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-   -   Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance? (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=215470)

plynch June 2 2013 05:25 PM

Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
One of the great things about "Pilgrim of Eternity" is the appropriate use of original music cues.

Trek music copyrights, being works for hire, would be owned by the studio and now owned by whatever behemoth owns TV Trek. Sony, I think.

Does anyone know how Farragut Films isn't in potential copyright hot water for using the music cues? Did they get permission rights? There would be publishing and performing rights involved, I think. It is different from taking an intellectual property (the concept of Kirk) and recasting him as the studio seems content to let fan productions do.

Just curious.

boobatuba June 2 2013 05:42 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Quote:

plynch wrote: (Post 8191309)
Does anyone know how Farragut Films isn't in potential copyright hot water for using the music cues?

Sure. The simple answer is using the music is no "worse" than using Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise. It's all potential copyright hot water that CBS simply doesn't care to prosecute.

GSchnitzer June 2 2013 06:06 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Quote:

plynch wrote: (Post 8191309)
One of the great things about "Pilgrim of Eternity" is the appropriate use of original music cues.

Trek music copyrights, being works for hire, would be owned by the studio and now owned by whatever behemoth owns TV Trek. Sony, I think.

Does anyone know how Farragut Films isn't in potential copyright hot water for using the music cues? Did they get permission rights? There would be publishing and performing rights involved, I think. It is different from taking an intellectual property (the concept of Kirk) and recasting him as the studio seems content to let fan productions do.

Just curious.

The music cues are not, in fact different from the intellectual property. CBS Consumer Products has been generous enough to let fans use their musical cues for all the same reasons that fans can use the rest of their intellectual property. But they don't want to stand to lose money by your use of their music. We don't secure (pay for licensing) rights to any aspect of their property--music included. We don't have to figure out what CBS Consumer Products' "cut" should be as long as the revenue is $0.00.

It's not like they say "You can use our Kirk character and our Spock character and our Enterprise and our prop designs and our costume designs and our set designs and our font style and our old actors and even our name Star Trek, but using our musical cues is just crossing a line."

plynch June 2 2013 06:21 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Well, to me they do seem different: being newly creative with a concept ("Kirk-ness") v. using actual notes written and performed by others. Like if you lifted two pages of actual written dialog. That, to me seems qualitatively different from writing new stories based on characters.

But I am wrong. Nothing new there!

Mr. Schnitzer, as a creator of fan films, do you and your tribe ever have an underlying nervousness that if Sony changed its collective mind, you might be shut down? My understanding of the gray area that is fair use/First Amendment cases is that not hurting the owner's profit; and creatively transforming the original, both help make one's case for fair use. If TPTB did get testy, you might be legally fine, though I'm sure a corporation's endless legal resources would win a war of attrition. Using the actual music cues would be a tougher sell, I think, but they ARE part and parcel of the transformative, new work.

I'm sure you know much more than I about this. Thanks for the reply!

MikeH92467 June 2 2013 06:35 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Greg can answer for himself, but I think its safe to say that all of us involved with fan productions realize that we are able to do what we do because CBS sees no value in shutting us down. The current regime at CBS has apparently made clear that there's nothing to worry about as long as no one is pocketing so much as a penny. It's sort of like living in California: everyone knows that the "big one" (earthquake) could happen any time, but no one loses any sleep over it.

Christopher June 2 2013 06:39 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Sony has nothing to do with it. Star Trek is owned by CBS Studios, which is a subsidiary of the CBS Corporation, whose parent company is National Amusements, Inc.

But you have a point about the music. Using the original recordings of the music or sound effects would be analogous to incorporating stock footage or clips from an episode, rather than creating new material based on the same characters or designs. It does seem that it wouldn't be quite the same thing.

GSchnitzer June 2 2013 07:17 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Quote:

plynch wrote: (Post 8191498)
Well, to me they do seem different: being newly creative with a concept ("Kirk-ness") v. using actual notes written and performed by others. Like if you lifted two pages of actual written dialog. That, to me seems qualitatively different from writing new stories based on characters.

But I am wrong. Nothing new there!

Mr. Schnitzer, as a creator of fan films, do you and your tribe ever have an underlying nervousness that if Sony changed its collective mind, you might be shut down? My understanding of the gray area that is fair use/First Amendment cases is that not hurting the owner's profit; and creatively transforming the original, both help make one's case for fair use. If TPTB did get testy, you might be legally fine, though I'm sure a corporation's endless legal resources would win a war of attrition. Using the actual music cues would be a tougher sell, I think, but they ARE part and parcel of the transformative, new work.

I'm sure you know much more than I about this. Thanks for the reply!

In so many ways, we work very hard to keep the property owners content and not ruffle their feathers. (FI: property owner is CBS, not Sony.) We are constantly aware that at any moment for any reason--or for no reason--they could pull the plug. We could launch some kind of protracted "fair use" legal defense, but we don't have two nickels to rub together to make these silly things. I don't know how we would fund any kind of legal efforts.

These things are hard to make. Not only are they expensive to make in the first place and not only can they not be lucrative in any, but the knowledge that it could end tomorrow at a snap of CBS's fingers makes folks not be too interested in investing much money into the project. Our bridge set has--what is it, 64?--separate 17 inch flat screen monitors around the bridge stations--not to mention the HD flat screen monitors above each station. Folks are disinclined to chip in to help fund those kind of costs if CBS might just pull the plug tomorrow.

So, yes, we are constantly aware of it. You have no idea how much these things are truly a labor of unrequited love. For me, at least, the folks at Exeter and Farragut and Secret Voyage and Continues--and all the other fan-based productions--have my enormous respect and admiration. Where some see cheesy acting or fanwankery, I see mostly unrelenting passion and dedication despite incredible adversity.

GSchnitzer June 2 2013 08:18 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
An example of our crazy lives:

So, a while back, the Mystery Science 3000 guys (who continue to run a business where you can buy their funny snarky commentaries for new productions) began selling their commentaries for some of our episodes. (We're actually flattered they would do their commentaries for our episodes.) But we actually work hard making sure that we don't earn a cent from our efforts, and now all of a sudden, they are selling our episodes with their commentary attached.

After some initial acrimony, they understood the dynamics. So they began selling just their commentary on our episodes, rather than the full episodes themselves with their commentary attached--which is actually what they do with all the other commentaries they release. (They thought that since ours were "free" anyway, they could just include it along with their commentary--unlike all their other offerings.) Their website now says:

"Like all other RiffTrax, you are only purchasing the audio commentary; the video must be downloaded separately! You can download the video to sync with your mp3 file at http://www.phase2trek.com/home.html (Scroll down to the "World Enough And Time" section and download the file of your choice.)"

You can buy their commentary on "World Enough and Time" here:

http://www.rifftrax.com/rifftrax-pre...nough-and-time

or get "To Serve All My Days" here:

http://www.rifftrax.com/rifftrax-pre...ve-all-my-days

But please watch the episodes without their silly commentary at least once.)

Anyway, the point is, we work hard to make sure we don't make a cent from our efforts, and, in order to keep CBS happy, we now have to work hard to make sure others don't make a cent from our efforts.

But, yes, we're aware that CBS might shut us down at anytime--even because of the actions of folks whom we have nothing to do with.

plynch June 2 2013 08:54 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Thanks for your candor. Best wishes in everything!

mos6507 June 2 2013 09:02 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
The wildcard here is the publisher they ripped the CDs from. TOS Fan films used to have a very limited repertoire but now there's the LaLa Land TOS boxed set, hence the keys to the entire kingdom. It's certainly possible LaLa Land might take issue with the music being used even if CBS doesn't. Same deal with the publisher of any other Trek music, and if they participate in the Youtube fingerprinting system, then it could get yanked automatically. Vimeo is a better home for this stuff, but there's a fraction of the traffic there as there is on Youtube.

plynch June 2 2013 09:12 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
I was wondering about LaLaLand, since I assume that's where they got the tracks from. LaLa would likely have a license or permission to produce CDs and would have copyrights over their form and presentation order, i.e., their specific reissue format, not the tracks themselves.

That is, you couldn't burn a bunch of copies and sell those, since that was LaLa's work. (Then on top of that, you'd be infringing the rights holder of the individual tracks, which I assume is CBS.)

GSchnitzer June 2 2013 09:39 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Quote:

plynch wrote: (Post 8192176)
I was wondering about LaLaLand, since I assume that's where they got the tracks from. LaLa would likely have a license or permission to produce CDs and would have copyrights over their form and presentation order, i.e., their specific reissue format, not the tracks themselves.

That is, you couldn't burn a bunch of copies and sell those, since that was LaLa's work. (Then on top of that, you'd be infringing the rights holder of the individual tracks, which I assume is CBS.)

In the case of Phase II, you'll see that we've had access to and have used the TOS music in all our episodes for almost ten years now--including tracks that have previously been unavailable before the LaLaLand release late last year. Although our source predates their easy availability now, I'm not sure what copyright implications might be now.

JarodRussell June 2 2013 10:16 PM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
I think the only problem is that platforms like Youtube can check for copyrighted music cues (and video clips to some extend), but not for copyrighted content. So you can upload an entire fan film and it won't get taken down because it simply won't get recognized, but if you put Goldsmith's TMP fanfare in it, it gets (automatically) recognized.

plynch June 3 2013 02:34 AM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Copyright is convoluted and the courts are not consistent. In music some entity owns the copyright to use of the piece of music. A separate arrangement of the same piece (say, in a piano folio like my daughter has -- where I was just checking for who holds the copyrights for the various themes) can have its own copyright. Then there is the copyright on the recording. Plus LaLaLand would have the rights of its specific arrangement and packaging. Yikes.

Maurice June 3 2013 03:31 AM

Re: Music Cues Copyright Infringement Avoidance?
 
Music's one of the thornier aspects of Copyright law insofar as entertainment goes. For instance, a recording may have fallen into the public domain, but you still might not be able to use it in a film, as Nina Paley learned when she used Copyright-lapsed recordings of Annette Hanshaw in her film Sita Sings the Blues.

Quote:

From Wikipedia

The film uses a number of 1920s Annette Hanshaw recordings. Although the filmmaker initially made sure these recordings were not covered by US copyright law,[8] a number of other copyright issues surfaced, including state laws prior to US federal copyright law on recordings, rights to the compositions and the right to synchronize the recordings with images. These recordings were protected by state commerce and business laws passed at the time in the absence of applicable federal laws and were never truly "public domain".[9] In addition, the musical composition itself, including aspects such as the lyrics to the songs, the musical notation, and products derived from using those things, is still under copyright.[10]


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