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 How different my song need to be NOT to breach Copyright
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teek Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:35 pm    Post subject: How different my song need to be NOT to breach Copyright Reply with quote

Hi ,

I am thinking about making a Demo of some Lyrics i wrote

But !!!!! the fact is that i think it will be very close to an Elton John song
SOUND or MELODY wise , NOT LYRICS , they are MY ORIGINAL Lyrics ,

BUT !!! i wrote them , after listening to "Song for Guy"
i have not used any lyrics from that song , are there any ???? Razz

in another thread here , it stated that song titles cannot be copyrighted ??
so can i call my song " Song for Guy and Brad " which is what i called it .

The first line starts with - This song is for you guy ..... etc...etc.

This may sound stupid , but a thought i had was , make the song sound "close" to "song for guy" let the record company or the publishing company get sued by the copyright owners , IT WILL BE GREAT PUBLICITY !!!!!!!

But then the question of how to limit the FINANCIAL DAMAGES ?????
is there a way to do this ?????????

any great advice will be "rewarded" Smile

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Dafduc Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elton and Bernie guard their intellectual property fiercely. Tread carefully.
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scrubs Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if there are any clear-cut rules about "how close" you can get. You can't copyright a chord progression, either. But, if the chord progression and melody are similar enough to the original, you might have a problem. The only trouble would be if you sold the song - a judge might rule that a portion of royalties be paid to the original composer (happened recently to the Flaming Lips, who had a song that sounded very similar in chord progression and melody to a Cat Stevens' tune - the lyrics, arrangement, and subject matter were totally different). You might also look for what the rules are for a parody. I mean, Weird Al does his thing and doesn't get sued (though, I guess Coolio did want to beat his ass for a while). Here's an article about that: http://www.publaw.com/parody.html
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teek Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would Gladly split the Royalties 50/50 with the copyright owner , their music / melody + MY Original lyrics ( my lyrics were NOT inspired by the Lyrics of the song in any way ) in fact i couldn't understand what he was singing ??????? life ???? something , something ??????? , i would only hum along to the melody at the start then write my lyrics .

i know Elton John does NOT accept unsolicited songs / lyrics ,

so how do i go about obtaining permission to use the melody or something similar ???

would that be a "mechanical license" ???? or just forget about trying to obtain permission ??

and give the lyrics to someone , change the lyric to "song for brad" ???
and ask them to create original music / melody for it ?????

and NOT mention anything about "song for guy" to that person so that they are NOT influenced in any way .

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Slackmaster2K Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The license can be compulsory, meaning that you can't be denied permission. However, you will have to pay royalties, for which there are set rates.
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stainless Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as I recall, a mechanical lien is for a limited production (I think 500 copies) of a copyrighted song. It can be a different arrangement / version, doesn't matter; example we cover "Unchain my Heart", our version is somewhere between Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, doesn't matter, Bobby Hart owns the copyright (and wrote it) and gets the license fee (less the Andrew Gold Agencies cut) in lieu of royalties. If we were ever to get airplay of the tune, or release it for distribution, royalties would be due and payable.

George Harrison was sued (and lost) because My Sweet Lord sounded too close to the Shirells (?) He's so fine (du-lang, du-lang, du lang)... even thought they are obviously (to most peoples ears different songs)

as DafD suggested "tread carefully", Elton could easily make you a pauper the rest of your miserably poor life...

If you really feel strongly about your lyrics, write a new melody (or find someone that can)
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Dafduc Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with compulsory licensing is that it's only America (and maybe Canada) where they're valid. It also does not allow you to modify the work at all. You can rearrange, but you can't change melody or text.

Elton and Bernie successfully blocked the Gospel group Commissioned from releasing Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me. The CD was out, they actually had to recall it and rerelease with a different track. Not sure the legal grounds - it may have been just that Elton was willing to throw resources at it and the record company wasn't - but I suspect it's one or the other of the rules above - either Commissioned played with the vocal lines (Gospel singers always do that) or lyrics, or they were distributing in the UK too, where there is no compulsory licensing. E&B's actual objection was that they didn't want their song furthering the cause of organized religion - they're part of some new agey movement or something. IOW, they just had to find a technicality: whatever the basis for their suit, it wasn't the real reason.

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teek Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

O.K. i think i get the message , be "Original"
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starwood Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys...how do I get a mechanical license for a re-write of a very old tune?
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stainless Offline
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd start here http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp
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Chris_Harris Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

starwood wrote:
Hey guys...how do I get a mechanical license for a re-write of a very old tune?


How old is "very" old? If it's old enough, you don't have to get a license, because copyrights expire just like patents do...it just takes a lot longer. If the author died before November whatever today is, 1936, it's public domain.

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starwood Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: 60's Reply with quote

Chris_Harris wrote:
starwood wrote:
Hey guys...how do I get a mechanical license for a re-write of a very old tune?


How old is "very" old? If it's old enough, you don't have to get a license, because copyrights expire just like patents do...it just takes a lot longer. If the author died before November whatever today is, 1936, it's public domain.


Chris...I believe this is a 60's tune (Christian) and I beleive the guy is still alive ...

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stainless Offline
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you can't find the tune on the Harry Fox site, try the BMI site, and if nothing turns up there, try contacting the guy. I worked on a benefit recording years back for a little girl with some serious medical problems. It was through the church and all modern Christian tunes. We contacted Amy Grant, Paul Stukey, and Dion directly. Dion was the only one who wouldn't give us permission for the project!


I suppose that's the worse that can happen is he'll say no, gimme the dough! The mechanical licenses are not real expensive and is based on the negth of the song (your version) rounded up to the next whole minute.
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starwood Offline
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks Stainless...big help.

Dan

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