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So I got a sequencer...

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and a book on how to read music. So now I want to be a big famous composer... Um, ok, well, maybe some placeholder stuff for testing would be more realistic. So one thing I'm wondering about is sheet music. Are there copyright issues in using sheet music? Obviously running the pages through a photocopier would be copyright infringement, but what about transcribing it into a sequencer?

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:) if you use the same notes and dont change a thing yes there is certainly copyrigth issues

I think you have to change 40% or more of the notes for it to be ok
there is some % law to that.

But if its just to learn and have friends take a listen dont even worry about it. If you plan to use it in commercial productions or widespread free stuff then you cant whitout the original artist agreement and most probably a fee and thats if they accept.

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This also depends on whether or not the music in question is still under copyright. You may enter a recent edition of public domain material (any older music) into your computer legally. So, if you're talking about realizing classical music, that's legit; copying someone else's new music is not.

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Music can be copyrighted to the original author. If the musical work is in the public domain, each arrangement is also copyrighted to the originator of the arrangement.

In other words, yes, there are copyright issues of transcribing from sheet music. If this is for your own personal practice and edification, dont worry about it.

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I did a little research. Apparently you need a synchronization license to use copyrighted compositions in a game. Apparently there are three organizations that act as clearing houses for licenses, but it doesn't seem too clear just who actually does synchronization licenses. Apparently the license you get when you buy sheet music is for private performance/personal use. It isn't quite as clear where the line between private and public lies.

It doesn't look like you would have much reason to ever contact the actual copyright owner. That's a relief because I was picturing trying to call ZZ Top on the phone. Um, yeah guys, I was wanting to use one of your songs. I'm having a cookout this weekend maybe you all could stop by, play a few songs and we can talk about it :)

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