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Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?

Acorn4 16 Oct 08 - 09:23 AM
Bernard 16 Oct 08 - 09:32 AM
Darowyn 16 Oct 08 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Tinker from Chicago 16 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 08 - 05:19 PM
Marje 17 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM
Acorn4 17 Oct 08 - 07:25 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 08 - 07:53 AM
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Subject: Origins: Parodies:copyright ?
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 09:23 AM

Does anyone know what the legal situation is over the recording of a parody of a song.

You're actually using a melody created by someone else, so do you pay them royalties as if you're just recording a straight version.

I've canvassed various opinions on this and got different answers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Bernard
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 09:32 AM

A parody must be approved by the original writer/composer if the song is still subject to copyright. Any royalties issues must be agreed with the owner of the copyright.

For example, Bernard Wrigley was not allowed to record his parody of 'Top of the World', as the Carpenters objected...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Darowyn
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 09:42 AM

If, for example, you write a parody of 'Streets of London', you are co-writer of a "derivative work". If all the words are your original work, you might be able to negotiate 50% royalties. Normally there will be some of the original lyrics, so your proportion of the royalties will be less.
The original composer of the song maintains 'moral rights' to the song, and thus has the right to refuse permission for his or her work to be used in a derivative work. This would apply whether your song was a parody or, for example, an 'answer song' like "Leave me alone , I like closed-down markets".
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: GUEST,Tinker from Chicago
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM

In the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that the copywright owner's permission is not always required if the parody constitutes "fair use" of the original. The case involved the rap group 2 Live Crew recording a bawdy parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and being sued by Acuff-Rose Music for the same. The decision, as reported in the newspaper, said:

"Copyright law requires that permission be granted and royalties be paid when substantially rewriting a protected song, unless the new version represents a 'fair use' involving comment or criticism.

"The commercial nature of a work is only one factor in the decision of whether a parody is a fair use of a copyright work, he said. Judges also must consider how much of the original work was used in the copy and the potential that the parody might harm the market for the original, Souter wrote.

"It does not make a difference whether a parody is in good or bad taste, the justice wrote."

So for Americans it seems that, while royalties need to be paid for use of the melody, it's not a clearcut question as to whether permission is needed for the rewritten words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 05:19 PM

In he UK however the sitution is different and the question as always is whether there is substantial reproduction -

as there was in teh "ROck-a-Philip" case.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Marje
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM

I wonder where this leaves someone like Sid Kipper, whose work is almost entirely parodies? Admittedly, much of the material is traditional, but the also parodies particular performers and their styles, which I suppose must be hard to prove. I have also wondered whether the reason he uses melodies that are somewhat different from the original is to avoid copyright problems.

Not that I have any problem with the Kipper repertoire - it's obviously done with great understanding and affection for the songs and the whole genre, which isn't always the case with parodies.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Acorn4
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 07:25 AM

I suppose ther are two kinds of parodies, one that uses a song to parody a situation - Chris Rohman's "Streets of Luton", which actually doesn't comment on the original itself, but just uses it as a vehicle, and the Billy Conolly "D.I.V.O.R.C.E" type of song, when it is taking the p*** out of the song itself.

It's hard to imagine Tammy Wynette giving permission for the latter, but I suppose she must have done.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Parodies:copyright situation?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 07:53 AM

Peggy Seeger wrote an anti Vietnam War song called 'All Those Murdered People' using the Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby' for the 1969 Festival of Fools. The tune was loosely based on 'Rigby', but when she published a booklet of the songs it had to be removed on legal advice. I have one of the few original copies.
Jim Carroll


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