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Re: [dvd-discuss] Music (Was Re: Public Domain Enhancement Bill)
- To: dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] Music (Was Re: Public Domain Enhancement Bill)
- From: Glendon Gross <gross(at)xinetd.com>
- Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 09:43:06 -0700
- Organization: Xinetd Communications
- References: <255195E927D0B74AB08F4DCB07181B904C569C@exchsj1.onetouch.com>
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a jazz musician, I am thankful that
"phrase based copyright"
is not the standard approach. Yet I recall that this was one of the
reasons for the development
of the jazz style known as "Bebop", because it was done to circumvent the
copyright that was
held by the composer of popular tunes. The rationale was that the chord
symbols were not (and
presumably, could not be) copyrighted, so therefore the musicians would
make up a new melody to
fit the chord symbols of a popular (copyrighted) standard. So "How High
The Moon" became "Ornithology",
and "Back Home In Indiana" became "Donna Lee", etc. This avoided, or
"circumvented" the need
to pay for the rights to a song.
I recall that John Mehegan, former professor of Jazz at Julliard, used
roman numerals to describe
a song, in order to avoid problems with quoting copyrighted songs when he
published his four volume
set on Jazz Piano. No matter how restrictive the fetters of copyright
law become, the human spirit
is always up to the task of discovering an appropriate method of copyright
In the jazz field, playing a phrase recognizable as part of another piece
of music is comonplace, and
is referred to as "quoting." If I had a dollar for every time I've done
that, I would be a rich man.
If I had to pay a dollar for each time I have done that, I would be in the
Richard Hartman wrote:
> the whole idea of phrase-based copyright is kind of
> odd ... the whole work is under copyright. fair use
> is a defense against accusations of copyright. it
> is up to the courts to determine what constitutes
> "fair use". in the case of music, a recognizable
> -- or more importantly, characteristic -- phrase
> may not be "fair use" ... but a longer, though
> less recognizable, phrase might be defensible.
> -Richard M. Hartman
> 186,000 mi/sec: not just a good idea, it's the LAW!
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Steve Hosgood [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 9:05 AM
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: [dvd-discuss] Music (Was Re: Public Domain Enhancement Bill)
> > > On Friday 27 June 2003 18:25, Jeme A Brelin wrote:
> > > # Disney might (speculatively) control 90% of the existing
> > copyrights on
> > > # novels, short stories and movies (or whatver), but that's
> > an insignificant
> > I know it's hardly relevant or new, but just recently
> > D.C.sessions wrote:
> > > A single CD can now hold all of the possible musical phrases
> > > (allowing for "legal Hamming distance") so that one could, with
> > > modest effort, make it legally impossible to produce *any* music
> > > without infringing the copyright on one of those "works."
> > >
> > > The owner of these priceless copyrights would then be in
> > > position to hold all music and English writing hostage.
> > >
> > I'd been meaning to ask before, and here's my chance:
> > Why hasn't some interested activist tried creating an
> > internet database of
> > all the musical phrases in the works of Handel, J.S.Bach,
> > Scarlatti, Vivaldi,
> > Mozart, Beethoven and all the other obvious and non-obvious
> > famous composers
> > of yore whose works are now PD?
> > I'd guess that such a database would, without chasing obscure
> > composers, be
> > found to contain all playable musical phrases, thus killing
> > off at a stroke
> > anyone's silly attempt to copyright any modern music based on
> > musical phrases
> > alone.
> > It doesn't seem to have been done though.
> > Any ideas why not?
> > --
> > Steve Hosgood |
> > firstname.lastname@example.org | "A good plan
> > today is better
> > Phone: +44 1792 203707 + ask for Steve | than a
> > perfect plan tomorrow"
> > Fax: +44 70922 70944 | -
> > Conrad Brean
> > --------------------------------------------+
> > http://tallyho.bc.nu/~steve | ( from the
> > film "Wag the Dog" )