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It takes a man that have the blues to sing the blues - Huddie Lead Belly Ledbitter, to Alan Lomax

Author Topic: MPA Problems ?  (Read 3788 times)

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Offline SteveMcBill

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MPA Problems ?
« on: July 29, 2006, 01:33:26 AM »
I thought members might like to view the discussion on Guitar Zone with regard to the MPA and NMPA branding tab (tablature) sites as illegal and sending out cease and desist orders.

As it seems they object even more to lyrics being in the tabs than the tabs themselves, do members think this could pose problems for Weenies own 'Lyrics' forum as well as the 'Licks' forum, in the future ??

The URL is: http://www.guitarzone.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=163538

Cheers

Steve   :(

Offline Rivers

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2006, 07:22:23 PM »
Hey there Steve,

Since the rest of the steering committee are currently renamed 'the beering committee' here's my take. This is the musical equivalent of those annoying traffic light/speed cameras.

I would guess in the unlikely event it becomes a problem we'll certainly duck. Perhaps during the hiatus we will insist postings consist of self-penned singer/songwriter compositions concerning the true meaning of life, love, pain, suffering, gurls, um reality and just about everything else.

We should probably commence to award prizes for the best nashville-influenced play-on-words sting in the chorus and offer songwriting workshops 'in the style' of fictional country blues players. Fortunately the trustees of the great Weenie Campbell's estate have bequeathed his entire voluminous, albeit hard-to-find, output to Slack. In perpetuity. For Ever.

No other solutions to offer at this point, sit tight.

Rivers.

Offline Slack

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 12:05:30 PM »
HI Steve, I think we'll watch and wait a bit as Weenie would be low on the radar screen since most of the lyrics we post are from the 20's and 30's and copyright is unclear to put it mildly.  And as Rivers says, if something happens, we'll duck.

Quote
Perhaps during the hiatus we will insist postings consist of self-penned singer/songwriter compositions concerning the true meaning of life, love, pain, suffering, gurls, um reality and just about everything else.

Back in the nick of time!


Offline uncle bud

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 01:16:59 PM »

Quote
Perhaps during the hiatus we will insist postings consist of self-penned singer/songwriter compositions concerning the true meaning of life, love, pain, suffering, gurls, um reality and just about everything else.

Back in the nick of time!

I liked Maria Muldaur's line about it being 'dear diary music'.


arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2006, 09:53:20 AM »
I am a bit late to this party,but have some relevant info. I started a SoundClick page for putting up recordings of what we play at our weekly jam. The first thing I ran into was their warning about licensing issues. I just put up a 12 bar rhythm (in A; hope that's not been claimed  :D ) for the time being and did some research. Here is something I found at one public domain music site:

Music and lyrics written by an American author and published in 1922 or earlier are in the Public Domain in the United States. No one can claim ownership of a song in the public domain, therefore public domain songs may be used by everyone. PD songs may be used for profit-making without paying any royalties. If you create a new version or derivative of a public domain song, you can copyright your version and no one can use it without your permission. However, the song remains in the public domain, and anyone else can also make and copyright their own version of the same PD song.

I found other info that states that if you have in your possession a published copy of the music with a copyright date of 1922 or earlier clearly indicated you are pretty much in the clear. My copy of The Blues (Paperback Songs) by Hal Leonard Corp. has a few that meet that standard, so I will start with some of them.

Another good public domain info site I found is http://www.pdmusic.org/ and they have some blues songs there with lyrics and MIDI files (which a few programs will turn right into tab for you). But it doesn't meet the strict guidelines recommened at the other site I found (http://www.pdinfo.com/).

I am not a lawyer, but I sometimes play one on the Internet. IMO, if the MPA enforcers stumble across this site they would have a legitimate bone to pick, but it isn't celar whether it would be with the site host or the users who post content.

Offline Slack

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2006, 10:33:16 AM »
Let's just hope it is the Users.  :D

The PD site implies that everything after 1922 is then subject to copyright - but I don't think it is that simple.  Who holds the copyright for Blind Lemon Jefferson's 'One Dime Blues' for example - which was recorded in what 1928?  Can the MPA enforcers come up with a copyright for these lyrics?  Could be wrong I suppose, but I don't think so.

So what is happening with the various tab sites out there -- are they closing up shop?

arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2006, 11:29:49 AM »
My limited understanding is that some tab sites have pretty much closed up, some have trimmed back to just traditional (very old) music and others are fighting it.

As far as who holds the copyright, it gets really weird. There is a licensing organization that represents the vast majority of music that was ever recorded in the US (I think it is the RMAA)  and whenever any of it is licensed, you pay a fee that is based on the length of the song and the number of copies and no matter what the particular song is, they divvy up the whole pot to their members based on market share. So to answer your specific question, if you give them a dime for Blind Lemon, they give a penny each to Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Ozzy (OK, maybe my math is a little off  :P but you get the idea).

Once more I have to give my disclaimer - this is not legal advice by any stretch. But the pattern seems to be that they issue "cease and desist" documents to sites for enabling the site's users to break the law. It is a really gray area and so many people back down or settle that I am not sure what happens if it ever goes anywhere.

Offline Slack

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 11:39:01 AM »
Yep, we have a BMI broadcast license that works similarly - funds divied up among living artists.

I can understand backing down unless you get some probono work from lawyers who want to fight the cause. It would be a shame in our case -- we have lots of fun trying to decipher these old lyrics.

Thanks for the report.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2006, 12:16:59 PM »
Well, the first things we'd do is ask the complainant to send us proof of copyright for any of the songs in question, no? I suspect that would be very difficult for most of the songs discussed here. Secondly, isn't there a educational purpose loophole? Which is what we're up to here: "Preserving Country Blues through Education, Performance and Technology".

Not that I'm a lawyer.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2006, 12:19:59 PM by uncle bud »

arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2006, 12:19:32 PM »
It is BMI and a couple of others, not RMAA. SoundClick's page sort of explains it. The one odd thing is that it says this is for MP3s and not streams, but it doesn't say what you can do with streams. I wonder if they have a broadcast license that covers that. I can't seem to find the answer. Anyway, here is their page on finding and paying the owner:

http://www.soundclick.com/solutioncenter/default.cfm?subOf=134

Like I said earlier, I am going to punt and only put stuff up there that meets the strictest guideline I found, meaning I have soemthing in hand from a publisher. I noticed that in the composer field in the CD data of some songs it says Public Domain. For example, on the Testament CD "Mandolin Blues", it identifies 5 songs as Public Domain.

I am with Uncle Bud in a couple of respects - I am not a lawyer and it seems fair to me that the complaintant should provide evidence rather than just an accusation that you have to defend yourself against. I don't know about educational exclusions when it's wide open.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2006, 12:23:11 PM by arbarnhart »

Offline waxwing

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 12:43:54 AM »
What aspect of Weenie Campbell do you think BMI would complain about? We already pay them a fee for the Juke so that's relatively legal. We pretty much avoid tab here, except for the occasional post and I don't think they can get all het up about someone posting something like:

| I | I | I | IV | IV | I | I | V | IV | I | I |

naming a key or a tuning and maybe verbally describing how you might play some licks. So it's down to threads working out our best guess of the lyrics to some pretty obscure blues songs that definitely have never been published except as someone else's best guess? So BMI is gonna close us down and lose the fee we're already paying them?

If you say so, Counsellor.

All for now.
John C.
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arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2006, 03:42:49 AM »
What aspect of Weenie Campbell do you think BMI would complain about?

MP3 files available for download that use compositions under copyright would be my first guess. Those require mechanical rights (atually there is a new digital equivalent, but it is per download), not broadcast rights. There doesn't have to be money charged for the music to require license payment. There are numerous clear violations on the Back Porch. There has been some tab and notation posted in the Licks and Lessons forum that probably have issues.

I am not trying to be negative or encourage any changes. I just found all this info out when I created a SoundClick page thinking I would post up some stuff we play at our jam. Most of what we play I can't post there unless I pony up some cash (and that's not going to happen). I still haven't figured out what the deal is with streaming though. Maybe that is covered with the broadcast license. It's the "full permanent download" (MP3s) that are the issue as far as I can tell. As I keep saying, though, I am not a lawyer, just a hobbyist that ran into this particular wall.

Here is something of a FAQ page at SoundClick:
http://www.soundclick.com/solutioncenter/default.cfm?subOf=133
I certainly can't vouch for its accuracy. IMO (and it is only an opinion), SoundClick caved in and is being overly accomodating to the licensing agencies. My guess is they had lawyers involved (or threasts of action) at some point. But it is just a guess.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 04:07:37 AM by arbarnhart »

Offline Slack

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2006, 07:08:29 AM »
Yes, the streaming is covered by a 'broadcast license' which is different than having mechanical rights.

Quote
There are numerous clear violations on the Back Porch.


Are you saying that you have cross-checked and found copyrights for some of the posted mp3s?  If so, I'd like to know which ones.

Thanks.

arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2006, 09:17:18 AM »
Yes, the streaming is covered by a 'broadcast license' which is different than having mechanical rights.

Quote
There are numerous clear violations on the Back Porch.


Are you saying that you have cross-checked and found copyrights for some of the posted mp3s?  If so, I'd like to know which ones.

Thanks.

Well, here is what I did. I followed a link from SoundClick over  to Harry Fox and then went to their songfile search by going here:
http://www.harryfox.com/public/songfile.jsp
and then clicking on the button to do a publuic search, agreeing to their terms and conditions by checking a checkbox (did not requie me to enroll or provide any info) and then I entered Come On Into My Kitchen as a song. I got back info that when drilled into says that the Robert Johnosn version is licensed and that Harry Fox represents the owner. That puts the legitimacy of this posting:
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=100&topic=1481.0
in question. But I am not sure. I also searched for St Louis Blues which I know is public domain in and I got back a *lot* of hits. It has been revised and various arrangements have been copyrighted. But one of the entries that just lists Handy as the songwriter has an odd looking song code and when you drill in, it says it isn't represented by Harry Fox (who is this guy anyway?) and has copyright protection. Well, that copyright was prior to 1922 and that song is now in the public domain if you are using that arrangement as the basis for your arrangement. But they don't tell you that. This is really frustrating to try to figure out. I just want to legally share music so that people can tell me how bad it is and how to improve or that somebody thinking about joining our jam can get an idea of what we play.

I wish I could find the answer about SoundClick's streaming. If they allow that without the license because they have it covered, then that would be the way to solve my problem. They let you select the option as to whether you allow downloads or not when you upload.

I could be off base and have arrived at the wrong conclusions. Nearly every source of info I have found has a dog in the fight. Even those sites that appear to be guardians of public domain happen to have song books of public domain arrangements that they will sell you.

Offline Slack

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2006, 09:43:01 AM »
Harry Fox is a middle man between the music licensing folks (BMI, ASCAP etc) and artists.  For a fee they do the administrative work necessary to collect and distributing licensing fees on behalf of artists.

Also, I meant to tell you earlier that there no need to get defensive - this important stuff to talk about, it effects many sites from 'personal' sites (like yours), to hobby sites (like WC) to folks that are trying to make real money in some way - tabs, sheet music etc. etc.  The democratization made possible by the internet also means that everyone is a distributor of equal stature.  This is un-nerving the music industry... to put it mildly.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out - because it is hard to imagine that they have enough fingers to plug the dike.

In any case, I think you are right about "Come In My Kitchen" - this probably needs to be taken down.   Any others?  you said "numerous clear violations"?

Thanks.

arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2006, 10:04:48 AM »
In any case, I think you are right about "Come In My Kitchen" - this probably needs to be taken down.   Any others?  you said "numerous clear violations"?

I don't have my blues song book in front of me. The basis for me saying "numerous" is that I was flipping through the book and finding songs that I might learn and then listening to them to see if it was something I might enjoy and/or be able to play. The back porch is a great resource for that. I found a few I thought were possibilities. That's when I created the SoundClick site and stumbled into the licensing canna worms. I looked up the ones I was thinking of doing and found copyright dates that indicated potential trouble.

I am thinking I will do some "Handy work" for now; St Louis Blues and Gulf Coast Blues are okay.

arbarnhart

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Re: MPA Problems ?
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2006, 10:43:31 AM »

Hey, I got a reply from SoundClick. This isn't exactly legal advice, but it seems to be potentially good news!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: SoundClick Support [mailto:support@soundclick.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 1:10 PM
To: Andy Barnhart
Subject: Re: Copyrights and streaming with respect to cover songs


Hello,
You can post the song for stream-only.  Please make sure to place it in a "Cover Songs" subgenre.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

PTH III
support@soundclick.com

----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Barnhart
To: support@soundclick.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 12:34 PM
Subject: Copyrights and streaming with respect to cover songs




I found your page about having to pay a license fee for each download if I do a cover song. But it specifically excludes streaming (just says "not streaming"). If I post a cover song is posted without down download capability, do I still have to get a license of some kind?

Thanks!
Andy

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