted book. A critic can use a clips of a copyrighted movie for his reviews. Etc. This is called "fair use".

"Fair Use" generally does NOT include using any part of an artist's work for creative reasons.
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#4 Dan Goldberg

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 05:31 PM

That being said, if a song is not recognizable because its been radically altered, or because the mix is confusing, then its a good guess that no one will come after you.

The way you asked the question though does imply that you are trying to get around the copyright, which is not cool.


Ah I see. And no, I would definitely not try and get around copyright material. I was just wondering since I have music that fits PERFECTLY for a scene if I alter it (adding more bass and changing the tempo, etc.) So I was wondering if it would count as copyrighted music or not. I figured I'd ask before hand.
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#5 Michael Ryan

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 03:42 PM

Hello All,

Wow, over the last few years I have read many, many questions about copyright on this forum and many others. I have found that most people fall into about three groups. I will provide the three answers that fit these three main groups. Please feel free to pick the answer that makes you feel the most comfortable and run with it.


A) In the 21st century copyright really only is for large Hollywood studios and rich people. Everyone else is free to use music anyway they want from TV, CDs, books, magazines, radio, DVDs, movie theaters or just about any format you can think of. If you can't find your specific format above just ask your mom, brother, sister, guy down the street, postman or anyone on any forum site on earth. If they don't know, something called Fair Use covers you. Especially if you are a student or don't have much money or just because.

B Music that you listen to, movies that you watch, books that you read...they are all owned by someone or some company. If you use them you have to ask permission. You will probably have to pay someone or some company money to use them. You will probably have to sign a form to show you have permission.

C) Ask a good copyright lawyer. I don't know why, but good copyright lawyers don't ever post on forums.



There you have it. Now wasn't that easy?

Mike

Edited by Michael Ryan, 21 April 2007 - 03:43 PM.

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#6 Alexander Joyce

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 03:49 PM

I don't know why, but good copyright lawyers don't ever post on forums.


Prob because they can't charge via a forum :P
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 04:31 PM

D) There are plenty of public domain sources for music but if you're fixated on one particular copywritten work you tread on very thin ice in using it in any recoqnizable form. If this is a project for you and your friends to play around with, then that's not a huge concern. But if you plan any distribution whatsoever (festivals, classes, etc.) than you're playing with fire to use anyone's copywritten work without clearance.

I found an absolutely perfect work of music for a project of mine out on the web. The work itself is old enough to out of copyright, period, and it's in a non professional performance by a pretty good pianist who distributed his work under a media "copyleft" derived from the GNU Foundation's free use licensing. It's copywritten but the only "payment" required is crediting the source and repeating the free distribution license provisions. I can make commercial use of the music and copyright my creation but I will have to include the music license language regardless. This is much like the way different versions of Linux are distributed. Red Hat can charge you for their utilities, additions, etc. to Linux but they cannot directly charge you for Linux and the GNU Foundation created utilities - and they must include the free license "copyleft" language in their product's licensing statements.
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#8 David Sweetman

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 04:58 PM

Hey all,

I've heard from several sources that if you use a copyrighted song for only a short period of time and you alter it enough, it doesn't count as copyright music. Is that true?

I'd appreciate the help! Thanks!

Dan Goldberg

I've heard that used to be the law; there was some specified length of time you could run a song for, but that law has changed. If you're aiming for festivals or distribution, best to play it safe and use original music, or music you can get the rights to.
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#9 Dan Goldberg

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 08:53 PM

Ok, I think I understand now. I'll just play it dafe. Damn, it was perfect though :9 But it's for a film festival, so I don't want to take my chances.

Another question came across my mind as I was reading your very helpful responses: If I REALLY wanted a particular piece of music written/composed/played by someone else, how would I go about getting "clearance" to use it? Do I contact the artist or the recording company? How much do they charge, etc?
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#10 Michael Collier

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 09:29 PM

E. If your commisioned to do a work for someones personal library, you can use copywrited music as long as the client owns a copy of the original CD. Thats why weding video companies say if you bring in a CD with music you'd like on it, they can use it. You have a right to listen to YOUR music in any way you'd like. Just as long as your not selling it to others, either alone or in conjunction with other media (IE song over video)
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