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RamboPowPow

Music Copyright Laws Question

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Hello, I am wondering what could happen to me if I released a FREE WARE that contains music that I'm not authorized to distribute. Since I make no money from the game, i cannot be sued for money, right? I believe the worst that could happen is that they send me a cease and desist (and i don't know exactly how that works). Then, i would have to take the download down, replace the music in question, and make the new version available for download. Right ? Can I get sued and/or lose money or is it just a matter of stopping to use the material in question after a warning is issued ?

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Original post by RamboPowPow
Hello,

I am wondering what could happen to me if I released a FREE WARE that contains music that I'm not authorized to distribute.

Since I make no money from the game, i cannot be sued for money, right?

I believe the worst that could happen is that they send me a cease and desist (and i don't know exactly how that works). Then, i would have to take the download down, replace the music in question, and make the new version available for download.

Right ?

Can I get sued and/or lose money or is it just a matter of stopping to use the material in question after a warning is issued ?


They could sue for lost income. Have you seen the news at all regarding this? people who share music for free on peer to peer networks are getting sued left and right, they weren't charging for it so I would rather think you wouldn't be safe either.

[Edited by - stonemetal on February 18, 2008 4:32:31 PM]

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Original post by RamboPowPow
Since I make no money from the game, i cannot be sued for money, right?

False. They can still sue you for damages, however the resulting amount might be lower than if you actually did make a profit of it.

Quote:
I believe the worst that could happen is that they send me a cease and desist (and i don't know exactly how that works). Then, i would have to take the download down, replace the music in question, and make the new version available for download.

False. Apart from not being sued, this is the best that could happen. Depending on the situation, anything could happen.

Quote:
Can I get sued and/or lose money or is it just a matter of stopping to use the material in question after a warning is issued ?

Like I said.



On a more general note: what is with all these threads lately where the original poster *knows* he shouldn't do it, yet tries to falsely reason his way out of it?

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Original post by RamboPowPow
Hello,

I am wondering....

Just backing up what everyone else said. It doesn't matter if you make money or not. You would be in breach of copyright and they may sue for damages.

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Laws aside, throwing other peoples' music into your own freeware without permission just isn't a very nice thing to do.

I think that you should consider actually asking the musicians for consent. Some may well refuse, but on the other hand you might be pleasantly surprised.

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Canadian laws always seem to be a lot more lax than the US and Europe so maybe it's not so easy to sue you but if you distribute in other countries you must ad hear to the individual laws of that country.

You should first of contact the owner explaining how you plan to use it as I doubt you'll come under fair use. Provide them with full details but make it brief time is money to these people.

If they refuse you can try to create some music yourself there are plenty off tools to make this easy.

If that's to much work for you find something in the public domain. Oh and after a quick look no music is in the public domain in The US as the law was only amended in 1972 so everything prior to that is copyrighted from that date. Most countries however had actual copyright laws in place for sound recordings.

Damn it confusing releasing over the internet?

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Thanks for all the advices and replies.

In case your wondering, One artist in particular that I've tried to reach I've not been able to get an answer from, and many of the songs i found on the net (www.modarchive.com) are from artists that even after some research, i have no idea who they are and how to contact them.

I also have some music that is authorized by the artists, and artists willing to do more music for my project. It's just that theres some songs that I'd really like to use as well, but am just not able to reach the artists in question.

rameares : You say that if i distribute outside of canada, i can get sued more easily, but is distributing on the web, for free from a website situated in canada considered as distributing outside canada?

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A Montreal "ram" wrote:
>Thanks for all the advices and replies.
>It's just that theres some songs that I'd really like to use as well, but am just not able to reach the artists in question.

In case we weren't clear on this before: it doesn't matter what "it's just that." You mustn't use anyone's IP without permission. Ask your lawyer. It's far better to just not use it, than to use it and wait and see if you get sued or not.

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Original post by RamboPowPow
It's just that theres some songs that I'd really like to use as well, but am just not able to reach the artists in question.


It's just that I'd really like to give diamond rings to all my friends, but I can't afford to buy them. Guess I'll just steal them and give them away. I'm not making any money on this, so it should be okay in Canada. I'll just hope I only get a letter telling me to stop rather than any kind of prosecution for theft. [headshake]

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? Think about it.

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Original post by RamboPowPow
In case your wondering, One artist in particular that I've tried to reach I've not been able to get an answer from, and many of the songs i found on the net (www.modarchive.com) are from artists that even after some research, i have no idea who they are and how to contact them.

It's simple... you either have their permission or you don't. It doesn't matter what you tried or didn't try. "I tried to ask my neighbours permission before I took his car. I knocked on his door but he didn't answer."

Quote:
rameares : You say that if i distribute outside of canada, i can get sued more easily, but is distributing on the web, for free from a website situated in canada considered as distributing outside canada?

Sorry but rameares is misleading you. Canadian copyright law (like most others) states that DISTRIBUTION of copyright material (which is what you intend to do)is a breach of copyright but that downloading (receiving) copyright material isn't. You would be just as guilty in Canada as you would anywhere else.

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are from artists that even after some research, i have no idea who they are and how to contact them


I sympathize. You might want to research the Creative Commons organization. Works that are released under Creative Commons licenses have special terms that explicitly renounce certain copyright provisions, and many Creative Commons licenses allow distribution in derivative works (especially when they are non-commercial). Info about the terms of the various flavors of CC licenses:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_licenses#Original_licenses

How to find CC-licensed works:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_commons#Tools_for_discovering_CC-licensed_content

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