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Noel Ways

Copy Right Issues And The Posting Of Unique Arrangements

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Hello,

 

Looking for some help on copyright issues.

 

But first some brief background. About 9 months ago, I heard Andy Cuttings’ Flatworld, and really liked it and decided to learn it on my Duet concertina, and naturally I developed an accompaniment for it. This was done by ear. I played it, mastered it, enjoyed it, and then moved on.

 

As time tends to do, I forgot about the tune and then a few day ago remembered and tried to play it, but to my “horror” I had forgotten much of it - and I had not written anything down! I was not about to let this one slip so with some work I pieced it back together again, and just in case, wrote the whole thing down.

 

As I was doing this, and using various music from the web, I was surprised that my rendition has some modifications that seemed to work well with me. I also noted that no music of Flatworld on the web was identical either.

 

So, here is my issue. I have been playing the concertina for about 6 years now and am getting ready to put some of my music on the web to share with the concertina world and I desire to make my particularly notations available as well. I’m just not clear as to what is OK and what is not OK in a case like this.

 

The melody is Andy’s!

 

But various chord progressions, modifications, involved a lot of work by myself.

 

So, is it OK to post the music if Andy is clearly identified as author of the tune.

 

For example, I am looking at some random music now that has:

 

HEIRHICH SCHUTZ (1585 -1672)

Arranged and edited by Walter Ehret

 

Would it be appropriate in this case to credit like this:

 

ANDY CUTTING

Arraigned and edited by N. Ways

 

If you are familiar with these issues, any help would be great !! I also have several hymns that I have done similarly.

 

Thanks in advance !!

Edited by Noel Ways

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Looking for some help on copyright issues

 

Laws vary from country to country.

 

I think the safest procedure -- also the most respectful -- would be to contact Any himself and ask for his permission to publish your arrangement of his tune.

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So, is it OK to post the music if Andy is clearly identified as author of the tune.

For example, I am looking at some random music now that has:

 

HEIRHICH SCHUTZ (1585 -1672)

Arranged and edited by Walter Ehret

In the USA it would not be OK. Your Schutz/Ehret example doesn't apply because the music is approximately 300 years beyond US copyright protection. Cutting's work is under copyright protection until 95 years after his death. Read this page and the pages following it.

 

The strict application is that you need his permission to do anything beyond playing it for your own or your friends' pleasure in a private setting. As Jim has indicated, getting his permission is the right thing to do.

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Thank you both. That is helpful, and I do agree about contacting Andy as the right thing to do.

 

My concern is a bit more global, although Flatworld is my immediate consideration. So, for

example, I have altered the following two hymns for my duet:

 

"There is a Green Hill"

"Herr Jesu Christ"

 

So, unless I have permission from the publisher, I cannot post my arrangements ?

 

ALSO, if one can only play music in a private setting, does this mean that

in a strict sense that many (perhaps most) of the postings on SouldCloud and

YourTube should not be there ? Most of the concertina music on these sites

is not original, although the arrangements are often highly unique and valuable.

 

Thankfully, most of my music is original...

Edited by Noel Ways

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Yes, for the US anyway, you definitely need to get permission from the author or whoever owns the copyright, regardless of whether you are doing it for profit or not. Traditional music will be out of copyright, but beware of some who will try to claim a copyright notice even if they've just written down the dots.

 

And believe it or not, if you make your own arrangement of an original copyrighted tune, the copyright holder then owns your arrangement also. Doesn't matter how hard you worked on it or how creative it is - it's still based on someone else's original work. I really struggled with this when putting my arrangement of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style. Yes, the big publishing house charged me money for their permission and then also got my arrangement too! I finally decided the fame and glory of an Anglo concertina arrangement wasn't going to make anyone rich so I relented because my desire to share it in the book was greater than any sense of ownership.

 

I'm happy to report that all the concertina tune authors in that book most graciously gave their permission, as well as Mr. Sid Kipper himself and even Ernest Tubb's daughter. Since I used Michael Springer's "Burchard's Hornpipe" four different times to show how to play it in four different keys, he said "well I suppose I should get something for all that, how about a new set of fiddle strings?" Done. The big publishing house that now owns "The Dark Island" (more properly titled "Dr. Mackay's Farewell to Creagorry") wanted over $250 for print licensing permission, and that explains why it's not in the book.

 

As I understand English law, one also needs permission to print an individual's arrangement of a traditional work, so to be safe I asked a lot of good folks and luckily got "yesses" all round.

 

Copyright law has not kept up with technology. As you know, all sorts of copyrighted music and videos and sheet music are posted all over the internet without being "caught", yet for print media it seems to be a much more serious thing. The really sad part is this means a lot of artists are not seeing any $$$ for their efforts. I have a hard time caring much about big corporate publishing houses, but struggling folkies need all the help they can get.

 

At one point YouTube flagged my concertina video of "The Man in the Moon" as a copyright infringement, and it was up to me to prove the tune was about 300 years old and not taken from the 1991 American movie of the same name.

 

Performance is treated differently than print, with different laws and different companies owning the rights. There's public domain, creative commons, YouTube standard license, etc.

 

I think you'll find the hardest thing is tracking down the author or copyright owner. Hopefully Andy still owns his music, so with luck he'll be keen on what you've done. I've found most folkies to be willing and appreciative as long as proper credit is given.

 

I'm currently working on a big book of sea songs and sea shanties, and we'll just have to wait and see what songs make the final cut. There are some I'd really like to include, but tracking down (and potentially paying) for the permissions might knock them off the list. And yet they're all over the internet. Go figure.

 

So to summarize, posting performances online is going to be ok, but once you put it in print you're in a different legal world. Tread carefully and ask nicely!

 

Gary

Edited by gcoover

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I don't think it's automatically the case that the original composer also owns copyright in an arrangement, but a share in the rights may be part of the negotiation for granting permission. However it is complicated (starting with "what is an arrangement?", and as Jim points out the laws are different from country to country. But you do need the permission of whoever holds the copyright to the original (which may not be the composer but a publishing company).

 

Posting performances online is a tricky area. Strictly, you are supposed to have the copyright holder's permission. Youtube, Soundcloud and similar websites have policies which say you must own the copyright for the pieces you post, but they don't police this themselves and it is up to the copyright holder to spot it and lodge a claim. Some big publishers take a blunderbuss approach and try to claim anything they find online, and it is then up to you to defend it.

 

There are different rules for print publishing, live performances and recording, and to complicate it further you own the copyright in your own performance which is separate from the copyright of the piece you are playing. It's a minefield!

 

Fortunately where folk music is concerned it is usually easy to contact the composer and they are more likely to take a reasonable view depending on how it is to be used. There's not likely to be much money in it for anyone, but a composer may want to protect the integrity of their work. As Jim suggests, your best approach is probably to contact Andy directly.

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We ran into this issue when we recorded the late Ian Dury's song: There ain’t half been some clever bastards on our second CD, Disguisings. We asked the Dutch equivalent of the Performing Rights Society and they passed us on to the copyright holder, who is Dury's daughter, and via her agent we got permission to record our arrangement. It all seemed so very simple and ultimately quite cheap (the costs are dependant on the number of CDs made and the length of the track). For our upcoming 3rd CD, we wanted to include our arrangement of a more famous pop song, spliced into a 16th century broadside on a similar theme, but have recently had our application turned down by Sony music and EMI publishing. I think the problem was ultimately that while they would want to keep the copyright on our arrangement (as Dury's copyright holder did), the situation was complicated by the fact that half the material was 500+ years old and obviously out of bounds to their greedy clutches... In our rejection letter, it was made quite plain to us that we are not allowed to upload our arrangement to Youtube, nor even perform it live (though I think they'd probably have to employ extraordinarily disproportional resources to police this!) I think YouTube is a grey area for copyright and you are unlikely to run into problems unless there is either a wiff of money-making in the air, or like us, have tried to do the right thing and consequently stuck your head above the parapet. On the other hand, famous musicians are constantly making their own versions of each other's songs and I wonder here if there is one law for the famous and another for everyone else? Europe also seems awash with "cover" bands who mimic the real thing for those who were too young or missed it first time around! How do they operate around the minefield of our various copyright regimes? Presumably, if I were to hum "A hard Day's Night" on my way to the shops, I'm wouldn't be breaking copyright, but if my hat were to fall off outside the supermarket and somebody chucked a couple of quid in it out of pity, I would be?
I know this is not really the same situation as the original poster, but I thought it was close enough to have some relevance.

Happy New Year by the way…

Adrian

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Thank you, Gary, Howard, and Adrian !!

 

Your advice is well taken by me, and I have just emailed Andy.

Hoping for the best.

Edited by Noel Ways

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Live performances are fairly straightforward from a musician's point of view. The venue pays a licence fee to a copyright collection organisation and out of this royalties are paid to composers when their material is performed. This avoids the need for the musician to negotiate with the copyright holder every time they perform a song.

 

Cover versions aren't "arrangements" in copyright terms. If you have not altered any of the arrangement, melody or lyrics, you do not need express permission to use the work as the royalties will be distributed to the copyright holder in full. The cover bands aren't entitled to a share of the royalties themselves.

 

Your problem with Sony was that what you were proposing was an "arrangement" which required their consent, and they were entitle to impose restrictions. As you say, whether they could police it is another matter, but if your unapproved arrangement became a world-wide hit they would certainly be interested and you could expect to hear from their lawyers.

 

Strictly speaking, if you were to hum "A Hard Day's Night" on your way to the shop it would be a public performance and permission would be required, but the royalties would be trivial and you're unlikely to sued. Some local authorities have licences on public spaces to allow busking and other performances to take place.

Edited by hjcjones

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Howard

 

'House' concerts are becoming increasingly popular, around my locale at least. Would these be classed as a 'venue' and need to pay somebody?

 

The house concerts that I have attended do not make any money at all. The contributions at the door all go to the artist at the end of the evening.

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Thanks for your clarification Howard.

Live performances are fairly straightforward from a musician's point of view. The venue pays a licence fee to a copyright collection organisation and out of this royalties are paid to composers when their material is performed. This avoids the need for the musician to negotiate with the copyright holder every time they perform a song.

 

 

Strictly speaking, if you were to hum "A Hard Day's Night" on your way to the shop it would be a public performance and permission would be required, but the royalties would be trivial and you're unlikely to sued. Some local authorities have licences on public spaces to allow busking and other performances to take place.

Does this mean though that councils who allow busking, themselves become the virtual venue and are therefore liable for any licence fees to copyright collection organisations? Perhaps with their political clout they simply arrange blanket cover for buskers?

 

Howard

'House' concerts are becoming increasingly popular, around my locale at least. Would these be classed as a 'venue' and need to pay somebody?

The house concerts that I have attended do not make any money at all. The contributions at the door all go to the artist at the end of the evening.

I seem to recall that in the UK at least, there was an exemption made a couple of years ago for house concerts, to simplify things for the organisers. At the time it was hailed as something of a breakthrough for the house concert scene.

 

This whole question does makes me wonder though how folk, or other 'vernacular' music could ever have developed under a copyright regime...

 

 

Adrian

 

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I think house concerts are fairly safe for several reasons - the performers are usually playing their own material, or in some cases traditional material. Now if you decide to add something like a Townes Van Zandt song to your set list then it could open them up to a potential problem, but I don't think there's enough money involved to make it worth anyone's while for a one-off or occasional enforcement event. They're far more interested in large commercial and public venues with larger sums involved.

 

In a similar vein, many years ago I was bringing a case of all different sizes and shapes of English cider and perry back to the US, well over the standard allowance. Being a good little engineer I had carefully calculated the duty on each bottle and added it all up to a grand total of about $13 to pay. But the airport custom's officer in the US took one look and said "go on, it's not worth the trouble." Cheers!

 

Gary

Edited by gcoover

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I think house concerts are fairly safe for several reasons - the performers are usually playing their own material, or in some cases traditional material. Now if you decide to add something like a Townes Van Zandt song to your set list then it could open them up to a potential problem, but I don't think there's enough money involved to make it worth anyone's while for a one-off or occasional enforcement event. They're far more interested in large commercial and public venues with larger sums involved.

 

In a similar vein, many years ago I was bringing a case of all different sizes and shapes of English cider and perry back to the US, well over the standard allowance. Being a good little engineer I had carefully calculated the duty on each bottle and added it all up to a grand total of about $13 to pay. But the airport the custom's officer in the US took one look and said "go on, it's not worth the trouble." Cheers!

 

I would point out once again that laws (about many things) can vary significantly from country to country, including laws which do or don't recognize the international force of individual laws in force in other nations. While I'm no expert, I have heard enough from others to believe that various European copyright rules are both less onerous than those of the US and include more government involvement in the determination of royalties. (I could give a few examples of what I've been told, but I'm hoping those with more direct knowledge will pitch in with verified details.)

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Hello All,

 

I have followed this thread with some interest since I may have some copyright issues with a CD I'm currently working on. The CD will comprise some original and traditional tracks but also four tracks of others works. Two of those I have cleared with the composers but two are more difficult.

 

One is the arrangement of "Around the Samovar" by Boris Matusewitch. I fell in love with this piece of music when I first heard Danny's version on Soundcloud via Cnet. I presume it is a traditional Russian tune but do I have an issue with copyright regarding his arrangement? Do his descendants hold some copyright over his arrangements? My connection is I bought my (almost) first concertina, the one I learned to play on, from Boris.

 

The second regards a song, the lyrics of which I've composed but used an adaptation of music composed by John Bosserman, an American composer of march music. He has a website where he posts all his music and says it's available for free. I've emailed John but recieved no reply. He is ninety one and I wonder about his health.

 

The sale proceeds of the CD will be 100% for charity, I'm not interested in profit for myself. The production run will be reasonably small and almost all sales in Australia with a few internationally (hey, I'm counting on some of you lot). Considering the circumstances (remoteness, small run, charity) I'm inclined to just go ahead and deal with any unlikely repercussions later. Wadda ya think?

 

Cheers,Steve.

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Just go ahead Steve but mind you don't get that beard caught in the bellows.

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I'm sure Jim is correct in saying that the laws and their application will differ wildly from country to country. In the Netherlands, it is not possible to have a CD run made commercially without first producing a declaration from the performing rights society (STEMRA) saying that all rights have been agreed and paid for. Of course you can always burn your own CDs and distribute them yourself to get around this, but you might then run foul of authority further down the line. Incidently, I have just read on the BBC network today that the Bulgarian National Radio is currently only playing recordings made prior to 1945, in a dispute with its own copyright authority...

 

Adrian

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One is the arrangement of "Around the Samovar" by Boris Matusewitch. I fell in love with this piece of music when I first heard Danny's version on Soundcloud via Cnet. I presume it is a traditional Russian tune but do I have an issue with copyright regarding his arrangement? Do his descendants hold some copyright over his arrangements? My connection is I bought my (almost) first concertina, the one I learned to play on, from Boris.

Check out this thread. Concertina.net member ematuse would be Boris' son Eric. I'm pretty sure he would be glad to give you permission.

 

If you PM Eric, he should get an email saying you've done so. If that fails, I can think of two other possibilities for contact:

  • Maybe our member Randy Stein is in contact with Eric? Randy's a former student of Boris, and it looks like he and Eric don't live too far apart these days.
  • Or try getting in touch with Eric through the ICA (International Concertina Association), since they published "The Matusewitch Family Story" in Concertina World magazine issue #463, September 2015..

Good luck.

Edited by JimLucas

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In Spain, copy right issues are for seventy years. You cannot use music (or text) to get money, but you can use it for teaching, for example

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