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I think if I was a pop singer who actually CARED about the music, I would appreciate someone promoting my music in a beautiful way. True, that does not make it any more legal, but it's just a thought.


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Apparently not many of the forumites here write their own original music. What is the objection to the artist getting paid? I can't understand the willingness to steal from other artists.


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I couldn't get hold of all the original artists even if I tried.

How about this. Somewhere in my website, I will state that the original artists may contact me to collect their royalties.

Musicnotes has done this to save their butt:
http://www.musicnotes.com/publishers/unknown.asp
Mind you, they REALLY hid their link to this page though (go ahead and try to find their link starting at their homepage). But that's just the publishers not getting paid by musicnotes. And the original artists?

Last edited by MathTeacher; 06/23/11 12:10 AM.
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You could take your transcriptions to a publisher, who would get the permissions for you, if they thought it was worthwhile to publish your transcriptions.

You don't necessarily have to contact each and every artist - there are agencies that handle permissions.

It doesn't appear to me that you really wanted to know if it was illegal or not - you're pretty determined to do it whether or no. Maybe you just wanted to know how likely it was that you got caught, or what the consequences might be if you got caught? I dunno - I'm just not sure why you asked at all.

I think I heard somewhere tho that a measure of a person's character was what they do when no one's looking - or if they don't get caught.

Just sayin' smile

Cathy


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I would like to see more advanced transcriptions available. There are some collections out there so getting them published would be the way to go.

Jotur has the right idea.

And I just bet that a publisher would be interested!


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Regarding the idea of a link on MT's webpage inviting the artists to send him a bill:

Oh, that's the ticket! put the burden on the artist. Why don't you just obey the law? There are companies that handle licensing. One of my bandmates is getting licenses for a CD we are mixing. It's not rocket science. Just do the right thing instead of ripping off the artists.

Are you really teaching math to students? Do your students smoke pot in class?


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I agree with Cathy. Before deciding that getting the appropriate permission is impossible, why not try? I'm very curious as to how much the license would cost per song. It might be a very reasonable token fee, and it could be as easy as contacting just a couple of organizations that represent a lot of different artists. I don't know. But if you took the effort to make the inquiries, you might be able to rationalize better to yourself that getting the legal ducks in a row was just too insurmountable. wink


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Originally Posted by lilylady
I would like to see more advanced transcriptions available. There are some collections out there so getting them published would be the way to go.

Jotur has the right idea.

And I just bet that a publisher would be interested!


I'm not sure about that. Advanced transcriptions of pop songs would be a niche market I think. Only a minority of people would play them without frustration. I don't think there would be much profit for the publishers. Otherwise, Hal Leonard would have published such transcriptions long ago.

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Originally Posted by Monica K.
why not try? I'm very curious as to how much the license would cost per song. It might be a very reasonable token fee,


It might be easy, indeed. My wife, who is a violinist, has done some transcriptions of both pop and classical stuff into arrangements for string trio. (Beatles, folk) When the trio (Three Belles With Bows) did a CD, they had no trouble getting permissions and the cost was very reasonable. There was only one artist's agent that didn't reply quickly.



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to the person that asked how much ? about 10 -12% of retail but considering you are on the internet and you probably won't be selling many ,i really doubt they would even respond. The phone call itself probably costs more than their potential income.

Contact the publisher. If they don't offer some sort of arrangement, just go ahead and do it yourself. The worse case scenario in your situation is a cease and desist order.

Ideally, you would need a publisher on your behalf to arrange this. Perhaps approach a publisher first and go that route.

either way , you won't be making any money.

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If you are doing arrangements and distributing them whether for profit, donation, or for free to do so legally requires the copyright holder of the song give you permission (this usually involves the paying of a per copy royalty fee). Yes there are a lot of people distributing this type of material without permission but that doesn't make it legal. If you are giving away arrangements of a composers song, then people are less likely to buy the authorized publishers versions, which means you are cheating the composer out of royalties for his work. This could get you sued by the publisher in question. It has happened and the amount of damages can be substantial. I've recently read about several churches being fined for copyright infringement for having illegal copies of music in their libraries. If a church can be fined, so can you as an individual for a similar offense. You can arrange songs for your own use and performance (the composer is compensated here in the US by ASCAP and BMI when you legally perform the song in a licensed venue). Where you get into trouble is when you distribute copies of copyrighted material and the fines are normally based on the number of copies. Do people do it and get away with it yes, is it legal or ethical, the answer to that is no. You have to decide for yourself is it worth the risk to do it illegally, or should you be above board and seek out an agreement with the copyright holder so that composers and others who depend on these royalties for their livelyhood get their fair compensation.

Last edited by RayE; 07/02/11 05:44 PM.

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I came across this on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=OEIAC1UqwTc

"Everyone here is wrong. The song is in 6/4 and the bridge is in 3/4. Trust me. I transcribed it and posted my chart on Youtube. Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by Gretchen's manager Karen Kennedy, Gretchen, and Robert Glasper (arranger) and they threatened to sue me. I was told that chart was accurate... too accurate to post. It scared them."

bigbandman70 2 weeks ago

Mathteacher,

The problem is that since you've announced to the forum what you are planning to do, which makes it very easy for anyone here to report you to the original composer ...Not very bright.

Like others have said, work with a publisher and do it legally. If you do a good job, you'll get more steady work, and you'll be able to do it for the long term... it may lead to more interesting stuff. If you get caught selling music illegally, you will get really bad reputation from the community, and it will be much harder to make anything out of of your musical ability at that point.

Last edited by etcetra; 07/02/11 06:34 PM.
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Just curious. Has anyone here tried offering a transcription you've done to an online sheet music store like MusicNotes.com and see if they would pay you for it?

This would be ideal where you could get a one-time payment for your transcription work and the retailer takes care of the rest, actual sales, licensing etc.

I'm guessing this is not likely, or common. They would probably rather just do the transcription work themselves. But it would be cool if you could do this. I have some pieces ready to go!

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Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Is it legal to put a price tag on these "embellishments" of mine, or do my scores still belong to the original publishing houses that made the first piano transcriptions?


Under UK law, you'd be making derivative works. You'd own the copyright in the derivation, but you'd be infringing the rights of any number of other people in the process. I'm pretty sure the US situation is similar.

Ethically, I think what you're suggesting really has to be considered rather questionable. Composers have to eat, too.

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Originally Posted by rocket88
Whatever happened to morality? Opps...forgot...its obsolete now! Today, its "get away with whatever you can" ...
Sadly, this is true of the publishers AND the copy-makers. Copyright is meant to benefit the public by persuading artists and publishers to produce more, not (as it is currently misused) to benefit the publishers in spite of both the artists and the public.

I am in favour of much stronger copyright laws, with big teeth and massive penalties, that last (for a pop song) six months or a year - after which the song would permanently enter the public domain.


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Originally Posted by Monica K.
I agree with Cathy. Before deciding that getting the appropriate permission is impossible, why not try? I'm very curious as to how much the license would cost per song. It might be a very reasonable token fee, and it could be as easy as contacting just a couple of organizations that represent a lot of different artists.
No.

Making a CD is easy as pie. A lot of people have fought pretty hard so us artists have an easy time doing a cover. Making a music video, again, it's not as easy, but the MTV generation has done the heavy lifting for us.

Making sheet music, well, it's been the standard for a long time to either do a huge run or do a small pirate run. Most people who did a small run just gave up on trying to get the rights, because it was too hard to catch nameless pirates, unlike a band doing a cover or a video, which needs to advertise their name.

The downside to this, is that it's not automated. To make sheet music, you have to negotiate with the artist or the artist's representatives. To make matters worse, Hal-Leonard owns blanket rights over pretty much everything, so they get first dibs on any popular music. (A parallel to this is that Madden is the only video game that is legally allowed to use the NFL's team names)

Getting a CD is pretty automated, so there is no cost to the songwriter to grant a license and small runs are profitable to everyone. Since sheet music is not automated, it means lawyers have to get involved to draw up a contract, which makes it cost prohibited to do a small run, if a small run is even possible due to other contractual obligations.

Since there's big players that want to squeeze out the little self-publishers, I don't see this changing anytime soon.


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Originally Posted by david_a

I am in favour of much stronger copyright laws, with big teeth and massive penalties, that last (for a pop song) six months or a year - after which the song would permanently enter the public domain.


A good case can be made that copyright periods are currently too long, but six months? I suspect the only musicians who could prosper in such a regime are those who target the most fickle end of the ipod market. If all the money you were ever going to make from producing music had to be made in six months, surely you'd just end with nothing but poor-quality, mass-produced rubbish?

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I bet we do not have many song copyright owners in this thread. IIRC the copyright terms were lengthened not too long ago. Again, the policy is the artist gets paid. A user of the music pays a royalty. What's wrong with that? If a transcription, CD, arrangement etc is not worth investing in the material to follow the copyright laws, then it is probably not worth publishing in the first place, no matter how good or important the transcriber or cover musician thinks it is. If OP - and this is not meant as an ad hominem - does not want to lay out the production costs, he probably, deep down, does not have much of an opinion of the material either.


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Ok, then I guess there is eternally no solution to meet the demand of getting (affordably) advanced transcriptions of popular songs. It is illegal for the transcribers to sell them on their own, and publishers will not invest in them because all the average players (perhaps 90% of the market) won't want to buy them.

I guess I'll just have to do what I've been doing for years. Transcribe properly all the songs I like myself. And everyone else disappointed by the music sheets out there will have to do the same (and if you cannot transcribe, or don't have the time to, your out of luck).

Last edited by MathTeacher; 07/05/11 02:45 PM.
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Originally Posted by appleman
To make sheet music, you have to negotiate with the artist or the artist's representatives. To make matters worse, Hal-Leonard owns blanket rights over pretty much everything, so they get first dibs on any popular music.


Very interesting, appleman, and I appreciate your description of how the sheet music publishing industry works. It does sound much more complicated than simply recording a cover of a piece on one's CD.

Your comment above got me curious, though. If Hal Leonard owns the rights to so much, could it be feasible simply to approach them with advanced transcriptions and see if they'll buy them? (Or, as MathTeacher notes above, that's not feasible because they have no interest in publishing very advanced arrangements.)

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