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rpulley123

Beethoven.... copyright????

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I assume you can guess my question by the subject... I want to make some music that sounds very similar to a Beethoven sonata. I am actually playing the chords with an orchestra sound from moonlight sonata (3rd movement). So, am I going to be sued by Beethoven's relatives, or perhaps by some multi-trilionaire who owns a record company, or am I safe to do this? Thanks, -- Rocky

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Beethoven's music: public domain.
Recorded performances of Beethoven's music: possibly copyrighted.
Short samples from recorded performances of Beethoven's music: possibly fair use, but better to ask permission.

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Quote:
Original post by bytecoder
translation: as long as you're recording/playing/synthesizing it yourself you should be fine.


Yes, that's what it seems, great! I will be doing it myself anyway!

Thanks everyone,
-- Rocky

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Quote:
Original post by quasar3d
I don't know how it is in the us, but here, copyrights expire 70 years after your death
As I recall, copyrights in the US are up to 140 years (90 corporate), and are likely to be extended further as early Disney cartoons once again threaten to become public domain in 20 years.

...

What bs.

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Quote:
Original post by rpulley123
I assume you can guess my question by the subject... I want to make some music that sounds very similar to a Beethoven sonata. I am actually playing the chords with an orchestra sound from moonlight sonata (3rd movement).


If you want to compose some music that sounds like Beethoven, I do not suggest ripping ideas from one of his sonatas. This is more of an ethical thing, and I'm also sure you'd be much more satisfied with your music if you invented your own harmonic progressions anyway. You can use the music of other composers only as a learning tool or as a source of inspiration.

If you’re worried about getting sued, or worse: being labeled as a plagiarist, then it only makes sense to not use any of Beethoven’s ideas in your music.

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If you want to compose music similar to that of an existing composer, then the best thing to do is to just listen to a lot of their music. I personally find that my improvisations tend to imitate whatever I've been listening to lately.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Derakon
If you want to compose music similar to that of an existing composer, then the best thing to do is to just listen to a lot of their music. I personally find that my improvisations tend to imitate whatever I've been listening to lately.


No, that's not what I intended on doing. I was taking an existing composition and playing it with strings instead of piano. Not calling it a new song that just rips off the old one.

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Just for reference, there is absolutely nothing wrong or illegal about being inspired by an existing piece of work. People make art that's similar to existing art all the time; the key is that it's only similar, and thus there's a significant amount of original work going into the new piece.

But this doesn't sound like an issue for you. You should be clear of any infringement problems if you get the sheet music for the piece you want to convert. It'll probably be easier to transcribe that way, too.

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Quote:
Original post by Kenbar
The recent disney case brought US copyright in line with the rest of the world - it is unlikely to be extended again...


Really? Linkey, please? I haven't heard about any copyright term cases since Eldred, which we (the public) lost, pretty much saying Congress can extend copyright whenever they want.

I'm pretty sure it's the life of the author plus 75 years, or 90 years for corporate copyrights, until Congress gets enough donations to extend it again. The public doesn't really care, so it will keep getting longer.

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Original post by nagromo
I'm pretty sure it's the life of the author plus 75 years, or 90 years for corporate copyrights, until Congress gets enough donations to extend it again. The public doesn't really care, so it will keep getting longer.


There's a difference between not caring and not having the money to affect the lawmakers.

Anyway, the most logical thing Disney and the like can do is to try to make it so that the copyrights the company owns is "active" as long as the company exists (+ perhaps 50-100 years, though I can't say who'll benefit from that). That way Walt Disney's (the person) works are copyrighted by the company until it goes out of business. The only problem I can see with it is with music and books etc. Who owns the copyright, the artist/writer or the publisher? Perhaps the recordings themselves are owned by the publisher, while the lyrics/score is owned by the artist.

EDIT: With new works it's easier. The person would be able to transfer the copyright from himself to the company. The Walt Disney example is harder - since he's dead he can't sign the transfer papers himself, so a court must decide in this case. Personally I think they'd win.

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Quote:
Original post by frostburn
he only problem I can see with it is with music and books etc. Who owns the copyright, the artist/writer or the publisher? Perhaps the recordings themselves are owned by the publisher, while the lyrics/score is owned by the artist.


Depends on the contract. Book authors fare much better than musicians. Book authors typically retain copyrights. Musicians typically don't.

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