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Song Ownership-Tommy Makem

DonMeixner 29 Jan 03 - 05:39 PM
masato sakurai 29 Jan 03 - 05:59 PM
nutty 29 Jan 03 - 06:03 PM
DonMeixner 29 Jan 03 - 06:12 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Jan 03 - 06:18 PM
DonMeixner 29 Jan 03 - 06:19 PM
nutty 29 Jan 03 - 06:36 PM
banjomad (inactive) 29 Jan 03 - 06:45 PM
kendall 29 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,Cookieless Rick 29 Jan 03 - 08:48 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jan 03 - 12:02 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 03 - 02:57 AM
AKS 30 Jan 03 - 03:57 AM
DonMeixner 30 Jan 03 - 07:07 AM
MMario 30 Jan 03 - 08:28 AM
ard mhacha 30 Jan 03 - 01:04 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Jan 03 - 06:19 PM
Strupag 30 Jan 03 - 06:59 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jan 03 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 30 Jan 03 - 08:23 PM
DonMeixner 30 Jan 03 - 08:31 PM
GUEST 31 Jan 03 - 10:06 AM
MMario 31 Jan 03 - 11:25 AM
Big Tim 31 Jan 03 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Russ 31 Jan 03 - 12:14 PM
GUEST 31 Jan 03 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Seamus Kennedy in Alaska 31 Jan 03 - 09:03 PM
CraigS 31 Jan 03 - 09:14 PM
Big Mick 31 Jan 03 - 09:15 PM
Deskjet 31 Jan 03 - 09:24 PM
MMario 31 Jan 03 - 09:38 PM
DonMeixner 31 Jan 03 - 11:55 PM
Neighmond 01 Feb 03 - 01:39 AM
Big Mick 01 Feb 03 - 08:54 AM
Jim McLean 01 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM
dick greenhaus 01 Feb 03 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Damien. 01 Feb 03 - 06:54 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 01 Feb 03 - 09:30 PM
Hrothgar 01 Feb 03 - 09:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Feb 03 - 10:18 PM
belfast 02 Feb 03 - 09:04 AM
nutty 02 Feb 03 - 10:14 AM
belfast 02 Feb 03 - 10:32 AM
curmudgeon 02 Feb 03 - 10:34 AM
Richie 02 Feb 03 - 10:50 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 03 - 10:56 AM
belfast 02 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM
Jim McLean 02 Feb 03 - 05:00 PM
Kernow John 02 Feb 03 - 05:34 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 03 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Damien. 03 Feb 03 - 08:00 AM
Richie 03 Feb 03 - 08:43 AM
banjomad (inactive) 03 Feb 03 - 09:53 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 03 - 11:06 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM
Jim McLean 03 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM
belfast 04 Feb 03 - 12:12 PM
belfast 04 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM
Kim C 04 Feb 03 - 12:38 PM
Don Firth 04 Feb 03 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,John. 04 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM
belfast 04 Feb 03 - 02:47 PM
banjomad (inactive) 04 Feb 03 - 03:22 PM
greg stephens 04 Feb 03 - 03:32 PM
belfast 04 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM
greg stephens 04 Feb 03 - 03:48 PM
DonMeixner 04 Feb 03 - 04:10 PM
greg stephens 04 Feb 03 - 05:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Feb 03 - 06:50 PM
banjomad (inactive) 05 Feb 03 - 07:00 AM
greg stephens 05 Feb 03 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Guest. 05 Feb 03 - 08:04 AM
Rick Fielding 05 Feb 03 - 11:31 AM
DonMeixner 06 Feb 03 - 02:29 AM
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Subject: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 05:39 PM

My band is finishing up a new CD and it seemed prudent to check out The Fox agency for license rights. One of the many chestnuts we've decided to record is a Tommy Makem tune. Since Tommy's litigious nature is well known when it comes to his songs I checked the listing of his songs to see what he had written.

Imagine my surprise when Fox informs me that Tommy Makem is listed as the author of "Jock 'O'Hazeldean", "Tell My Ma", "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye", Killie Burn Brae,", "The Sailor Cut Down In His Prime", and many others.

When I pulled up the license listing for "Jock 'O' Hazeldean" Tommy Makem is clearly listed as the author of the song.

What gives here? Is this correct or am I not nuts and "Jock" is truly a very old song.

Or has Tommy rights to authorship of an arrangement and thats what is listed in the license agreement.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: masato sakurai
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 05:59 PM

JOCK O' HAZELDEAN is a Child ballad (#293) and is in the DT.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: nutty
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:03 PM

Lots of artists do this Don but what they are copyrighting is their arrangement of the song/tune.
This was particularly common in the 60's/70's hence the Carthy court action re ownership of Scarborough Fair.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:12 PM

Nutty, I'm sure that is true regarding arrangements. And I have no problem with getting paid for an arrangement. My concern now is this. Tommy Makem is listed as the author of clearly traditional songs that exist in Public Domain. He is not listed as "Author of the arrangement in the applied for license."

I know the story of Pete Seegar and Paul Campbell or Clayton and those arrangements. This is a little different to me some how. If Tommy Makem wants to come after me for doing Four Green Fields and paying the royalties thats fine. I played, I pay. But I better not hear from his attorney regarding any of the others unless I am playing his arrangement.

Actually I blame the Fox agency and not Tommy Makem at all. He deserves his royalties. But the Fox people should be accurate with their licenses when we are talking Public Domain.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:18 PM

Hey folks-

Anyone can copyright anything. It's only staking out a claim, and it's only binding when there's a lawsuit and court decision.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:19 PM

OK Dick, I believe that is true as well. Are you suggesting I just record what I want and wait until they come after me?

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: nutty
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:36 PM

I think that is what you must do Don ...as long as you have evidence to the song being traditional.
In the case of Jock o Hazeldean This Bodleian Broadside printed by J.Moore of Belfast between 1852 and 1868 should be all the evidence you need.

Jock O'Hazeldean


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 06:45 PM

When Woody Guthrie was sending out booklets of his own songs to people who requested the words he added a footnote which said something like ' under US law this song is copyrighted for 28 years
and if you sing it or give it to someone else you will instantly become a friend of our'n ', this is the right attitude to folk music.
Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM

It saves a lot of hassle to just send them their cut. After all, it is small (6 cents per song per recording) and it is deductable. Both Eric Bogle and Utah Phillips were quite surprised to get my check for their songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 07:53 PM

All the songs you mention are a great deal older than Tommy Makem. Just do a little research, and make sure that you don't copy his personal (copyrighted) versions of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Cookieless Rick
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 08:48 PM

Just record the damn song Don, and credit it "Trad" or "Trad..arrangement your band")

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has ME listed as the composer for "John Henry"! I've written them twice, but they must be convinced that I'm black, 200 years old, and American.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 12:02 AM

Well when I go to the license form it turns up they want $ 80.00
a 1000.   Personally, I'd rather send the check to the author than give it to Harry Fox. Thanks for the advice you all. I'll let you know when the CD comes out. Probably in March.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 02:57 AM

Well, Don, at least you should check here and see what we can come up with. In the Origins and DTStudy threads, we do what we can to trace the history of songs, and I think we've had pretty good results. I get a kick out of reasearching the stories of songs, and I think I'm getting pretty good at it.
If there's an existing thread on a song, add your question there. If not, start a new thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: AKS
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 03:57 AM

And remember, 'copyright' on a printed matter (which might the case here?) is not the same thing as 'creator's right' to the original piece of art is.
Imagine: one collects all the traditional ballads (lyrics & notation) of the world and publishes them as a book, which of course would be copyright as a product of intellect, and should not be "reproduced" without permission.
Yet, it would NOT prevent anybody, anywhere to sing, record or arrange those ballads - even learned from that very book - at will, because the original copyright on them has expired!!

AKS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 07:07 AM

Thank you all for the good advice. I appreciate the effort of so many. I am still concerned of one thing tho'. If a young performer decideds to record and follows the "Correct" procedure for the recording licensed stuff through Harry Fox, that person may end up paying royalties to someone for a song that is labeled as owned by a particular author when it is clearly public domain. The license agreement doesn't state that it is an arrangement and the song is otherwise clear. Does Harry Fox or the faultily identified author return the money?

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: MMario
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 08:28 AM

One of the tunes for 'Jock o' Hazeldean' goes back to Playford in 1642!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: ard mhacha
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 01:04 PM

1642!, definitely Makem. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 06:19 PM

By god he holds his age well!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Strupag
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 06:59 PM

I love Woodies attitude and can't believe that someone who has influenced so many generations can become greedy and basically unhonest about the genuine authorship of a song. I think I learned the song in primary school in Ballacheulish, Argyle.
My advice to you DonMex is to sing the song, record it and rightly categorise it as traditional. Remember that, if the Foxes want to take up any court action it is going to cost them money and it's a case that they just can't win. I doubt if you will hear a word; after all, the Corries have done it.
Maybe we all should not forget the power of a huge international family like Mudcatters has as a pressure group.
Just one thing though; When the song mentions "over the borders" it's not Mexico that they are talking about!

ps I'll be involved in Cuillin FM, a local Skye radio station when it starts up aroung August/Sept. If you send a copy I'll certainly give it a load of blasts. PM me.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 08:11 PM

Andy,

Send me address and I'll send you the CD's my little Irish rebel band has. Understand that I am the only member of the band with any Scots ancestory. Sort of the fox in the musical henhouse.

I make no bones of the fact that had not the Scots invented the wheelbarrow the Irish might never have learned to walk on their hind feet.

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 08:23 PM

If you check out the Clancy Brothers website you will find many
traditional songs the Clancy Brothers claim copywright on.
Long before Irish music was as popular as it is now the Clancy's
were huge in the USA and they quickly became aware that few if
any of the songs they were singing were in copywight, and through
their publishing company in New York, Tiparm Music, they creamed
off substantial amounts of money from these songs, either in full,
or by arrangement.
My own personal gripe with the Clancy Brothers including the
cousin Robbie O'Connell is that having learned one of my songs
THE SICK NOTE in Waterford, Ireland, personally from me, they
performed and recorded this song in the USA under the title
DEAR BOSS , with writer credits TRA/Arranged ROBBIE O'CONNELL.
In the 60's The Clancy's could not have forseen the internet
and there was no way some eejit in Ireland could ever know this
especially if you change the title of the song.
This song word for word and note for note, is, and has allways
been my song, registered with PRS in 1973.
The collection agencies in the USA have the song registered as follows
BMI. DEAR BOSS. Mike Cross.
Harry Fox. DEAR BOSS. Trad. Arranged by Robbie O' Connell.
ASCAP. DEAR BOSS. Robbie O' Connell, and the Irish Rovers.
None of the above had any input whatsoever into this song but
royalties are paid to them to this day.
The trend of changing the title began with Noel Murphy in
England, MURPHY AND THE BRICKS, who I also personally gave
the song to still claims to have had some part in it's
composition, although he was at one stage obliged to remove
his name from the writers credits.
Regular Mudcatters will know the sordid story of my entanglement
with CELTIC MUSIC/ DAVE BULMER, fool that I was, but very soon
the above copywright infringers will be brought to account.
Whatever about Bulmer, I am Pissed Off, please forgive me, at
the way my songs, and there is more than one, are ripped of in
the USA, and elsewhere.
I have always written my songs for the pleasure they give me
and my audience, money matters little to me, but the wide world
of folk music seems to think differently.
In answer to the original question I do not know of any song
which was truly written by Tommy Makem/ The Clancy Brothers, and
I include FOUR GREEN FIELDS.
I should mention one truly honourabe exeption, SEAMUS KENNEDY,
who I don't know personally but whose singing I admire.
Seamus has both credited me as the author of his recording of DEAR BOSS, and has also sent me a royalty cheque, thanks Seamus.
I feel a few beers coming on,
Cheers,
Pat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 08:31 PM

Pat,

Thanks. I am always aware or at least try to be of who wrote what and want to give credit where it belongs. Which begs the next question. If I do one of your songs, do I send you the check (How much?) or do I send it to a clearing house and hopefully you get it or a cut of it.

I want to do whats right here. But I won't give a dime to anyone who clains rights to anysong I know is in the public domain.

Don


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 10:06 AM

Just curious...isn't copyright and not copywright .Wouldn't a "copywright" be an artisan who workes with copies, sich as a playwright writes plays and so on ? Just have never seen it written that way .


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: MMario
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 11:25 AM

it's a common error in spelling


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Big Tim
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 12:08 PM

If Tommy Makem didn't write "Four Green Fields", who did?


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 12:14 PM

Don,
Look at it this way. If you do get sued it will be because you have enough money to make it worth the suers(?) effort. In that case you'll have enough money to pay your lawyers to talk to their lawyers.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 06:52 PM

Sara Makem.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Seamus Kennedy in Alaska
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 09:03 PM

Don, I know Tommy, and he's a truly decent man.
I have recorded a few of his songs and send him royalties.
I also do this with any author/publishers I can track down.
When I come back from Alaska, I'll give you Tommy's phone number and you can call him yourself and ask him if he wrote the song you want to record. That's what I do. I thought he wrote Red Is The Rose, and he told me that he didn't.
Sometimes the recording companies claimed authorship/arranging rights without the artists' knowledge, so they could make a few extra bucks.
I don't believe that Tommy would claim a song he didn't write.
He wrote new lyrics for the Enniskillen Dragoon, which a few performers have recorded as Traditional.
Kendall, ol' buddy, the royalty rate is up to 8 cents now, so start writing!
Pat Cooksey, thanks for the great song and the kind words.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: CraigS
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 09:14 PM

Most of the Rev. Gary Davis's songs were copyrighted by Stefan Grossman (quote: If I hadn't done it someone else would have).
Alan Lomax was very bitter because Lonnie Donegan managed to copyright a large amount of Leadbelly's songs - when I heard what Mr Lomax had to say about the matter, I developed a dislike for Mr Donegan. T-Bone Walker lost a fortune because Stormy Monday was copyrighted as "They Call It Stormy Monday", and most of the covers had the title wrong - no royalties paid. People still credit Forty-four Blues to Howling Wolf (C. Burnett), when it was written by Roosevelt Sykes ...
The list is endless!


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 09:15 PM

Good man, Seamus. Since you are in Alaska, why don't you stop for a beer in Michigan on your way home??? It's right on the way, isn't it?

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Deskjet
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 09:24 PM

Can I stray a little and ask, if a songwriter can agree with a record company/artist $80 a 1000 units on a song(if I understand correctly), how can he/she verify how many units (cd's) have been sold? I presume it's units sold, and not produced.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: MMario
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 09:38 PM

according to law it is PRODUCED.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 11:55 PM

That would be great Seamus, and I don't doubt the decent nature of Tommy Makem. Would i be better off to send the check to Tommy or any other author or the Harry Fox agency?

And what can be done about the record companies who clain rights to songs that aren't theirs to claim?

Don


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Neighmond
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 01:39 AM

6 cents? if i had someone sing my somgs in public I'd be so tickled I'd tell them to save the 6 cents untill it got recorded....and just send me a copy instead.

Chaz


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 08:54 AM

I would bet that's because you don't support yourself playing music, Chaz. Those that rely on their music and songs to pay the rent receive little enough for the efforts of their labors.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM

Hi Don, The other side of the coin is that songwriters can be ripped off. I was informed by a fellow Mudcatter that an original song of mine, Hush, Hush (AKA Smile in your Sleep)had been recorded recently by Maddy Prior and the credits claimed she had written it. I contacted the record company who admitted a mistake but they had meant to say that she arranged it as a traditional song. I could prove the song had been published in book form and recorded previously (1966 actually!) so I will get my royalties. The songs you mentioned, however, are traditional and can be recorded by anyone as long as you put Trad; arranged by yourself.
Good luck,
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 04:27 PM

Woody's personal sentiments may have been admirable, but they're not shared by his publishers, who own the rights. To words and music (which is amazing, since I don't recall that Woody wrote any tunes.)


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Damien.
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 06:54 PM

The songs that pat cooksey sang at the Ennis Singers Club last
September were a total surprise, his Sick Note and The Reason I Left
Mullingar, we expected to hear, but it was amazing to hear Pat
rambling on with songs he had written, from the 70's to the present.
He also joked about singers who had claimed to have written his
songs.
I don't think Pat is too bothered, he has a great life.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 09:30 PM

In my opinion copyright should be restricted to the authors and their heirs and not be transferrable. Publishing and recording rights ,of course could be granted to others , but only for a short term .
This would leave the copyright always reverting back to the author , say every five years or so.
As for someone having the gall to attach a copyright to traditional or public domain music , arrangements be damned, it should never be allowed.
To put your copyright mark on someone elses work is simply theft.
As for Woody and his disdain for copyright , maybe if you turn the music sheet over and if on the other side it "didn't say nothing" then it is not a tresspass. :-}
    Slainte,
          Sandy


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Hrothgar
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 09:45 PM

At least when they claim copyright on a trad song, they're not ripping off the author, and if push comes to shove, they can't make it stick.

I'm with PC and JMcL when they complain about songs that they have written that are claimed by others - or even attributed to "Trad." The really irritating thing about much of this is not the loss of the royalties and the possibility of fraud - because that's what it is (I can say that - they're not my royalties!). It's the the way it demonstrates that somebody has been grossly careless in their attention to detail, and that they don't really know as much as they should about their material. In the folk music field, I'd expect people to care about their songs enough to know where they came from.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 10:18 PM

It was much harder to establish all the details in the past, and many of the errors of the 1950s-80s could be forgiven, were it not that the vested interests concerned so often resolutely refuse to correct their mistakes, or to make appropriate financial recompense.

Such errors are no longer easy to excuse. I recently received a review copy of a record by Sean Keane and his brothers, on which both The Logger and Qué Sera, Sera are described as "traditional". There's no excuse for that kind of laziness in a professional performer; it took me about ten minutes to find out authors and copyright dates (still very much current) for both.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 09:04 AM

It is mentioned back there that Martin Cathy sued Paul Simon over Scarborough Fair. I had always assumed this to be an urban legend. A quick look though previous threads has left me more confused than before. Is is even possible to copyright an arrangement of a traditional song?


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: nutty
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:14 AM

This site gives some History of Scarborough Fair

Scarborough Fair


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:32 AM

That is an interesting site, nutty, but I'm still no wiser about my questions. Is the story about Martin Carthy suing Paul Simon mythical? Can you copyright an arrangement of a traditional song?


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: curmudgeon
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:34 AM

Many years back, Sing Out, in its review of the Clancy Bros/Tommy Makem Songbook, severly called them to task about copyrighting trad material, pointing out that their "arrangement" of South Australia was not only note for note, word for word, the version sung by A.L. Lloyd, but was also in the same key.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Richie
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:50 AM

Belfast,

There is an art to creating traditional arrangements. Your arrangement of a traditional song is protected by copyright.

If you duplicate someone else's arrangement of a traditional song, you are violating their copyright on the arrangement. This would be hard to prove unless the arrangemt was unusual or extra lyrics were added listed as traditional that were actually composed, a common practice.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:56 AM

I wouldn't trust too much of the "history" at that Scarborough Fair page. I don't think that Martin sued Paul Simon, though he was understandably not very keen on talking about it while all the rumours were circulating. I suspect that any legal representations were between publishers or agencies rather than individuals, but I could easily be wrong. At all events, an accommodation was reached and they've made up.

Yes, you can copyright an arrangement of a traditional song; but if you have just re-arranged someone else's arrangement, so to speak, the waters become murky; and you may find yourself in a legal dispute. A lot of songs which people believe to be traditional are in fact quite complicated re-writes made from bits of traditional material and are in copyright already in that form. A lot of stuff that's been circulating since the '60s and '70s would come under that heading: Jack Orion would be one example. Quite a few songs are most commonly sung nowadays to tunes with which they were never associated in tradition: Willy of Winsbury, The Cruel Sister and Annan Water, for example, were set to other melodies from traditional sources (but in each case taken from books, not directly from tradition) by Andy Irvine, Pentangle (or someone unknown) and Nic Jones respectively. Nic Jones in particular wrote a number of new tunes for broadside texts which are blithely performed, and recorded, by people as "trad"; and the history of The Dark Island, though the tune isn't very old, is murky indeed.

I suppose that makes it more, not less, complicated, though.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM

I must confess that I'm still confused. I recall, for example, that Bert Jansch's version of "Blackwaterside" (mention of "Jack Orion" stirred a brain cell) with its distinctive guitar accompaniment was "borrowed" by – I can't remember – some American band. I don't think that Bert Jansch got any royalties for that.

Take for example Paul Brady's "Arthur MacBride". When you hear someone else doing it you don't need to be an ethnomusciologist to know where that accompaniment came from. And if someone were to record the song using Paul Brady's immediately recognizable arrangement would he get royalties or would there be a court case?

Has anyone ever got royalties for an arrangement of a traditional song? Has anyone ever gone to court and won such a case?

I'm talking legalities here, not morals or ethics, and I should point out that my interest is purely academic.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Jim McLean
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 05:00 PM

I remember Martin singing Scarborough Fair in the Troubadour, (London) in the early sixties. He got the song from McColl (it's in the Singing Island) so I always thought the suggestion that Martin sued Paul Simon a bit of a cheek as McColl should have sued the pair of them!
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Kernow John
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 05:34 PM

Can you copyright a house name?

If so Murphy is in trouble again, he calls his house 'The Bricks' a bit of a liberty in view of Pat's post above.

John


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 06:47 PM

The Carthy/Simon issue wasn't about the song, as you ought to know, Jim; but about the distinctive guitar accompaniment, which Simon copied note-for-note, including the (in those days, unusual) phrasing; and about the implied claim that Simon had written the whole song himself. That's all sorted out now, though, and there's no need to rake over the ashes; though it is an object lesson in the perils of making assumptions about the nature and status of what we may think is traditional; and the extent to which it can be considered to be "up for grabs".


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Damien.
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 08:00 AM

Song origins, authors, etc, are easy to trace these days, for those who take the trouble to do so, claiming the work of others as your
own, thus depriving the writer of income due is immoral, but sadly
a common practice.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Richie
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 08:43 AM

Belfast,

People get royalties for arrangements of traditional songs. I receive royalties for my folk arrangements from Mel Bay, my publisher.

I am not aware of litigation concerning violation of "arrangements of a folk song". In most cases there's probably not enough money at stake to warrant taking the claim to court. Even if you filed a suit for artistic reasons, you'd still have to pay lawyers, prove the case, win it in court , and (the hard part) collect damages. The damages in most cases being small.

There are many cases involving authorship of songs, and rewrites of songs.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 09:53 AM

Martin Carthy did not sue Paul Simon, the dispute was that Paul claimed copyright to the whole thing as his own. Martin thought there
he should have given the TRADITION some credit. If you look and listen closely to Martin Carthy songs you will sometimes find a song largely rewritten by Martin and the credits will always say 'traditional arranged Carthy '.
The last time Paul Simon was in England he telephoned Martin and asked him to play at his main concert in London, Martin accepted and they are once again good friends.
Dave


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 11:06 AM

Jim, I played the Troubadour several times in the sixties, and although I never heard Martin Carthy sing or talk about the song, it sure was on everyone ELSE'S mind.

Years later my sister-in-law sent me a video, with Billy Connolly hosting, in which Carthy went through every emotion known to humanity trying NOT to sound hurt and angry about Paul's supposed perfidy.

He starts off saying....."uhhhhh, oh well.......uhhh...it's JUST a folk song......uhh....and we were all drunk......and hey, what's mine is his......uhhhhh.....and I wish this would all just go away.....uhh" and then passes through .."Yeah, he went out and copywrited it the next morning (!!!).....and yeah, I wuz hurt, and ....uhhhh....prick me and I bleed (he really DID say that).....but it's ok.....uhhhhh...mumble mumble mumble....."

He was very emotional at the end, after ALL THESE YEARS! My guess is that he's a pretty honourable guy, and simply had not come up against the "Simon or Dylan" personality and ambition before. My guess is that after Paul and Bobby went home with several of his arrangements, his eyes opened a tad. Superstars don't worry 'bout tiny details.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 11:59 AM

Both Malcolm and Rick are correct, of course, but in those days so many people were just finding out about trad songs and cross borrowing was rife. I'd like to add that Martin IS an honourable guy: e.g. In and around 1964 I sold Martin a piper's knife for £1 as I was broke. A few months ago I met him at Bobby Davenport's 70th birthday party and he promised to return the knife, for a quid! This we have done, I have the knife (slightly battered) and he has his pound coin!
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Jim McLean
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 12:01 PM

PS I forgot to log in for the last posting, Sorry


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 12:12 PM

Thank you, Richie, for your reply. This is more or less what I suspected. But it does seem such a complicated and murky question. I have seldom heard a melody that didn't remind me of an earlier piece and I occasionally wonder just how close that resemblance would be before someone goes looking for a lawyer.

I suppose it helps to keep lawyers in work. We all know how much they need the money.

And I've just half-remembered seeing Martin Carthy in that documentary on BBC4. If I remember correctly he was saying nice and admiring things aboout Paul Simon.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM

And regarding the original subject of this thread I can't resist relating a conversation that I heard in south Armagh not long ago.   Tommy Makem was about to do a concert in Armagh and a couple of guys were talking about it in the pub.

The first, reading from a newspaper, says, "He says that he has got so much from this community that he wants to give something back."

His companion says, "Do you know how much he's getting paid for this gig?" and he names a rather large amount of cash.

"I see," says the first guy. "In other words, he has received so much from this community and now he wants to sell it back."

I apolgise in advance to friends and fans of Tommy Makem. I'm just a messenger.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 12:38 PM

Jimmie Driftwood used to do that kind of thing all the time. It's not anything new.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 01:06 PM

I never checked it, but I heard that in the early Sixties some nineteen different people claimed copyright on Greensleeves. I'd love to see that one come to court.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,John.
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM

The origins of Pat Cooksey's song the sick note have been well documented for years, Sing Out Magazine, Rise up Singing, The Furey's Songbook, The Dubliners Songbook, etc, etc, all listing him as the author, what therefore is the basis for other claims to the song and presumably royalties. Mike Cross Noel Murphy Robbie O'Connell And all the arranged byes.

Seems all you need to do is change the title.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 02:47 PM

Claiming copyright for Greensleeves? Not a good idea. You could end up in court against Henry VIII.

Or is someone going to tell me that his authorship is another myth?


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 03:22 PM

'enry who


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 03:32 PM

The point of copyrighting a traditional song, as I would think most people have grasped by now, is not to claim ownership so as you can get royalties off others who record it. You can't do that. The point is to get the royalties from your own recording of the song, which would otherwise be trousered by your record company if there is no copyright claimant. And since researching folk material, in my own experience, takes a lot longer than writing original stuff, I think the practise is perfectly legitimate.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: belfast
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 03:43 PM

Good point, Greg, but no, I hadn't thought of that. Does the "Trad.arr." cover that?


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 03:48 PM

Yes it does, in England at any rate. Can't speak for other legal systems.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 04:10 PM

Greg,

Then this all goes back to my original reason for the post. And I hate to continue to use Tommy Makem as the whipping boy here but that is the example I forst stated. In the case of "Jock 'O'Hazeldean" and the other songs mentioned directly in my post, Tommy Makem is identified as the author of the song. NOT as the author of the arrangement to a song that is already in Public Domain. And that is my entire contention.

If I, an an unknowing musician, record "Jock'O'Hazeldean" with my own arrangement and license as stated with Tommy as the author and credit him as such on the CD, does he or the label recieve the $80.00 from the license fee?

Isn't there an incumbency on someones part to correctly identify a song as Trad/Public Domain? Or is this entirely a Buyer Beware situation?

Don


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 05:43 PM

Yes, it's buyer beware all right.All those good old folk songs that came out as "New Words and New Music by Lonnie Donegan". Of course he never wrote them, neither was he really claiming to. A legal fiction. I dont know American law, but claiming authorship does seem a bit cavalier. "Trad arranged G Stephens" tends to take care of things in England. It may not even be true, but people who died 300 years ago arent going to sue me, and neither is Tommy Makem if I do it to "Jock O'Hazeldean".


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 06:50 PM

Sir Walter Scott wrote Jock o' Hazeldean, though he based it on an earlier song (Jock of Hazelgreen; Child 293E, to be specific), and it's sung to a traditional tune.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:00 AM

I feel certain that in reality Tommy Makem wouldn't claim to have written songs that he clearly didn't, but most record companies are mostly dishonest and would do it.
There once was [ and still may be ] an unofficial Bob Dylan website
claiming he wrote both words and music to EVERYTHING he ever recorded, including all the traditional songs and tunes. I know from my vinyl collection that he himself did not.
Dave


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 07:28 AM

As this whole area causes confusion and acrimony, can I simply describe how the practise works. Say I play a gig at an Arts Centre, and fill out a PRS form saying what we've played( the PRS uses this random sampling to allocate performing royalties). Say I play the old jig "A Trip to the Lakes". When I recorded that, it goes down as "Trad arranged G Stephens "(with the record company I record with as publisher). That's the information I put on the PRS form. In the fullness of time the PRS computer, with any luck, will allocate me 35 pence or whatever. Considering the time I've spent collecting and researching Cumbrian tunes, I think it's fair I should get that money. If I just put "trad" the money would vanish into an amorphous pool and probably end up in Paul Macartney's pocket or something. I reckon I deserve it. I am emphatically not claiming that I wrote the tune, or expecting anyone else to pay me for playing it(even if they play my version which is different from the tune I originally learnt).


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: GUEST,Guest.
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 08:04 AM

What about Traditional songs or copywright songs claimed by others.
Not arrangements, the complete song.


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 11:31 AM

Remember that Tommy Makem first recorded for Tradition records, which was owned by Liam Clancy. SOMEONE was claiming some improbable copyrites. That's just the way it was done. Pete Seeger explains that when the Weavers complained that they DIDN'T write all those songs...thir manager said "Fine, do you want the record companies to get all the money that's collected"? It's hard to buck the system when you've become part of it.....even if you're one of the 'good guys'.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Song Ownership-Tommy Makem
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Feb 03 - 02:29 AM

Well the end result of my little question has developed a life of it's own. Opinions and questions are flying and some answers are being given. What beter use of this forum?

Our new CD which will be out March 9th will have on it.

"Four Green Fields"
"Can't Help But Wonder"
"The Night Rider's Lament"
"The Old Man"
"Donegal Danny"

And a recording of "The Mother's Kiss" which I wrote some time ago. Along with 10 others from the Public Domain. The recording studio won't reproduce any songs that aren't cleared so the five mentioned will be duly licensed and attributed to the authors.

Thanks to everyone for the replies and advice.

Don


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