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View Full Version : Freelance Musicians and The copyright Law (IN the U.S)


Da_man
04-14-2008, 01:31 AM
I was browsing around the Audio portal on Newgrounds, thinking "is covering songs illegal, according to the copyright law?" For example, Metroidmetal.com (http://metroidmetal.com/) creates new, heavy metal versions of Metroid Music. Is this copyright infringrment?

I don't think it is unless your making profit off it. Metroid Metal, for example, uses donations to keep the site running with bandwidth expensive as it is. He isn't charging for his music. Whereas, if you were selling music, that would be infringement.

Your Thoughts?

Tommycat
04-14-2008, 02:55 AM
Absolutely it is. I'm a musician. When I was big into the music scene, we wanted to do a heavy version of an old song(won't name the song, as they wanted more than the album would earn for that one song). If it's owned by another person, I think you can copy up to 8 bars of music. Look at the historical case of Vanilla Ice and his use of a string of music from "Under Pressure" which sparked quite a huge case.

Inyri
04-14-2008, 11:19 AM
Look up the Fair Use Act. Covering songs may or may not fall under protection under it (you'd really have to ask a lawyer to get a set-in-stone answer on that).

As far as remixing video game songs goes, I would assume either it does, or no one is objecting to it because there are so many game remixes. VG remixes seems to be a pretty safe way to go, judging from how it's been dealt with in the past. :)

BTW what Vanilla Ice did was not a cover, it was plagiarism. ;)

Jae Onasi
04-14-2008, 03:56 PM
Too bad Muzak versions of Paul Simon's songs aren't illegal.

*Don*
04-14-2008, 04:34 PM
It really depends on several factors.
I know that sampling a song (regardless of length) requires to be cleared with the original creators.
Many musicians these days use interpolation (taking original bars of music and altering them to create new ones) which is usually much easier to clear.

Oh, and as for Vanilla Ice, he actually settled that case out of court.
I heard that he still had to pay alot of money.

Tommycat
04-14-2008, 10:22 PM
Too bad Muzak versions of Paul Simon's songs aren't illegal.
No, it's too bad Muzak versions of ANY song aren't illegal. I mean I heard a muzak version of Enter Sandman by Metallica. It was on an elevator ride to the 85th floor of a building... Express... Meaning I was stuck in there... I wanted to jab my eardrums out with pencils...

As for VI.. it's probably a good thing he did settle... If he had gone to court, he would likely have been paying much more. I could swear they had determined that he had used too much of the original song for it to be considered a new riff. There are several other cases with similar judgements though.

We actually got in trouble for using a Sonic the Hedgehog song in our DVD Intro. Sega's legal team slapped us with a C&D and we had to destroy the remaining DVD's. So we pulled that DVD and re-released it with a new intro song.

Darth333
04-15-2008, 12:19 AM
I don't think it is unless your making profit off it. That is irrelevant. Something can infringe copyright regardless of profit.

Tommycat
04-15-2008, 01:11 AM
That is irrelevant. Something can infringe copyright regardless of profit.
Exactly. Ask RIAA if they think that :D

Jae Onasi
04-15-2008, 09:56 PM
What is with the RIAA anyway? Why can't they work _with_ technology instead of against it? I understand wanting to protect their profits, but they're taking draconic measures to deal with the problem of illegal downloads. This PCMagazine column (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2242789,00.asp) from January highlights the latest RIAA measures.

Tommycat
04-15-2008, 10:38 PM
What is with the RIAA anyway? Why can't they work _with_ technology instead of against it? I understand wanting to protect their profits, but they're taking draconic measures to deal with the problem of illegal downloads. This PCMagazine column (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2242789,00.asp) from January highlights the latest RIAA measures.
Hey yer askin the wrong guy here. I was still upset about the whole blank tape thing from the 80's. It seems they have a hard time adapting to new tech. Of course now they have it to where you can pay to download songs individually, but in my estimation, it's still pointless. I would still like to hear the whole album BEFORE I buy it to see if it's worth it. But it doesn't address the core reasons people like the free downloads. What about off the wall bands. I mean I have a ton of songs from bands that don't exist anymore(and their CD's are no longer being made). One of my favorites is Course of Empire.

JediAthos
04-17-2008, 09:43 AM
They have a hard time adopting to new technology because they're afraid it will hurt the bottom line of the record companies they represent. They care nothing for the artists they claim P2P is hurting when for the most part artists make next to nothing off CD sales and make much more money from concert and merchandise sales.

The RIAA is nothing more than a bully, and unfortunately they continue to be permitted to flex their legal muscle. For those that may think I'm biased...you're right. I can't stand the RIAA, their subponeas, and their lawsuits. If they would step back for just a second and look at the technology they would realize there is much more money to be made working with it than against it.

In addition to the article Jae posted you can find more infor here: www.eff.org