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copyright questions

dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
edited August 2007 in Welcome Posts: 2,047
hi folks, some of these might sound like stupid questions, but better safe than sorry! I'd like to know if we're allowed to make reference to copyrighted songs? Ie talk about All Of Me and its chord progression, without ever playing the melody?

or if a song is copyrighted, are we allowed to just play one or two measures of the melody of a song? say j'attendrai?

finally, i want to make sure that django reinhardt compositions (ie hungaria) are public domain!

thanks!
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Comments

  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    Michael will know better than I do, but I suspect the law will vary depending on both the use (i.e. is it for your upcoming DVD series?) and perhaps on the country. I think most or all of Django's compositions are still copyright protected. Hal Leonard, maybe?

    If I recall, a chord progression isn't something you can copyright, so it seems that those would be fair game without the melody. Again, I'm no expert.

    Somewhere I've got an Arnie Berle book where he takes the tack of laying out a tune and writing that it 'closely resembles a standard popular tune' or something like that...it struck me as odd at the time I was reading it, but maybe he was covering himself. Then too, not tying it to a specific tune helped me see how what he was describing covered a lot of jazz tunes. Other books I've seen present a tune-say, A Foggy Day-but call it something just slightly different, like A Fog Delay. That always seemed kind of stupid.

    good luck,
    Jack.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,047
    hi jack it's for my dvd indeed, i'm wondering if i'm allowed to say:

    "we're going to use All Of Me as an example"

    I will use the chords to all of me, but i wont play the melody.. chords are not copyrighted but am i allowed to say the name of the song?
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,815
    Hi Dennis...you'd need to consult a copyright lawyer about all this. Especially since you're in Canada, the laws can be different.

    One thing for sure is that Django's compositions are most definitely not public domain. Since you're making a DVD, you'll have to pay sync rights for those. And if you include any written music, you'll need the print rights too.

    'm
  • Posts: 597
    Sounds like it may be more cost effective to say, "Here are the changes to that martini classic, Olive Me."
    Lango-Django
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    There is a thing in copyright called "Fair use" that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as in the use of scholarship, like quoting the melody in a book. I believe that if you are just quoting "a version of the melody" in a book, for educational purposes, its probably not substantial enough to require copyright permission, based on the law quoted below:
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

    the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    the nature of the copyrighted work;
    the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
    ---
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    There is a thing in copyright called "Fair use" that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as in the use of scholarship, like quoting the melody in a book. I believe that if you are just quoting "a version of the melody" in a book, for educational purposes, its probably not substantial enough to require copyright permission, based on the law quoted below:
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

    the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    the nature of the copyrighted work;
    the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
    ---
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,047
    hmm about django 's compositions not being public domain i was under the impression that in Canada, the 50 yrs after death rule applies
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    I would guess that modern US copyright law is somehow tied to international/canadian copyright laws...

    anyway... all books and other works published before 1926 have expired
    copyrights and are in the public domain. In addition, works published
    before 1964 that did not have their copyrights renewed 28 years after
    first publication year also are in the public domain.

    SO, if Minor Swing was published in 1918, that means the copyright
    was renewed in 1946. That means that the copyright expires 1946+70
    years, or approx in 2016, I think.

    None of Djangos stuff is yet in public domain.
    ---
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,815
    dennis wrote:
    hmm about django 's compositions not being public domain i was under the impression that in Canada, the 50 yrs after death rule applies

    That's not the case in the US. If you sold it here you still have to pay rights. Although I'm fairly certain Django's music is not PD anywhere right now. Even in Europe you have to pay for rights.

    again, you should talk to a copyright lawyer about all this. Especially since you're doing videos which have a different set of laws and fees. You wouldn't want to release your product without doing the research and then a year later have Hal Leonard come knocking at your door asking for $50K.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,047
    at any rate, though it would be cool to use django's songs, i wasn't necessarily planning on using them, i just want to know if i can mention the name of a song on video.. it may seem stupid but i don't see why not...

    And then proceed to study the song's chord progression without ever looking at the melody
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