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Thread: Public Domain

  1. #101

    Default Re: Public Domain

    Thanks to everyone for this discussion. It's been very illuminating. My family has just recently begun playing at some local nursing homes, so I found DavidKOS' and Allen Hopkins' contributions especially helpful. My take-away is that when it comes to performance, I can give my confused conscience a rest and leave it up to the venues. I hope I've understood that right.

    As a complete newcomer to the world of music performance, I hope I'm not out of line to ask for opinions on a couple of related questions. We have a couple of videos of ourselves performing posted on a Facebook page. Does that count as recording subject to copyright issues? And we've been thinking about recording a few of our favorites and making some cds with our computer to give to family and friends. Does that pose copyright issues? What if we gave them to strangers who happened to hear us play and liked it?

    One last note: I wonder if a lot of the tension around these issues comes from the fact that any society has to encourage both innovation, to keep creating new things, and tradition, to hand on cultural treasures. Our copyright system may be more heavily weighted toward innovation than tradition, and depending on which of those two is closer to your own heart, it may strike you very differently. I'm glad we've got both, even if they are hard to balance.

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  3. #102
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandosopher View Post
    As a complete newcomer to the world of music performance, I hope I'm not out of line to ask for opinions on a couple of related questions. We have a couple of videos of ourselves performing posted on a Facebook page. Does that count as recording subject to copyright issues? And we've been thinking about recording a few of our favorites and making some cds with our computer to give to family and friends. Does that pose copyright issues? What if we gave them to strangers who happened to hear us play and liked it?

    One last note: I wonder if a lot of the tension around these issues comes from the fact that any society has to encourage both innovation, to keep creating new things, and tradition, to hand on cultural treasures. Our copyright system may be more heavily weighted toward innovation than tradition, and depending on which of those two is closer to your own heart, it may strike you very differently. I'm glad we've got both, even if they are hard to balance.
    If I understand the discussion correctly, the CDs for family and friends should be okay, strangers no. I have no idea about the Facebook thing, but it seems that a lot of people have done it and I doubt they have paid. And my understanding of this may be totally wrong.

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  5. #103
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandosopher View Post
    One last note: I wonder if a lot of the tension around these issues comes from the fact that any society has to encourage both innovation, to keep creating new things, and tradition, to hand on cultural treasures.
    I agree, almost. But my pain is coming from my experience with ITM, where tradition is not preservation. Instead, it's constant innovation, everybody creating their own variations of tunes all the time, and new tunes are just variations of other tunes.
    From this viewpoint, a composer is somebody who takes money for something we do for free, and who is carried on the shoulders of suits most of whom probably never played a note.
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  7. #104
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandosopher View Post
    We have a couple of videos of ourselves performing posted on a Facebook page. Does that count as recording subject to copyright issues? And we've been thinking about recording a few of our favorites and making some cds with our computer to give to family and friends. Does that pose copyright issues? What if we gave them to strangers who happened to hear us play and liked it?
    You would need to concern yourself about anything posted on youtube, facebook, etc.

    Private non-commercial CD's should be OK as long as they are not used on the radio, internet, or for public or profit use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I agree, almost. But my pain is coming from my experience with ITM, where tradition is not preservation. Instead, it's constant innovation, everybody creating their own variations of tunes all the time, and new tunes are just variations of other tunes.
    From this viewpoint, a composer is somebody who takes money for something we do for free, and who is carried on the shoulders of suits most of whom probably never played a note.
    Or, rename your tune variations and copyright them.

    Heck, there's already a bunch of tunes in ITM that have different setting for the same tune name and different names for the same tune.

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  9. #105
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Or, rename your tune variations and copyright them.
    There are people who do this. Ridiculous. Pity on them, because they haven't understood what ITM is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Heck, there's already a bunch of tunes in ITM that have different setting for the same tune name and different names for the same tune.
    ...yes, for completely different reasons and without anybody getting threatened or sued for it. I'd do everything I could to maintain the innocence of this process and to keep legal bodies and other darklings out of it.
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    ...Pity on them, because they haven't understood what ITM is about.
    Because this is sounding a bit harsh, on second thoughts, I will provide an explanation:

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    This is a picture of a sunlit cloud behind a tree I just took out of my office window. I now declare that cloud to be my cloud, I recorded it (photo = recording) and hereby copyright it (not just the photo, no, the cloud itself). You may not take any photo of this cloud yourself unless you pay royalties to me. Ridiculous you'd say? And you'd be right to say that.

    Irish tunes are just clouds drifting by the heads of people. People can make recordings of them and own the recordings, but they cannot own the tunes. The attempt is like Trying to Catch the Wind (ouch! copyrighted again!)
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  12. #107
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    This is a picture of a sunlit cloud behind a tree I just took out of my office window. I now declare that cloud to be my cloud, I recorded it (photo = recording) and hereby copyright it (not just the photo, no, the cloud itself). You may not take any photo of this cloud yourself unless you pay royalties to me. Ridiculous you'd say? And you'd be right to say that.

    Irish tunes are just clouds drifting by the heads of people. People can make recordings of them and own the recordings, but they cannot own the tunes. The attempt is like Trying to Catch the Wind (ouch! copyrighted again!)
    I see where you're coming from, but the cloud itself - or tune - is not what's being copyrighted.

    It's your picture of the cloud- or your own version of the melody - that is in question legally.

    Granted, before recordings this was not an issue and ITM comes from the days before recordings.

    and it does seem a bit silly for the PRO's to not understand that a few guys having a session is not the same as a bar band playing what used to be called top 40 hits.

  13. #108

    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Because this is sounding a bit harsh, on second thoughts, I will provide an explanation:

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    This is a picture of a sunlit cloud behind a tree I just took out of my office window. I now declare that cloud to be my cloud, I recorded it (photo = recording) and hereby copyright it (not just the photo, no, the cloud itself). You may not take any photo of this cloud yourself unless you pay royalties to me. Ridiculous you'd say? And you'd be right to say that.

    Irish tunes are just clouds drifting by the heads of people. People can make recordings of them and own the recordings, but they cannot own the tunes. The attempt is like Trying to Catch the Wind (ouch! copyrighted again!)
    You just reminded me of this classic 'press release' gem:

    "Microsoft Corporation today announced its intent to purchase, copyright, and upgrade God. The new product would be named, predictably enough, "Microsoft God"..."

    (attributed to Steve Mendes; full article at Bert Christensen's Truth & Humour Collection)

    Er, what's Microsoft God got to do with music? Well, nothing really, but it did involve a copyright.

    Off to my corner now...

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  15. #109

    Default Re: Public Domain

    Elvis (and others) recorded "An American Trilogy" which is credited to Mickey Newbury, but is really just three old songs put together in an arrangement -- Dixie, Battle Hymm of the Republic, and All My Trials. Well, somebody had to cash in on all those record sales -- NOT LIKE THEY WERE GOING TO LEAVE IT BLANK, RIGHT?

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  17. #110
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It's your picture of the cloud- or your own version of the melody - that is in question legally.
    Errhh, no, my version of the melody would be just another cloud I don't own. If I do a YouTube video of that, that's the photo of the cloud.

    The upshot of all this is you are never actually creating anything in ITM. You just listen.
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I agree, almost. But my pain is coming from my experience with ITM, where tradition is not preservation. Instead, it's constant innovation, everybody creating their own variations of tunes all the time, and new tunes are just variations of other tunes.
    From this viewpoint, a composer is somebody who takes money for something we do for free, and who is carried on the shoulders of suits most of whom probably never played a note.
    With respect, I disagree with that perspective. At least as a sweeping generalization for Irish traditional music. I don't think you can call the tunes that have entered common session repertoire by artists like Liz Carroll, Sean Ryan, Gordon Duncan, or Paddy Fahey just "variations on other tunes." Try playing the "Tolka Polka" by Donal Lunny, and tell me if that sounds like a variation on something else!

    I do think you're right about how many of the older tunes have gone through variations on variations, to the point where we're dealing with offspring and mutations, not the original tune. But that doesn't mean every tune is unrecognizable, or the composers unknown.

    In my experience, session tunes by living or recently deceased composers are generally played "straight" as the artist first recorded or published it in sheet music. You don't mess with a Paddy Fahey or Liz Carroll tune. The air "Da Slockit Light" is played as the composer Tom Anderson recorded it. The reel "Brenda Stubbert's" is played the way Jerry Holland recorded it. All the 19th Century and earlier stuff may be up for grabs with variations, but there's a respect for known, recent compositions in the sessions I've attended.

    These artists (or their estates) probably don't get anything from ASCAP/BMI live music licensing, due to the poorly designed setup for that racket, but at least mechanical license for recordings and music streaming should kick a little something into the pot.

    Licensing issues aside, I just think it's disservice to the many creative artists in ITM to write off all the known composers of tunes as "just making variations." If that's all it was, this music wouldn't be half as much fun to play. The tradition gets these occasional shots of brilliant new tunes to keep it fresh and interesting.

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    Default Re: Public Domain

    In the early times of the old time world the tunes were carried by traveling musicians. They may have learned the tune somewhat as they played a town then taught it to musicians in the next. Tunes vary from state to state and county to county. Those variations may not be recent changes, but the natural differences from who learned the tune, from whom, and where they learned it. Recordings of those variances don't necessarily mean the artist changed the tune, but learned it that way. Irish music most likely differs from old time in that way. There have been circumstances where the artist did change the tune, or write the tune, but I don't believe that is as common as the many differences that are out there and have been for decades before recording or copyright.
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  23. #113
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    In the early times of the old time world the tunes were carried by traveling musicians. They may have learned the tune somewhat as they played a town then taught it to musicians in the next. Tunes vary from state to state and county to county. Those variations may not be recent changes, but the natural differences from who learned the tune, from whom, and where they learned it. Recordings of those variances don't necessarily mean the artist changed the tune, but learned it that way. Irish music most likely differs from old time in that way. There have been circumstances where the artist did change the tune, or write the tune, but I don't believe that is as common as the many differences that are out there and have been for decades before recording or copyright.
    Historically you're right; unfortunately we live in the relatively recent post-recording world of copyrights.

    It's obvious that the PRO's did NOT have traditional folk music in mind when the rules were made.

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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    The air "Da Slockit Light" is played as the composer Tom Anderson recorded it. The reel "Brenda Stubbert's" is played the way Jerry Holland recorded it.
    Let's see: the two you mentioned were both rained with versions here on the Song-a-Week social group. In Da Slockit Light, I usually end the A part on a different note than its repetition, which is different from Tom Anderson's (and most of the other's) form. The versions of Brenda Stubbert's are quite noticeably apart from each other (and from Jerry Holland's).

    I think, however, that it is natural that younger tunes have a smaller spread of versions than older tunes - it takes time.

    OTOH, if you look up Popcorn Behaviour on thesession.org, you'll find five settings already, although it is a Jay Ungar tune from the 90s; compare Liz Doherty's version to this one. And this reel itself contains citations of Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King and the James Bond score in the B part. Good luck tracing copyright here.

    I wouldn't say there are no police persons at all in ITM, but there are certainly none in the sessions I attend.

    Someone could say that these variations are so minute they are not even worth mentioning, but the tune must remain recognisable enough for others to join in at a session (and yes, some are good at recognising the tunes I start, others just stare blankly).
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  27. #115
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    In the early times of the old time world the tunes were carried by traveling musicians. They may have learned the tune somewhat as they played a town then taught it to musicians in the next. Tunes vary from state to state and county to county. Those variations may not be recent changes, but the natural differences from who learned the tune, from whom, and where they learned it. Recordings of those variances don't necessarily mean the artist changed the tune, but learned it that way. Irish music most likely differs from old time in that way. There have been circumstances where the artist did change the tune, or write the tune, but I don't believe that is as common as the many differences that are out there and have been for decades before recording or copyright.
    One big difference with Irish trad is that much of the current session repertoire is actually fairly recent, dating from the middle 1880's and well into the 20th Century. That's how we know the names of many of the composers. Many of the tunes were written well after the first waves of migration to America, where melodies were carried through Appalachia and evolved there as OldTime music.

    There is still some crossover with much older tunes, like the "The Jolly Beggarman" hornpipe in Irish sessions, played as the "Red Haired Boy" reel in OldTime and Bluegrass jams.

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  29. #116
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    I thought the Copyright enforcement was more songs with lyrics,

    than a tune, melody without words.. or like John Coltrane,

    Chord changes are all that's left of the original material, and then, it's OK.





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    Default Re: Public Domain

    I just waded through all of the Parking Lot Picker's Songbook and The Fiddler's Fakebook. I cross checked tunes against various sources for authors, copyright, etc. I now have 83 songs, 55 with lyrics, that our club knows that are confirmed to be in the public domain. I ran across another potential source to verify PD or not.

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    Default Re: Public Domain

    The fiddler's fakebood came out before they were copyrighting arrangements, If you are considering things like Mississippi Sawyer and dozens of old time tunes BMI has PAGES of each tune copyrighted.
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  34. #119
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I thought the Copyright enforcement was more songs with lyrics,

    than a tune, melody without words.. or like John Coltrane,

    Chord changes are all that's left of the original material, and then, it's OK.

    You cannot copyright chord changes.

    You can copyright a melody, and as you point out, lyrics.

    But you do not need words to register a copyright.

    Here's the real kicker:

    Under the Millenium Copyright act, your original work is copyrighted the minute you create it in either written or recorded form.

    We are techncially talking about registered copyrights, which means I have a list with the government office and with my PRO.

    https://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf

    This is the actual Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    " A holder of a blanket license may publicly perform any and all of the songs
    in the PRO’s repertory, in return for paying either a flat fee or a percentage of total revenue.46 For
    business owners, these blanket licenses significantly reduce the transaction costs involved in
    complying with the requirements of the Copyright Act. For musical work copyright holders, these
    licenses allow receipt of a share of the royalties that were previously not of much value."

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33631.pdf

    "Copyright Licensing in Music Distribution,
    Reproduction, and Public Performance"

    http://www.pullcom.com/news-publications-822.html

    "Copyright Licensing: Ignorance is Expensive"

    "The right of public performance means the exhibition, rendition, or playing of a copyrighted
    work, either directly or by means of any device or process.25 Public performance not only covers
    the initial rendition, but also any further act by which the rendition is transmitted or
    communicated to the public. "

    "There is also no exemption for restaurants hosting non-original live music or playing music by any means other than broadcast radio. Currently, the only way to host non-original live music is by obtaining a license from the appropriate PRO(s). Live music may include disc jockeys in addition to cover bands. If a musical group plays only original music which they have not licensed to a PRO, then the performance agreement should provide for the appropriate license from the band itself."

    "There are three PROs that own nearly all of the music played today: the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (“ASCAP”), Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (“SESAC”).
    ......This adds another layer of complication to resolution: does an infringing business owner negotiate with only one PRO and wait for the others to catch him, or go completely above-board and pay the licensing fee to all three PROs right then and there?"

    " However, the only way to garner complete control and flexibility over the music to be played —i.e. be it from a CD, iPod, or other source—is to secure the necessary license from the PROs. Additionally, if the business plays live music, a license from the PROs who own the specific songs to be played will be required. The PROs typically offer packages which allow the business to purchase a certain number of live performances and may calculate the fees on the occupancy of the establishment."

    http://www.wbklaw.com/uploads/file/A...icenses___.pdf

    more good explanations, mostly from the bar/restaurant owner's perspective

    https://www.ascap.com/help/ascap-lic...s-music-venues
    answers to some questions

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    Default Re: Public Domain

    [QUOTE=Under the Millenium Copyright act, your original work is copyrighted the minute you create it in either written or recorded form. "[/QUOTE]

    It may by copyrighted the minute you create it, but unless you copyright it with a PRO they can't charge for you to play it or anyone else to play it for that matter. That would be up to you alone to decide who can and can't play your music, or where you/they can play it. I can play any original un-cpoyrighted music anywhere without anyone paying fees should I choose to do so.
    Last edited by pops1; Feb-27-2018 at 10:45pm.
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  37. #121
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    ...Gordon Duncan...
    Ah, here's one I forgot to mention. I play several Gordon Duncan tunes and he was indeed a genius. However, to my ears, his Sleeping Tune bears a strong resemblance with the Adagio (2nd movement) of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to compose anything today that's not a version * of something else.

    (*) still waiting for a definition of what exactly a version is, i.e. independent of resemblances firing in people's heads.
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  38. #122

    Default Re: Public Domain

    oops
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Feb-28-2018 at 5:01am. Reason: point previously covered by someone else

  39. #123
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    It may by copyrighted the minute you create it, but unless you copyright it with a PRO they can't charge for you to play it or anyone else to play it for that matter. That would be up to you alone to decide who can and can't play your music, or where you/they can play it. I can play any original uncopyrighted music anywhere without anyone paying fees should I choose to do so.
    That is what I meant by registering your copyright. That also includes the US copyright office.

    Also, no one can charge you to play their copyrighted music live. That's between the PRO and the venue.

    Also one cannot stop people from recording or playing their music as long it is licensed. There's also something called a compulsory license. Look that up.

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  41. #124

    Default Re: Public Domain

    I really appreciate everyone's explaining how this stuff works.

    But still, it seems frustrating...


    (or direct link) from 1986 film Star Trek IV

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  43. #125
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Public Domain

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    I really appreciate everyone's explaining how this stuff works.

    But still, it seems frustrating...
    Not frustrating enough...

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    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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