Harmony Central Forums
No announcement yet.

16 bar loop legal?

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Just to clarify, we are talking about the song form in music. When it is regards to song form, what is copyrighted is melody and lyrics as while any accompaniment being done to that melody and lyric, it is the exact same song. However because the inherent limitations of our harmonies and tonalities, it is possible that different songs(melody and lyrics) share the same tonalities and harmonies and can go over each others'
    Instrumental music however is a totally different ball game defined by motifs, themes, secondary themes etc., etc.


    • #32
      thats a common jazz 5/4 beat or 3/4-2/4 beat. Think Cole Porter


      • #33

        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.

        Newton v. Diamond is an interesting recent decision where the sound recording for a loop was actually cleared with the label, but the composer felt that the essence of the composition was misappropriated, triggering the obligation to pay royalties on the composition as well as the recording. The composer lost. It's been a while since I read it, but I believe that decision was written by Kosinski, whose decisions comprise a substantial chunk of all modern entertainment law casebooks.

        The example of "Every Breath You Take" is an interesting one because if you look at the songwriting credits from Puff Daddy's "I'll be Missing You," Sting is credited as a composer. Obviously he borrowed substantial chunks of the melody. I would like to think that the guitar part alone would convey the essence of the song, but I'm not sure that would have been case.

        There was an interesting dispute between the members of the Smiths where the drummer and bass player claimed they were entitled to songwriting credit, but that was based on an oral contract. Again, I'd like to think that especially the bassist contributed to the essence of many of those tunes, but courts are mostly focused on melody and lyrics when it comes to defining what makes a composition.

        EDIT: There are two examples that people frequently cite where an instrumental riff in a pop song alone may convey the essence of a composition. One is the riff to "Pretty Woman," and I believe that comes out of dicta in the 2 Live Crew parody/fair use decision from the Supreme Court. The other example you'll hear legal commentators cite frequently is the Stone's "Satisfaction." I figure if these two example rise to that level, you'd also have to consider "You Shook Me All Night Long," and I don't know how many other rock tunes...


        • #34
          If riffs and bass lines of a song were the copyright material along with melody and lyric, then you would literally see thousands of 2 bar or 4 bar bass lines and guitar riffs being copyrighted themselves independent of melody and lyric. Then you would have a catalog of bass lines and riffs of which to license or to pay for usage. You won't be able to use single note bass lines on a bar, bass notes on the 1 and 3 etc., etc., as those would have been already used. All these not to mention drum patterns, beats and sounds etc that can define the essence of a song.
          It is an understanding that accompanying bass lines and guitar riffs are components of a song to give it more "life", but the heart and soul of a song is the melody and lyric which is what is copyrighted. The ABAB form of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, does not at mention to include bass line or riff.


          • #35

            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 .

            Patent law doesn't actually work that way (the idea of "sizable percentage" would probably be closer to copyright law wherein the nature of a work can be seen as "transformative")

            In patent law, to not infringe one would have to fall outside the scope of the claims defined in the patent (the claims are the "heart" of the patent as they define what the invention really is).
            Designs, themselves, are merely embodiments of an invention

            For a "design around" to be non--infringing it has to fall outside the scope of the claims of the patent -- these changes can be little or big
            Conversely, you can make huge design changes and still fall within the scope of the claims

            -- it's really about how broadly the claims are written - what they say the invention actually is (and can you find a workable method/device outside that) - the "percentage" of the change doesn't matter


            • #36
              thats a common jazz 5/4 beat or 3/4-2/4 beat. Think Cole Porter

              You mean, think Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond...


              • #37


                • #38
                  People stick copyrighted music that they have rerecorded on their websites all the time. Bands do it as a demo to get gigs.

                  I think the idea of taking a Birds of Fire loop and using it as a starting off point for something new and different would be really cool. I think you should do it, Techristian. Stick it on Gnuttella if you're afraid of putting it on your website...although I see no reason why you shouldn't do that as well. I for one would like to hear it.

                  The example of "Every Breath You Take" is an interesting one because if you look at the songwriting credits from Puff Daddy's "I'll be Missing You," Sting is credited as a composer. Obviously he borrowed substantial chunks of the melody.

                  This is an example of song writing that burns me. I don't care if it was 'cleared' or not. Basically, they just take the original song and stick new lyrics on top of it. Nothing's really been changed. I think they do it for brand recognition. "Every Breath" was a hit song, so let's essentially re-release it under a different name with a few minor adjustments and call it a new song. Mariah Carey did this with Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love". It's the same damn song with different words!

                  "Talk" by Coldplay uses "Computer Love" by Kraftwerk, but they do something with it! It's a new song barrowing from a song that came before it, but it respects that there was a song that came before it. It shows "Computer Love" as an influence, and not just a foundation to build a slightly different house upon. One can listen to both songs back to back, instantly recognize their similarities, but not feel like they're listening to the same song twice.

                  I hope you don't do something stupid like letting copyright laws inhibit you from pursuing your creative ideas.
                  Super 8

                  In memory of our fellow drummer and forum friend, Cheeseadiddle-Nov 2008

                  "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
                  -- George Bernard Shaw