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Newbie question: Should I copyright before submitting remix? How?

permalink   Tue, Apr 21, 2009 @ 11:35 AM
I will be soon submitting another acapella arrangement, on top of someone else’s vocal. It’s an arrangement I would hope an acapella group may choose to use someday.

I’m wondering if I should copyright my arrangement with the government before submitting it to ccmixter. Is there any significant advantage or disadvantage to doing so?

It would be my first copyright where another person in partially the owner. I’m not sure how to apply for that type of copyright, but I guess I’ll figure that out soon enough…

Thank you for the advice.

PS: Forget the “How?” in my topic-title. I can’t edit it out.
permalink   Tue, Apr 21, 2009 @ 6:58 PM
This is one of those questions, where an answer would get uncomfortably close to giving legal advice. And that’s one thing that we specifically don’t do around here.

In addition, this site being a pretty good case of a “gift economy”, it’s probably also likely that most participants here are more experts in sharing and giving away than locking things behind legal safeguards.

Suffice it to say that copyright law is highly jurisdictional (country by country), littered with subtleties and precedents and the mechanisms employed differ not only between countries, but also between types of creations (e.g. books, movies, songs, software, etc.)

So if you’re not in the mood to get yourself an IP (intellectual property) lawyer, and you consider it very important to control and protect your IP, you should really invest the time to understand the pertinent concepts, choices and trade-offs, specifically as they apply to what IP you create. There are some pretty good and obvious online resources introducing some of the basic concepts.

One good place to snoop around is the sponsor of this site.
permalink   Wed, Apr 22, 2009 @ 3:29 AM
Okay. I understand. Thank you for the reply. Perhaps I can ask a more simple variation of my question.

If I did get it copyrighted, would it discourage others from using it in any way on ccmixter? I understand the CC license is on top of U.S. copyright, not a replacement.

I don’t expect you directly would know this answer, but I just want to throw it out there.

Anyway, thanks again.
permalink   Loveshadow Sat, May 23, 2009 @ 3:18 PM
In reality copyright exists as soon as you make it into a recorded or documented medium. I.e you can’t copyright an idea but you can copyright the paper its written on.

Ask yourself why you would want to secure a notification in law and then give it away for remixing.

Its either one or the other as copyright exists on work as soon as you make it. All a govenment body does is retrun it to you as a validation of your ownership at that time. However it wont stop something being used its just a tool if an argument blows up to proove by date that you had access to it before another user.

The common CC licence restricts third party commerical use so what are you worried about.

If you want to have control as to what happens with your vocal in someway then quite honestly CC Mixter is not the place to put it.

If you place all sorts of restrictions on how it should be used then yes most likely people would be put off working with it.

There is a distant hope that all works on here can flourish finacially in some way. So why would someone remix a sample thats already had its wings clipped. As it wont have the chance to fly .
permalink   fourstones Sat, May 23, 2009 @ 6:32 PM
feeling compelled to jump here because the language of your post sounds factual when most of it is subjective opinion.

“The common CC license” is more like “one of the popular CC licenses”

“control” is matter of personal aesthetic. By owning the copyright, you still have 100% “control” - if someone wants to share or remix your music, they will just do it whether you post to ccM or not. The question is will you sue them, and if you do, what are your chances of winning.

“all works on here” is really “some, perhaps significant, percentage of works here”


For some of my opinions: In general I’m a little uneasy with the paranoid tinge of this thread. This site is a laboratory for demonstrating the benefits of sharing, in a larger cultural sense and to the individual’s own artistic development. Some commercial side benefits have emerged despite, oddly, no one here actually working toward that goal. Trying to figure out the most efficient way to sue fellow artists doesn’t come into play for me.
permalink   Loveshadow Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 5:24 AM
You are saying what i am in a different way. Essentially there are no guarantees, even with legally if that’s a distinction copyrighted music. The nature of this site is about sharing. As stated copyright exists as soon as its made nothing else provides total restrictions. You just have a piece of paper to go to court with.

But when you upload to CC though you need to embrace to whole site. There is no ` genre ’ control as to how a sample will be used other than the CC license you choose.

I would also ask the question of anyone who makes music here or any where else `would you accept money or like to make money from your work,’ either with a part sample or complete remix.

I feel pretty convinced that most would say yes. I would also wager that whilst people contribute to the site for the love of making music the spectre of `can i make a living or just anything at this’ is for ever present when they are doing it now or were doing in the past, to a lesser or greater degree.

I would be interested to know how many mixes on here use the `can be used for commercial purposes CC licence ?

To view the site as a just as laboratory for demonstrating the benefits of sharing is as you say your personal view. But it suggests everyone uploads for the same ideals and reasons. To think only that, limits what this is capable of and ignores the varied reasons why people do in fact contribute to CC Mixter.

I personally don’t think it paranoid for Copyright to be discussed on a free to download site. Copyright is based in financial fear. i.e Will someone take what i have done and profit from it. It is the reason why musicians i know will not give their work to this site.

For an individual moving away from that fear, then a degree of support is needed that says it will be alright. That says although there are no guarantees , as even in the old system , but contributing to CC Mixter is no less dangerous yet with greater additional benefits.

As a moderator you can not do that or cannot provide copyright guarantees ( who can ? )But generalising does not negate the misuse of a sample `fear’ or encourage anyone to re evaluate their copyright issues and see them for what they are.

Yes ultimately there is a contribution to our cultural sharing development and everyone’s artistic development, but that’s just one part of the pie and is sometimes not enough initially to throw you creative work to the ravenous remix community wolves ( said with a smile .) :-)

Placing work on CC mixter for the first or here second time is a daunting task. As its like posting the account number to your personal creative bank account.
permalink   fourstones Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 12:28 PM
(using italics to signify what I read vs. “what you said”)

I did a snapshot survey several years ago and nearly 100% of who I spoke with said they would “accept money” but they also said they were better musicians for having participated here.

Now you can read that as we’re all here for the money but, since, it is not the purpose of this, a non-profit site, where we aren’t even allowed to funnel money to artists, it seems there is, in fact, something larger going on — I don’t think that rises to generalization. If anything it’s probably a hair split, but that’s the gap where I live. fwiw, in my experience with the musicians I sampled from ccM for external commercial projects, the majority refused payment once the money came in.

According to the stats 68% of pells are NC and over half of samples are BY. Remixers can’t choose a license but it’s clear most ignore the license (which is only natural imo).

Yea, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on why folks don’t upload here and I don’t think it’s too far out of bounds (if not horribly diplomat) to call it paranoid. The best discussion is still Tim O’Reilly’s worry about obscurity, not piracy essay from 2002.

permalink   aliteralmind Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 1:09 PM
I want to clarify my original post. I don’t want to copyright my audio performance. I want to copyright my sheet music, of the song itself, not the particular performance OF the song (the pella or remix on ccmixter).

I don’t know if that changes anything, but I think it came across differently.

Quote: Loveshadow
For an individual moving away from that fear, then a degree of support is needed that says it will be alright (that cc is as “protective” as copyright).

This is insightful. Reassurance is, well, reassuring (okay so that’s less insightful :’ ). You grow up only knowing about full-flegded, all-rights-reserved copyright, and when first finding out about ccmixter, it is quite a leap of faith. Particularly when you realize the magic you find here, and the ideas it starts sparking. You worry even more, because now your creations are even better, because it’s created/supported by COMMUNITY imagination, not just YOUR imagination.

I’m finding commercial radio less and less appealing since I’ve discovered ccmixter. I starting to see it as a private club, where a privileged few get to sit in a room and be joyful through the creation of music, drink their wine and eat their cheese… All the while a security guard stands outside the door, letting no one join the party, because they want to suck it dry, monetarily speaking.

Never shall the twain meet: You’ll never find commercial music on ccmixter, and—I’m guessing here—that you’ll never find ccmixter music on commercial radio either. But in the end, ccmixter will thrive, commercial radio will decline. My primary radio is currently mcjackinthebox’s weekly cool music show.

I want to enjoy the music community of ccmixter, but I want to know my piece won’t be redone by someone else (where they perform it entirely themselves, unrelated to my pella or remix), unless I either get money, or give them my blessing.

Not sure if copyrighting in addition to cc-licensing on ccmixter is the way to go, but I’m still feeling like I should be copyrighting my sheet music, but not the remix or pella.
permalink   fourstones Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 4:16 PM
so just to clear this up:

(assuming you U.S.) anything you do is copyright - lyrics, melody and recordings. That includes remixes done with Creative Commons (or another liberal license). In other words if you remix somebody from here, you own the copyright of the remix. You may be restricted with what you can do with that remix, but you own it 100%. Same goes if you sing over some music here.

No one can take your ownership away from you unless you allow them. No can do anything with your melody, lyrics or recording unless you give them permission. A CC license is a way to give certain permissions (like sharing and remixing and commercial use, depending on the CC license you choose) on top of your copyright.

You don’t have to print or publish or do anything to your melodies or lyrics or recording to get ownership. You just have to create them. Even with a recording where you use samples from here, you own the copyright - all rights reserved. This site has a policy that if you upload here you have to agree to license it under a CC license, which means you allow others to share, remix and possibly use for commercial purposes, depending on the license you choose.

Quote: I want to know my piece won’t be redone by someone else (where they perform it entirely themselves, unrelated to my pella or remix), unless I either get money, or give them my blessing.

Read the license(s). Here’s Attribution here’s NonCommercial.

If it works for you, great, look forward to your uploads. Through our the licenses we offer on this site, you are giving your blessing to the world to, at least, share and remix and that’s pretty much forever. There are other CC licenses, not supported on this site, where you can maintain the inherent copyright restrictions against use in derived works.

I think you are right that we have been conditioned to think otherwise but it’s been proven now, many times, that besides enhancing culture and your personal growth, giving your music away is good for your career.
permalink   aliteralmind Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 5:39 PM
Quote: aliteralmindI want to know my piece won’t be redone by someone else (where they perform it entirely themselves, unrelated to my pella or remix), unless I either get money, or give them my blessing.
Reading this again, I don’t like how it sounds. Maybe this attitude is incompatible with cc? Who knows. I guess I mean “I don’t want anyone making money off my piece unless I get a cut or give my blessing”, which seems like the NonCommercial license (and yet still sounds dog-eat-dog-ish bad attitude-ish). I don’t want to stop remixes of my pellas/performances. Part of what contributes to my paranoia, is the fear of someone taking credit for your piece, and you can do nothing to prove otherwise. I guess it’s another protection ccmixter provides.

Anyway, I’m just trying to find the appropriate balance between protecting myself and enjoying myself on ccmixter. I am very new to, and admittedly ignorant about, this stuff, so I’m partially stabbing in the dark. But I’m taking a leap of faith into ccmixter, so I’m on the right path.
permalink   essesq Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 8:34 PM
I’m going to weigh in here because I can relate to your feelings. I had some similar ones, not with respect to my music but rather with respect to my writing which I have read and allowed to be remixed here.

I have a lifelong dream to publish my writing and to make money off of it. I joined mixter as a remixer but somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to toss my writing into the fray. I decided to accept the fact that the stuff I uploaded to mixter was going to be given away and that the stuff I decide to publish I will reserve for that process.

Once my poems are read and uploaded I lose all control of what they become. They are like children, and I am proud of what they have inspired. My words are something I care deeply about as I do about the sound of my voice, but giving people the chance to mess with both has given me a way to not be so hung up about them and I suspect will further free my creative process in the future. If there is someone out there saying that they wrote my words, it’s unlikely that I will ever find out. Furthermore you should be aware that while you may believe that you have a copyright in something, asserting it (in other words suing to enforce it) is a complex and very expensive process. The internet is a big place and stuff is probably being ripped off all the time yet little is probably done about it. I suggest if you really want to protect something keep it off the net, but if you want creative fun, turn something over to the mixter community and watch it go.

The experience of being remixed is at least as great if not greater than remixing itself. The idea that someone took care with your work to consider it and then make it their own is far from co-opting it is conception, literally creative reproduction. Even when I’m not sure I relate to a remix of my stuff I am honored by the remixer’s choice of my work. It means a great deal to me. Had I not uploaded them the written words would be locked away in a notebook. Now they are all over the world.

Ultimately your conscience and desires have to guide your way. When things get very legally technical or if you have serious concerns the best way to deal with them would be to consult a lawyer who specializes in these areas and I would interview them seriously about whether they understand CC licenses. But be prepared to pay for your advice.

You are entering a new frontier. None of us knows how these experiments will play out or how best to capitalize on them creatively, spiritually, or financially. The one thing that is absolutely clear to me is, as they used to say in the old PA Lottery ads, “You’ve got to play to win.” (That’s fair use, don’t even try to come after me lottery dudes).
permalink   Mon, May 25, 2009 @ 1:50 AM
I can understand the thinking behind the question but as Victor says it seems to go against what this site is about.

So far I have gained much more from this site than I have lost and I upload in the full knowledge that despite my CC licence coverage (which does give some security)I run the risk of my work being misused. For this reason I only upload samples and music that I am prepared others to take and use for their own purposes.

To put a fence around ones work and then openly give it a CC licence as well to me is contradictory. If you want to keep full control of it copywrite it in law and only allow its use under signed legally binding contracts and DO NOT upload it to CCM or the like.

For reasons like this I made a conscious decision a long time ago to always work for a fixed price. Negotiated upfront and payable on completion of the project. If the work is reproduced in another format and earns further revenues I make nothing. It’s a little like CCM but here there’s no profit at all!! The upside to your work being reused is if this does happen people will in a lot of cases come back to you for more product!

In the real world most companies will want 100% control of the finished product and only the very high profile people will be in a position to argue and obtain better deals.

So for anyone starting out don’t build walls around your work. Yes protect it but if you go too far no one will use you as there are many who will work for little or even for free.

Your quality should be your copyright!!
permalink   Mon, May 25, 2009 @ 8:24 AM
I know this topic has devolped somewhat to your intilal question but theres a host of good stuff in here, and heres one example this weekend of how copyrighted material and performance of it is changing even in a `majors ’ all be it a TV companies thinking.