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Music Rights

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I found this piano song that I really like created by, "Jan Tiersen" and I'd like to include it in my Game. The problem I'm having is that, I'm not sure if its okay to distribute this game to other people if I don't have to rights to the song. Normally, I know it would be wrong to do.. but what if, I play the song myself on the piano and record it? Does that work? Any guidance would be appreciated thanks!

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Technically, no it doesn't matter. You'd need to get rights just to do an arrangement of the piece of music you plan on using unless it's an ancient tune from a composer that's been dead for over 50 years. Now, if you give full credit and you take absolutely NO compensation for this game of yours, you'll be fine, but there can't be any money made off of it in any way, shape, or form... because then you are violating the copyright. The composer doesn't just copyright the recording, they copyright the score, notation, the actual MUSIC and that's what you are trying put in the game. So yes, you can use it freely in a completely 100% free game if credit and copyright info is supplied about that song, OR, you can aquire a license to use the music but that's a bit over the top unless you are planning on making quite a bit of money. ;)

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Unfortunately the above advice is misleading: you would be violating the copyright whether you make any money off it or not. To use it legally you need permission from the publisher, usually in the form of a license. If you were to rerecord the song yourself you would have to get a different kind of license to if you just played the recording that you have, but you'd still need a license.

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Quote:
Original post by Instigator
I found this piano song that I really like created by, "Jan Tiersen" and I'd like to include it in my Game.

The problem I'm having is that, I'm not sure if its okay to distribute this game to other people if I don't have to rights to the song. Normally, I know it would be wrong to do.. but what if, I play the song myself on the piano and record it? Does that work?

Any guidance would be appreciated thanks!


Allow me...

Quote:

I found this game I really like created by "Instigator" and I'd like to include it in my own work.

The problem I'm having is that, I'm not sure if it's okay to distribute this work to other people if I don't have the rights to the game. Normally, I know it would be wrong to do.. but what if, I make a blatant clone of the game myself? Does that work?"


The answer is "No." It will always be "No." This won't change just because you don't want to charge for it or because you really, really, really love the work.

It's Mr. Tiersen's song. It's his baby. Neither you nor anybody else gets any say in how it's distributed, published, etc. Only Mr. Tiersen (and probably his publisher and anyone else directly involved with it) gets to decide. This is why the term is called "copyright". It literally means exactly what it says on the tin: the right to copy the work.

That means no copying without the owner's express permission. Note that emphasised part. You need permission -- preferably in writing.

No cover version either: the performance and the composing of a song are separate, equally protected, elements. A CD has both a performing right (now often seen as a "P" in a circle, much like the © glyph used for copyright) inherent to it. The composition itself has a separate copyright -- the "©" one -- attached. Performing the song yourself doesn't absolve you from dealing with the composition copyright. (Although I do have to ask: if you could play the song yourself on a piano, what's stopping you going that extra step and composing your own song?)

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there's also no harm in just asking the copyright holder(s) for permission. Seriously! They're not ogres. They're not evil. They're just people, like you and I, trying to make a living and pay the bills. Ask them! The worst they can do is say "No." And you've already assumed that.

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Quote:
Original post by CBlockDis
Now, if you give full credit and you take absolutely NO compensation for this game of yours, you'll be fine, but there can't be any money made off of it in any way, shape, or form... because then you are violating the copyright...So yes, you can use it freely in a completely 100% free game if credit and copyright info is supplied about that song, OR, you can aquire a license to use the music but that's a bit over the top unless you are planning on making quite a bit of money.
Dear God, what unstoppable force of instinct causes people to pretend they know copyright law.

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"I'm not sure if its okay to distribute this game to other people if I don't have to rights to the song."
No
"Normally, I know it would be wrong to do.. but what if, I play the song myself on the piano and record it? Does that work?"
No

Write to the artist and ask him for written (emailed) permission to use the song in your game.

Make sure to ask him if playing it yourself and using that would work - If I were the artist I would be almost doubtlessly alright with that and thrilled that people are playing my works on their own and using them in games.

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Acttualy, in my experiance, musicians are particularly less fond of dervitive works in many circumstances. Alot of musicians, as with any artist, poured alot of blood and sweat into their creations, and tend to not like their musics reputation, etc, tarnished by a reinterpretation that is not in the direction they were looking for.

On a side note, artists DO like to see their work displayed. You would be supprised how many local artists, composers, etc, that would be open for a percentage of profits deal, or sometimes even just for the exposure and a few credits. A few of the zuma clones made use of that situation.

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