How close is too close? (Copyright and such)
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Old 13-08-2012, 11:09 PM   #1
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How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

I'm currently working on my EP and sitting here with this track I like. After a couple of hours work creating a fat bass in Massive and putting it down as I like it, I now find this very close to Deadmau5's Professional Griefers. It's not in the same key as he do it, and it's not exactly the same pattern. But how close is too close? The track in a big view don't sound like his.

I really like where I'm going with this one so far, but I have no idea what you can or can't do by the laws of copyright. So it would be greatly appreciated if someone with more knowledge would enlighten me!

Thanks!

(And no, I rather not post the track here if it ends up on the EP later. I hope you understand..)

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Old 13-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #2
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

lol. As long as you recorded/w/e the bassline or whatever you're free to do whatever you want with it. Its not like he owns copyrights to the note pattern.

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Old 13-08-2012, 11:42 PM   #3
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

That's what I was thinking too. But I just wanted to be sure! I don't really have the economy for getting sued right now

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Old 13-08-2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

Technically only lead melodies and words can be copyrighted.

So legally you can rip off any bassline, chord pro, rhythm parts, even a whole guitar solo note for note, and as long as you make the actual sound yourself and don't sample the original there's nothing the original artist can do.

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Old 14-08-2012, 04:25 AM   #5
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

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Originally Posted by ghyt wembpang View Post
So legally you can rip off any bassline, chord pro, rhythm parts, even a whole guitar solo note for note, and as long as you make the actual sound yourself and don't sample the original there's nothing the original artist can do.
Wow, really? Well then. I shall continue my work on my piece of art, if I may! Thanks for the info!

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Old 14-08-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

I MIGHT be wrong but that's been my understanding of it. It's something I've seen from a few places and posters over the years that I trust know their shit so I'm pretty damn sure it's an accurate summary of the law.

They can nail you for sampling because it is using work from the original artist/s, a reproduction of a recording that they specifically own the rights to. So for example, because Vanilla Ice ripped off Under Pressure but recorded it himself there was nothing anyone could do about it because, rhythm section doesn't count as copyrightable.

Old holdover from back when bands mainly used to improvise their rhythm parts perhaps? From the budding days of IP law. now those laws are wilted and just about dead. :U

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Old 14-08-2012, 04:55 AM   #7
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

Okey, I'll trust you then. And I'll point then at your direction when I get in trouble later. No, but it sounds about right. There are so many cover bands out there so it should be alright! I'm putting this out on spotify/itunes when it's done so I just wanted to be sure, before I go and do something stupid.

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Old 14-08-2012, 05:03 AM   #8
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

if you're reallllly concerned do some reading! Check out some copyright law sites, check into it for yourself. There's lots written, and there's shit like Creative Commons licensing that you can use.

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Old 15-08-2012, 02:18 AM   #9
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

a lot of our clients ask us to copy a track almost exactly for some ads so we just take the feel and instrumentation, change the key a little and voila! Mr. Bazinga is wrong however. He does own the copyright to the note pattern and key, its called mechanical rights, when you buy the rights to use a song you can buy the mechanical rights or buy outright. mechanical means you can recreate the song but not use the original artists work, outright means you can use everything he made. If its not a direct copy or exact rip off then i wouldn't worry. to be honest the copyright cats only care if you make mega bucks from something and they want a piece of the pie, no point fucking you over if there's no cash in it for them.
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Old 15-08-2012, 02:33 AM   #10
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

I used to think there was a rule of thumb, such as "you may not copy more than 8 consecutive notes of the melody." But there is no such thing. It's a subjective matter, and the original copyright owner's creation is protected in a somewhat nebulous way.

There are some accepted uses, at least in my experience. For example, I do a lot of work for Hal Leonard Publishing, and for occasional projects I'm asked to cop current or past pop tunes, with slight changes so it's not a rip-off. Many artists and copyright controllers don't mind when a legit company tips their hat to the value of the original composition in this way, but that is not always the case, so I try to err on the side of enough changes that the company can't get sued later.

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Old 16-08-2012, 12:49 AM   #11
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

I personally think that copyright and such are a boundary to music as an art. In the end, everything is a remix. New kinds of music emerge from the ones before.
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Old 16-08-2012, 12:55 AM   #12
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

A remix is actually by definition a new mixdown from audio tracks that were previously mixed in a different way/by someone else. It can include altering the arrangment but that is actually not a required action; just changing the mixing and leaving all the arrangment as-is is still a remix.

SO it's not a remix if you recorded new things. it would be a cover, and/or the use of samples from another track. Call it a remix for simplicity's sake if you like, but to say everything is a remix is dumb and wrong. To say nothing is truly original? Much more valid, arguable still but valid. Everything is not a remix though.

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Old 16-08-2012, 01:49 AM   #13
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

You're totally right on the facts, I'll have to say that.

I guess what "everything is a remix" actually means is that we as a human race pass on the inspiration and knowledge which gets "updated" every generation.
But even then you don't loose the opportunity to be original, of course you need to be original to be able to update knowledge etc.
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Old 16-08-2012, 02:25 AM   #14
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghyt wembpang View Post
A remix is actually by definition a new mixdown from audio tracks that were previously mixed in a different way/by someone else. It can include altering the arrangment but that is actually not a required action; just changing the mixing and leaving all the arrangment as-is is still a remix.

SO it's not a remix if you recorded new things. it would be a cover, and/or the use of samples from another track. Call it a remix for simplicity's sake if you like, but to say everything is a remix is dumb and wrong. To say nothing is truly original? Much more valid, arguable still but valid. Everything is not a remix though.
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Old 16-08-2012, 02:38 AM   #15
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

bwoooo bwooooo bwebeooooooo

I'm not looking to get people to stop using remix in a 'technically wrong' way. but there is a technical definition of what a remix is and to say everything is a remix is a bit silly.

Then again I am not new to the idea of everything being derived of something, to someone who has never realized that idea fully but knows what a remix is, it could be a good way to broaden their views a little.

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Old 16-08-2012, 02:24 PM   #16
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

Will "everything is a remake" be better to say maybe?
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Old 17-08-2012, 03:32 PM   #17
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

The way I understand the law, if I use the bass/gtr line from the old Cream classic "Sunshine of Your Love" note for note, same key, same tempo, similar drum part, and just sang a slightly different melody, I would be in legal hot water. There is plenty of gray area to go around, but the creativeness of the original writer/artist is protected, as I understand it.

I'm saying this on authority from a major Publishing Company I arrange and produce for, but they could have it wrong, though I would be rather surprised if that were the case. BUT I would like to know if there is clear proof that that is not the case, because it affects some of the work I do for them, and occasionally others.

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Old 17-08-2012, 05:22 PM   #18
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

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Originally Posted by ManpulateRealty View Post
Will "everything is a remake" be better to say maybe?
No.

Everything draws inspiration and form from something else. But listen toooo... say Stubb (A Dub) by Mr. Bungle. I fucking DARE you to find another piece of music that is close enough to that song to say it's a remake. But, it draws influences heavily from many places, old carnival music, jazz and funk, modern(at the time) rock...

If you really care to yes you can pick a piece of music apart and say 'this came from here, that came from there, X did this first, Y did that first' but it kind of ignores the art of taking all those things and doing them in a way that flows, that sounds cohesive with itself.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what your influences are as long as you're not literally directly ripping them off and doing no work of your own.

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Old 12-09-2012, 01:14 AM   #19
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

You'd have to be; a) a very shitty composer, b) a damn good transcriber and c) utterly shameless in order to actually be able to rip someone off to the extent that it's a shameless scam. Which is actually pretty close to a paradox.

Like has been said multiple times in this thread, people draw inspiration from the works of other people. To that extent, it can be argued that there is no such thing as pure creation, everything is a remake. It is also said that while Jazz musicians improvise, they don't actually play new lines on-the-fly - they just refit already known lines to fit with what they do there and then. Which is what I'd like to think inspiration does as well, just not instantly.

In regards to your track - remember, music (at least western) is buildt up around 12 tones. It'd have to be VERY VERY close to his version (now I'm talking at least 4 bars with not a single variation to his theme) before they'd even have legal grounds to even sniff at it. This requires key, tempo, timbre, instruments to be very similar. I'm sure your tune just sorta reminds of his tune, and that's PERFECTLY normal. It happens ALL THE TIME in metal productions. Heck, you could even disguise it as a tribute.

Last edited by Alarinth; 12-09-2012 at 01:18 AM..
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:17 AM   #20
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Re: How close is too close? (Copyright and such)

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