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Transformative vs Derivative

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Transformative vs Derivative

Postby Aurongroove » Sat May 11, 2019 9:15 am

It seems to be a really sticky subject, especially with music.

My mate, who I helped with digital aggregation, has one song on his album (of original songwriting) that para-quotes in several places, a pop song from the 80's.

Now, to me, it is obviously transformative and quotes material from a song that has been in the public consciousness for about 40 years.
But music can be a scary industry.

Video Killed the Radio Star.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8r-tXRLazs

Calling out my name.
https://open.spotify.com/track/4K6pVscI ... uIQvSFcWvw


Is it diligent, or just hysterical to seek legal protection for something like this?
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Re: Transformative vs Derivative

Postby Still Vibrations » Sat May 11, 2019 9:32 am

Depends. Personally I think if s/he's playing live, or it's a small run of vinyl for example, you may get away with it. In the 1990s/early 2000s people would sample well known tracks and produce 500-1000 vinyl copies to give to DJs. Sometimes the white labels only had a pager number on them. Usually no one cared unless it started making money or became popular, then clearance was essential - often meaning most of the royalties went on sample clearance. Unfortunately it is now a minefield and the recent Marvin Gaye trial has shown that attorneys are ruthless, mendacious, money grabbers and juries don't know what they are doing when it comes to anything to do with creativity. Governments don't either as you can see from their policies on copyright legislation and internet security.

If you are on a long train journey you could read this thread which discusses these things:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=65592

Usually you get a Cease and Desist letter but I'm am not taking responsibility if your friend ends up in a penitentiary cracking rocks.

Aurongroove wrote:Is it diligent, or just hysterical to seek legal protection for something like this?

That's a surprising comment as basically you are suggesting your friend wants "legal protection" for breaking the law (even though I personally disagree with the law in this case).
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Re: Transformative vs Derivative

Postby Aurongroove » Sat May 11, 2019 10:04 am

Perhaps legal advice/opinion would be a better choice of words.
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Re: Transformative vs Derivative

Postby Still Vibrations » Sat May 11, 2019 10:22 am

Aurongroove wrote:Perhaps legal advice/opinion would be a better choice of words.

Except it cost about £300 an hour twenty years ago. If you get free advice from PRS or the Musicians' Union they will almost certainly say it's illegal as they both support draconian copyright legislation.
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Re: Transformative vs Derivative

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 11, 2019 1:49 pm

It being lyrics rather than a recording you could argue a fair dealing defence or a de minimis approach - however, as the other thread linked above covers, there's not a lot of case-law on this. :(
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Re: Transformative vs Derivative

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 11, 2019 2:31 pm

Really enjoying the album though! :D
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