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Thread: Music Business 101 - Licensing

  1. #11
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    Thanks! Very helpful article!

    @ OP

    I have a quick question:

    Is it legal (as a beat maker/ producer) to sell a "interpolation" as a work for hire?
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  2. #12
    galacticboy is offline Registered Loser
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    Quote Originally Posted by ===>DRB<=== View Post
    Thanks! Very helpful article!

    @ OP

    I have a quick question:

    Is it legal (as a beat maker/ producer) to sell a "interpolation" as a work for hire?
    A work for hire means that, for purposes of the law, the copyright owner is the person/group that commissioned the work rather than the actual creator of the work. All that means is that any infringement liability is on the employer/commissioner rather than the creator in a work for hire situation.

    As to interpolations, there are no hard and fast rules. It depends on how much of the musical composition you've taken, it also depends on how much of what you've taken is "copyrightable expression" of the original composition - common chord progressions, rhythmic patterns, a few notes of a melody, and even many lyrics are considered too common that they aren't protectable.

    Certainly, interpolating an entire song is copyright infringement. Anything less than that is up to the courts to decide, and they approach it on a case-by-case basis.

  3. #13
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    Thanks.

    I find that my interpolations might make me some decent side money...I just don't wanna end up in hot water...
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  4. #14
    herbie_seky is offline Registered User
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    Thank you for the post. A lot of info we all need to know!

  5. #15
    dvyce is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by ===>DRB<=== View Post
    Thanks.

    I find that my interpolations might make me some decent side money...I just don't wanna end up in hot water...

    I think Galactic Boy is misunderstanding what you are asking.

    When you are speaking about "interpolation", you are talking about purposefully and intentionally taking someone elses copyrighted work and incorporating it into your own song in a manner that is using that other copyrighted with the intention of being recognized as that other work...

    An example of this would be Flo Rida using the hook from "dead or alive"'s song "you spin me round"...

    It is never "legal" to sell this work without permission from the copyright holder ofthe incorporated work.

    What Galactic Boy was describing was a case where you might have had a segment of your song which "accidentally" (wink, wink) sounds similar someone elses copyrighted material. In that case, the original copyright holder would hear your song and say "hey, that part sounds like my song and you violated my rights!"...

    ...then you would say "what? My song sounds nothing like yours!"...

    ...then he would say "those 4 notes are exactly like my song"...

    ...then you would say "4 notes from your 11 note melody are not enough to infringe on your rights, plus I never even heard your song!"...

    ...then he would say "those 4 notes are the main recognizable part of my hook and my song was a number1 hit, so of course you heard it!"

    ...etc, etc... You'd have lawsuits filed against you... Blah, blah, blah... You get the idea.



    But with what you are talking about, you are purposely using part of someone elses song to play off of it's popularity.

    Always an infringement.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvyce View Post

    ....But with what you are talking about, you are purposely using part of someone elses song to play off of it's popularity.

    Always an infringement.
    Maybe I need to clarify a lil bit more.

    I understand if I used someone elses comp then of course its infringement.

    But in the scenario I am referring to I am just the creator (or should I say re-creator) ..

    Example:

    If someone wants me to replay (example) every breath by the police for their album or whatever and I replay it, put my twist on it and pass them the track and I receive "work for hire" money am I liable when they release it (if they don't clear it) if I receive credit and "work for hire" dough for my involvement?
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  7. #17
    dvyce is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by ===>DRB<=== View Post
    Maybe I need to clarify a lil bit more.

    I understand if I used someone elses comp then of course its infringement.

    But in the scenario I am referring to I am just the creator (or should I say re-creator) ..

    Example:

    If someone wants me to replay (example) every breath by the police for their album or whatever and I replay it, put my twist on it and pass them the track and I receive "work for hire" money am I liable when they release it (if they don't clear it) if I receive credit and "work for hire" dough for my involvement?

    It is all about the contract you sign with them...

    Most "work for hire" agreements require YOU to sign an INDEMNITY CLAUSE. This says that you warrant and represent that everything in your composition is your own work and does not infringe on the rights of any other people... it also says that if they get sued for using the music you supplied to them, YOU are responsible!

    You have to make sure that whatever you sign says that they have asked you to do this work incorporating someone else's copyrighted material and that it is their responsibility to procure the rights to use this music and that you are not responsible for any infringement arising from use of this other work which you do not own.




    (as usual, i am not giving you "legal advice"... just explaining general concepts to you... talk to a lawyer... i am not acting as your lawyer or anybody else's lawyer.)

  8. #18
    Drethe5th's Avatar
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    Smart labels, artists, producers, will clarify this in writing before any financial transactions or album, broadcast, or sales occur.
    Last edited by Drethe5th; 10-09-2009 at 10:00 PM.
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  9. #19
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    -Edited
    Last edited by Drethe5th; 10-09-2009 at 09:59 PM.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drethe5th View Post
    A work for hire is not an issue of legal clearance for the producer.

    Thats why labels ask for producers to clear their samples, and check to see if they in fact did it. Because once sold, the producer is not liable for law suits.

    Just think if the track was "stolen" or given to a label as a promotional disk of the producer and the label used it. The producer could not be held liable.

    EXAMPLE:
    Guns dont kill people. Men with guns kill people. The arms dealer is not reasponsible for the murder.

    Window Tint laws state that your windows can only be as dark as a state permits it to be (usualy over 15%) But a cop will pull you over and you get the ticket. The detail ship that put the tint on your car will never get the ticket.

    Drugs. Mikes car is full of coke, but he is not in the car. Derick is driving and gets pulled over, he will be charged with trafficking even if he proves Mike owns the car.

    Internet. Internet companies provide services to use internet, including illegal downloading or identity theft. They are never charged in a criminal case of either of those acts.

    Bottom Line.

    In almost all legal situations, reasponsibility is placed on the end user. Even if the end user had no knowledge of a possible infraction of the law.

    The producer is clear........... The artist or label who releases and sells the song is held liable for all legal matters.

    Note: The producer can be held liable if a contract required him to clear the samples or requests that all work be original compositions. If he sells them a track that was not clear or fully original they may sue him. If the label releases the track first, they may be sued, but can still bring up a case against the poducer after their original case.
    Smart labels and producers will clarify these issues before any transactions occur.
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