Deathbringer wrote:As long as you aren't trying to sell it, then you are as good as gold.
I wish this was true. And maybe better minds than mine can help me see my way to believing you but I spent much of last week contacting a variety of Canadian copyright authorities and all told me the same thing(s).
Essentially, making something available for download (such as posting a link here to a file on a file sharing site such as filefront) is the legal equivalent of giving away copies of cd's which completely falls under the same guidelines as any other cd/tape/vinyl reproduction laws and require mechanical licenses. Posting to a streaming site such as Youtube or Myspace requires you to abide by the rules set out by the sites themselves and these too are quite clear.
I'll post a couple quotes for reference in case anyone CAN find me a loophole because, seriously, I'd love nothing more than to find one I could fit through without fear of later being sued. Any help would be beyond greatly appreciated.
Contacted SOCAN and the CMRRA here in Canada as well as did research via Harry Fox
who are the main licensing body in the US and all initial info confirmed my fears. I dug further and e-mailed back and forth with a woman at SCI (sort of a division of the CMRRA) and was told the following:
Let me try to explain.
For the purpose of distributing MP3 files over the net (ex: providing an MP3 file on your business website), you would need to obtain a license for the reproduction of these musical works provided CSI represents the song in question. It does not matter whether the MP3's are free or not or if one can stream 2 seconds, 45 seconds of music. Unfortunately, CSI cannot license for this type of use right now. CSI is drafting an agreement that would enable licensing for smaller uses without adhering to the extensive administrative and technical provisions required by the current Online Music Service Tariff but it has yet to be completed.
Presently, the only way to be licensed would be to have your visitors (on your website) be rerouted to an online music service where they could sample and potentially purchase the track. In Canada, it is the Online store's responsibility to obtain Online licenses for all tracks downloaded to Canadian residents. From your website, the user would click on the track and be rerouted to the online service of your choice. Should you decide to go this route, please ensure that you relay all the proper song writing information to the online music service when registering your musical works.
If the downloads are occurring in other territories, you must contact those societies as international copyright laws may differ from country to country. For musical works downloaded in the US, please contact The Harry Fox Agency.
For any information regarding SOCAN and online licenses for the communication right, please visit http://www.socan.ca
As I have your information on file, please let me know if you want me to contact you once this agreement for smaller uses is finalized.
Please let me know if this does not answer your questions.
The info on Youtube's copyright related pages are pretty clear as well:
General Copyright Inquiries: Examples of copyrighted works
In general, any original work of authorship may be protected by copyright. Copyrighted materials may be subject to claims of copyright infringement. The most common reason we take down videos for copyright infringement is that they are unauthorized copies of copyrighted content, and the owners of the copyrighted content have alerted us that their content is being used without their permission. Once we become aware of an unauthorized use, we will remove the video promptly. See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html
for more information about U.S. copyright law.
Some examples of potentially infringing content are:
* TV shows
o Including sitcoms, sports broadcasts, news broadcasts, comedy shows, cartoons, dramas, etc.
o Includes network and cable TV, pay-per-view and on-demand TV
* Music videos, such as the ones you might find on music video channels
* Videos of live concerts, even if you captured the video yourself
o Even if you took the video yourself, the performer controls the right to use his/her image in a video, the songwriter owns the rights to the song being performed, and sometimes the venue prohibits filming without permission, so this video is likely to infringe somebody else's rights.
* Movies and movie trailers
* Slide shows that include photos or images owned by somebody else
There is a loophole known as "[urlhttp://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=83753&hl=en-US]Fair Use[/url]" but really only refers to very incidental situations such as something playing on TV in the background of a video where the stuff on TV has nothing to do with what's being recorded but that doesn't apply to my situation.
As I mentioned back in June, not only is the song based on the TV show theme song, but I also employed the use of a classic metal song for the solo section. I've attempted to contact the band in question directly to see if they might give me the okay but haven't heard back from them. I toyed with the idea of not asking them (you know the old saying, easier to ask forgiveness than permission) but decided not to go that route once I came to understand more about the legalities involved. If they were to give me permission then I might look into saving up the cash that might free up the TV show theme song rights but I'm not feeling terribly confident about that whole idea.
One of my friends offered the argument that bands post videos online of themselves all the time doing covers of other bands' songs. Well, from all reports, they're really doing so at great potential risk of litigation. I suspect that few bands would bother suing someone just for posting a video of themselves doing a simple cover tune and wouldn't get too upset unless someone was releasing it on a full cd or something. But this is (was) a full on, studio quality re-make of the 2 songs in question and I can see it pretty easily falling into the category of the latter.
As much as I love the song and was stoked more than you can all imagine for you guys to hear it, I can't afford to be sued over it lol. I'm already too broke even to get my ass to Seattle for ST in 2 weeks