Re: Guest Post - Plagiarism Without Copyright Violation

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Because Glee producer Ryan Murphy is a douchebag, Heebie.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:06 PM
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Also, Jonathan Coulton is a nerd icon, blah blah blah, but I am not prepared to man the barricades to defend another white guy's high-larious coffeehouse-ized cover of a hip-hop song by a black artist. It was borderline minstrel show-y when Dynamite Hack did it, and it's only slightly improved by Coulter being a better artist who chose a less fraught song to cover.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:09 PM
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Abhorrence of plagiarism is far from universal. In my line of work, it's often considered a positive good: no one wants you to craft original language for a deed, for example. And neither client nor court care in the absolute least if I lift sections of an argument I thought well phrased from some other brief, whether I wrote it or not. (The client would rather I cut and paste stuff that can be cut and pasted, because that's faster than composing original work.)

In entertainment, I don't see that the audience cares whether the song lyric is by Stephen Foster or Mick Jagger, or what rights anyone has.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:15 PM
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Stephen Foster or Mick Jagger might care.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:20 PM
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Mathematicians are terrible about plagiarism. I'd be pissed if I were the guy who invented 2+2=4.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:20 PM
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(Speaking of SF.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:22 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YsFq3I3J4g


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:22 PM
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I'd be pissed if I were the guy who invented 2+2=4.

Discovered, you mean.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:25 PM
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If you sing a Mick Jagger song to Mick Jagger, yes, attribution (at least with a wink/smile) is probably a good idea.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:28 PM
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Plagiarized!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:31 PM
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Anyway, you're claiming the primary victim in plagiarism is the audience?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:31 PM
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Even in extra horrible US copyright law, attribution is a big deal.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:33 PM
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11 -- I'm claiming that in entertainment the audience doesn't care, or, more likely, enjoys a variation on something they know. That's why entertainers plagiarize.

Obviously if they are actively misrepresenting -- if I claim before starting to sing that I wrote Satisfaction -- that's another thing entirely. But we don't infer that the singer is the author in the same way we understand the journalist or novelist as the author, so we're not as bothered by borrowing as in the latter cases. Cow-orkers don't usually care where you got the joke you told them; but if you tell them you made it up, that's a different kind of talent than simply entertaining.

And obviously in any assessed environment (eg academia) it's critical that the purported author be the actual author.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:40 PM
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That's my thunder, by God! The villains will not play my play but they steal my thunder!


Posted by: John Dennis | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:49 PM
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Why does it matter that in entertainment, the audience doesn't care? The undergrads don't generally care, either, if one of their peers plagiarizes for something peer-assessed, aside from the negative impact on their grades.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 1:53 PM
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Discovered, you mean.

Right. It's like the first lawyer who discovered lawsuits. And now everybody uses them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:02 PM
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In my line of work, it's often considered a positive good: no one wants you to craft original language for a deed, for example.

Come on now, sure it doesn't actually have to be pointed out that the creative experience and way you put yourself into writing a novel, song, poem, etc. might be a tad different from writing a freaking deed.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:05 PM
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17: You guys should have a contest for most creative Miranda Warning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:06 PM
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Extra points if you deliver it with fruit on your hat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:07 PM
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Thank you for 2, snark. There's no question that Glee stole Coulton's work -- they didn't even bother to change where he shouted out his own name, leaving in the "Johnny C." line -- but it's hardly impressive work.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:10 PM
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Why does it matter that in entertainment, the audience doesn't care?

meet

Using other people's work without attribution is clearly plagiarism and most people would think it was wildly unethical.

I think, actually, that "most" people either don't care, or, in an entertainment context, prefer plagiarism. I don't care about John Dennis' thunder, and neither do you.

Copyright law protects what it protects. Scolds who want to call something not a violation 'wildly unethical' are fighting an uphill battle. Obviously, John Dennis and those similarly situated have a grievance. What I'm talking about is trying to recruit the rest of us to share it on a social if not legal basis.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:12 PM
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another white guy's high-larious coffeehouse-ized cover of a hip-hop song by a black artist. It was borderline minstrel show-y when Dynamite Hack did it, and it's only slightly improved by Coulter being a better artist who chose a less fraught song to cover.

Woof, no kidding. Perfect for Glee, really. Yuck.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:14 PM
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17 -- Completely different. That's why the standards are different. And why just saying 'it's plagiarism' doesn't by itself answer the question.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:14 PM
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snarkout's 1 and 2 get it exactly right.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:17 PM
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20 is interesting, I hadn't noticed that, it makes me actually slightly less annoyed at them as that's a kind of attribution.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:19 PM
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Congratulations Jim Nabors

This weirded me out in the 60s, the gap between Gomer and this. Who is this guy?

46 albums of music for silver-hairs. Owned Gomer USMC and got rich early.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:21 PM
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Extra points if you deliver it with fruit on your hat.

Is NYPD still doing the required hat thing? That would drive me nuts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:23 PM
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I don't know if hats are required, but NYC cops are generally wearing them. I would be suspicious and jumpy around a hatless cop, as not believing they were real.

I suppose with a convincing enough mustache, they might pass.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:25 PM
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This is all a product of the somewhat anomalous (but I think largely in a good way!) copyright rules for musical composition, which were developed for a world in which the most common form of musical performance were lightly arranged home or small local venue performances of other people's compositions on sheet music. Basically the rules are that you have to pay the publisher of the composition for use, but you can then arrange it however you want and steal other people's arrangements of the composition (but not other people's recordings of their arrangements of the composition).

In general I strongly believe that mechanical or compulsory licenses -- that is, there's a mandatory requirement of access to use, for a set minimum fee that can be negotiated around and run by a collective organization -- are a good solution to many of the most common copyright law "problems" (music sampling, use of other people's work in documentary films, etc.). And it's hard to combine a compulsory license system with protections for arrangers and arrangements. Attribution btw is an important part of the mechanical license system, it's just that there's no specific attribution requirement for arrangements.

I also agree with 2 in that I find that cover deeply annoying. Also I had no idea who Jonathon Coulton was before reading about this controversy and I still don't really care.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:25 PM
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And it's hard to combine a compulsory license system with protections for arrangers and arrangements.

This is a helpful way to think about it.

But is there really no allowance for the fact that he put in a bit of new melody which they also took?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:34 PM
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which were developed for a world in which the most common form of musical performance were lightly arranged home or small local venue performances of other people's compositions on sheet music the parts of music that white people were responsible for were the kinds that it seemed important to get paid for.

(N.B. not in this case trying to start a fight with Halford just deploying a favorite KLF paraphrase)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:36 PM
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Anyhow I obviously don't think Glee should have paid Coulton a cent -- fuck money -- but they should have credited him because don't be dicks and it doesn't cost you anything. I bought his track as a very effective form of protest, and think all things considered it's not so terrible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:39 PM
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This seems the most dickish part:

They also got in touch with my peeps to basically say that they're within their legal rights to do this, and that I should be happy for the exposure (even though they do not credit me, and have not even publicly acknowledged that it's my version - so you know, it's kind of SECRET exposure).

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:40 PM
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I don't understand why anyone would want to mess the perfection that is the original song.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:40 PM
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want to mess with, obvs. I can't type today.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:41 PM
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Although he has since apparently made a fair amount of money (earmarked for charity, blah blah) through iTunes sales of his version labeled "In the Style of Glee".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:43 PM
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They almost certainly didn't credit him because a credit is not "free." Credits are set largely by various guild (i.e., union) rules. This is not at all my area so I can't give a real answer, but I believe the relevant guild for dealing with Fox is the AFM, and Fox presumably either has a negotiated union contract or at least a specific set of policies for who gets and doesn't get credits, from which arrangers are presumably excluded.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:48 PM
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Dammit, it's the unions!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:49 PM
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I didn't realize that because certain people are mandated to receive credits, certain other people are FORBIDDEN from receiving credits.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:50 PM
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39: The example I know is that "film by" credits can only go to directors and never to writers.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:52 PM
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It seems a bit weird to me that Fox is so ready to give up any moral non-legal aspects to copyright. Don't they want people to think that copying is "wrong" as opposed to just illegal? Not that I care, as it only heightens the contradictions in the system, but it seems like counterproductive behavior.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 2:54 PM
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29
Also I had no idea who Jonathon Coulton was before reading about this controversy and I still don't really care.

If you're curious, I'd suggest googling his name and "first of may." I'd give you a link to what I'm thinking of directly, but I can't find it while at work.

41
It seems a bit weird to me that Fox is so ready to give up any moral non-legal aspects to copyright.

This seems to assume a lot of internal organization, long-range thinking, and concern about principles that is not in evident in big business in general or Fox in particular. (Or to put the same thing more charitably, the people responsible for the Glee scripts probably have very little to do with the music pirating policy and vice versa. But anyways.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:01 PM
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Well, most if not all working musicians know that you can't protect an arrangement in this way, so I doubt they really thought of it as copying.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:03 PM
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And 42 last is true as well, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:04 PM
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I think, actually, that "most" people either don't care, or, in an entertainment context, prefer plagiarism.

I wonder if you can offer any support for the assertion that, in an entertainment context, the audience prefers performers to present other people's work as if it's their own (NB, it's not necessary for someone to affirmatively state "this is my work" for them to present it as their own), or even that it just prefers performers to present other people's work and not their own. Especially in music.

Moreover, I don't see why whether the audience cares one way or the other matters for whether the producers of Glee were dickish in the present instance.

Since plagiarism is wrongful appropriation and presentation as one's own, when you're using standard language to draw up a deed, you aren't plagiarizing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:06 PM
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Coulton is probably most famous for writing the credit music to Portal.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:06 PM
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32 is exactly right.

it makes me actually slightly less annoyed at them as that's a kind of attribution.

Though a totally inadvertent one. They didn't realize that he'd changed anything from the original Mix-a-Lot.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:06 PM
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42.1 is an excellent recommendation. Now I have heard a funny song and learned that it references an actual traditional dirty rhyme.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:11 PM
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45 -- I don't think there's a default presumption that a singer is presenting work as their own: even a singer-songwriter can play a cover without saying anything and people just smile, or grimace, as appropriate to the performance. They are singing songs. And when you recognize a song that you already know from someone else, you listen to see how they've brought themselves to it, and how it makes you feel, as a performance, in the moment.

I will venture to say that no one was offended that Hendrix didn't credit Key at Woodstock.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:17 PM
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45 -- Carp's talking about more than just deeds though. It's traditionally a faux-pas (in the same, rather bogus way it's a faux-pas to split infinitives and all that) to cite other people's reasoning in legal arguments; but it's not at all wrong to just use them without attribution.

It is traditional to talk about this fact as the acceptability of plagiarism in legal writing.

This usage doesn't accord with normal people usage that well, but it does kinda make sense to refer to it as plagiarism.

(Also I guess in many cases judges are basically machines for plagiarism on many different levels.)

Yeah the Glee thing is totally dickish though I can't say I had very high expectations for the morality of TV producers.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:19 PM
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50 last -- Yes. Producers of a show that is about (along with high school drama) appropriation of other's work. I'd venture to guess that the overlap on the Venn diagram of people who regularly watch Glee and people who think the producers have been dickish because they did what the laws and their contracts require, but no more, is fairly modest.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:23 PM
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And now I'll venture away from the computer.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:24 PM
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I don't think there's a default presumption that a singer is presenting work as their own: even a singer-songwriter can play a cover without saying anything and people just smile, or grimace, as appropriate to the performance

Actually, if I don't recognize the tune as a cover, I do presume that the singer is presenting it as his or her own work. The recognizability, of course, accounts for why the reference to Hendrix is absurd and beneath you: no one could possibly have thought it a Hendrix original.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:28 PM
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Actually, if I don't recognize the tune as a cover, I do presume that the singer is presenting it as his or her own work.

I have a long, long list of songs I first heard as covers without realizing they were covers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that "Higher Ground" wasn't originally by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:32 PM
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Here's part of the standard AFM contract with the studio, which sets out some of the rules. I have too much else to do to look through this, and as I say I'm not expert at all on guild rules, but someone else can if they're interested. Presumably, though, if they credited him as an arranger they'd have to pay him for the arrangement at union scale, or they couldn't do so at all if he's not a union member. In any case crediting someone as a musician/composer/arranger is (probably) not "free."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:32 PM
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Abhorrence of plagiarism is far from universal. In my line of work, it's often considered a positive good

I might have mentioned before a lecture with Alan Dershowitz and Robert Nozzick in which they observed a difference between philosophy and the law: In philosophy, it's an insult to call someone's argument "unoriginal". In legal arguments, one disparages another's argument by saying it's "novel".


Posted by: Knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:38 PM
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53: I assumed it was a reductio. Though I confess that I couldn't to what end.

54: some friends and I have been talking about great covers lately.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:39 PM
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54: for example.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:40 PM
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54: also (though that's not, strictly speaking, a cover).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:42 PM
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60: I'm partial to this one.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:43 PM
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I have a long, long list of songs I first heard as covers without realizing they were covers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that "Higher Ground" wasn't originally by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Same here. Also apparently Neko Case didn't write "Buckets of Rain".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:48 PM
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I've recently been enjoying the Nouvelle Vague cover of "When Doves Cry."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:51 PM
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61 was glib. I know she didn't do the original. What I mean is I had heard the song done by multiple people and had no idea it was by Bob Dylan. I thought it was by, like, some country songwriter.

Apparently due to the vagaries of my parents' cassette tapes I have heard the first side of "Blood On The Tracks" dozens of times and the second side never.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 3:54 PM
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Have the philosophers ever sorted out the strict difference between a cover and an interpretation, or whatever you call the pre-Beatles s.o.p. of singing a song you didn't write? I assume it has something to do with attaching your identity to a song via performance? But when Nina Simone does "Here Comes The Sun," is it a cover, or is she expanding the Great American Songbook by virtue of her role as an interpreter of standards (not that she isn't also a singer songwriter)? I feel like NickS or nosflow has already thought this through in TFA.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:00 PM
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I'm fairly sure some arrangements I have the sheet music for asset copyright. I'm thinking, for example, of something like Toru Takemitsu's 12 Songs, which are solo classical guitar arrangements of popular songs ('Over the Rainbow', Beatles tunes, etc).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9t_0t1enoM


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:06 PM
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I feel like NickS or nosflow has already thought this through in TFA.

We've talked about this, and I think it's a good question, but I don't have a strong opinion personally. If I had to make a distinction I'd start with the observation, "If I sing something not the way you're used to hearing it, and you think I've got the tune or the words wrong, then it isn't folk. On the other hand, if you think I'm singing a variant-then it's folk." (Charlie Baum).

By analogy, if you think people will have a specific "original version" in mind then you're performing a cover. If people won't think there's a single "original" then it's a standard.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:07 PM
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Baum's observation seems most suited to a folk tradition that has become aware of itself as specifically a folk tradition.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:08 PM
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Also apparently Neko Case didn't write "Buckets of Rain".

But surely she wrote "Dreams". (You know, "thunder only happens when it's raining", etc.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:11 PM
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The best book on music copyright.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:11 PM
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Baum's observation seems most suited to a folk tradition that has become aware of itself as specifically a folk tradition.

Like an aphorism, you're going to get in trouble if you try to apply it too literally. That said, you make a good point.

Consider, for example, camp songs, as a potential source of contemporary folk traditions. Somebody could acknowledge that there are many versions of a song and still think that, at a given camp, if you don't sing it the way they are familiar with you are doing it wrong.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:12 PM
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My people's folk traditions.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:13 PM
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"an aphorism" s/b "any aphorism"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:13 PM
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Reading 69 am struck by (aside from how much it is actually just genius) how hilariously dated it is now.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:20 PM
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65: If you create a "derivative work" then you can get copyright protection for that. But you can't use a mandatory mechanical license to make a derivative work, you have to negotiate the rights with the original author. This brings up an interesting side point, which is it's not actually clear to me that Coulton's version is not a derivative work (since it has an entirely new melody), and hence it's not totally clear that either Glee or Coulton has a valid license.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:21 PM
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65 -- sheet music itself works differently than performance here. This is a little complicated and confusing but let me try and explain. The original composition is owned by a music publisher, who owns the published sheet music. There is something called a compulsory or "mechanical" license that required the publisher to let any performer who wants to perform the composition, so long as a mandatory fee is paid, and in the course of that performance the musician can "arrange" the composition (including adding in little bits that aren't in the original composition) however he or she likes. There is then no enforceable copyright in that arrangement, and another holder of the mechanical license in the composition is free to copy the arrangement. There's no compulsory license, however, for new sheet music -- if you arrange a new version of an original composition, even one that's clearly a derivative work and different from the original, you can't go out and sell sheet music for your arrangement without specific permission of the publisher. If the publisher does grant you that permission, however, you can then assert copyright in the new sheet music that's a derivative work of an original composition.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:29 PM
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71 may be my new favorite thing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:35 PM
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74 does raise an interesting point. The rule is that in a mechanical license, you can arrange material but can't change the basic melody or "fundamental character" of the work. Usually this means you can't change the lyrics. Arguably here Coulton's version imposes a new melody so it wouldn't be valid under the original license (though I think by far the better answer is that it's just a permissible arrangement). However, if that were true, it wouldnt give Coulton the right to sue Fox -- it would just give music publisher the right to sue both of them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:46 PM
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I feel like NickS or nosflow has already thought this through in TFA.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 4:51 PM
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Ah, so 75 makes sense. I remember reading somewhere that the copyright on Takemitsu's arrangements was quite rigorously enforced. They are, particularly for the Beatles stuff but also 'Over the Rainbow', both beautiful and often performed. The process you describe explains why they might be able to do so.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 5:31 PM
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77: I think this actually gets at the crux of the issue. What Coulton did is at the boundary between two different legal categories, and so it should be expected that the law is a bit weird. For a typical performance/arrangement the current setup is quite reasonable. For a typical derivative work current law is not what I would choose, but in the current scheme makes sense. Because this is at the boundary between those categories it shouldn't be surprising that the legal situation doesn't exactly match our intuitions.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-30-13 7:17 PM
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||

I'm reading the first Parker book, previously recommended here and in affiliated settings, and it's gripping to an extent, but does the "Office women in passing cars looked at him and felt vibrations above their nylons" stuff persist? It's like Grandfather of John Ringo.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:06 AM
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Less of it. I read maybe the first seven all in a row last year, noticed that line particularly as ridiculous, and then wasn't much bothered by it again for the remainder of the books. Oh, he stays inexplicably compelling, but not worse than your typical thriller protagonist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:11 AM
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Also page 2 has "They knew what he was, they thanked God for their husbands, and still they shivered. Because they knew how he would fall on a woman in the night. Like a tree."

Which put me in mind of Parker tripping over a curb, toppling over, and landing crosswise over a woman.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:23 AM
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This is why I stick with thrillers written in the first person.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:27 AM
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83 is hilarious. "..slowly, and with a prolonged creaking noise, and afterwards lying there entirely motionless".

It also reminds me of the woman who described being in bed with a certain UK politician as "like having a wardrobe fall on top of you with the key sticking out of the lock".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:27 AM
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Not in Butcher's Moon, recently read by me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:27 AM
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This is for ladies only!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:29 AM
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84. Because there's nothing like a first person account of tripping over a curb, toppling over, and landing crosswise over a woman.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:30 AM
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You've read my memoir.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:31 AM
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64
Have the philosophers ever sorted out the strict difference between a cover and an interpretation, or whatever you call the pre-Beatles s.o.p. of singing a song you didn't write?

Completely ex recto, I'd guess the difference is whether the original is still under copyright or in the public domain. In the time it's taken me to write that down I realize that can't be it, but now I'm curious about whether there's a meaningful distinction to draw there.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:39 AM
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91

I love the "like a tree" line, personally. It's ridiculous in a wonderful way.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:45 AM
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92

90: Surely the answer to this question doesn't depend on the arbitrary legal regime.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 9:47 AM
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93

92: Well, sure, not entirely. But it seems to me like there should be a difference between an artist's version of a folk song or the national anthem, and an artist's version of something that was a top 40 hit five years before. I don't know, I'm not enough of a music buff to articulate this well, it just seemed interesting to me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 10:10 AM
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94

Possibly the difference is whether the songwriter wrote it either for themselves, or for a specific performer, to sing, or whether the initial performer wasn't terribly significant? So, something from a musical wouldn't be a cover, because the song was written before the musical was cast?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 10:15 AM
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The link in 78 is very good. Halford answers the question. Sheet music! Also, I read a comment that I strongly agreed with, then noticed it was by me. Always fun, TFA.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-31-13 5:32 PM
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