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Phil O'Keefe

Musicians algorithmically generate "every possible melody" and release them to the public domain

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2 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

Right. That’s the downfall of my 21st-century, rock-o-centric line of thinking. Though... I imagine those songwriters are all writing lyrics with their melodies, so they shouldn’t be threatened by the “infinite open source melodies” in the OP, nor should they be threatened by rhythm/melody lawsuits like those that get big headlines. 

So basically Bernie Taupin is going to profit as a lyricist, but Elton John won’t since he only writes the music? How is that fair when both contribute significantly to the final song? :confused2: 

 

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18 minutes ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

So basically Bernie Taupin is going to profit as a lyricist, but Elton John won’t since he only writes the music? How is that fair when both contribute significantly to the final song? :confused2: 

 

Elton’s got the recording. 

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2 minutes ago, arcadesonfire said:

Elton’s got the recording. 

Technically the record company owns the recording, not the artists, and not even the guys like me and Anton who actually make the recordings. 

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Just now, Phil O'Keefe said:

Technically the record company owns the recording, not the artists, and not even the guys like me and Anton who actually make the recordings. 

Well then the whole system is totally blursted up! We need a Bernie Sanders to ride in there on a wrecking ball....

Obviously I have little understanding of all this stuff. Maybe that’s a reason I was eager to take a record deal years ago but my band mate rejected it. 

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Maybe I don't really understand the concept, but it seems to me that if we mechanically create all possible music and put it out in the public domain doesn't that mean that that's the end of music as an art?

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10 hours ago, arcadesonfire said:

Well then the whole system is totally blursted up! We need a Bernie Sanders to ride in there on a wrecking ball....

Obviously I have little understanding of all this stuff. Maybe that’s a reason I was eager to take a record deal years ago but my band mate rejected it. 

 

When a recording is done by an engineer, it is typically treated as a "work for hire" type arrangement. The copyright technically goes to the person who does the job (records the music) but like studio musicians, the recording engineer typically signs the paperwork (a work for hire agreement), does the job, hopefully is paid for their services (sometimes a flat fee, sometimes per hour, and sometimes with "points" on the record's future sales, or a combination of two of these three), and the copyright ownership goes to the person / company who pays them. The band doesn't own the sound recording copyright, the engineer doesn't own it - the person who pays for it owns it - that means the producer (if they have the band signed to a contract and are paying the recording costs), the band (if they're self-funded), or the record company, if it's a label-funded project. 

The same thing is typically true for things like inventions and patents that a person develops as part of their normal work. For example, if you work for a company that does research into new forms of energy and in the course of your research work you make a discovery that results in a breakthrough in fusion, the patent for that may include your name on it, but the company that was paying you for your research work is probably going to reap the greatest financial rewards from your breakthrough, not you.  

 

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19 minutes ago, roughtrade said:

Maybe I don't really understand the concept, but it seems to me that if we mechanically create all possible music and put it out in the public domain doesn't that mean that that's the end of music as an art?

Not necessarily, but IMO it is probably going to de-incentivize the creation of new songs if it passes legal muster because songwriters are not going to get any financial rewards for their work. The people behind this say that they will from their lyric copyrights, but again, that leaves out composers who write instrumental music, those who write only the music (in conjunction with a lyricist), etc. 

 

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Sounds like while this might not be good news for songwriters it could potentially be excellent news for music attorneys.  

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15 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

And it may not even accomplish what they were trying to achieve - the end of lawsuits over copyright claims. That will still have to be adjudicated by the courts, and unless I miss my guess, that is going to be one big long-lasting can of very expensive litigious legal worms, and they are going to be crawling around for several years, if not longer.

Here's something else to consider: If they generated every possible melody in a one-octave range, how do they know that their own copyright claims don't infringe upon previously filed claims for lesser-known compositions? That is only one of the possible issues that they may not have considered going into this - they themselves may be sued for infringement and false copyright ownership claims. They have no right to make a claim for the same melodies that are already covered by copyrights owned by other parties.

And furthermore, this - if allowed to stand - would create a new world of musical haves and have-nots; with only those with previously registered copyrights being allowed legal protection, while everyone else going forward would be prevented from obtaining similar protections for their own compositions.  

 

This is what I thought. I am sure a writer could comb the files and find something that infringes on his/her copyrights. 

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2 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

Not necessarily, but IMO it is probably going to de-incentivize the creation of new songs if it passes legal muster because songwriters are not going to get any financial rewards for their work. The people behind this say that they will from their lyric copyrights, but again, that leaves out composers who write instrumental music, those who write only the music (in conjunction with a lyricist), etc. 

 

If it is already in the public domain wouldn't that mean that it has already been created?

I'm in agreement that it seems to hang instrumentalists out to dry...

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4 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

The same thing is typically true for things like inventions and patents that a person develops as part of their normal work. For example, if you work for a company that does research into new forms of energy and in the course of your research work you make a discovery that results in a breakthrough in fusion, the patent for that may include your name on it, but the company that was paying you for your research work is probably going to reap the greatest financial rewards from your breakthrough, not you. 

100% true.  I am a named inventor on a number of patents, yet they are owned by the companies I was working for at the time they were filed.  I got a nice bonus for each of them, but the company that owned the lab space owns the work product that comes from it.

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6 minutes ago, SteinbergerHack said:

100% true.  I am a named inventor on a number of patents, yet they are owned by the companies I was working for at the time they were filed.  I got a nice bonus for each of them, but the company that owned the lab space owns the work product that comes from it.

Exactly - I know this myself from first-hand experience when I was working at a research lab. 

 

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I played in a band with a female singer who had the same idea, except she was going to copyright all of them in her name.  Then later on she took songs that we, the band,  had written together and copyrighted them in only her name.  Good times!

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19 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

My daughter just texted me the link to this article and asked me what I thought. Unfortunately, I can not repeat what I said in reply without breaking the site rules... while their intent (attempting to prevent musicians from getting sued) may be admirable, it also could possibly stop songwriters from exercising their own creativity and writing their own new songs, and remove another one of the major income streams that many musicians rely upon to make a living.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wxepzw/musicians-algorithmically-generate-every-possible-melody-release-them-to-public-domain

What's next? Algorithmically writing every possible book and magazine article, artificially creating every possible movie and TV script, algorithmically creating every painting and photo and releasing all of those things to the public domain? Sorry.... I do not like this one bit because I think it could have considerable unexpected negative consequences for the arts. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - pro or con. :snax: 

Blame our litigious society. I remember way back in the late 70's commenting on how we are so addicted to lawsuits that it will impact areas in our lives that we could not possibly imagine.

And here we are.

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On 2/25/2020 at 1:40 PM, Vito Corleone said:

Technology is getting way out if front of current regulations on many fronts, it seems.

Yes, to protect intellectual property, we've had to sabotage technology.

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8 hours ago, New Trail said:

I played in a band with a female singer who had the same idea, except she was going to copyright all of them in her name.  Then later on she took songs that we, the band,  had written together and copyrighted them in only her name.  Good times!

That's the kind of thing that breaks up bands - friends and collaborators end up in bitter disputes up on cripple creek.

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23 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

So basically Bernie Taupin is going to profit as a lyricist, but Elton John won’t since he only writes the music? How is that fair when both contribute significantly to the final song? :confused2: 

 

... and, not taking anything away from Bernie, it's Elton's genius that brought their wonderful collaborations to the world.

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2 minutes ago, onelife said:

... and, not taking anything away from Bernie, it's Elton's genius that brought their wonderful collaborations to the world.

I don't know, before Bernie.....

🤣

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4 minutes ago, NOS68 said:

I don't know, before Bernie.....

🤣

yes, things got a lot better with Bernie's contributions...

 

 

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34 minutes ago, onelife said:

... and, not taking anything away from Bernie, it's Elton's genius that brought their wonderful collaborations to the world.

 

Elton's a good piano player, a great showman and a fantastic singer IMHO, but from a songwriting perspective, I really think it's hard to give one more credit than the other. Both were essential to the quality of the final results IMO. 

 

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1 hour ago, onelife said:

That's the kind of thing that breaks up bands - friends and collaborators end up in bitter disputes up on cripple creek.

Yeah, for sure. We're no longer in a band and aren't friends either.

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3 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

Elton's a good piano player, a great showman and a fantastic singer IMHO, but from a songwriting perspective, I really think it's hard to give one more credit than the other. Both were essential to the quality of the final results IMO. 

 

I agree, absolutely.

I think of someone dropping off a stack of poems and then sitting down at the piano and turning them into timeless musical masterpieces - sometime in the length of time it took to play through the song (according to legend). To me, that's Paul McCartney level of musical genius - especially the ability to just keep doing it for decades.

When I was getting started, back in the early '70s, my piano teachers were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Carole King albums and sheet music. I remember how excited I was when I found the book with all of the songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. 

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5 hours ago, onelife said:

I think of someone dropping off a stack of poems and then sitting down at the piano and turning them into timeless musical masterpieces

And for me, that's always been the hardest approach to songwriting - taking pre-written lyrics and putting music to them. I much prefer working the opposite direction; writing the music first, then molding the lyrics to fit the melody, or even writing the two simultaneously. It's a much bigger challenge (at least for me) to do it the way Elton did - writing music to go with Bernie's pre-written lyrics. YMMV. 

 

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