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Ethical Question

Jim Carroll 12 Jun 10 - 03:45 AM
Rapparee 11 Jun 10 - 10:14 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 10 - 10:07 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,999 11 Jun 10 - 08:52 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jun 10 - 08:31 PM
Tangledwood 11 Jun 10 - 07:42 PM
DonMeixner 11 Jun 10 - 03:35 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Jun 10 - 03:26 PM
buddhuu 11 Jun 10 - 03:23 PM
Dan Schatz 11 Jun 10 - 03:15 PM
plnelson 11 Jun 10 - 03:02 PM
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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 03:45 AM

We spent thirty plus years recording songs from source singers (singers who provided the musical link between us and the singing tradition).
The spirit in which we asked for the songs and the stories was that we did not want them to die out, and this is the spirit in which they were invariably given.
The material we collected was public domain, so there was never any question of 'ownership' of it, it was 'folk song', pure and simple, then and now.
The only question of payment came from public use of the actual recordings we made. We contracted with the singers and storytellers that any payment arising from that use would go to them or, if that were not possible, would somehow or other be ploughed back into the music. As virtually all the singers we recorded are now dead, we honour this by donating all proceeds from albums we have released to The Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, a body set up to archive, make accessible, and promote traditional music. All the recordings we made are deposited in ITMA, the National Sound Archive at the British Library and in various other such bodies, with full public access and hopefully they will be totally accessible on the net sometime in the future.
We were always careful to identify the singers and storytellers who gave us the material.
I can honestly say that in all the time we worked in the field we NEVER encountered any opposition to our passing on songs and stories; any examples of this we have witnessed have been extremely rare and has come from a tiny handful of performers on the folk scene. Had it been prevelant among traditional singers we wouldn't have had a tradition to pass on. East Anglian singer Walter Pardon summed up the attitude we encountered perfectly when he told us (on record) "They're not my songs, they're everybody's".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 10:14 PM

Call Dick Greenhaus at Camsco Music -- the phone number is toll-free (in the US) and is listed at the top of the page as "Record Shop." He might well be able to get the recoding for you, and if he can't he'll make a darned good try. (Buying from Dick also supports the DT and Mudcat.)

Another point, made earlier: if you have done all you can do and made a truly good faith effort, that's all you can do. Both the law and ethics doesn't require more.

Suppose you find a song by an Inuinnaqtun singer that totally blows you away. It's everything you like in a song. You do everything you have done before, but without results. Are you required to fly to Alert, Nunavet, Canada to do further searching? No (but you might want to go someday; the High Arctic is really a neat place).

You can only do the best you can.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 10:07 PM

I go to house concerts often, maybe 4-6 times a year. I rarely pay more than $20 for a concert, and I feel that's a bargain if the concert is good. If I were attending the performance of a big-name performer, it would cost me $50 or more; and the performance might not be as good as a house concert
...
So, pnelson, if you've got qualms - buy CDs.


Yes, this is pretty much the strategy I've adopted to assuage my conscience.   Go to house concerts (in my area the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston has them) and buy a CD.   It will hurt my brain to try to work out how buying a CD of an artist from Maine, USA is going to help pay back unknown artists whose accents are clearly, say, Northumbrian or Australian, but maybe in those places they've stream-captured some unknown folk artist with a "down East" (Maine) accent so they buy a CD of a local and it all balances out somehow.   At least I hope so.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM

If you're determined and have some time:

1) Note down the lyrics.

2) Google a line from the lyrics. If necessary try putting the line in quotes and adding the word "lyrics" after the closing quotes.

3) Very often the search results will return a website or two with the lyrics and the title.

4) From the title you can find details of various recordings.

5) Find the recordings on a site such as Amazon that has track preview samples. You can then check the preview to see if it's the version you downloaded.


This is always what I do (and you're right, it's time consuming). But with traditional songs you get zillions of lyric hits.   Yesterday I spent several hours on one song I had stream-captured the night before: "Dogger Bank". I already have several versions of this song and, as you might imagine, there are lots and lots of lyric listings for it, each one a little different. I never did find one that matched my copy exactly. What I usually do is find a close match and edit the lyrics I put in the tag to get a perfect match to what I hear them sing.

As I indicated in my original posting, if I suspect who the artist is I always try to find a copy on Amazon or Rhapsody but neither one is very strong on traditional music - Rhapsody has 2 Dogger Banks; Amazon has one and none of them match any of mine.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 08:52 PM

Dear plnelson,

The fact you started this thread speaks to your integrity. After you`ve done what you can do, all that`s left is what you can`t. Keep well.

A songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 08:31 PM

I go to house concerts often, maybe 4-6 times a year. I rarely pay more than $20 for a concert, and I feel that's a bargain if the concert is good. If I were attending the performance of a big-name performer, it would cost me $50 or more; and the performance might not be as good as a house concert with somebody like Deb Cowan or Mark Graham or Seamus. Since I'm getting such a great bargain, I figure I owe the performer something - so I buy CDs. Makes me feel good, and it gives them some income. For a number of performers, I've bought everything they've recorded. So, pnelson, if you've got qualms - buy CDs.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:42 PM

Here is another twist for you. Let's twist again.

If a track, or indeed a complete album, has been downloaded from the internet in what way does this differ from buying used LPs/CDs from a market stall? To avoid being totally unethical let's say that said album has long been out of production and can't be obtained from any of the usual retailers.

For me tracking down the legitimate owners of obscure tracks such as OP describes goes into the too hard basket. I think that the best we can do is to not in any way assist in copying and passing on current or recent recordings, and pay for what we want ourselves whenever that option exists.

I enjoy my music collection, and I feel that it may be of value to others in the future because much of it is obscure.

There are blogs which have a number of old LPs digitised and uploaded. On one of these there is a post from the original artist thanking the blog owner as this artist no longer had his original album and couldn't obtain it anywhere. So yes, that can be a valid point.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:35 PM

Interesting question. If you are recording anything From: The Evening on the Erie, {Finally, Once Again, or Almost Live... by The Flyin' Column (from Syracuse, NY)}, or Songs from The Middle Aged. You are welcome and I hope you like them.

Here is another twist for you.

You have a large record collection of folk music on vinyl. You, like millions of others can no longer play you records because you no longer have a turntable that works or a source to by a stylus. Are you ethically obligated to buy the music again you already own as CD's or as MP3 downloads?

( You can certainly buy a new turntable and soft ware to play your vinyl and record it as an MP3 but that isn't the question.)

Something to consider: When you bought that 33 1/3 LP did you buy it for every song on the disc or did you buy it because you wanted to learn two songs and the rest were just awful anyway? Would you replace the whole albumn and if not how do you determine the value of the two songs you wanted?

I don't know the complete answer to this complicated question.

Don


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:26 PM

130 tracks mostly traditional, some archival, all happily and freely given, all downloadable. No guilt trip! www.yorkshirefolksong.net


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: buddhuu
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:23 PM

If you're determined and have some time:

1) Note down the lyrics.

2) Google a line from the lyrics. If necessary try putting the line in quotes and adding the word "lyrics" after the closing quotes.

3) Very often the search results will return a website or two with the lyrics and the title.

4) From the title you can find details of various recordings.

5) Find the recordings on a site such as Amazon that has track preview samples. You can then check the preview to see if it's the version you downloaded.


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Subject: RE: Ethical Question
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:15 PM

Thank you for your commitment to fair pay for musicians - it means a lot, even though the numbers are small. One thing you could do is google the song title or your best guess as to the title to see if there's an mp3 for sale - or better yet a CD, for the sound quality and liner notes if nothing else.

Most traditional musicians have very low sales, and I can tell you it's good to just to know someone is listening and buying our work.

I hope this helps.

Dan


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Subject: Ethical Question
From: plnelson
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:02 PM

I'd like to get opinions on an ethical matter from denizens of Mudcat because many people here are musicians.

I love traditional folk music and I've been building up a huge collection of it as MP3's, which I annotate with lyrics and other information in the tags.    By far, my best source of this is streaming internet "radio", most of which appears to be run by small-time enthusiasts. (the "bigtime" folk radio sites, like FolkAlley lean more toward singer-songwriter work rather than traditional) I capture hours of music overnight and then extract the songs I want in an MP3 editor.

I firmly believe that musicians should get paid for their work, so I would never deliberately download a song for the purpose of getting it for free, but here's the problem:

1. I didn't pay for any of this music.   But I have no way to capture annotation content that I know of so I usually don't know who the artist is.   On the occasions where I can identify the artist and the track is somehow for sale, e.g., Rhapsody or Amazon, then I buy it (even though I already have a copy) just so the artist gets paid. But those sources have very limited collections of traditional folk, and much of it leans toward "big names" like the Clancy Brothers or Steeleye Span, which is not usually what I collect.

2. Much of the time I have no way to identify the artist and, as you know, there are often dozens if not hundreds of extant performances of the "same" traditional folk songs by artists all over the world.   And in many cases where I can identify the performer and track the work is long out of print, the artist dead, etc.

I enjoy my music collection, and I feel that it may be of value to others in the future because much of it is obscure, I have many versions of the "same" songs and the annotations I'm adding could provide added usefulness.   Furthermore I feel that I'm preserving music that may otherwise disappear.   But I feel a bit guilty that I got all this music for free when someone once worked hard to create it.

Thoughts, opinions, advice?


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