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Illegal Use Of Samples

permalink   Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 8:14 AM
I am opening this thread for another mixer who if they want to make themselves known can do so and add to the debate, but hopefully this space will gain the wisdom and experience of those who play here. I am not to sure if its an off topic or what heading it should be under, but its often at the top of a mixers thinking when they upload here.

So here’s what its about :

A vocal sample under a non commercial CC license is taken from the site and gets used in a producers mix. Producer contacts mixer/vocalist by email and says do i have your permission to make a commercial release. Vocalist says yes you can but i need credit for who i am and need paying if it makes any money.

Before an agreement is established various licensed mixes are put out by producer onto the internet for a paid download with no `formal ’ agreement in place.

Vocalists complains but to no real avail as the producer claims the email has given them permission.

So how are we protected by the CC license, how do we go about tackling an infringement when it happens as in this case, and is it worth it when it does. ?
permalink   Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 10:35 AM
What you are describing is a violation of copyright and has nothing to do with Creative Commons.
permalink   Loveshadow Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 1:08 PM
I know that, i just needed someone else to say it.
permalink   go1dfish Wed, Mar 3, 2010 @ 1:02 AM

Just wanted to point out an article I read a few days ago on a somewhat similar matter.


And an earlier posting from the Creative Commons on the same case: http://creativecommons.org/...

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with Lessig’s statement: “When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.”

This specific case dealt with open source software, but it’s a similar type of situation, and one of only a handful like it that have been addressed by the courts.

Took 5 years for this case to be settled though =/

Like spinmeister says below, most of these infringements (in the Open Source Community) have been resolved in the past with with what amounts to public shamings and general attempts to raise awareness of the infringement at hand.

Damn it Jim; I’m a developer, not a lawyer. So no legal advice here.
*** Topic deleted by author ***
permalink   Loveshadow Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 1:10 PM
Thats a big ask but maybe a worthy one. Its like insurance you never read the small print till you get rear ended and find your not covered.
MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 11:52 AM
I know who Loveshadow is referring to (he who remains nameless tweeted about it) and while ccmixter may not be able to offer him any recourse, and i’m not a lawyer, but if somebody used his work commercially without his permission (they did) and he didn’t publicly waive his rights as public domain (he didn’t), he has legal grounds to collect any royalties retroactive and stop the use of his audio source.

He needs to find an IP lawyer. One may be willing to take his case for a % of future settlement. But he should definitely go after the guy if said guy is making significant $ off his back. If it’s insignificant, it might not be worth the effort to collect but it can make him take it down.

Again, I’m no lawyer. That’s just what I’d do.
permalink   Loveshadow Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 1:17 PM
Those have been my replies but of course you don’t really have a hope because if it makes $2000 for you , that’s if you ever were to see it, and it costs you $2001 to get it back , through an ip lawyer, then its just a roulette wheel.

And yes its not a CC licensing issue but you will know that in reaction hes not on the site anymore. Not the Mixters fault we know but when you get shot at you duck down .
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 2:52 PM
it’s too bad he’s decided to give up on the site. I realize that having something like this happen to your work is deflating, and can make one feel as though they’ve been cheated. The issue here is not about cc licensed music as it is about copyright, and the reality is this happens all the time with commercially copyright music. DJs have been stealing commercial riffs for years, and many artists have had to rescind their work due to knowingly ripping off another’s work and getting caught for it. I’m not saying it’s right, although it seems to be somewhat embedded in the rap/hiphop/DJ culture to “sample” another artists commercial work in the name of remixing. It cuts to the strong feelings people here have about not supporting remixes that use commercial samples that haven’t been cleared.

if anything, ccmixter is setting an example by not advocating the misuse of source music, which is what our friend in question is struggling with now.

in the past, when the community was smaller, we’d just go “beat the guy up” by hitting his blog/website with nasty comments about what a dick they were for stealing our friends music. maybe we should try that again. wouldn’t hurt to call the guy out to this “fanbase”.
permalink   spinmeister Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 4:31 PM
calling people out for misbehavior has been used to quite good success in the area of open source software. The big guns tend to react because of the black eye to their brand. And the tiny miscreants without a brand to worry about are emotionally annoying, but financially probably inconsequential.
permalink   guestsofnature Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 2:53 PM
Quote: LoveshadowThose have been my replies but of course you don’t really have a hope because if it makes $2000 for you , that’s if you ever were to see it, and it costs you $2001 to get it back , through an ip lawyer, then its just a roulette wheel.

And yes its not a CC licensing issue but you will know that in reaction hes not on the site anymore. Not the Mixters fault we know but when you get shot at you duck down .

I appreciate the people on this site and CC mixter as a whole. Its been the best thing for my music and has given it the shove that it needed. Like you say, when they are shooting you duck down.Only duck mind,still got a head to pop back up. The above issue is still ongoing however friends have been very supportive and I appreciate that.I’ve had some good results today. Stay inspired!
permalink   Songboy3 Tue, Mar 9, 2010 @ 11:50 AM
Looking forward to your return, Sir!
permalink   fourstones Tue, Mar 9, 2010 @ 1:17 PM
What I’m about to say I say as an individual, not representing any organization or body or community - just lil ol’ me.

I used to think like you, but I have come to believe your decision to remove your music was strictly emotional and not in your best interest. That may sound counter-intuitive but I think the concepts that have been beaten into us by an ‘all rights reserved’ mentally are actually the ones that are upside down.

That your music was stolen by somebody has nothing to do with ccMixter, Creative Commons or the web. “If a thief wants to steal your music, they have already have it,”* it doesn’t matter to them whether you post it online or not.

So, who does it matter to? Your fans, your patrons and you.

What do they (and you) want? To hear and consume your music. The only people you punish by removing your music is everybody but the bad people, worst of all yourself. You say posting here has been ‘the best thing for my music’ and it’s wonderful that you recognize that, but the only logical conclusion is that removing it is therefore the worst thing for your music and I believe that 100%.

Are you “enabling” thieves by posting music to the Web? Sure. In the same way that you are enabling thieves by owning anything in this world and not shooting it off into space where thieves can’t get to it.

Cutting off your fans and patrons makes exactly as much sense as shooting your music off into space.

And my bonus unsolicited career advice is that I strongly recommend you do not get involved with agents, managers or labels who do not understand this. They are living in the last century and have yet to even accept the Web as a reality. They will bury your music, bury your career and bury you.


*john buckman, magnatune records
permalink   Songboy3 Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 6:37 AM
It’s funny, Vic - I just came across this post yesterday & I remember that question you asked me when you interviewed me for the site:

VS: Many singers are hesitant to upload original material to the web for fear of it being “stolen.” You seem fearless in that regard, would you say your way has paid off?

Frank: You’re being funny, right? Let’s see, I’ve made connections with some of the most talented producers, remixers I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have the pleasure of hearing old songs receive new life on ccMixter.org. The new material has been instrumental in helping me in putting a new band together. It’s also been helpful in hopefully, renewing old ties with individuals who could be instrumental in helping me and my partners in the placing recent and future material with TV shows, movies, video games, etc., etc., etc.

I post this to say to GON: there will always be thieves in the temple (apologies to Prince) but you can’t let it stop you from doing your thing. I’ve always been a bit concerned about folks taking what isn’t theirs (it has happened to me) but if I didn’t stay in the mix, I wouldn’t have met Victor “Fourstones” Stone (a great resource and friend), Jeff “Loveshadow” Grant (an Amazing producer & friend - I’ll be seeing him this summer - I’m heading to the UK!), I would not have met Anthony “Ant Plate” Hamilton AKA Yse and Rhythm Plate (a great producer & friend who I’m releasing some EPs with thru Lost My Dog Records) and I have a few folks from out of Italy & the Netherlands reaching out to me to do some collaborations.

I guess what I’m trying to say is you need to stay in the mix. I’m not saying be oblivious to the stealing (NEVER THAT!) but don’t let it stop you from spreading your personal musical gospel. You’re much too talented to sit in a room with the windows nailed shut full of all that fantastic music that no one else can hear. I had a friend by the name of Johnny McNair. He was an AMAZING gospel songwriter but he was so afraid of folks stealing his music that he never put himself out there for them to hear what he was capable of. Unfortunately, he passed away without more than a few folks knowing just how incredible he was. Please don’t be that person.

Think about it.
permalink   guestsofnature Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 6:52 AM
Thanks for that. No I agree with you 100% I too have met people I would never have met before. I will be back shortly after this spring cleanout..Let me know when your in the UK, Id come up to the Midlands for a spot of lunch…and a wee chat. Im down in Brighton.

All the best

permalink   Songboy3 Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 7:04 AM
Cool. I look forward to your new music & I’ll definitely reach out to you when I get over to the UK! Be EZ, my brutha! :)
permalink   guestsofnature Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 6:46 AM
Yes I see where your coming from there. To be honest its a mixture of two things, Firstly it was an emotional reaction and second it was due to the fact that many of the song I posted tied up in agreements/contracts and therefore would cause issues with the labels or individuals which I had given the rights of use.

I have an issue now which is problematic in the sense the Italian label that I stupidly allowed the rights to does not want to pursue the other unless it is a “Hit”? whatever that means…On the other hand they do not want me to collect half of the revenue from the said label (which they have already agreed to), as they say that I do not have the rights to do it.

Not only that but It looks like even if they do chase after our 50% then I would wind up only getting 12.5% as I understand that Id have to share it with the Italian group that I allowed to do the arrangements on prior versions even though Its only my vocals that are taken,,, not the arrangements of the other group.If I dont get a response soon then I think I will break with this label and go and get my 50% as Its my rights to. I dont care what law they say I am breaking as Its not them that wrote and sang these lyrics.

In a week or two I plan to post vocals back on CC mixter that are not used in other songs..and perhaps a few fresh ones as I love what you folks offer and share on this site.
Oh some good news. I have been contacted because of all this drama by a really great producer and DJ who already has a great following and name. I am now in the process working with him, so you know its not all bad in the end.

Thanks folks!

Eug, (G.O.N)
permalink   Songboy3 Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 7:02 AM
Oh some good news. I have been contacted because of all this drama by a really great producer and DJ who already has a great following and name. I am now in the process working with him, so you know its not all bad in the end.

now THAT’S what’s happening! :)
permalink   Tue, Mar 2, 2010 @ 3:28 PM
I’ll throw out a thought for what it’s worth. One option, too late on this situation, is for the approached vocalist to say that the only way their work can be used is if they grant a direct license to the commercial entity that is distributing the final production. The producer is not the first one getting the money and has the option of saying to the commercial entity, “oh yea, the vocalist is cool with it.” A direct contractual relationship with the distributor gives the direct legal remedy if the artist doesn’t get whatever he or she is asking for, attribution, money whatever.

I think once the horse leaves the barn it’s pretty darn hard to get it back. I also think that quite honestly, real legal doctrine aside, putting your stuff up on the net for free with no pay for download in place, basically opens the barn door. Yes it’s not right, but as my hubby, who is not a lawyer, rightly says, the law only protects you from honest people.

The best option for fighting these battles would be to create a pool of people with cc licensed work that has been ripped off, find a lawyer who has experience and passion for these issues and create, if not a certifiable class action, at least a critical mass of cases all with a common thread. The plaintiffs (artists who were ripped off) could then perhaps pay a fraction of the legal fees they might otherwise pay because some of the lawyer’s work would be repetitive. I don’t have the experience to do the legal work but I’d be up to help represent the plaintiffs in negotiating a fee agreement, pro bono (it’s really not a legal representation, just someone to speak for the assembled body). Many here know already but for those who don’t, I am a lawyer.

This is just a stream of my thoughts out loud. I’m not an expert on this stuff by any means. I’ve been way off base on all kinds of stuff in these forums before so I won’t be surprised if I am again, but I thought I’d try anyway.
permalink   Snowflake Wed, Mar 3, 2010 @ 12:04 PM
first (just as an artist), i have a rich and long history of giving away downloads of my music for free (years before Creative Commons licensing). my music has been all over the place, from college slideshows to youtube videos, software demos to HBO films, videogames to hold music, and so on. sometimes people ask my permission, sometimes license, and sometimes they don’t. i made a conscious decision to let the ‘horse leave the barn’ (to quote essesq), with the hope that honest people would attribute, or perhaps even share in the wealth if they made significant money using my Works (and some folks like MP3.com and Linspire’s open source software community did just that). in no way do i regret having a bunch of horses roaming around the internet, but that is just me (and there could be use that would make me upset i’m sure)!

i believe education and awareness are our best tools. we are a working example of copyleft, and at ccM, most of us understand the importance of attribution and honoring the licenses between each other. however, outside our core circle, many people do not understand that attribution and copyleft are intertwined. i believe this is a message we need to emphasize.

i’m sure this will be a discussion we return to again and again, but as a step forward, there may be a few things we can do to further educate the people that come to ccM to find music to use (i’ll refer to them as licensors), find music to enjoy (listeners), and those that participate creatively (artists).

the first idea that has been tossed around — update the homepage to more clearly outline how the content at ccM can be used and how creators should be attributed. there may be a different way to call this out, whether someone is an artist, licensor or listener.

callouts with text and perhaps short audio tutorials would be a place to start. maybe an audio clip for each category:

— For ‘Licensors’ explain more about copyleft/Creative Commons licenses and how tracks can be utilized (depending on license), and the importance of attribution, etc.;

— For ‘Artists’ why copyrighted material should not be included in Works/uploads at ccM, how to attribute all contributors in the remix history, etc.;

— For ‘Listeners’ explaining things like attribution & remix history, with helpful hints on how to explore the Works and artists on the site, podcasts, etc.

(these are rough ideas)

before ccM came into our care, we at ATM started working on ways to make sure attribution became a richer part of the music experience. for example, more in depth attribution tagging tools, display of source/stem remix history links, and suggested track naming etiquette. you can see examples of some of this in its early stages here. the song title includes the name of the mixer and also every artist whose works are included in the track. the upper right credits include all artists part of the track. there are links to every source track used in the mix on the right lower corner (the remix history essentially). i believe technology and protocols need to, in-and-of themselves, emphasize attribution. The CC also has tools for attribution metadata (example) we’re all exploring.

i’m curious on the thoughts of others here.

i am sorry that one of ccM’s artists fell prey to someone’s dishonesty (or perhaps ignorance?). some folks ruin the experience for others. i would be thrilled if we could keep this artist with us, and use our energy to prevent something like this from happening again through awareness and education.

perhaps we can use this negative experience to improve the ways we create and share music here at ccM?

permalink   Ivan Chew Wed, Mar 10, 2010 @ 9:07 AM
Quote: snowflakei’m curious on the thoughts of others here… … perhaps we can use this negative experience to improve the ways we create and share music here at ccM?

My first thought, after reading this thread up to snowflake’s post, was that the entire story is one heck of a positive experience. From G.O.N’s subsequent handling of the whole saga, the various lucid and thoughtful perspectives, and affirmations from those who posted replies.

At the very least, I think this “zen-like”/ pragmatic view of the realities of CC would give a resounding “You’re Not Alone” statement to (1) current CC adopters who’ve faced similar copyright infringements, and (2) those who need a little bit more convincing about adopting CC.

My second thought was: We need to share this particular story outside of ccMixter, as a form of education (I just forwarded some people the link to this thread).

I’m not talking about educating producers but rather that teenager, teacher, librarian, average-person-seeking-free-music. They may not be readily aware of the consequences of copyright infringement and/ or their failure to credit CC-licensed works and its impact on creators *who are just like them*. The typical “Say-no-to-piracy” message tends to have undertones that goes “help keep big business stay profitable”. But if they can relate to how a friend, brother, sister, neighbour… that might just make them think a little harder.

CC is a philosophy. The technical tools and measures, while important, can only do so much to facilitate the act of crediting the artist. The nature of the Internet is that it’s hard to enforce anything (the CC movement won’t want to be associated with enforcement either, I think). And I think you need to address emotions to communicate a philosophy.

One emotion is the fear of “losing one’s work” when they share online/ adopt CC. No matter how many times you tell them it’s not an issue of CC but the nature of the Internet and some human beings, they still worry. In fairness, they do have reasons to “fear” because the risks of infringement/ loss are real. But if they read about real artists — not the megastars but talented yet ordinary people — making a philosophical stand about CC and benefiting from adopting CC, others might begin to see what Steven Segal so eloquently uttered in one of his movies: “anticipation of death is worse that death itself”.

Speaking of “technical tools”, I would make two assumptions: (1) “Most people will credit you the way you want to, if they know how”, and (2)
“Many people are lazy”. Meaning, I’d really make it dead simple for them to credit the artist in a way that they can make no mistake about it. Specifically, options for them like “If you’re using the music in a blog post, copy this code…” or “If you are playing this music for an event, print this for your poster…”. Yes, I realise this may mean the options may run into the hundreds. I’m sure there are ways to work around that.