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Copyright for a Remix - Advice please....

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typonaut
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="AndyJ"]
typonaut wrote:


But in the interests of a wider discussion, characters, plots, and game show formats are not universally unprotectable, although I accept that is substantially the situation in the UK.


Generally speaking, I try to avoid dealing with the vagaries of foreign jurisdiction, unless there's an issue that is pretty much square with UK law. The reason for this avoidance is simply because one quite often ends up reading about issues that are treated differently in the UK, and are well settled here. When trying to pin down/research an issue I don't really find such discussions that useful.

Quote:
For an interesting discussion of the US jurisprudence concerning the protection of fictional characters and to a lesser degree, plots, this paper may interest you: "The Conflicting Interests in Copyrightability of Fictional Characters" Dr T Ahmad and D Mondal. 2011


Thanks
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typonaut
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedRobin wrote:


....So am I correct in thinking that even if I was to send a private email to a close and trusted friend who is a respected musician and producer, with a copy of the said Remix attached, with the express purpose of asking his opinion about the Remix's music, then I would still be liable to committing an infringement!?


I think that's probably correct, yes. It may be that you might be able to make use of the fair dealing defence of criticism or review, but that's a matter for the particular circumstances and a decision a court must make. Probably you would be in a better position with this defence if you had made the remix yourself, and then sent it to someone else for review - rather than it being someone else's work that you were passing on.

RedRobin wrote:
I have to say that it's a sad day when if the law extends its tentacles that much!


I suppose the problem is that the law lays out general principles, and then has to apply those in specific instances. These may not always be the best fit in the world.

RedRobin wrote:
This then begs the question whether it's 'legally safe' to play such music in the privacy of one's own home but hosting a party for invited guests only.


The key issue here is whether it is in "public", and what constitutes the "public". As Andy says inviting a friend around and playing it to them is probably not infringing. if the friend brings another friend, the latter you don't really know at all, is that then communication to the "public".

RedRobin wrote:
Doesn't a court take a defendant's intentions into account? Or is that only if it is a criminal and not a civil court?


Well, I think intent is an issue, in that you probably need to take a deliberate action to bring liability into play. That is, you need to deliberately upload a file to p2p or send it in an email. Something that is done accidentally, or inadvertently (ie you intend to share your own photographs with friends, but somehow they have access to your whole file system and can download your music library), this may form some kind of defence (I'm not saying that it does).

On the other hand, being ignorant of the law, or not understanding the consequence of your actions ("I didn't know that putting the file on p2p meant that everyone in the world could download a copy!?") generally isn't. In criminal law the latter would probably be considered recklessness.

For what it's worth, I'm not saying that all of these things are "right", nor that even if you did them that the full weight of the law would fall on you, only that this is where, in my opinion, the liability lies. It's not that I'm being draconian, more that I'm urging caution on your part, so that you know where the risks are.
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RedRobin
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

typonaut wrote:

For what it's worth, I'm not saying that all of these things are "right", nor that even if you did them that the full weight of the law would fall on you, only that this is where, in my opinion, the liability lies. It's not that I'm being draconian, more that I'm urging caution on your part, so that you know where the risks are.


....No, I greatly appreciate the time you (and Andy) have spent answering my questions very fully and indeed my main reason for starting this thread in the first place was to learn the extent of caution I should exercise in my best interests and that has been well satisfied.

By the way, I'm suggesting that some aspects of the law are draconian and not your attitude or posts.

But I have to say that any law which in effect forbids someone playing a piece of music in their own home for some of their learned musician friends to enjoy and review, just because there are more than two people present, and consequently makes then liable for a court action, is a law or rule which I most strongly disagree with! It smacks of Big Brother. This is, in my not-so-humble opinion a potential waste of any court's time to have to judge such circumstances.
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedRobin wrote:
But I have to say that any law which in effect forbids someone playing a piece of music in their own home for some of their learned musician friends to enjoy and review, just because there are more than two people present, and consequently makes then liable for a court action, is a law or rule which I most strongly disagree with! It smacks of Big Brother. This is, in my not-so-humble opinion a potential waste of any court's time to have to judge such circumstances.

The majority of things you might do within the home with regard to copying are either legal through the private study fair dealing exemption or are condoned. For example format shifting (eg transfering music from CD to your MP3 player) is not currently legal but the BPI have said that their members will not take action against anyone doing this. This approach recognises the practical problems of policing the use of copyright works within the home. Only where the scale of infringement becomes a criminal act can a warrant be obtained to enter domestic premises. But apart from that situation, the police and other agencies (eg Trading Standards) have virtually no powers of entry based solely on suspicion of copyright infringement where this is a civil matter. Clearly when infringing activities move beyond the home, for instance, by uploading a copy to a P2P website or by carrying on a business from home, then the rules change.

Afternote:
Just for completeness for anyone reading this thread, here is an extract taken from the website of the copyright collecting society PPL concerning the playing of recorded music in a domestic setting:
Quote:
A PPL licence is required when recorded music, including radio and TV, is played in public. There is no statutory definition of 'playing in public' (also sometimes referred to as 'public performance') but the UK courts have given guidance on its meaning and ruled that it is any playing of music outside of a domestic setting so, for example, playing recorded music at a workplace, public event or in the course of any business activities is considered to be 'playing in public'. In contrast, any recorded music being played as part of domestic home life or when there is an audience entirely comprised of friends and/or family (such as at a private family party) does not require a PPL licence.

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typonaut
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedRobin wrote:
But I have to say that any law which in effect forbids someone playing a piece of music in their own home for some of their learned musician friends to enjoy and review, just because there are more than two people present, and consequently makes then liable for a court action, is a law or rule which I most strongly disagree with! It smacks of Big Brother.


I didn't really write that this was the case. What I suggested was that, if you invite a friend around, and he brings someone else that you don't know, then this may make the leap into "the public". Andy has posted a quote from PPL. I'm not sure that this entirely resolves the issue, since it declares that there is no definition of "public", but it gives you some idea.

Something to consider in this matter, for example, is whether your creation and playing of music is "domestic" (in the sense that the PPL quote indicates). Is it just a hobby, or do you sometimes get paid for CDs copies of the music you create, or for performances (you noted earlier I think that you don't object to someone shoving a fiver into your hand)?

These are the kinds of issue that may tip the balance between private and public and mark the division between domestic and business (I'm generally expanding on the issue not just to address your concerns, but also because other people are reading this thread and it may help to clarify the issue for them.).

Quote:
This is, in my not-so-humble opinion a potential waste of any court's time to have to judge such circumstances.


Well, I suppose a court will, very humbly, take your opinion into account when you appear before it. Wink
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RedRobin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

typonaut wrote:
RedRobin wrote:
This is, in my not-so-humble opinion a potential waste of any court's time to have to judge such circumstances.


Well, I suppose a court will, very humbly, take your opinion into account when you appear before it. Wink


...."when" I appear before it? Surprised

"If" I was to appear before a court because a case is brought against me - Probably not your intention but you made it sound as if I would definitely be making a court appearance in the future.

Going back to what constitutes what a court would deem as a business, I create music as a hobby and have only once been given a fiver (several years ago) - Surely, taking myself as an example, that doesn't mean I'm running a business from home and therefore potentially subject to penalties. Though of course I would expect a prosecuting lawyer to try to present a case that I was a business - In response I would suggest that he/she were grasping at straws.

Anyway, it seems that the whole subject of what constitutes musical copyright infringement is complicated in the extreme.

I noticed someone today who had posted a music video on YouTube in which the soundtrack was a famous artist, had written "No copyright infringement intended" under the player. If only they knew some of what I have learnt from this thread!
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typonaut
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedRobin wrote:
If only they knew some of what I have learnt from this thread!


That's kind of the problem with a lot of law, the general public think they have a grasp of it, but when it all goes a little bit pear-shaped for them they don't quite understand why. It seems to them that they have the moral high ground, but they still end up being "guilty".

I'm not sure what I really think about the issue - sometimes I can see that a body of law has been developed for a specific purpose, and while it is a bit complicated to understand, it generally works. Other times I feel, probably like you do now, that the whole thing is overly complicated, just trying to trip people up.

One thing I do know about the subject is that the more you learn the more you realise how little it is you know.
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RedRobin
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

typonaut wrote:

That's kind of the problem with a lot of law, the general public think they have a grasp of it, but when it all goes a little bit pear-shaped for them they don't quite understand why. It seems to them that they have the moral high ground, but they still end up being "guilty".

I'm not sure what I really think about the issue - sometimes I can see that a body of law has been developed for a specific purpose, and while it is a bit complicated to understand, it generally works. Other times I feel, probably like you do now, that the whole thing is overly complicated, just trying to trip people up.

One thing I do know about the subject is that the more you learn the more you realise how little it is you know.


....I agree. I think that's it in a nutshell. Generally the law does work very well and it needs to cover all eventualities so that it can be fair and just and then consequently it can't help but become complicated.

These complex technicalities being debated in great detail in a court are unfortunately difficult for many people to digest and especially so when final judgements aren't seen to match a more simplistic subjective view and particularly if someone believes strongly that they are morally right.

Most people find it difficult to be truly objective and to accept that someone else's view, or even morality, is just as valid as their own point of view - It's just different and sometimes opposite.

This thread has covered a great many different aspects of a copyright question which at first seemed quite simple. Fascinating in some respects and scary in others.
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