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Re: MR-Request-music

Poster: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy@abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Greetings from Tibor.

Caveat: I've a pretty good grasp on copyright for a layman, but I am still an
amateur. And, musical copyrights are slightly different from the written and
intellectual control issues that I usually study.

A performers rights are basically designed to protect their potential income
and control of an item, coupled with a desire to not punish individuals

I believe that, by law, copyright is violated when music is performed for
other than strictly personal enjoyment, or when it is placed in some tangible
media format.  Whether these are actually prosecutable is another matter.

So, to answer Anarra's questions individually:
  1. I sing "Music, etc." in the privacy of my own home, for my own enjoyment.
  No copyright problem there, right?

No problem.
  2. I sing it at an event, for a few friends.

Borderline, but also probably not.
  3. I sing it at a bardic circle, to a larger audience.

Violation.  Public performance is not permitted.
  4. A friend with an ear for music learns it that way.

Learning it is not a problem, no matter where it is learned from.
  5. A friend who needs the words  written down asks me for a copy of the
  song, which I hand-deliver to him.

  6. Another friend asks me for an Email copy which I send to him privately...

  7. And then I post it to the list, since I know of others who would enjoy it.

  8. I make a tape including it as one of my favorite songs, from which I make
  a modest profit.  Obviously, if I do not obtain permission from the author,
  this IS copyright violation.

Actionable violation.
  At what point in this list of modes of transmission does copyright violation
  begin to occur?  I would think only at #8, since money begins to creep onto
  the scene, but perhaps someone more versed in law than I can inform us if
  the law has a different opinion.  Does it make a difference if I give proper
  credit to the author with #5, #6, & #7?  What if I don't know the author,
  having learned it from a friend, who learned it from a friend...?  (And BTW,
  since I sing in the key of Q-flat, #5 & #6 are the only ways I have shared
  favorite songs, giving credit to the author when I know of him/her.)

Credit doesn't diminish the copyright violation.  Neither do minor changes
like a word here or there, or changing the key, arrangement or beat.  For
example, translations from one language to another are violations of textual

I hope this helped.  If nothing else, whenever I post on copyright, Morgan
corrects me: and she is an attorney in the area.  So, I might have been
appropriate bait.  (:-)

Of course, courtesy in treating an artist with respect, is not something the
law can address: but is something I think we all know how to do.

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