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  1. #1
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    Default Transcribing music

    Hi, I am trying to find the answer to the question: If I transcribe for example, the string parts from a popular song and then put that arrangement up as a midi file on the internet only for people's personal use does that constitute an infringement of copyright on the original song?

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    Administrator Tania ATL's Avatar
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    Oh, I think you better go to U.S. Copyright Office - http://copyright.gov/ - to find a legal answer to your question. It seems to me that now exists a contradiction between letter & spirit of copyright law. And as to me, in situation you described no copyright is infringed as long as you 1. do not make money on this and 2. do give all credits, not trying to say that it's your work. But money-making law-taking industry may think just opposite. I just do not understand, common sense does not help anymore, you have to consult a lawyer who knows all details of corresponding legislation.

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    Thankyou Tania. looks like i'd better do a bit more research before I put myself at risk. It's quite ironic since the particular song which I was thinking of was taken from an album that had a lot of sampled material. I guess the credit needs to be given where its due. The track was called Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack. I always thought it was one of the most beautiful string arrangements in a modern song and I thought that maybe others might think so too. Maybe I should just stick to baroque and classical music. I mean, in terms of harmonic and melodic richness, there's plenty there to inspire ideas in the modern age without the headaches of copyright. Or am I wrong there too in regards to copyright?

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    Administrator Tania ATL's Avatar
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    I think that you may put yourself in trouble only if some music company who decided to make some money via buying copyright & looking for someone who's "infringing" it, will find you... It's not that I'm pushing you to forget about all copyright fears etc, but may be to be more realistic... If your creation will be available on some private network, or under password-restricted access, then the risk that someone can find it & put you in trouble is minimal. Another question, that in fact you have to be careful as if you're doing something illegal. And if you want to be completely calm about it, then of course better go & look carefully at copyright legislation.
    As to classical music, I do not know for sure whether it's copyrighted or not. It seems to me that it's something like copyrights are holded by author's heirs but for some limited time like 60 or 100 years.

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    Thanks Tania. Yeah, I guess I just need to think about how I might go about it. I don't want to be too paranoid because the purpose of such an exercise would be purely educational. My only concern would be whether someone else abuses the copyright by publishing it in some way or another. It wouldn't be fair to accept responsibility for another's misuse of the material that I had spent many hours carefully transcribing. As regards copyright legislation, are the US laws relevant in the case of European music? Eg. Massive Attack or Vivaldi? Is it more to do with the ownership of the particular works? Would it not come under the copyright laws of the particular country? Or are there international copyright laws?

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    Administrator Tania ATL's Avatar
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    Again, I do not know for sure, but it seems to me that copyrights laws are international. At least there is some copyright charter which was signed by representatives of most countries. May be you can try to contact MA's managers & ask them directly. But if they will say 'no'... it's worse then if they just do not know

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    Thanks again Tania, whenI get some time I'll look further into it. No doubt I'll be back here at some point with some new questions or perhaps even some new knowledge... I couldn't get the smiley into the message?...hehe

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    Thank you D.D for the great advice. An alias! I hadn't thought of that one. Who knows I might get the international copyright police trying to track down where that illegal transcription of MA wreaking havoc on the internet came from. I can see myself in some space age bonnie and clyde cyber vehicle tearing around the internet posting free transcriptions of popular songs, causing untold damage to the theoretical bank accounts of stakeholders in companies making profits from intellectual property they played no part in generating...taking criminality to new levels...indulging academics in the analysis of infinitesimal fragments of memorabilia whilst polar caps melt around us and submerge us in a sea of forgotten travesties.

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