[bct] Re: Copyright issues and the talent show

  • From: "Ray Foret Jr." <rforetjr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2006 06:14:08 -0600

Well, for one, I think Neal is right to do what he's having to do; and yet, 
I can't help but wonder.  I fear the time will soon come when we are so 
worried about copy right law violations that ALL creativity is stifled. 
Indeed, it may become so badly stifled that even the simple act of singing 
"happy Birthday" at a child's birthday party would be enough to get you 
    "but," you will doubtless protest, ""Happy Birthday" is in the public 
domain; so, how could that ever happen?"   Well, the answer is quite clear. 
It could happen because the more violations of copy right law there are, the 
stricter those laws will become.  They will become so strict that you can't 
even sing "happy Birthday" at a party anymore.  Now, "How will they know if 
somebody does that anyhow?" you may well ask.  We are being monitored so 
much nowadays that it doesn't take much of an effort to imagine the copy 
right police planting little microphones in everybody's heads at birth just 
so they can listen in.  Some people are already having computer chips 
implanted in their bodies (no thank you) and that's scary enough.

    "BUT SURELY," YOU SAY, "THIS IS ALL exaggeration.  Surely the government 
would NEVER do anything like this."  Don't you believe it.  How about the 
time when the IRAA went after a poor eighty-four-yera-old lady and accused 
her of downloading songs illegally?  She didn't even have a windows machine. 
She was using an Apple.  At the time of this episode, Itunes didn't even 
exist.  How about that?

Sincerely yours,
The Constantly Barefoot,
Home phone and fax:
Skype Name:
God bless President George W. Bush!
God bless our troops!
and God bless America
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "The Scarlet Wombat" <coconut@xxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, March 03, 2006 5:51 AM
Subject: [bct] Copyright issues and the talent show

DJD, not all of the talent show files came with introductions, Neal may not
have known who was performing.

I did some extensive legal research last night with my wife, in her 3rd
year of law school, and was surprised at the results.

It seems that current copyright law restricts even gratis performances of
works still in copyright.  For example, Neal mentioned the song "Cheek to
Cheek.  Performing this song, even if for no remuneration, is a violation
of current copyright law, unless there is permission from ASCAPk, BMI or
whomever owns the copyright.  I find this to be extremely narrow and
stupid, but it is the law and we cannot afford to violate it.  Awards are
growing for copyright violaters and companies are becoming more willing to
prosecute the small fry.  The notes are considered a formula, and like a
recipe in a cookbook, are uncopyrightable.

This means you can perform the music to Cheek to Cheek, but you cannot sing
the words in a public performance without permission.  You can, however,
change the words to make a parody or satire of the song, that is allowed.

For example, you could modify the song to be about the other cheeks. [big 

This copyright stuff is enough to give everyone a headache, but Neal is
protecting us all by his insistance upon doing the right thing.


The words of a song are what are copyrighted, the notes are not.

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