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Spadge
(@spadge)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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What's the rules on recording other artist's songs ???

Do I have to get prior permission, or can I just go ahead and record them as long as I give credit where it's due.

If the album sells copies by means of distribution at gigs, would I owe the original recording artist money, and how do I pay it...........

Don't want to step on any landmines here, so any advice would be appreciated.

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leear
(@leear)
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the way i understood it was you can not "sell the album" you can ask for donations and also give the artist credit too. We asked for donations but stressed we'd like a 10 dollar donation.........LOL

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hueseph
(@hueseph)
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If you happen to sell any decent amount of these and the original artist catches wind of it, you could get sued. Even a bar pays royalties in order to play music. Granted this is a general fee.

With recorded material there are mainly the songwriter's and publisher's copyrights you need to be concerned with. If you went ahead and sought the rights to use the songs(could be thousands or millions to buy the rights), you could actually own the mechanical rights to your recording. Which means that the version you recorded is yours and should anyone decide to play it say on a radio, you would skim a minor royalty. That all being said, if you're only going to be selling a few hundred copies at the local bar, I doubt any artist could care less.

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DemoEtc
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You can purchase mechanical licensing - for just about any song out there - from the Harry Fox Agency

http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp

It's a certain amount per song for every 500 copies sold. That can add up if you have a CD of all covers, but you can then sell your performance of the songs with no worries about infringement or lawsuits because HFA sends the artist/publisher their share.

Hope this helps.


   
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hueseph
(@hueseph)
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Cool man. I knew they had a site. Too lazy to look.

https://soundcloud.com/hue-nery/hue-audio-sampler


   
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MattyPretends116
(@mattypretends116)
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Or sidestep the whole thing by recording an album of originals. Inside the jewelcase is a web address for a free download of a covertune. You aren't selling their music, technically, so they can't touch you (I don't think)

But, like Huseph said, no one will care if you are playing bars. Some local guys who have a good sized local following did a cover of a beatles tune, sold lots of copies and no one said a word.

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Sticky
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Or sidestep the whole thing by recording an album of originals. Inside the jewelcase is a web address for a free download of a covertune. You aren't selling their music, technically, so they can't touch you (I don't think)

So what if you do both, you know parodies like Weird Al? :D

Seriously though, does the amount of alteration that he does constitute enough difference to skirt the copyright?

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hueseph
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Weird Al Pays for his rights to do parodies. Prince seems to be one of the few artists that refuses to have him make parodies with his music.

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kingpatzer
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Al does not need permission to make a parody -- as parody and satire are protected by the 1st amendment.

He does however do his best to get permission to "cover" his subjects, which is one of the reasons he's so respected by most folks in the industry.

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Misanthrope
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Or sidestep the whole thing by recording an album of originals. Inside the jewelcase is a web address for a free download of a covertune. You aren't selling their music, technically, so they can't touch you (I don't think)
The royalties apply if you make it available, whether it's free or not - or so says the Harry Fox website linked above. Makes sense from a legal point of view, it stops you charging full price for a CD with one original on it and throwing in 12 'free' covers.

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NoteBoat
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Or sidestep the whole thing by recording an album of originals. Inside the jewelcase is a web address for a free download of a covertune. You aren't selling their music, technically, so they can't touch you (I don't think)

They sure can - and if you do that, they no doubt will!

A fairly famous early copyright case was brought by a broadway composer (Victor Herbert). He had a show playing down the street, and went to eat at a local restaurant (Shanley's Restaurant). In the restaurant was a band... which happened to be playing one of the songs from his show. Without a license.

He sued.

The restaurant's defense was that the performance was not 'for profit' - they charged the same price for a meal, whether or not the band was playing. Appeals went all the way to the Supreme Court.

In finding for the composer, the court ruled that profits do not have to be direct (as in actually selling the music) in order for the music to have a profit motive. The court reasoned that if there wasn't a profit somewhere for the restaurant owner, they wouldn't hire a band in the first place - so anything related to their 'for profit' business was by extension a for profit use.

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Dan Lasley
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Al does not need permission to make a parody -- as parody and satire are protected by the 1st amendment.

He does however do his best to get permission to "cover" his subjects, which is one of the reasons he's so respected by most folks in the industry.

I recall a story where someone refused Weird Al's request, and h ewrote a particularly nasty parody. Unfortunately, I can't remember who the artist was.


   
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Misanthrope
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He's particularly annoyed by other parodies being attributed to him (because they're usually offensive and/or vulgar - he tries to be family-friendly), and he gets permission that he doesn't actually need before recording something. Given that, I can't see him doing something like that myself.

There was a bit of a fuss when he did "Amish Paradise" - IIRC Coolio's record company gave the impression that he had agreed, Weird Al recorded it, then Coolio claimed he had never agreed, disapproved as the original was a serious message and started crying about it to anyone who would listen. Then there was "You're Pitiful" parodying James Blunt - Blunt didn't object but his record company changed their minds after it was recorded. He released it anyway, as Blunt himself didn't mind. Maybe that was it?

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