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melody copyrights ?

Deckman 31 Mar 15 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,# 31 Mar 15 - 08:27 AM
Phil Cooper 31 Mar 15 - 08:31 AM
Deckman 31 Mar 15 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Dave 31 Mar 15 - 09:32 AM
PHJim 31 Mar 15 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Dave 31 Mar 15 - 09:55 AM
Deckman 31 Mar 15 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,# 31 Mar 15 - 10:32 AM
Joe_F 31 Mar 15 - 05:08 PM
Nigel Parsons 31 Mar 15 - 07:05 PM
Ed T 31 Mar 15 - 07:18 PM
FreddyHeadey 01 Apr 15 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 01 Apr 15 - 06:55 AM
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Subject: melody copywrites ?
From: Deckman
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 08:19 AM

A few years ago I wrote a song, "The Old Fisherman" and used the melody of "Donegal Danny". It worked well and told the story I wanted to tell. I'm now hearing criticsm because "Donegal Danny" is copywrited. I reject that complaint for two reasons: I'll sing any song and use any melody I darned well want; and I changed the rhythm from 4/4 to 3/4.

Here's my question: What kind of copywrite infringement problems could I expect if I recorded and distributed "The Old Fisherman" using the "Donegal Danny" melody as much as I have distored it?

Thanks for yur thoughts ... bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 08:27 AM

First, it's copyright. Second, read the link that follows.

Tom Petty Settlement


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 08:31 AM

If you were recording it, I suspect if you got a mechanical license for the tune, you could do it and not worry about legal problems. My former singing partner did a political song to the tune of Patrick Sky's Separation Blues. She did the proper licensing through Harry Fox agency and paid the fee. She did find a phone number for Patrick Sky and talked to him as well, though I'm not sure that's legally necessary. I know back in the day jazz musicians would play the same tunes and change a note and a title and there wasn't much copyright fuss.


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: Deckman
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 09:01 AM

To: "guest" ... thank you so very much for correcting me. I'll sleep so very much better now, knowing that I've been corrected. I wonder just how demented I could possibly have been as to misspell that word. I can still hear the voice of my third grade spelling teacher yelling at me. The world is so much a better place now, knowing that we have better spellers than me out there.

btw ... I've been studying my reading and writing of Finnish lately, which was my late father's native language. Perhaps you could help with some of those spellings also?

bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 09:32 AM

Deckman I think that "guest" was trying to be helpful. You have used some music from another song, you admit that, and the author of that song is still living, and 70 years have not elapsed since it was published. Its not like the Tom Petty/Sam Smith case where Smith did not intend to copy, and was probably unaware of Petty's work. And its not a piece which can be argued to be traditional as far as I know. The music is still in copyright. You need a licence.


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: PHJim
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 09:34 AM

The jazz players would use chord progressions from old standards and re-name the tune using a completely new melody, but changing a few notes will not allow you to get around copyright. Charlie Parker used the changes from Honeysuckle Rose when he wrote Scrapple From The Apple, but the melody is entirely different.
For some reason you cannot copyright a title or a chord progression, but melody and lyrics are a different matter.

There are many songs that use exactly the same chord progression:
They're Red Hot, Alice's Restaurant, Bring It On Home...all use the same changes.

In 1949, Scotty Wiseman wrote a song called "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You". Forty years later Van Morrison wrote an entirely different song called "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You".

No copyright problems in either case.

I think it would depend on how much you have "distorted the melody" as to whether you would be accused of copyright infringement. If it's still recognizable as Donegal Danny, you might be outa luck.


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 09:55 AM

Plagiarism of melodies sometimes goes under the radar though. Listen to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS-2UFE6w0c

Then this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q7xzT4QLmU

And see if you think the melody is different.

This has been discussed on various blogs, but never as far as I know in a court of law. The hymn is the earlier by a year (Henry Smith 1978 vs Village People 1979). Maybe neither of the protagonists would ever think of listening to the music of the other.


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: Deckman
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 09:55 AM

I apologize to "guest." I think I'll take a vacation from MC for while. bob


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Subject: RE: melody copywrites ?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 10:32 AM

No need, Bob. I was in a hurry and didn't take the time to consider the tone of what I wrote. Just one of those things and nothing to get beat up about :-)

It was Mark Twain who said "Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet." He was correct in that assessment.


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Subject: RE: melody copyrights ?
From: Joe_F
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 05:08 PM

It would be an interesting project, and not (I think) an impossible one, to write a computer program that would take as input two melodies and generate a sequence of melodies beginning with one and ending with the other, in which each would would be a plausible melody & would differ only inconsequentially from its neighbors. It could be used to make puzzles for juries.

Indeed, the thing may already have been done. There are said to be several hundred thousand "new" songs copyrighted every year. Is it conceivable that their tunes are all distinguisable?


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Subject: RE: melody copyrights ?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 07:05 PM

Deckman:
I'm sorry, but, by your own admission:
I wrote a song, "The Old Fisherman" and used the melody of "Donegal Danny". It worked well and told the story I wanted to tell. I'm now hearing criticsm because "Donegal Danny" is copywrited. I reject that complaint for two reasons: I'll sing any song and use any melody I darned well want; and I changed the rhythm from 4/4 to 3/4.

Unless you are claiming that "Donegal Danny" is out of copyright (composer dead 70 years+) then you are making it clear that you are using a tune which is still in copyright. (irrespective of changing the time signature)

You appear to have accepted that the tune is someone else's copyright, although the words are your own.


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Subject: RE: melody copyrights ?
From: Ed T
Date: 31 Mar 15 - 07:18 PM

An interersting site-including why Chuck Berry technically became a BeachBoy

Pop lifting 


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Subject: RE: melody copyrights ?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 06:25 AM

Plenty of new words are set to an existing tune, I don't see why you should be getting criticism for that.

I wonder if you've investigated the charges involved for a license?
If it's only a few dollars might it be worth paying rather than losing sleep over it?


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Subject: RE: melody copyrights ?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Apr 15 - 06:55 AM

I strongly suspect the owners of the original copyright will not worry unless you begin to make lots of money from it. In which case I think it only fair to give them a cut.


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