konalavadome

Infringing copyright or not ..... that is the question.

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Coolcat

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« on: July 11, 2015, 08:39:03 AM »
Am new to this site so if this topic has been covered before then please accept my apology.

Want to tap into your knowledge. How far does one go to infringe on copyright?

Have always enjoyed rock / country rock music and must admit that certain phrases / hooks / melodies etc have the knack of always being in the back of my mind. I guess that’s probably one of the trade secrets to writing memorable songs.

As a newbie to songwriting I’m having a go at writing a second ‘song’. I’m using the same theme of one of my favourite songs although the lyrics are entirely different – except for a single word at the end of one line, and a group of ‘three word words’ used in the chorus. The chorus sung three times. The chord sequence and melody would be completely different.

My question is; is using the same theme / setting / idea with different lyrics – except as mentioned above – an infringement of copyright?

I could really do with advice / guidance on this as I don’t want to be regarded as a cheat and find myself in a sticky situation.
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seriousfun

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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 09:11:36 AM »
To the best of my knowledge copyright applies only to lyrics and to melody. Individual words cannot be copyrighted but phrases could be on shakey ground if they are not common phrases and used in a similar way involving a hook.

Chords are fine, there is no copyright applied to chord sequences and in fact, it is a common way to shadow write. Take the chords from a song and apply new melody, lyrics, timeing of chord changes and voila, you have a new song.

Coolcat

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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 11:31:17 AM »
Hello Seriousfun

Thanks for your comment and advice. Very much appreciated.



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Boydie

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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 12:05:40 PM »
SF has nailed it - only lyrics and melodies are covered by copyright

However, just 2 words of warning...

Recent copyright claims have thrown a bit of a spanner in the works - Google "blurred lines v Marvin Gaye" - it appears they managed to sue for copyright infringement based on "vibe" but I can see this being overturned at some point

The other warning is to avoid sounding like another song, not for copyright reasons but you will quickly get fed up with constant "that sounds like so and so song" - often using a similar chord sequence AND rhythm will be enough to draw this constant comparison so even though you would not technically infringe copyright. It is probably best avoided form your own sanity - especially if you want to avoid "cheating"

As for "themes"...

Most good songs use "universal themes" that most people can relate to - so they are good to use (and ideally adapt) for your own songs

Good luck
To check out my music please visit:

http://soundcloud.com/boydiemusic

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Coolcat

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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 12:50:18 PM »
Hello Boydie

Thanks for your comment and advice.

Glad I raised this on the forum. The hard part now is to come up with something else in its place. Still, I've certainly learn't from the replies.

Once again, thanks to you both.

Coolcat.
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Coolcat

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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 02:13:48 PM »
I came across this series of short videos.

My personal opinion is that outright copying / plagiarism should be frowned upon and dealt with accordingly.

These videos raise some interesting points.

http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

Would like to read your thoughts on this.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 12:48:49 PM by Coolcat »
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shadowfax

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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 09:00:08 AM »
If you have to continually ''steal'' bits from other songs then maybe your not a songwriter, being influenced by other songs..ok but actually nicking other bits it's not on IMHO..

best, Kevin.. :)

hardtwistmusic

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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 12:25:22 AM »
Am new to this site so if this topic has been covered before then please accept my apology.

Want to tap into your knowledge. How far does one go to infringe on copyright?

Have always enjoyed rock / country rock music and must admit that certain phrases / hooks / melodies etc have the knack of always being in the back of my mind. I guess that’s probably one of the trade secrets to writing memorable songs.

As a newbie to songwriting I’m having a go at writing a second ‘song’. I’m using the same theme of one of my favourite songs although the lyrics are entirely different – except for a single word at the end of one line, and a group of ‘three word words’ used in the chorus. The chorus sung three times. The chord sequence and melody would be completely different.

My question is; is using the same theme / setting / idea with different lyrics – except as mentioned above – an infringement of copyright?

I could really do with advice / guidance on this as I don’t want to be regarded as a cheat and find myself in a sticky situation.


That is NOT copyright infringement.  IF it WERE, the guy you are following would probably be guilty of copyright infringement him/herself. 

You cannot copyright a concept. 
www.reverbnation.com/hardtwistmusicsongwriter

Verlon Gates  -  60 plus years old.

Annoying Twit

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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 10:32:08 AM »
I believe that it is incorrect to say that chord sequences cannot be copyrighted. Most chord sequences cannot be copyrighted because there is prior art and they are not distinctive enough to be a crucial part of the track. However, particularly distinctive and prominent chord sequences may be copyrightable, and therefore that copyright may be infringed. Wasn't the Coldplay vs. Joe Satriani suit based on a chord progression with no melody?

IMHO the decision concerning Blurred Lines versus Marvin Gaye is appalling. I hope it is reversed.