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16 bar loop legal?

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  • #16
    True but I'm not planning a RAP tune. In a RAP tune the only music will be from the loop. I'm planning on starting with the loop and MY drums and then adding my own lead lines. There will even be long breaks where the sampled loop won't even be heard. What you are describing already happened TO me. Puff Daddy used music from my tune "Things of this World " in "his" tune "Shake ya tail featha" He never added any other music !! RAP vocals aren't musical . It is just like reciting poetry with drums.

    Dan


    With all due respect, your characterization of rap is pretty heavy handed. But anyway...

    I think it is Bill Frisell's album "Unspeakable", which uses a lot of looping and a DJ as part of his contemporary jazz setting, or maybe a Charlie Hunter album, but one of the funniest album credits I've ever seen was:

    Lawyer name: Sample clearances and other legal nightmares.

    Listed immediately after the musicians names.

    The point is that playing a new melody, or adding a drum groove to a solo instrument loop is not substantially different from adding a rap. The underlying sample isn't changed.

    Again, for a small release the licensing fee could be quite reasonable, and just finding out what it might cost will be very inexpensive. A few phone calls and/or e-mails.
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    • #17
      It is my understanding that what is copyrighted in a song is the melody and lyrics. What is copyrighted in a recording is, well, the actual recording. There is no copyright for a bassline, a riff, or a chord progression, so if you re-record the stuff without the song melody and not use the original recordings, you don't need to ante up.

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      • #18
        It is my understanding that what is copyrighted in a song is the melody and lyrics. What is copyrighted in a recording is, well, the actual recording. There is no copyright for a bassline, a riff, or a chord progression, so if you re-record the stuff without the song melody and not use the original recordings, you don't need to ante up.


        Perhaps. From a creative standpoint I can see taking a vamp like the arpeggiated chords from the intro to Birds if Fire and adding a drum groove, or melody to that. Also from a creative standpoint I can see the appeal of using a loop of the original recording in contrast to re-playing the exact notes - that's just an artistic decision either way you go.

        But when you look at piece of music like that, you could say it's "just a chord progression" and argue that it's not copyrightable because it isn't a "melody" per se, and obviously has no lyrical content. But you could also argue that the particular arpeggiation pattern applied to those particular chords creates a de facto "melody" whether or not it can be written as straight forward as the melody to "I Got Rhythm". I love music that abstracts melody in such a way that it isn't "Hum Along with Harry" time.
        Music for your busy day.

        All the info you need.

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        • #19
          ".....RAP vocals aren't musical . It is just like reciting poetry with drums......Dan


          I'm amazed when people say "rap isn't music"
          A large percentage of the current generation
          would disagree with you...
          Music is whatever the people say it is.

          Have you ever tried rapping?
          Making a rap work over a loop,
          or as you call it,
          "reciting poetry with drums"
          is not as easy as you might think.

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          • #20
            And that is just precisely what I'm going to do ! I'm not going to waste countless hours producing something which I never can release.

            I was getting all ready with the loop but any hope of that was squashed by the replies on this thread.

            YES as musicians we need copyright but if this logic had been applied to patents , we would all still be driving a model A . In patents , if a sizable percentage is changed from the original then the resultant design is considered NEW .

            Dan


            That's the way to go Dan... I mean, you're creative, you're a musician, you're a composer, just write something in that style, that groove, and it's all yours and you get all the glory...

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            • #21
              It is my understanding that what is copyrighted in a song is the melody and lyrics. What is copyrighted in a recording is, well, the actual recording. There is no copyright for a bassline, a riff, or a chord progression, so if you re-record the stuff without the song melody and not use the original recordings, you don't need to ante up.


              No, there is no objective way to characterize the different elements of a composition as melody, harmony, riff, chord progression, etc., in every case. That's why the only legal standard in copyright infringement cases involving the underlying composition (as opposed to the recording itself) is "substantial similarity," which must be subjectively decided by a jury or judge.
              silentheart.com

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              • #22
                Recent court decisions have made it clear that if you use anything pre-recorded, you need to get clearance. It is possible to twist something so much it's not recognizable and therefore you wouldn't get caught, but that's still taking a chance.

                I favor the "write your own stuff and capture the vibe" approach. Here's a trick: Dr. Walker remixed one of my songs with an "illegal" loop. It was good enough to release, so I did a loop in the style of the illegal loop. But it just didn't seem to work. So, I used some curve-stealing software (the Steinberg one from their ancient mastering pack suite, the newer TC Assimilator is better) and applied the spectrum of the original loop to the new loop. It worked like a charm!!
                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                • #23
                  No, there is no objective way to characterize the different elements of a composition as melody, harmony, riff, chord progression, etc., in every case. That's why the only legal standard in copyright infringement cases involving the underlying composition (as opposed to the recording itself) is "substantial similarity," which must be subjectively decided by a jury or judge.


                  Yes, that's what I meant up above where I'm saying that playing arpeggiated chords in a certain way creates a melody and harmony, so you can argue that it isn't a "melody", or that it is a "melody"
                  Music for your busy day.

                  All the info you need.

                  Be my friend?

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                  • #24
                    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a difference between re-playing something and sampling from an actual recording? I always thought that to "re-record" a phrase or even a whole song a compulsory license is sufficient (as long as you pay Harry Fox), compared to sampling, which you have to get permission from the owner of the recording (as in opposed to just the publishing holder), which in most cases is the record company?


                    Two separate copyrights - you're correct. The recording is one, and the song that was recorded is the other. Use a sample from a recording and you probably will have to pay a fee to the holder of each of those. Re-record a song, and you're only going to owe the songwriters (or the holder of the songwriting copyright) and not the label / holder of the recording's copyright.
                    **********

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                    • #25
                      Recent court decisions have made it clear that if you use anything pre-recorded, you need to get clearance. It is possible to twist something so much it's not recognizable and therefore you wouldn't get caught, but that's still taking a chance.

                      I favor the "write your own stuff and capture the vibe" approach. Here's a trick: Dr. Walker remixed one of my songs with an "illegal" loop. It was good enough to release, so I did a loop in the style of the illegal loop. But it just didn't seem to work. So, I used some curve-stealing software (the Steinberg one from their ancient mastering pack suite, the newer TC Assimilator is better) and applied the spectrum of the original loop to the new loop. It worked like a charm!!


                      I don't understand Assimilator. Isn't any well-done, mixed and mastered song going to have a more or less flat spectrum? How would applying such a spectrum to my mix be of any benefit?
                      silentheart.com

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                      • #26
                        I don't understand Assimilator. Isn't any well-done, mixed and mastered song going to have a more or less flat spectrum? How would applying such a spectrum to my mix be of any benefit?


                        No, it won't have a totally flat spectrum. There will be little peaks and valleys, particularly in the midrange, and the mixing engineer will have particular preferences that cause raising/lowering bass/treble as deemed appropriate. While there will be certain elements in common with well-mixed records--like the treble part of the spectrum falling off at at gentle rate--it's those little midrange anomalies that add a lot of character to the sound.

                        BTW I should also add that I rarely use curve-stealing software, because it isn't really that necessary. But it definitely helped give the loop the sound quality of the other loop (which sounded like it had been recorded in some strange, funky room--no way I was going to duplicate that). The other time it was invaluable was when I was working on a CD. The sound of all the mixes was consistent, except for one I had mixed a couple months earlier. Rather than remix, I applied the spectrum of a mix from the newer set of songs to the old one and presto, instant consistency. I realize the purists will think I'm committing heresy but screw 'em, they weren't footing the bill and it took only minutes to make the mix fit in with the rest of the CD.
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                        • #27
                          If one O ya'll steal my chord progression

                          I'll see ya when court is in session

                          Cause Am, Em, G is my possesion

                          So I'll have to teach you a lesson!oke:
                          First kill the goose by refusing to feed it , then blame it for dying and not giving anymore gold eggs


                          Professionalism is an attitude and , not a possesion that you own forever once you have acheived something.



                          "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                          Albert Einstein


                          .

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                          • #28
                            I think you should use:

                            "I'll have to teach you all a lesson"

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                            • #29
                              seriously, I haven't seen a copyright lead sheet of a song that included a bass line riff or a guitar riff. Now a recorded piece of music is different. You have to pay mechanical rights to use any part of those recorded stuff, unless you record your own. When you look up the copyright of unchained melody, does that include the Schubert "Our Father" arpeggio accompaniment? I don't think so. But definitely people will say you would have ripped the accompaniment from unchained melody.
                              Would you say that the totally distinctive guitar accompaniment of "Every breath you take" is copyrighted? (incidentally that is right off of Granados' "Oriental" Spanish dance, just done in major key). There are a lot of gray areas here which can only be covered by a matter of proper ethics in our part as musicians and composers. Apparently the essence of the modern popular song is not just song melody and lyrics, but in copyright, it still is.
                              What I mean by this is that todays' songs employ musical "hooks" to give it essence as compared to the traditional essence of a song being melody and lyric. These musical hooks are not copyrighted melodies, the song melodies are. But it is definitely out of taste to grab that hook (essence) and use it blatantly in another song. No matter what type of accompaniment or style of accompaniment you put behind, if the melody and lyric are the same, the song is definitely the same, but not the other way around. If you have two or more different songs that can share the same accompaniments (U2- with or without you, Gregorian - Once in a lifetime, Superman etc.) does that mean each accompaniment is copyrighted? Is the definitive 8th note bass line of "With or without you" copyrighted? In most music it is out of taste to use similar if not the exact same intros, but in some (traditional blues for one) it is a norm.
                              Sadly it is up to us to use our own proprietary ethics to do what is right and not steal the "essence" from other songs whether it be the copyrighted melody/lyrics or the modern day musical hook (uncopyrighted).

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                              • #30
                                Actually , I have discovered that using the loop may be more difficult than I had anticipated. As most of you know, Birds of Fire is in an odd time signature , something like 10/8. It has been 30 years since I played along with that piece. I'll first need to practice to that groove over and over hour after hour before I get enough good drum licks and grooves in it for even a slick editing job. Does anyone out there have any idea how insane it is to hear that loop over and over 1000's of times?

                                Then because I'M NOT GOING TO STEAL, I will throw the loop away entirely and build another piece around the drum groove, then edit and perhaps replay th drums for the final feel.

                                Dan

                                Spirit of Light
                                http://musicinit.com/fastfingers.php An Experiment in 80's Technology

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