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trombodie

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« on: Feb 15, 2006, 12:36AM »

Can anybody recommend a website or book that gives good information about copyrights in music?  How to get them, what works are under copyright, all of the legal aspects of copyrights, how they apply to arrangements and compositions.

Thanks,
Bodie
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Woolworth

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 15, 2006, 06:25AM »

This little book by Jay Althouse is clearly written, full of real-life examples that are very helpful even if you're not a music educator.  It served me well for many years.

http://www.a-cappella.com/catalog/the-teachers-lounge/teaching-resources/p_5806b.html

I think the copyright laws are often misunderstood and are broken with shocking frequency by musicians.
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 15, 2006, 09:35AM »

We had a big discussion about copyright here about a year ago.

I thought someone had agreed to write a little article on copyright for the regular OTJ (not the forum).

If you are a Union member, there is a copyright section on the AFM site.

And you can always go to the Patents and Trademarks portion of the U. S. Gummint Web Site.

As to what is under copyright, it seems that Disney keeps trying to extend the copyright protection to maintain Mickey Mouse, so I guess anything newer than 1928 will remain under copyright protection forever.  Right now, a copyright lasts life of the composer plus 70 years.

It's easy to get a copyright, but enforcement is on your nickel: if somebody steals your idea you have to hire the lawyer and you have to initiate the lawsuit.

Lots more.  Read up.  If you want to be a lawyer, it's a pretty good field.
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trombodie

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« Reply #3 on: Feb 15, 2006, 12:08PM »

Thanks for the tips.  Could somebody please provide a link to the thread from a year ago on this topic.  I did a search, but to no avail.
Thanks,
Bodie
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 15, 2006, 12:30PM »

The US Copyright Office website is a good place to start...
http://www.copyright.gov/
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 15, 2006, 04:31PM »

Todd Jonz prepared a wonderful discourse on the subject of Copyright for the members of this forum. It answered all the questions that had ever been asked on the forum. It was submitted to the 'powers that be' but unfortunately it has never been published. Now might be a good time!
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 16, 2006, 01:26AM »

Grah,

I've raised this question again in the Mods Corner.
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 16, 2006, 04:44PM »

Again, ideas like the copyright FAQ have been put off due to migration...
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 16, 2006, 05:55PM »

For now, why don't we just post Todd's information as a topic in this room? At least it will then be available to the members!

I had thought about doing that myself, and I know Todd has, but I didn't want to 'rock the boat' if there was a better way of presenting the information.
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 17, 2006, 07:33AM »

(This is the information accumulated on copyright by Todd and Grah. I hope I'm not doing anything wrong by posting it here and now.) RHM

Introduction

Copyright laws differ from one country to the next. There are many cases in which the copyright laws of one country are in direct conflict with the copyright laws of another country. Unless otherwise noted, the information in this document is based on the Copyright Law of the United States as set forth in Title 17 of the United States Code. Although many of the main concepts and principles discussed in this document may be the same or similar in other countries, readers outside the U.S. are encouraged to explore their own national copyright laws.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. Copyright law is a complex field, and interpreting it keeps entire law firms in business. The contents of this FAQ should be considered informational in nature. Anyone in need of legal advice concerning copyright law should consult an attorney. Do not depend on the information contained in this document to protect you or your musical works.

Terms and Definitions

1. What is a copyright?

A copyright is a collection of legal rights that protect a creative work expressed in a tangible form. A copyright grants exclusive rights to an author, editor, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to reproduce, distribute, perform, record, and broadcast an original literary, musical, or dramatic work as well as works derived from the original work. Copyrights protect a work itself, not the concepts, ideas, or themes contained in the work. As it applies to a musical work, a copyright protects the right to publish the sheet music for the work, perform the work in public, record the work in any format (such as on CD, magnetic tape, vinyl phonograph record, or a computer MIDI file), or broadcast the work via any medium (such as radio, television, or digital netcast.)

Copyright is a legal concept embraced by most nations of the world, but the specific terms of copyright law are established by each individual nation. While there are numerous international treaties, conventions, and agreements between nations regarding copyright law, not all nations are signators to these agreements, and as a result there is no such thing as international copyright law per se. There are many instances in which the copyright laws of one nation conflict with the copyright laws of another nation.

2. What is the public domain?

Works that are not protected by copyright are said to be in the public domain. A work may be in the public domain because the term of its copyright has expired, because its creator specifically dedicated it to the public domain, or because its creator failed to protect or enforce his or her copyright for the work.

3. What is a derivative work?

A derivative work is an artistic work that is based upon another artistic work. An example of a derivative works is a movie or teleplay based on a novel or stage play, or an annotated or otherwise edited edition of a written work. As applied to musical works, a derivative work is usually an arrangement of an original composition or a recording of an original composition or arrangement.

4. What is fair use?

Fair use refers to certain limited ways in which a protected work may be used without the explicit permission of the copyright holder that would otherwise be in violation of copyright law. The doctrine of fair use is set forth in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act. Examples of fair use are the right to quote short passages of a literary work in a published review of that work, and the right to reproduce portions of a work for purely educational purposes under certain circumstances. Court decisions sometimes extended the doctrine of fair use, such as the so-called Betamax decision, which decreed that it was not a violation of copyright law for an individual to create a videotaped copy of a television broadcast for personal use, such as "time-shifted" viewing or archiving in a personal video library.

As it applies to musical works, the doctrine of fair use can probably be interpreted to permit such activities as the private performance of works protected by copyright (such as a rehearsal band playing commercial sheet music or an unauthorized arrangement) and recording a work protected by copyright for personal use (such as recording a work in your home for the purpose of improving your playing skills.)

The doctrine of fair use is quite complicated and its terms are fairly broad and open to interpretation. It is sometimes easy to interpret the doctrine of fair use to justify a particular use of a protected work when, in fact, that use would actually constitute a violation of copyright law. Except in very simple cases where copyright laws explicitly describe a particular use, it is generally a good idea to leave interpretation of fair use to intellectual property lawyers.

5. What does it mean to "publish" a musical work?

You publish a musical work when you fix the work in some medium (such as sheet music, an audio CD recording, or a computer MIDI file) and distribute copies of the work in that medium. Distribution of a musical work in this fashion is considered publishing regardless of whether or not you receive monetary compensation for the copies you distribute. Giving a single copy of the sheet music for a musical work to a friend without charge constitutes publishing it just as much as selling thousands of copies for a profit.

6. What does "out of print" mean?

A work is said to be out of print if the publisher is no longer producing new copies of the work. An out-of-print work may or may not be protected by a copyright. Out-of-print works that are protected by copyright are sometimes referred to as "orphaned" works.

7. What are authors' rights?

The original author of a work has the exclusive right to determine who may reproduce, distribute, perform, record, or broadcast the work. These rights may be (and frequently are) contractually assigned by the original author to another party either in whole or in part. For example, the composer of an original musical work will often assign the right to reproduce and distribute copies of the work to a publishing company, which in return pays the composer a fee for each copy of the work it sells. Similar arrangements are common with regard to the right to perform, record, or broadcast an original musical work.

8. What are graphic rights?

Graphic rights are the rights to reproduce and distribute an image. As they apply to musical works, graphic rights usually concern sheet music. It is important to differentiate between the rights to an image of a piece of music from the music itself. For example, an older musical work may be in the public domain, but a particular image of that work, such an edition of sheet music, may be protected by copyright.

9. What are performance rights?

Performance rights are the rights to perform a protected literary or musical work in public. Performance rights for musical works apply to the public performance of an original composition or arrangement in a concert, club, etc. and to the broadcast via radio, television, etc. of live or recorded versions of a composition or arrangement.

The administrative task of granting performance rights for a work can be very demanding, particularly for a popular work. It is not uncommon for the composer of an original composition or the arranger of an original arrangement to assign the performance rights for a work to a rights management organization. This organization is then responsible for processing requests to perform the work, authorizing performers to perform the work by granting them a performance license, and collecting royalties when the work is performed.

A rights management organization usually returns some portion of these royalties to the original composer or arranger and retains some portion of the royalties to cover the costs it incurs in the administration of the performance license. There are three organizations that manage performance rights for the vast majority of musical works: ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers); BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.); and SESAC.

10. What are mechanical rights?

Mechanical rights are the rights to record a performance of a protected musical or dramatic work. The term "mechanical" refers the use of a mechanical device to embody a performance of the work in some medium, such as a CD, DVD, vinyl LP, videocassette, MIDI file, or even a piano roll.

As is the case with performance rights, the administrative task of granting mechanical rights for a work can be very demanding, and there are organizations that will handle this task on behalf of the original composer or arranger of a musical work. Whereas only three such organizations manage performance rights for the vast majority of musical works, there are a large number of organizations that manage mechanical rights. A fairly comprehensive listing of these organizations can be found on the MusicBizBuzz web site.

In the United States, one organization that manages mechanical rights for a large body of musical works is the Harry Fox Agency. One of the services offered by HFA is the processing of requests for mechanical licenses for a limited number (2,500 units or less) of recordings, which can easily be obtained online. The Songfile Database maintained by HFA can be very useful in determining if a composition or arrangement is protected by copyright.

11. What are royalties?

Royalties are monetary fees paid to the holder of a copyright in exchange for the right to use a protected work in a specific manner. Royalties for a musical work are most often paid in exchange for the right to publish, perform, or record that work. The monetary amount paid is usually determined by a contractual agreement between the party paying the royalty and the party receiving the payment.

Royalties associated with musical works generally fall into one of three categories. When the original composer or arranger of a musical work enters into an agreement with a publisher, he or she is usually paid a fixed amount or a percentage of the sale price of each copy of the work sold. Royalties for performance rights are often paid as a fixed amount based on the size of the performance venue, or as a percentage of the revenue generated by ticket sales. Royalties for mechanical (recording) rights are most often paid as a fixed amount per unit (such as CD, LP, DVD, etc.) sold.

Public Domain Works

12. How do I determine if a musical work is protected by copyright or in the public domain?

All works written before 1923 are in the public domain. If a work bears a copyright date earlier than 1923, it is in the public domain. The Public Domain Song List is a searchable database of 3,500 songs that are in the public domain under U.S. copyright law. A work that was once protected by copyright may also be in the public domain if its copyright was not renewed. Unfortunately there is no easy way to determine if this is the case.

13. There's a copyright notice on my copy of the Bach two-part inventions. Isn't Bach's music in the public domain?

A copyright on an edition of sheet music for a work written before 1923 applies only to the graphic rights to that particular edition of the work, which may not be reproduced or distributed without the permission of the publisher. The musical work itself, however, is not protected by the copyright.

14. If I want to arrange a work in the public domain, must I work from an original copy of the music that does not bear a copyright?

Basing your arrangement of a work in the public domain on either an original score or an edition of the work published before 1923 is the safest way to avoid violating any copyrights. Basing your arrangement on an edition of the work that bears a copyright date later than 1922 is also safe as long as that the musical content of that edition is identical to the original version of the work. In this case the copyright protects the graphic rights to the edition, not the work itself.

An arranger or editor might modify the original version of a work in the public domain. Basing your arrangement on such an edition of the work would be a violation of the copyright if your arrangement incorporated any of those changes. A credit for an arranger or editor might be considered an argument against using a particular edition of the work as the basis for your arrangement.
In order to win a lawsuit against you, the publisher of a protected edition of a work in the public domain would have to prove in court that you had used that edition as the basis for your arrangement. Depending on the degree of similarity between the content of the protected edition and the original work, proving such an assertion might be a difficult undertaking.
Purchased Sheet Music

15. Can I make photocopies of sheet music I have purchased?

Making a photocopy of sheet music protected by copyright without the permission of the publisher is a violation of copyright law.

16. Can I make photocopies of sheet music that is out of print?

Even though the publisher has chosen to discontinue publication of the work, its copyright remains in effect, and only the publisher has a legal right to reproduce and distribute the work.

17. Can I perform sheet music I have purchased?

If the work in question is protected by copyright, you may only perform the work in public if you have obtained a performance license from the holder of the copyright or his agent. The purchase of sheet music conveys no performance rights.

18. I purchased the sheet music for a string quartet. Can I rearrange it for a trombone quartet?

If the string quartet is protected by copyright, you may rearrange it for trombone quartet only with the permission of the copyright holder. Your trombone quartet arrangement would be considered a derivative work, and the holder of the copyright on the string quartet has the exclusive right to create a derivative work or to authorize someone else to create a derivative work.
Publishing Original Compositions

19. How do I copyright my original composition?

Copyright law protects an original composition the instant you express it in a tangible form such as sheet music or a recording. In order to alert others that your composition is protected by copyright, you should affix a copyright notice to your work that includes your name and the year in which you first created the sheet music or recording. The standard format of such a notice is, "Copyright 2004 John Doe."

20. Must I include a copyright notice in my work?

Copyright law does not require you to affix a copyright notice to your work, but you should do so for your own protection. If a legal dispute over the ownership of the copyright on the work were ever to arise, the presence of a copyright notice will work in your favor. There have been cases in which works were considered by the court to be in the public domain because the authors of those works failed to protect them by affixing a copyright notice to the works.

21. How do I register my copyright?

You may register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office by completing a simple form and paying a fee of $30. The Copyright Office provides complete instructions for registering a musical work on its web site.

22. Must I register my copyright for it to be legal?

Your original composition is protected by copyright regardless of whether or not you choose to register it with the Copyright Office. If a legal dispute over the ownership of the copyright on the work were ever to arise and one party to the dispute had registered the copyright, the court would most likely consider that party to be the legal copyright holder. If both parties had registered the copyright, the court would most likely consider the party that holds the registration with the earliest date to be the legal copyright holder.

23. How long does a copyright remain in effect?

The copyright for works created after 1977 remains in effect for the life of the author plus 70 years. If there are multiple authors, the copyright remains in effect for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. The copyright for anonymous and pseudonymous works and works made for hire created after 1977 remains in effect for the longer of 95 years from the year of first publication or 120 years from the year of creation. The copyright for works created but not published or registered before 1978 remains in effect for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work was published before 2003 the copyright will not expire before 2048. For works created before 1978 that are still in their original or renewal term of copyright, the copyright is remains in effect for 95 year after the date that copyright was originally secured.

24. Am I in violation of copyright laws if my original composition contains the same or similar chord changes to another work protected by copyright?

Limited similarity to another work is probably not a violation. Generally speaking chords, rhythms, bass lines, etc. are not protected by copyright. There may be problems, however, if your composition is sufficiently similar to another work that an ordinary listener would find it difficult to distinguish between the two. For example, in the legal dispute over George Harrison's My Sweet Lord a court found that Harrison's song was sufficiently similar to the song He's So Fine that it was considered to be an unauthorized derivative work that violated the older song's copyright.

Publishing Arrangements

25. Can I copyright my arrangement?

You may copyright your arrangement of another composer's work if that work is in the public domain. If the work is protected by copyright you probably cannot obtain a copyright for your arrangement, as discussed further in the questions that follow.

26. Can I make my own arrangement of a work protected by copyright?

You may create your own arrangement of a work protected by copyright for your own private use, such as creating the arrangement as a personal educational exercise or playing the arrangement with your rehearsal band in a private setting. Any other use of your arrangement, such as publication or public performance, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

27. How do I get permission to publish my own arrangement of a work protected by copyright?
In most cases the publisher of the original work will either hold the copyright for the work or be able to direct you to the copyright holder. Send a letter requesting permission to publish your arrangement to the holder of the copyright of the original work. Mailing addresses for many music publishers can be found in the Publisher Directory maintained by the Music Publishers' Association. In response to your letter, the publisher may decide to let you publish your arrangement yourself, offer to publish it for you, or deny permission to publish it.

28. Why can't I get permission to publish my arrangement of a protected work from the holder of the copyright?

A publishing company usually holds the publication rights for a published musical work. Due to the large amount of administrative overhead involved in executing a contract, collecting royalties, and so forth, large music publishers frequently deny requests from individuals to publish their arrangements works for which the publishing company holds the copyright.
Many of the larger music publishing companies enter into exclusive agreements with one another to cross license the works for which they hold publishing rights. This means that one party to such an agreement may publish an arrangement of a work for which another party to the agreement holds the publishing rights. The exclusive nature of these agreements prohibits each of the companies from licensing any of the works for which it holds publishing rights to any company or individual that is not a party to the cross licensing agreement.

29. Can I publish my unauthorized arrangement as long as I don't charge for it?

You may only publish an arrangement of a work protected by copyright with the permission of the copyright holder regardless of whether you charge for the arrangement or give it away for free.

30. Can I give copies of my unauthorized arrangement to my friends?

Giving copies of your arrangement to your friends constitutes publication. See the question above regarding the publication of unauthorized arrangements.
Performance Rights

31. What performance rights do I have for sheet music I have purchased?

Purchasing sheet music conveys no performance rights.

32. Who pays the royalties for works protected by copyright when they are performed in public?

The venue at which a performance takes place is responsible for paying royalties for the works performed. Most clubs, bars, etc. in which music is performed pay an annual fee based on the size of the venue to one or more rights management organizations in exchange for performance rights to works handled by those organizations.

33. Can I perform a work protected by copyright in public without paying royalties if I don't charge admission to the performance and the performers are not paid?

Section 110(4)(A) of U.S. Copyright Law states in part, "the following are not infringements of copyright...performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work otherwise than in a transmission to the public, without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and without payment of any fee or other compensation for the performance to any of its performers, promoters, or organizers, if there is no direct or indirect admission charge..."

Recording (Mechanical) Rights

34. Can my band record and sell a CD of works protected by copyright?

Works protected by copyright may only be recorded if mechanical licenses have been obtained from the holders of the copyright on the works to be recorded or from the duly authorized agents of the copyright holders.

35. Can my community band record a CD of its concerts if copies are given only to members of the band free of charge?

Making a limited number of copies of the recording and giving them away for free to the performers does not obviate the need for a mechanical license as discussed in the question above.

36. How do I obtain rights to record a work protected by copyright?

You must first determine who handles the mechanical rights for the work. In some cases, the publisher also handles mechanical licensing for the work. In other cases the publisher should be able to tell you how to obtain mechanical rights. A good place to start is with the Harry Fox Agency, which handles mechanical licensing for a very large body of musical works. An online search of HFA's Songfile Database is an easy way to determine if HFA handles mechanical rights for the work in question. If HFA does handle mechanical rights for the work, and if you wish to produce fewer than 2,500 copies of the recording, you may apply for a license online at the HFA web site.
Copyright Violations

37. What are my chances of getting caught if I violate a copyright?

The chances that you will be caught violating a copyright depend to a great extent on the nature of the violation. Perhaps the most common copyright violation amongst musicians is the photocopying of commercial sheet music for backup purposes. Although this practice is a violation, it is highly unlikely that the publisher is liable to discover it.

Another common practice amongst musicians that violates copyright law is the sharing of unauthorized arrangements. If you were to share one of your unauthorized arrangements with a couple of friends, it is unlikely that you would be caught unless, of course, those friends share your arrangement with others and it eventually falls into the hands of someone associated with the copyright holder. Perhaps the greatest danger under this scenario is that your arrangement might find its way onto someone's web site. This would greatly increase the number of people it might reach, significantly increasing the chances that the copyright holder might discover your copyright violation.

38. What would happen if I were caught violating a copyright?

This also depends to a great extent on the nature of the violation. If the copyright holder were to consider the violation to be relatively minor, you would most likely receive a "cease and desist" letter from the copyright holder's lawyers demanding that you cease distribution of the work that is in violation.
If the copyright holder believes that your violation had resulted in "permanent and irreparable harm" to his business, you might be sued for damages. For example, if you had published an unauthorized arrangement of a protected work, you should not be surprised if the copyright holder were to demand all of the revenue that you had realized from the sale of the arrangement.
It is also possible that the copyright holder could ask the court to award monetary damages in excess of the revenue you had realized from the sale of your arrangement. For example, lets assume that you had published your arrangement on a web site and offered it for download without charge, and that the availability of your unauthorized arrangement caused sales of the copyright holder's legitimate arrangement to decline. Even though you did not make a profit on your arrangement, the copyright holder could be awarded an amount equivalent to his estimate of lost revenue for the work based on past sales.

References

The references listed below were used in the preparation of this FAQ. If you wish to learn more about copyright law, these documents and web sites would be good places to start.
U.S. Copyright Office
Copyright Law of the United States [HTML]
Copyright Law of the United States [PDF]
Copyright Law FAQ
Music Publishers' Association FAQ
Public Domain Information Project
Copyright Resources on the Internet
U.S. Copyright Law: A Guide for Music Educators
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 17, 2006, 01:51PM »

My original draft of the document that RHM has posted above was written in HTML and contained some embedded links that have been lost.  For those of you interested in consulting the sources listed at the end of the document which I used for research, here they are with the links included:

U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Law of the United States [HTML]

Copyright Law of the United States [PDF]

Copyright Law FAQ

Music Publishers' Association FAQ

Public Domain Information Project

Copyright Resources on the Internet

U.S. Copyright Law: A Guide for Music Educators

Also missing from the version posted above is a paragraph acknowledging all of the questions and answers from Forumites during that extended discussion last year.  Your contributions formed the basis of this FAQ, and without them I would never have undertaken to write it.  To a very large extent, this document was a collaboration by a fairly large group of Forumites, and I merely served as editor.
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 17, 2006, 02:44PM »

On Ya Todd! Good! But I think you are underselling the effort that I know you put into it.
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 19, 2006, 07:09AM »

When it comes to fair use - if a piece of music has a page turn that is impossible to make without missing some notes on the next page, is it OK to make a copy of that page? Of course, any logical person would go ahead and make the copy, but I just wonder what the legal status of that action is.
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 19, 2006, 09:06AM »

17. Can I perform sheet music I have purchased?

If the work in question is protected by copyright, you may only perform the work in public if you have obtained a performance license from the holder of the copyright or his agent. The purchase of sheet music conveys no performance rights.


Are they crazy? Or did I misread that?

You can not perform music you have bought in public without talking with the...what the hell? Well then...I guess nearly every musician that has performed in public must go to jail.
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 19, 2006, 10:24AM »

Christian writes:

> Are they crazy?

You wanna hear crazy?  The song Happy Birthday is still under copyright.  It's cool to sing it for your mom at home around the diningroom table, but doing so in a restaurant constitues a public performance and is technically a violation of copyright law.
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 19, 2006, 02:09PM »

Quote from: "MikeMiller"
When it comes to fair use - if a piece of music has a page turn that is impossible to make without missing some notes on the next page, is it OK to make a copy of that page? Of course, any logical person would go ahead and make the copy, but I just wonder what the legal status of that action is.


You are allowed to make one copy for personal use, but if you start selling the copies for all your friends, be prepared to take some time in the "slammer".

If you ask, you may be allowed to use the copy.  I remember buying a brass quintet arrangement of "West Side Story" from Musicians Publications and it came with extra trombone and tuba parts.  Jack Gale told me that they were included because of really lousy page turns and were intended to be used to cut and paste sections to make it playable.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 19, 2006, 02:52PM »

Quote from: "BGuttman"
You are allowed to make one copy for personal use, but if you start selling the copies for all your friends, be prepared to take some time in the "slammer".


Yeah...right. If they catch you.

It'd be pretty stupid for someone to start selling the music, but some people make copies of music for friends to have.
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Todd Jonz
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 19, 2006, 02:54PM »

Bruce writes:

> You are allowed to make one copy for personal use

I don't believe this ever came up during our extended copyright discussion last year, and it's news to me.  Upon reading your post above I searched Google and found lots of pages that contained the assertion that this is permitted under copyright law.  But try as I might, I haven't been able to find anything  suporting this in my copy of  the U.S. Copyright Law.  It's not mentioned in section 107, which addresses fair use, nor can I find the phrases "one copy" or "personal use" anywhere in the document.

Can you cite an authoritative source supporting this assertion?  If so, I'd like to update my personal copy of the FAQ posted above (for which I still hope to find a properly supported home on some site or other.)
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 02, 2006, 04:42PM »

Thought I'd dredge this up again.

I'm sure everyone will be thrilled to note that 6-10 March is Copyright Awareness Week. Sarcasm aside, the website associated with the "celebration" has a lot of good information, most of it in plain English instead of legalese.

http://www.csusa.org/caw/caw_2006_home.htm
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« Reply #19 on: Apr 29, 2006, 09:56AM »

The exception you are looking for is in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sony Corp of Amer. v. Universal City Studios

Please be aware that the internet is not considered a broadcast medium.  And that the copyrights associated with it are under the digital portion of the act which prohibits all unlicensed copying.
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