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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All

After putting this up on Youtube - I got a warning about "possible" copyright infringement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpPB4ipQ2eg

What's the legal stance here? I thought you could cover tunes as long as you were not selling them?

Cheers
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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4,901 Posts
I wouldn't really worry about it. Youtube will look into it, and 1 out of 2 things will happen.

1) Youtube will post an ad above the related videos section. This ad is designed to use your link as an advertisement for the original artist and/or record label.

2) The original artist/label will opt out of the ad, and request to have your video removed.

The only way they would come after you legally is if you repeatedly continued to post the copywritten material once it has been removed.
 

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From a purely legal standpoint...the fact that you aren't selling it doesn't make it legal to perform a cover of a copyrighted tune and make it available to the public. The owner of the copyright could justifiably expect monetary compensation for any public performance of their material whether the performer is profiting or not. As a test of this issue, I went through all of the red tape to request permission from WMG to do a cover of a tune originally copyrighted in the early 30's, explaining that I merely wanted to post it on youtube and/or my own website, and would at no time be earning any profits or proceeds of any kind from it. Since there was no profit in it for them, they refused to grant permission. Of course we all know that WMG is one of the greediest copyright holders out there, and they're the most aggressive about hunting down copyrighted material on youtube.

To answer your question again though...NO...just because you're not selling it, does NOT make it legal to perform a cover of a copyrighted tune without permission from the copyright holder in advance...unless you're performing it in a venue that pays the necessary royalties or fees for the performance of such music. Many public venues do. If I'm not mistaken, youtube has actually worked out agreements with some (but not all) of the larger copyright holders who at one time had been having youtube videos pulled left and right for copyright infringement.

As an interesting side note...I received a copyright warning from youtube about a version of "Cantique de Noël"...(O Holy Night)...that I posted just before Christmas. Composed in 1847...and my performance was NOT in any way shape or form, a cover of anyone else's recorded or written arrangement. No possible way in the world that it could have been in violation of any copyright laws. How and why I got that copyright warning still makes me scratch my head.
 

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By the way...who did youtube indicate as having filed the possible copyright infringement claim? If it was the "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society", you can pretty much ignore it. There have been thousands of bogus copyright claims on youtube listing "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" as the source. A great number of those were related to works by long-dead composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc...
In fact...there is no such entity as "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society". It seems to be a generic term youtube has come up with to cover a long list entities similar to ASCAP. In almost all cases, the claims weren't filed by a human being who actually looked at or listened to your video...but by a computer that automatically generates "catch-all" claims based on titles or keywords used in descriptions.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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It sounds like copyright warnings have become automatic then? (O Holy Cow!). What next? Happy Birthday?

It seems to me we are talking here about publishing rights, correct? not copyrights stricto sensu? (pardon my ignorance).

Anyways, my feel is that a good cover version brings more water to the original mill...., eg out of curiosity (even if the cover is as good or better than the original, as it happens sometimes).
And what about arrangements?
 

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It sounds like copyright warnings have become automatic then? (O Holy Cow!). What next? Happy Birthday?

It seems to me we are talking here about publishing rights, correct? not copyrights stricto sensu? (pardon my ignorance).

Anyways, my feel is that a good cover version brings more water to the original mill...., eg out of curiosity (even if the cover is as good or better than the original, as it happens sometimes).
And what about arrangements?
Yes...the vast majority of youtube copyright claims are automatically generated by computers...not by individuals.
For the record..."Happy Birthday" was published and copyrighted in 1935, and the copyright won't expire until at least 2030.
Publishing rights and copyrights, while different, pretty much follow the same sort of rules...which often results in several different entities being able to file claims for misuse of the same material. "Arrangements" can fall under this umbrella of multi-entity claims.
 

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From a purely legal standpoint...the fact that you aren't selling it doesn't make it legal to perform a cover of a copyrighted tune and make it available to the public. The owner of the copyright could justifiably expect monetary compensation for any public performance of their material whether the performer is profiting or not. As a test of this issue, I went through all of the red tape to request permission from WMG to do a cover of a tune originally copyrighted in the early 30's, explaining that I merely wanted to post it on youtube and/or my own website, and would at no time be earning any profits or proceeds of any kind from it. Since there was no profit in it for them, they refused to grant permission. Of course we all know that WMG is one of the greediest copyright holders out there, and they're the most aggressive about hunting down copyrighted material on youtube.

To answer your question again though...NO...just because you're not selling it, does NOT make it legal to perform a cover of a copyrighted tune without permission from the copyright holder in advance...unless you're performing it in a venue that pays the necessary royalties or fees for the performance of such music. Many public venues do. If I'm not mistaken, youtube has actually worked out agreements with some (but not all) of the larger copyright holders who at one time had been having youtube videos pulled left and right for copyright infringement.

As an interesting side note...I received a copyright warning from youtube about a version of "Cantique de Noël"...(O Holy Night)...that I posted just before Christmas. Composed in 1847...and my performance was NOT in any way shape or form, a cover of anyone else's recorded or written arrangement. No possible way in the world that it could have been in violation of any copyright laws. How and why I got that copyright warning still makes me scratch my head.
We just discussed this in a music education class a couple weeks ago. We came to the consensus that if it does not take away from the monetary value of the work and you gain profit without the original owner's consent, you should be fine in a case such as this. Watch this video, my professor thought it did a great job explaining the whole "copyright" topic briefly.

 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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What's the legal stance here? I thought you could cover tunes as long as you were not selling them?
You can cover tunes, anyone can cover tunes, but posting on Youtube is "publishing" them, which is a different legal issue. Youtube rules state you should not upload copyright material.

Some copyright owners don't mind, some do and can get the videos removed.

It's not related to tunes being sold or not.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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Discussion Starter #9
By the way...who did youtube indicate as having filed the possible copyright infringement claim? If it was the "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society", you can pretty much ignore it. There have been thousands of bogus copyright claims on youtube listing "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" as the source. A great number of those were related to works by long-dead composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc...
In fact...there is no such entity as "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society". It seems to be a generic term youtube has come up with to cover a long list entities similar to ASCAP. In almost all cases, the claims weren't filed by a human being who actually looked at or listened to your video...but by a computer that automatically generates "catch-all" claims based on titles or keywords used in descriptions.
Ok thats the one - I'll see if I get issued with takedown notice I guess!

Cheers
 
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