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Visualising music / do I need permission?

 
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deval
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Joined: 28 Sep 2016
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:08 pm    Post subject: Visualising music / do I need permission? Reply with quote

Hi there

I am an artist based in UK.

I am currently working on an independent art project aimed to visually deconstruct a popular song from the 60s – Space Oddity by D.Bowie.

The outcome of the project will be an exhibition of 10 graphic posters that will visually represent the data contained in the song.

I wonder if I can sell these posters to cover the expenses of the exhibitions or will I be infringing the copyright of the content of the song?

Your advice is very much appreciated.

Thank you!
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AndyJ
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi deval,

Assuming that your project won't actually include any of the lyrics (or music) then I can't see how this would infringe the copyright, since you would effectively be expressing the idea(s) of the song in an entirely new way. And as we say many times here, copyright is about the protection of the expression of ideas, not the underlying ideas themselves.

However if you do intend to use some of the lyrics (and/or music) within your artwork, then it would be sensible to get permission. There is an exception to copyright law which allows for parody or pastiches of copyright works, but it doesn't sound from your description that that is what your project will involve, so it probably wouldn't be of much use. Neither, I suspect, would another exception for the purposes of criticism or review be applicable in your case.

However I'm sure this would have been something Bowie himself would have loved, so let's hope his heirs are equally free-minded.
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deval
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much for your prompt and helpful answer.
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