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JUSTINBAILEY

Regarding Legality

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Regarding the legality of music in general, are composers allowed to sell remixes? After doing some google-ing I read that it's okay if you don't use the original singers voice, or if you get their permission- is this true? What about video game music remixes, can they be sold, they don't usually have a singer but the tune is what makes them. I have a friend who makes really cool techno remixes of old VGM like the Palace Theme from Zelda II, If I have his permission is it cool to use his remix in games or Is this just asking to be sued?

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If you take a copyrighted work and duplicate/redistribute it without the owners permission, you're infringing their rights.

That's just as true for pictures, words or sounds. It doesn't matter if you drastically change the original work so that it's only used as a base, even if you distort it beyond being recognisable, it's still technically infringement.

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1302485169' post='4796895']
If you take a copyrighted work and duplicate/redistribute it without the owners permission, you're infringing their rights.

That's just as true for pictures, words or sounds. It doesn't matter if you drastically change the original work so that it's only used as a base, even if you distort it beyond being recognisable, it's still technically infringement.

[url="http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html"]http://www.templeton.../copymyths.html[/url]
[/quote]

Men at Work were sued 28 years after the release of "Down Under" for copyright infringement. I think it makes a good example in this situation.

[quote]The flute part of the recording of the song is allegedly based on the children's rhyme "[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kookaburra_%28song%29"]Kookaburra[/url]", written by Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition in 1935. Sinclair died in 1988[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-aa34-1"][2][/url][/sup] and the rights to the Kookaburra song were deemed to have been transferred to publisher [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larrikin_Records"]Larrikin Music[/url] on 21 March 1990.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-15"][16][/url][/sup] In the United States, the rights are administered by Music Sales Corporation in New York City.

In June 2009, 28 years after the release of the recording, Larrikin Music sued Men At Work for copyright infringement, alleging that part of the flute riff of "Down Under" was copied from "Kookaburra". The counsel for the band's record label and publishing company (Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Songs Australia) claimed that, based on the agreement under which the song was written, the copyright was actually held by the Girl Guides Association.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-16"][17][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-17"][18][/url][/sup] On 30 July, Justice Peter Jacobson of the Federal Court of Australia made a preliminary ruling that Larrikin did own copyright on the song, but the issue of whether or not Hay and Strykert had plagiarised the riff was set aside to be determined at a later date.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-18"][19][/url][/sup]

On 4 February 2010, Justice Jacobson ruled that Larrikin's copyright had been infringed because "Down Under" reproduced "a substantial part of [i]Kookaburra[/i]".[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-19"][20][/url][/sup]

When asked how much Larrikin would be seeking in damages, Larrikin's lawyer Adam Simpson replied: "anything from what we've claimed, which is between 40 and 60 per cent, and what they suggest, which is considerably less."[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-20"][21][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-21"][22][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-22"][23][/url][/sup] In court, Larrikin's principal Norman Lurie gave the opinion that, had the parties negotiated a licence at the outset as willing parties, the royalties would have been between 25 and 50 per cent.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-FCA698-23"][24][/url][/sup] On 6 July 2010, Justice Jacobson handed down a decision that Larrikin receive 5% of royalties from 2002.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-FCA698-23"][24][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-24"][25][/url][/sup]

Until this high-profile case, "Kookaburra"'s standing as a traditional song combined with the lack of visible policing of the song's rights by its composer had led to the general public perception that the song was within the public domain.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-25"][26][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-mudcat.org-26"][27][/url][/sup]

The revelation of "Kookaburra"'s copyright status, and more-so the pursuit of royalties from it, has generated a negative response among sections of the Australian public.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-27"][28][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-28"][29][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-29"][30][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-30"][31][/url][/sup] In response to unsourced speculation of a Welsh connection, Dr Rhidian Griffiths pointed out that the Welsh words to the tune were published in 1989 and musicologist Phyllis Kinney stated neither the song's metre nor its lines were typical Welsh.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29#cite_note-mudcat.org-26"][27][/url][/sup][/quote]

Source: [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_Under_%28song%29"]Wikipedia[/url]

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeG-hNXXy6I[/media]

Personally, I don't even see the resemblance of the flute section of the song with the children's rhyme

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[quote name='_Sauce_' timestamp='1302488453' post='4796910']
Personally, I don't even see the resemblance of the flute section of the song with the children's rhyme[/quote]Nonetheless, a lawsuit was generated. No matter the outcome of it, the fact there was one is all that matters in the murky world of IP.

That said, the practice of "sampling" other people's music and using those samples in your own remixes is quite common[b]*[/b]. A lot of people [b]do [/b]do it and [b]do [/b]get away with it, even though they're at risk of being sued. I guess it depends on how litigious your 'victim' is.

[i][b]*[/b]see Timbaland's (ignorant) explanation of sampling:[/i][quote]"Sample and stole is two different things. Stole is like I walked in your house, watched you make it, stole your protools, went to my house and told Nelly, 'Hey, I got a great song for you.' Sample is like you heard it somewhere, and you just sampled. Maybe you didn't know who it was by because it don't have the credits listed."[/quote]

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[quote name='JUSTINBAILEY' timestamp='1302483713' post='4796891']
Regarding the legality of music in general, are composers allowed to sell remixes? After doing some google-ing I read that it's okay if you don't use the original singers voice, or if you get their permission- is this true? What about video game music remixes, can they be sold, they don't usually have a singer but the tune is what makes them. I have a friend who makes really cool techno remixes of old VGM like the Palace Theme from Zelda II, If I have his permission is it cool to use his remix in games or Is this just asking to be sued?
[/quote]

First off if you're using this remix in your video game if it's free you'll probably not get sued right off the bat. What will happen first is you'll get a Cease and Desist letter which basically explains you have to stop the offending behavior right away or risk being sued. If your game is commercial then your chances of getting sued rise dramatically. You cannot use something from an established IP (intellectual property) for use in your own IP. That's copyright infringement, which other posts have already pointed out. Odds are, since Zelda is still an active franchise, you'll never be able to convince Nintendo to give you the rights to the song for use in your video game (free or not). When a video game franchise has been dead for a long time, say for example Wing Commander, then there is a possibility that the IP owners [i]may [/i]allow use to take elements from their IP. A good example is: [url="http://privateer.sourceforge.net/news.shtml"]http://privateer.sou....net/news.shtml[/url] which, if memory serves, Origin allowed the team to create an updated version of the game, as long as it was free.

Now regarding remixes and covers - you CAN acquire the rights to cover or remix a song and release that commercially. But there are legal hoops you have to jump through then the original creators or owners of the copyrighted material will get X amount of every dollar earned from the remix or cover. Companies like Rights Flow ([url="http://rightsflow.com/"]http://rightsflow.com/[/url]) specialize in helping artists acquire rights to songs and then be able to legally publish them.

My advice would be to not use the Zelda theme in your video game as it will make players think of those games instead of your game. Never a good thing.

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Don't use it commercially, and you should be fine. I know people who remix all the time and just release the remixes for free. It gives them a pr, for when they release other stuff.

If you want to talk ethics, no there is nothing wrong with selling a song that you remix as long as you acknowledge the songs originator. This is because you are in no way destroying the originators song, and doing nothing to his property. You only have a copy of it, that is yours. If you wish to change it and sell it on the market, that's up to you. And if people like it and want to buy it, hey that's even better.
However, most professional musicians are so greedy about their songs, even though most artists already understand that all ideas are stolen in one way or another. We don't live in a vacuum. It's disgusting what some musicians are willing to do to others. They have absolutely no humanity.

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Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's illegal. The only thing you can copyright in music is a melody (i.e. no chord progressions or rhythm patterns) and if you reuse that melody in any way as part of a song that isn't the original, it's infringement. However, as long as the release isn't commercial, you more then likely will never get sued.

Also...I fucking love Men At Work.

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It is up to you. It is a cost/benefit analysis you need to make. For copyright law in general, unless you are sure you have permission then you probably don't, and would lose in court. Even if you [i]might[/i] win in court, it usually isn't worth it because it would be expensive to fight.

If your game gets popular, then you could get in legal trouble. Companies target high-profile infringers because it makes financial sense for them to do so. If your game isn't popular, you might end up under the radar. That is a risk you need to consider, but if you want to make sales you probably don't want to aim to be unpopular!

If you want to sell, I recommend you find someone willing to make original music for you. You might have a friend or friend of a friend who would help you out. Since you plan on doing this commercially, you might even consider paying someone to help you.

Finally, there is a massive benefit to having original music for your game. The music can be tailored to the exact mood of your game, and will give a unique feel to it if done right.

[quote]
Don't use it commercially, and you should be fine. I know people who remix all the time and just release the remixes for free. It gives them a pr, for when they release other stuff.[/quote]
Anecdotal examples unfortunately don't establish precedence in court.

[quote]
If you want to talk ethics...[/quote]
It is a pity that the law doesn't map to ethics.

[quote]
This is because you are in no way destroying the originators song...[/quote]
Not necessarily true. First of all, supply and demand mean that if your increased supply of a certain song can effect the price the original author can charge for it.

Even leaving aside commerce, there are plenty of examples of songs which have been covered atrociously. If someone hears such a cover without ever hearing the original, they may form a negative opinion of the song and the original artist. This could prevent them from supporting the original artist, even if they would have enjoyed the original song.

[quote]
However, most professional musicians are so greedy about their songs,even though most artists already understand that all ideas are stolen in one way or another. [/quote]
While true, remember that most professional musicians are signed to a label and might be emotionally or possibly contractually obliged to support copyright claims, or at least to not criticise them. Their livelihood depends on it.

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[quote name='rip-off' timestamp='1302788697' post='4798388'][quote]
This is because you are in no way destroying the originators song...[/quote]
Not necessarily true. First of all, supply and demand mean that if your increased supply of a certain song can effect the price the original author can charge for it.

Even leaving aside commerce, there are plenty of examples of songs which have been covered atrociously. If someone hears such a cover without ever hearing the original, they may form a negative opinion of the song and the original artist. This could prevent them from supporting the original artist, even if they would have enjoyed the original song.
[/quote]
Property is derived by a mixing labor with natural resources. The product of this labor is property. Property has one very important feature; it is finite. Electronic files that can be copied infinitely are not property. Physical albums, records and the like are property because there is a limited supply of them. Once an artist releases something, ethically, they don't [i]own[/i] the electronic files. They may stake a claim to them, and people may follow that claim, but that doesn't mean they own them. That is why you now often see artists asking for donations, or name your price. This is money that is voluntarily given because of an appreciation of the artists effort.

A song cannot be destroyed without destroying all copies. Changing people's opinion of the song is[i] in no way[/i] destroying a song. You can change people's opinions and perceptions of anything, in the United States at any time. (Theoretically, but not in practice.) And ethically, everyone has the right to change people's opinion. Destroying a perception of something is not destroying something. Otherwise, any bad game review would be considered destruction of property, and the writer and publishers would be arrested, and subject to paying damages.

[quote name='rip-off' timestamp='1302788697' post='4798388'][quote]
However, most professional musicians are so greedy about their songs,even though most artists already understand that all ideas are stolen in one way or another. [/quote]
While true, remember that most professional musicians are signed to a label and might be emotionally or possibly contractually obliged to support copyright claims, or at least to not criticise them. Their livelihood depends on it. [/quote]
This is the tragedy of the State. Unfortunately, so many people are willing to take part in violence against another human being for their own gain, or even to maintain their position.
If you don't understand how enforcing copyright law is violence, please let me know so I can break it down.

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[quote name='MalachiConstant' timestamp='1302786380' post='4798368']
Don't use it commercially, and you should be fine. I know people who remix all the time and just release the remixes for free. It gives them a pr, for when they release other stuff.[/quote]

This is flat out wrong. While it can change the ramifications in court (if you were to be taken to court) it doesn't make it any less illegal just because you're releasing something for free. Will the person get caught or not? Who knows. But we're not discussing that - we're discussing the legality of using a copyrighted song without permission.

[quote name='MalachiConstant' timestamp='1302786380' post='4798368']
If you want to talk ethics, no there is nothing wrong with selling a song that you remix as long as you acknowledge the songs originator. This is because you are in no way destroying the originators song, and doing nothing to his property. You only have a copy of it, that is yours. If you wish to change it and sell it on the market, that's up to you. And if people like it and want to buy it, hey that's even better.
However, most professional musicians are so greedy about their songs, even though most artists already understand that all ideas are stolen in one way or another. We don't live in a vacuum. It's disgusting what some musicians are willing to do to others. They have absolutely no humanity.
[/quote]

Again, completely wrong and not sound legal advice. If you sell a cover or remix of a song you must PAY the original creator(s). It's not a matter of being greedy it's a matter of being fair and making an acknowledge (in words, verbally as well as monetarily) of the original artists for which you're profiting. As I pointed out in my first post, there are companies set up to assist with this process. Just saying "thanks to Joe Bob, who wrote the original!" will hardly make your remix legal or get you out of a lawsuit or cease and desist if you were found out. That is unless the original creator gives you expressed permission, which can happen sometimes.

[quote name='MalachiConstant' timestamp='1302786380' post='4798368']
Property is derived by a mixing labor with natural resources. The product of this labor is property. Property has one very important feature; it is finite. Electronic files that can be copied infinitely are not property. Physical albums, records and the like are property because there is a limited supply of them. Once an artist releases something, ethically, they don't [i]own[/i] the electronic files. [/quote]

I can point to many, many closed cases which would disagree with this point. You keep using the word [i]ethically[/i] but I don't think you're using it in the right way or really understand it's meaning. Also your point seems to ignore the existence of [i]Intellectual Property[/i] which is defined below:

[quote][b]Intellectual property[/b] ([b]IP[/b]) is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_rights"]exclusive rights[/url] are recognized—and the corresponding fields of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law"]law[/url].[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#cite_note-0"][1][/url][/sup] Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_right"]exclusive rights[/url] to a variety of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intangible_asset"]intangible assets[/url], such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property include [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright"]copyrights[/url], [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark"]trademarks[/url], [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent"]patents[/url], [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design_right"]industrial design rights[/url] and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_secret"]trade secrets[/url] in some jurisdictions. Although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property have evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term [i]intellectual property[/i] began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the United States.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#cite_note-Lemley_2005-1"][2][/url][/sup] The British [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Anne"]Statute of Anne[/url] 1710 and the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Monopolies_1623"]Statute of Monopolies 1623[/url] are now seen as the origins of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright"]copyright[/url] and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_law"]patent law[/url] respectively.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#cite_note-2"][3][/url][/sup][/quote]

[quote name='MalachiConstant' timestamp='1302786380' post='4798368']
This is the tragedy of the State. Unfortunately, so many people are willing to take part in violence against another human being for their own gain, or even to maintain their position. If you don't understand how enforcing copyright law is violence, please let me know so I can break it down. [/quote]

So what are creators supposed to do? Create something then give it out to the whole world for free? If so, how will this person make a living? I create music and audio for video games. The fact that I (or my clients) protect my creations means we're doing violence against another human for our own gain? Give me a break! This is a business! We're out to make a profit otherwise we'd have to stop making video games and do other jobs to pay the bills. Please stop giving "legal" advice as you clearly don't know the law and could easily lead someone down the wrong path.

Getting back to the OP's question: [b] If I have his permission is it cool to use his remix in games or Is this just asking to be sued?[/b] It's just asking to be sued. Why? Because your friend who, remixed this song, doesn't have the authority or the ability to grant you permission to use something he, himself, doesn't even own. That only comes from the owners of the copyrighted material: In this case that would be [u]Nintendo.[/u]

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