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Copyrighting A Traditional Song

GUEST,Ewan McVicar 01 Jan 11 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 01 Jan 11 - 07:27 AM
Fred McCormick 01 Jan 11 - 07:36 AM
Vic Smith 01 Jan 11 - 07:40 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Jan 11 - 08:49 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM
Gy Morris man 01 Jan 11 - 12:53 PM
Haruo 01 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM
Taconicus 01 Jan 11 - 02:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jan 11 - 02:42 PM
Amos 01 Jan 11 - 02:50 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Jan 11 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 02 Jan 11 - 04:18 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 11 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 02 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Jan 11 - 05:36 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Jan 11 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Guest 02 Jan 11 - 07:54 PM
Dave MacKenzie 02 Jan 11 - 08:01 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 02 Jan 11 - 10:12 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 11 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Previous guest 03 Jan 11 - 01:27 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Eoin 03 Jan 11 - 03:00 PM
Howard Jones 03 Jan 11 - 03:17 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jan 11 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 04 Jan 11 - 04:11 AM
pavane 04 Jan 11 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Previous Guest 04 Jan 11 - 10:16 PM
michaelr 04 Jan 11 - 11:53 PM
JohnB 05 Jan 11 - 12:36 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 11 - 03:34 AM
Howard Jones 05 Jan 11 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Previous Guest 05 Jan 11 - 07:10 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 11 - 07:39 AM
Howard Jones 05 Jan 11 - 08:06 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Jan 11 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Limpski 05 Jan 11 - 08:11 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 11 - 12:33 PM
Howard Jones 05 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Jan 11 - 03:27 PM
michaelr 05 Jan 11 - 10:30 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 11 - 03:41 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 11 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 06 Jan 11 - 05:04 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 11 - 05:10 AM
michaelr 07 Jan 11 - 01:18 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 11 - 02:34 AM
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Subject: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 07:21 AM

A Good Hogmananny to all. The following story is from one of today's Uganda newspapers. Yoseveni Museveni is the Ugandan President. Shs40 million is a little over £10,000.


Museveni to bag millions from song
When National Resistance Movement presidential candidate, Mr Museveni, decided to do a song to win votes from youths, little did he know that it would turn into a big hit and become the talk of town.

Analysts project that Mr Museveni might earn about Shs40 million by the first quarter of 2011 from radio stations and people who use his song "Mpenkoni" as caller ringing tones on mobile phones.

Speaking at a two-day Diaspora summit in Kampala on Thursday, the Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) general secretary, Mr James Wasula, said Mr Museveni's lawyers registered the song last month and he is expected to earn millions of shillings by end of March.

"We have started collecting money for Mr Museveni from his song now commonly known as "Another Rap". His lawyers approached us late last month and registered the song. Whatever we shall have collected will be handed over to him by end of first quarter," Mr Wasula said.

He said the amount an artiste gets depends on the popularity. Mr Museveni was inspired to record the track by a group of musicians from Entebbe, who explained to him the poetical nature of the hip-hop music genre to the Ugandan president.

The song's copyright raised protest from members of the public who argued that it was improper for the President to patent a traditional Kinyankore folk song.

However, Mr Wasula said there is no law that protects traditional folk songs from copyright.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 07:27 AM

Apologies for misspelling President Museveni's first name, should be Yoweri.
Ewan / Ewan / Euan / etc


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 07:36 AM

Sounds like Peter Kennedy is alive and well and living in Uganda under an assumed name.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Vic Smith
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 07:40 AM

Sounds like Peter Kennedy is alive and well and living in Uganda under an assumed name.

... provided my first Laugh Out Loud experience of 2011!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 08:49 AM

I don't think I have ever seen such farrago of nonsense about intellectual property rights.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM

Not clear from the posted extract whether the copyright is for an arrangement that varies from the original 'folk' song or not.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Gy Morris man
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 12:53 PM

MY bank account is ******************
that should satisfy him.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM

I have no idea what Uganda's copyright laws are, but in a civilized state no one, not even the president, can copyright traditional material and make it stick, if someone with half a brain and a lawyer with at least the complementary other half is willing to challenge it in court. Provided, of course, that there is solid documentation that the material in question actually preexisted the copyright claim(ant). Now, it's possible that the president created new lyrics to a traditional tune, in which case he could copyright the former (and in fact in the US and probably Uganda would automatically have common-law ownership of them), but not the latter. The distinction between text and tune is often lost on commentators, singers, publishers, etc.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Taconicus
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 02:42 PM

Either the article is wrong (likely, given the misuse of the word "patent") or Uganda has some very strange copyright laws.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 02:42 PM

youtube has the song with video. ROK Records. "Official" version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXe3uRL3gog

The material on youtube provides a translation.
There are a few comments, none about the rap song being 'folk'.

The Independent, a Ugandan paper, says the song is "a studio-reworked version of spoken Ankole folk-poetry called ekyevugo, ..." Musseveni was meeting a group of young rappers when he first publically recited the nursery rhyme. Sensing their excitement he reportedly asked them; "you want another rap?" The banter was studio-remixed; possibly by Steve Jean's Fenon Records (Nothing is official there."
........
"But Museveni's rap was nominated in the Best Hip-Hop single category of this year's Golden Awards....".
The article is followed by anti comments about the president.
www.independent.co.ug. 28 Dec. 2010, "When Museveni sings, Mao, Besigye dance," Joyce Mirembe Nakayima.

Another article in the same paper, "Copyrighting 'Another Rap' is theft of Banyankore cultural property," by Mwambustya Ndebesa, details objections to copyright.

I am not able to properly comment on the validity of the copyright application (approved); I will leave that to those who are familiar with the provisions of the copyright law in question.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 02:50 PM

The copyright can be taken out on the arrangement of a song that is deemed traditional, even if not on the song itself.


A


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 03:22 PM

At an international copyright convention a while back, a group of "tiny nations"(?) did attempt to assert that all traditional music originating in their jurisdictions are the property of "their governments" and that they should be paid for any use of them. Recollection is that the nations involved were mainly in African and Carribean areas(?).

So far as I could tell, the demand was not incorporated into any agreements made by the convention, although there were apparently some "assertions of claims" for a while after the convention ended. I don't recall seeing any published record of anyone paying them anything, but it might have happened without finding space among the sex crimes and dalliances that do get reported.

That, however, would make it difficult for an individual to copyright any such tune in his/her own name, although an "original arrangement," a lyric that was original, or a "parody" might be eligible for separate copyright and collection of royalties. There would appear to be several common arguments that could be used to "justify" royalties for the subject at hand, and the main element is that there appears to be someone with "authority" and willingness to collect for the "creator."

John


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 04:18 AM

Very interesting comments above. Thank you to those who have thought through and investigated aspects of this.
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 04:24 AM

And the following is part of a message contributed to the Footstompin Forum by Niall. Seems to be two kids' pieces welded together, plus the 'final English words' that are nowadays termsed 'rap'?

FROM NIALL, IN FOOTSTOMPIN FORUM

Just found this: :

For the non-Banyankore, the general perception is that the song/rhyme/poem was a composition of Museveni.

The song/rhyme is an old age Banyankore children's rhyme. Almost every Munyankore above the age of five or so years and is/was born and raised in Ankole countryside knows one or both songs now under the re-baptised label of Another Rap. Mr Museveni has not added any single word to the rhymes. He has not even added any new lyrics except the English words at the end which are actually not part of the song but mere comments.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM

Having just used the link Niall Beag gave us, I found the full article he quotes from very interesting. To the more expert who have contributed above - is the writer of the article fully correct, or is there as usual a more complex situation here?
I do like the refence to an Mzee [respected elder] 'patenting' the Moon in his name.
And of course the suggestion that 'traditional' song and music be copyrighted and held in common within a nation, with royalties collected and then used for educational and music support, is one I and others have often ruminated on and fulminated about. The idea has its many problems of course, but worth trying to work out?
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 05:36 AM

Uganda is not a member of Berne. It is a member of TRIPS.

Uganda gained independence in 1962. Therefore it probably inherited at that date the UK's Copyright Act 1956 - although I am tempted to check whether it would not have been the UK's Copyright Act 1911 which was an imperial act and so extended to colonies, rather than applying in relation to them as the 1956 Act did.

It enacted its own act in 2006 with effect from 2007.

Under none of those things did copyright require registration and under all of those things copyright arose automatically in an author who qualified under the legislation when the work was reduced to a material form. The 2006 Act does not protect works that have already fallen into the public domain in Uganda.

It is therefore an error to speak of "copyrighting" a work. Ugandan copyright law is still much more like English copyright law than it is like US copyright law.

That said, there are still layers of potential rights: -

The words
The musical work
The arrangement
The rights of performers (see S 41)
The copyright in the sound recording.

It is far from clear in which are alleged to reside the rights giving rise to the income streams in question.


On a tangent, it seems that there is a gradual movement to protect intangible heritage - see http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=EN&pg=home - but I hesitate to ask whether it is "folk".


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 02:46 PM

Long cut and paste from the IPKat IP blog follows. I think it may interest readers of this thread. Some may note the similarity of the concepts to the 1954 definition.



"Feeling cultural, or even a bit traditional? A new World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publication "Intellectual Property and the Safeguarding of Traditional Cultures: Legal Issues and Practical Options for Museums, Libraries and Archives" was launched late last year. The press release announcing it drew this comment from the IPKat, but he didn't have the chance to read and carefully review it. The Kat therefore thanks a kind and enthusiastic reader, Ann-Gaelle Cox, for reviewing it for the benefit of us all. Explains Ann-Gaelle:

"This recent WIPO publication provides a comprehensive overview of the various intellectual property issues arising out of the creation and treatment of traditional cultural expressions ("TCEs") – typically creative works emanating from indigenous peoples and communities ("tradition-bearers"), such as Australian Aboriginal artists. The protection of such works poses particular challenges for cultural institutions and indigenous communities alike, the principal problem being that the existence and ownership of IP rights in such works are far from clear.

The publication is structured as follows: first, an overview of the various legal and practical issues, followed by an analysis – from an international perspective - of relevant IP rights (in particular copyright), as applied to areas of specific concern to cultural institutions such as museums. It concludes with a number of examples of good practice from institutions and communities around the world.


Why Are TCEs An Issue?
In general, TCEs are not "created" in the traditional IP sense: typically, they arise through custom and practice, often as a result of community – rather than individual – contributions. Also, they tend to evolve, sometimes over a long period of time. Because it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain exactly what was created, when and by whom, TCEs do not neatly fit the traditional IP creation–ownership matrix.

Thus cultural institutions frequently find themselves at the centre of a complex puzzle of overlapping rights. Museums need to showcase TCEs as part of their usual cultural heritage activities, but they run the risk of offending tradition-bearers if they do not involve them proactively. While recent technological developments (such as digitisation) provide exciting opportunities for museums, they also create new challenges in terms of IP rights management.

Nevertheless, in spite of this complex environment, cultural institutions around the world are developing impressive new practices and techniques for dealing with TCEs, while taking into account ethical and cultural sensitivities.

Legal Background
While it can be said that IP rights are relatively well-defined, TCEs are, by their very nature, open-ended and perhaps impossible to define. Typical examples include a folk tale, a ritualistic dance, or an incantation. As the publication illustrates, for various reasons, IP law provides little or no protection for TCEs per se. Yet tradition-bearers usually see themselves as rights-owners or "custodians" of TCEs. In reality, they are often "legally disenfranchised" from their creations.

Currently, no international legal framework exists to deal with TCEs and IP rights, although various conventions (in addition to some national IP laws) seek to protect TCEs (eg. the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

The debate is not limited to legal issues. Cultural and ethical considerations bear equal, if not greater, weight. For instance, when it comes to managing disputes involving TCEs, litigation is a poor tool when compared to Alternative Dispute Resolution. One reason is that litigation is largely confrontational; more importantly, it tends to focus on the establishment and protection of legal rights, to the detriment of customary law and practice, both of which can be important factors where TCEs are concerned.


Copyright
Although copyright is arguably the most relevant IP right in the TCE context, its application is limited – indeed, in many cases, a TCE will not be protected by copyright. Thus TCEs run the risk of being treated as "public domain", or considered works of unknown authorship or orphan works. Some argue that a new sui generis right should be created to protect TCEs.

One of the principal limitations of copyright law as far as TCEs are concerned is the requirement for originality. In many jurisdictions, the threshold for originality is rather low, such that a secondary or derivative work will often attract copyright, whereas the original TCE itself is deprived of protection. An example of this would be a film based on an oral legend. Other significant limitations are fixation (a requirement in some jurisdictions), and the idea/expression dichotomy (copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself). Yet TCEs often reflect ideas, meanings, beliefs, etc. more than anything else; they are not limited to mere expression.

Authorship-ownership questions also raise complex issues. Generally speaking, TCEs are not the product of one author – rather, they are the result of an ongoing creative process, to which members of a wider community contribute. The inability to ascertain one or more authors (and therefore, owners) has significant drawbacks under copyright law. Alternatives, such as treating TCEs as orphan works, may - depending on the jurisdiction – mean that they are subject to a compulsory licensing regime, or that they can be freely used (assuming a diligent search for the author is fruitless).
Further, the usual copyright exceptions and limitations are arguably of limited value in the TCE context. For example, the notion of "fair use" or "fair dealing" may simply not be appropriate, especially where TCEs are in some way sensitive or sacred.

Moral rights will sometimes be relevant, and may enable tradition-bearers to impose limitations and conditions on the use of TCEs, or to object to certain treatment. For instance, moral rights may be used to control the digitisation of TCEs by cultural institutions (eg. the creation of thumbnails – digital copies in miniature format).

It is important to note that the needs and demands of cultural institutions in relation to TCEs are increasingly complex. As well as exhibiting TCEs, museums carry out preservation, restoration and archiving activities. In particular, digitisation is a challenge, especially when TCEs in digital format are then made available via the Internet. Mass dissemination inevitably increases the risk that tradition-bearers will be offended (if, for instance, prior consent is not obtained), and that users may misuse such TCEs.

Other Forms of IP Protection
The publication also considers the application of trade marks, geographical indications and domain names to TCEs, albeit in less detail. As regards trade marks for instance, problems may arise when TCEs are made into logos. Similarly, registering (as a trade mark) the name of TCE is likely to be an issue.

Good Practice
The publication concludes with a round-up of current good practices relating to the management of TCEs, by both cultural institutions and traditional communities. A WIPO database of existing IP-related protocols, policies and practices has been compiled for further reference and is accessible online. Examples of good practice include the principle of "prior informed consent" (eg. when researchers collect TCEs), the handling of digital archives (eg. the British Library's policy statement regarding its archive of sound recordings), and conditions of access to online documentation (eg. the Musée du Quai Branly's website). As far as traditional communities are concerned, steps are being taken to protect and control TCEs pre-emptively, for instance through protocols, standard agreements, consent forms, undertakings, etc.

What Next?
This publication is one of a number of current WIPO projects. Following on from the related WIPO Intergovernmental Committee ("ICG") set up in 2000, several WIPO working documents are in progress. The ICG plans to submit new legislative texts in this area in 2011".


Intellectual Property and the Safeguarding of Traditional Cultures – Legal Issues and Practical Options for Museums, Libraries and Archives, WIPO (Molly Torsen and Jane Anderson), 2010, can be downloaded here.

--
Posted By Jeremy to The IPKat on 1/02/2011 05:50:00 PM"


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 07:54 PM

In the UK the PRS maintain that ALL music is copyright. even traditional songs and music and so if you perform it in any public place you really ought to send them some money.

AND THEY WILL TAKE YOU TO COURT IF YOU DISAGREE!

It's not quite as simplistic as that but it's not far away.

Ask them what happened to the special tariff for traditional music events?!
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted. Guest,guest is not an acceptable user name - it's already been taken.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 08:01 PM

My understanding of UK copyright law is that if I perform my own compositions in public, the PRS will take some money from me and give it to Paul McCartney.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 10:12 PM

.......excxept if Michael Jackson's ghost owns McCartney's copyright! This old world is run by fools!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 04:42 AM

Not quite Dave. In the first place if you are not a member (and if your music publisher is not a member) then the PRS has no title to your works and cannot charge you for using them. In the second place the great battle between U2 and the PRS was about the personal performance right, and it is possible as a result to withdraw from the PRS the right to administer the performing right in your compositions in respect of your personal performances of them.

And no, guest, what the PRS maintains (I think) is that the vast preponderance of performances of traditional song and music also substantially reproduce an arrangement that is still in copyright. They would be right as far as concerns the versions I (with or without others) do of Ramble Away, Byker Hill, and less directly Famous Flower of Serving Men - in an interesting place on Sir Patrick Spens, and possibly up a gum tree on Sailor's Life.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Previous guest
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 01:27 PM

Richard

Where does that leave someone recording a version of any traditional song, joining PRS and registering the arrangement with three hundred friends and the studio cat as accompaniment and then performing the same song at some poor unsuspecting folk festival with just basic nose flute accompaniment?
It would be the PUFF that would be taken to court!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM

The magic dragon?

The PUFF will certainly have had other performers performing non-trad songs so the massed cats version should be on the cue sheet, result no legal proceedings.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Eoin
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 03:00 PM

Rod Stewart some years ago released a CD with 'Will ye go lassie go' as one of the tracks, he also claimed to have composed the song. The McPeak family (Belfast) claimed copyright on the song as their grandfather had composed the ballad and had recorded it (before Rod Stewart was born . . must have been in the 1800's)he was forced to recall all the CD's or face a hefty court battle, they were all recalled. I'm sure Rod Stewart was not the first person to attempt this!
Eoin


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 03:17 PM

Previous Guest, apart from the reason Richard has mentioned, the arrangement with basic nose flute accompaniment would be a different arrangement from the one this person had registered. Likewise, this person would be unable to prevent someone else from performing a different arrangement of the song. However if they were to perform his arrangement for 300 + cat, then he would be entitled to royalties, which would be paid through the PRS fee the festival would have already paid.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 05:41 PM

Am I not right there was a long thread here about that McPeak family assertion - and some doubts about it?


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 04:11 AM

More than 'some doubts'. Wild Mountain Thyme is unequivocally based on Robert Tannahill's Braes Of Balquidder, and I've heard an intermediate version between Tannahill's and Francie mcPeake's versions, collected by I think Len Graham from a lady publican in Northern Ireland.
The McPeakes can of course claim under the hoary 'new words and music' category, but they want to claim the lot. Funny how it is the descendents who are assiduous in pursuing the money. Middle Francie was a nice man, I remember meeting and talking about songs with him in about 1958.
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: pavane
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 02:29 PM

All this is very interesting, but the main point is that anyone can claim copyright on almost anything, and it is up to someone else to contest it. Once again, those with the deepest pockets are most likely to win.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Previous Guest
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 10:16 PM

Richard

The PUFF might well assume that asking people to sing traditional songs ONLY would exempt it from PRS.

Sadly not so.

The question still remains about the special tariff for predominantly traditional festivals and why PRS chose to abandon it.

Howard

Festivals do not pay PRS up front. They are forced to pay a percentage of their income regardless of the amount of traditional or other material used.

That payment is invariably added to a general pot and never reaches the actual composers or arrangers whose material has been performed.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: michaelr
Date: 04 Jan 11 - 11:53 PM

Sounds like a clear case of government corruption and graft. If it were the US, the way to proceed would be to file a lawsuit and pursue it all the way to the Supreme Court. Legal fees could be at least in part covered by donations from the community.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: JohnB
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 12:36 AM

Funny thing is Peter Kennedy, mentioned in prior dispatches, recorded the McPeakes doing Wild Mountain Thyme in the 1950s.
Or is that his fault too?
I believe though that all performing righta in Uganda and several other African Nations are collected by the guy with the most soldiers and machine guns, not the most lawyers.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:34 AM

MichaelR - since the PRS is not a government body nor even a quango that it a typical moronic Republican or Tea-potty piece of idiocy.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:31 AM

Previous Guest, a large event such as a festival is likely to be submitting actual returns to PRS, in which case the composers should eventually get a royalty. It is the small events, such as folk clubs, which don't submit returns, are rarely sampled (and the sample from one club may not be representative of another) which are unlikely to generate royalties for the composers whose music is played.

Even if an event operates a strict "trad only" policy, the point is (as you recognised in your earlier post) is that it is possible to register copyright in an arrangement of a traditional song, in which case royalties will be payable to the arranger. A trad-only policy would not remove the need for a PRS licence.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Previous Guest
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:10 AM

Howard

I know of at least one large festival which submitted detailed PRS forms only for these to be ignored as being too difficult (ie expensive) to process.

Regards arrangements of traditional songs - every performance is a unique arrangement, as I tried to show with the 300 friends + cat against nose flute accompaniment, and therefore by definition NOT a registered arrangement.

PRS as Richard says is a self appointed organisation run basically for and by the big boys in publishing. They frighten or attempt to frighten little people by pretending they are "official".


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 07:39 AM

No, not "by definition".

If the pussy arrangement included a particular harmony line and that line were used by the nose flute there would be substantial reproduction of the pussy arrangement - read the "Procul Harum" and "Hyperion" cases.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:06 AM

There are guidelines as to what constitutes an "arrangement". Both the cat and nose-flute versions could be separate and distinct arrangements - or, as Richard points out, one could substantially reproduce the other. The point is that an arrangement of a traditional song generates its own copyright, distinct and separate from the song itself. The other point is the question of how the owner of that copyright is to be rewarded.

I entirely agree that the PRS is inefficient and its systems are weighed heaviliy in favour of the "big boys" (although I know folk musicians who receive royalties, so they are not entirely ignored). I also agree that the way it treats traditional music leaves much to be desired, and its tactics can sometimes be heavy-handed. However, what is the alternative? Without an organisation like PRS to represent composers, anyone holding an event would have to negotiate royalties with the individual composer (and possibly the arranger as well) of every piece of music played (unless it was wholly public domain).


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:08 AM

Richard, on whom does the burden of proof (civil) fall? How difficult is it to prove that one particular arrangement is originated by the claimer of copyright? If it can be shown that a song has been sung for many, many years and in many, many ways how can you prove that your way is unique? My personal feeling, not a legal one is that claiming copyright in such cases is nothing short of blatant plagiarism!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Limpski
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 08:11 AM

Ask Cecil Sharp, he made enough money from it :)


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 11:55 AM

Not to mention Ralph Peer!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 12:33 PM

The test of originality in UK copyright (at least it was until our masters in Brussells buggered it up) was not uniqueness but merely that matter was not copied.

The work needed also to be of sufficient substantiality to attract copyright.

For there to be liabiity for copyrght infringement there needs to be substantial reproduction - ie copying. Happenstance similarity is not sufficient to found infringement but similarity may raise an inference of copying if access is shown, and sometimes similarity plus availability is thought sufficient to raise an inference of access.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Howard Jones
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM

This page on the PRS website explains about arrangements.

Simply singing a song "your way" is unlikely to create an arrangement for purposes of copyright. However, working up a text of a song from different versions and/or adding an instrumental backing probably will do. It depends on how much original work you've added to the piece, and the copyright applies only to that original work - the traditional piece itself remains non-copyright.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:27 PM

Thanks Richard!
I copied this from the PRS website, which perhaps is also a copyright violation:
Copyright Transcriptions Of Folk Music

(Copyright in the transcription of folk music has always been a bit of a grey area. Copyright law states that if you write down a traditional song, this transcription becomes a copyright work. The copyright lies in the transcription and not in the traditional song.

This means the transcription is copyright. It may not be copied, reproduced, published, publicly performed or adapted unless permission is obtained from the transcriber. However, this does not prevent people from transcribing from the same source. By doing this they create their own copyright - even if their transcription is note for note the same as an exisiting transcription.)

Enough "grey" to paint a battleship!


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 10:30 PM

Richard, I don't understand "since the PRS is not a government body nor even a quango that it a typical moronic Republican or Tea-potty piece of idiocy." Please clarify.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 03:41 AM

typo. "is" not "it".

You assert "Sounds like a clear case of government corruption and graft."

Well, the PRS is nothing to do with the government.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 04:02 AM

The PRS probably overstate their case on transcriptions. The leading case is on a shorthand transcription of a speech - Walter -v- Lane [1900] AC. The point made in the case is that taking down a speech "live" in shorthand requires "sufficient skill and labour". Laddie Prescott & Vitoria assert that "mere skill and labour" create no copyright and the cases show that the "mere ability to write" creates no copyright.

So if an undoubtedly traditional song were recorded and could be listened to over and over again so that (other than the ability to transcribe) there was no difficulty in making a transcription, the transcription might not be copyright.

However, the question of what skill and labour suffices to found copyright is a somewhat moving target - the British Leyland case (about exhaust pipes) tends one way, our masters in Brussels lean in favour of the "intellectual creation of the author" and the Hyperion case depended heavily on the musical skill and learning necessary to construct (as the courts found) or "reconstruct" (which I think would have been more sound) the unannotated bass lines.

So IMHO the true position is a lot greyer than the PRS indicates.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 05:04 AM

Sigh, though I am finding the expert contributions here truly fascinating and instructive, my folkie impulse is still to make a rather fatuous interjection relating to balladry - Is Laddie Prescott is the last posting a confrere of Childe Harold?
Which in turn reminds me that on a DVD of Nigerian soap opera programmes viewed two nights ago, one of the technical credits was for Peculiar Jackson. As a collector of credit names that is the finest I have seen.
Ewan


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 05:10 AM

I have a student called Genius Chitiyo.

Hugh Laddie is now the late Sir Hugh Laddie.
Peter Prescott is now Peter Prescott QC
Mary Vitoria is I think still Mary Vitoria. Possibly the deepest thinker of the three.


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: michaelr
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 01:18 AM

OK< I gues I'm missing something here.

If PRS is not a government agency, whence does it derive its clout?

And what the hell is quango?


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Subject: RE: Copyrighting A Traditional Song
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 02:34 AM

By assignment of rights from its members who number nearly all significant copyright owners.

Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation.


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