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copyright laws and recital
#1646723 03/23/11 05:30 PM
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Hi

I have questions I cant seem to find the answer to. My school has a show every year with a theme. There are performances dances artwork etc all around this theme. Last year the pianists picked music from a recital book they played but did not necessarily go with the theme. This year I would like as many as possible to play music around the central theme of the show.

Here is the problem. I purchased individual sheet music of various songs, mostly disney for kids to play. For some I needed to purchase the easies music I could find but it is still too hard. I can make this music playable for these kids just by removing some of the notes in the left hand. Is this ok?

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Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1646724 03/23/11 05:35 PM
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sorry it would not let me type more. The second issue is that some of the peices are just too long for these little ones. They can play say, the chorus but it s too much for them to play the entire peice. Is this ok? Since most everyone here uses classical peices for recital I dont even know who to ask.

I would really like them ot be able to play the same music as the rest of the group and fit in with the rest of the show but I also want to make sure I am not infringing on any copyright laws.

From what I read, one is allowed to purchase sheet music and make it simpler to play for educatin purposes so I believe that simplifying it for recital falls under that category. But want to make sure.


Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1646744 03/23/11 06:09 PM
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Go to MTNA.org and find their copyright information for teachers. It is very comprehensive and has been thoroughly scrubbed by the legal eagles.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: copyright laws and recital
John v.d.Brook #1647173 03/24/11 11:05 AM
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thanks for this i have been reading on the various legal websites looking for the info but it is just too complicated to understand.

Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1647288 03/24/11 03:08 PM
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you can do whatever you want with printed music (as you said, you've already purchased it). alter it in any way you like, you simply can't make money from your arrangements as they are really taken from a copyrighted arrangement.

also, if there is a printed program, you probably want to reference the composer/arranger of the printed music you purchased (you can always add arr. by "your name")


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Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1647578 03/25/11 01:27 AM
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While I think it might be 'slightly illega' (how's that for a term, huh?), I also think that you are doing this for educational reasons so there shouldn't be a problem. Furthermore it's not unheard of to have some kind of 'cutbacks' in any kind of music. I have done so while playing the piano, and others have as well. It's only normal to accomodate for a few issues sometimes...

Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1647616 03/25/11 04:04 AM
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The law in this area varies quite considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Trying to figure it out from Web sites -- even if you can understand them -- is dodgy because, even if you're sure the author is competent, you still have to be sure it applies to your jurisdiction.

Sorry to be so unhelpful, but this is a legal minefield. Is there not some sort of musicians' guild or union in your area that has poeple who can advise on this?

Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1647643 03/25/11 06:23 AM
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The MTNA website seems to only address the issue of arranging music with the idea of then holding your own copyright and/or selling it and/or using it in place of purchasing, which is not okay. MTNA, understandably, is going to spend more time on what not to do rather than try to give blanket permission in the gray areas.

The laws are so tricky, sometimes you have to go with your best guess, and everyone's comfort level is different.

I believe (but this is only my understanding of the ins and outs) that purchasing a piece of music for each student will cover any issues. Then you can have each individual student play just the chorus, or just the melody line, or use lots of white out, or whatever. You haven't robbed the composer of income, because you've purchased the music. Copyrights do NOT insist that you are in violation if you leave out notes, forget the dynamics, have lousy rhythm, only play a portion, transpose, etc. That would be ridiculous. You are performing at a free, private function, and you are not earning profits from it, so do not have to pay royalties or get performance permission.

For most copyright issues, the law looks at a couple issues - prevalence, loss of income, etc. If a publisher of music goes too heavy-handed against piano teachers for children playing in recitals, I suspect piano teachers would then start avoiding those publishers. If anything, performance of pieces tends to increase sales, as other children say "I want to play that, too."



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Re: copyright laws and recital
lovemypiano #1647707 03/25/11 08:42 AM
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Well, I'm sure its true that a lot of legally questionnable stuff goes on with no adverse consequences, because it's in nobody's interests to make a fuss about it. Good job, really, given the unclarity of the law.


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