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#1083396 - 05/18/15 07:21 PM Cover song question...  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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I did a piano/string version of "The Way You Look Tonight" (Jerome Kern). I was wondering what the procedure was for clearing it for TV/film? I was told that the Harry Fox Agency wasn't the avenue to clear a song for such a placement. Since this is my first cover song (besides public domain), I'm on unchartered waters.

I would guess I'd need permission from the publisher (Hal Leanard) prior to each placement.

John smile

#1083424 - 05/18/15 10:37 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Humm,
I have a Jerome Kern CD with the song THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT with the dates 1885 to 1945 on it so the song may be in Public Domain. It is on EMI. You could search Harry Fox to see if they list it.


Ray E. Strode
#1083427 - 05/18/15 10:55 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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That would be great Ray. However, it probably depends on how his estate was set-up from what I understand. Jerome Kern died in 1945. 70 years after his death it should become PD. That would make it this year. I'll check with Harry Fox.

Won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. So it had to be copyrighted before this. So it was probable at least 80 years copyrighted.

Thanks for the info, John smile

#1083523 - 05/19/15 04:28 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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One of my publishers are checking its status with the copyright office. Though may take a couple weeks. It's an expensive search. I'm impressed with this guy.

John smile

#1103416 - 03/26/16 08:54 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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All my knowledge and learning tells me that, indeed, Harry Fox is the right place for compulsory licenses, unless the song is not registered with them, in which case, try direct to the publisher ( listed on the lead sheet or CD, but it might be transferred so check on the BMI or ASCAP site for the current publisher.)

I once wanted to do this, and contacted the publisher, and the publisher referred me to Harry Fox. Go figure. What harry fox is going to do is ask you what the initial CD pressing is going to be, and charge you for the stat rate, up front, on that. If you don't know, I think the default is 1000 copies ( so about 90 bucks or so ) . If it's not for CD, but for sync licensing, you'll need permission from the copyright holder ( and I believe you can copyright the arrangement, as long as the copyright excludes the original music from the copyright --- so only the additional notes in your arrangment not covered by the original copyright, are yours to copyright, and it is called a derivative copyright ). I believe PRO royalties and sync license fee go to the composer, so about all you could make is a master use license fee , no ascap/bmi royalties on arrangements. But, I'm not sure, I could be wrong. If it's public domain, the above is moot.

Keep us posted, I'm curious.

Last edited by pathardy; 03/26/16 09:04 AM.
#1103435 - 03/26/16 01:49 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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A compulsory license would be issued by the Copyright Office. After a work is distributed to the public for sale, (Published), anyone can record the work for sale by paying the mechanical license. In the case where a copyright owner, most likely a Publisher, refuses to issue a license the person requesting the license can go thru the Copyright license to obtain the license. I have never heard of this happening but when going thru the copyright office the full mechanical rate applies. Pro fees are paid directly to the Publisher, if there is one and directly to the songwriter(s) according to splits agreed to by the authors, in a publishing contract if there is one.

Mechanical fees are paid to the publisher, if there is one, and then split according to the publishing contract. Sync Fees are probably paid the the Publisher, if there is one and split according to the Publishing Contract. Everything should be spelled out in the Publishing Contract.

It used to be a musical work could be registered for 28 years and then renewed once for another 28 years. Under the new Copyright Law it is 70 years after the author dies or the last author if there is more that one.

I think the main reason the law was amended was because of Disney and their works. They did not want to give the right for their works to be produced and sold without any compensation. So the law was amended.


Ray E. Strode
#1103436 - 03/26/16 02:14 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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I'm not planning on releasing this on CD. I would just like it to be available for TV/ film use. As far as publishers, I've found several different publishers for this song. Probably because the music libraries/ publishers that use this for film want the PRO publishing royalties. Kind of complicated. This song does pass the composer time requirement for becoming public domain, but like "Happy Birthday", may be more complicated than that simple time formula. My publisher decided not to pursue the copyright status, because of the time and cost attached to it. That being said, there are many versions of this song done by many artists. I heard an instrumental version on the TV series “Coach”.

John smile

#1103709 - 03/31/16 12:31 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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niteshift Online content
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Hey John,

As far as I'm aware, anyone can record or perform anything once they song is public.

For TV licencing, they are licencing the recordingfor which you get paid, and hence the market for sound alikes.

You don't however, receive broadcast royalties, which go to the writer and publisher of a copywrited work.

This does not apply to advertising, where the contract is made with the writer, and hence excludes you from using other folks' material in that case.

At least that's my understanding, and please correct me ( anyone ) if I have the wrong take on it.

cheers, niteshift

#1104963 - 04/16/16 08:55 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: niteshift]  
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Cheyenne Offline
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Just a quick one Niteshift

Yes when the song is in Public Domain , you can record
it with your own arrangement and collect the royalty

It's only a typo Niteshift but the word as I am sure
you will know is Copyrighted not how you spelt it
protects the Rights of the Composers and Owners,

I mentioned it because i have seen this error
many times but just the once on here

Copyright law in other country's vary on whatever
particular country the song was originally
protected


One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1106709 - 05/08/16 04:40 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Cheyenne]  
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R&M Offline
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I want to do a cover song of a grunge act from the nineties. I don't want to make money off it though. The name of the song is "Lithium" by Nirvana.
I think with what I know that I would still have to be approved from the U.S. Copyright Office. That I would need permission.
I would like to in any event.
Do the members here have covers to commemorate acts that they do not want to make money off of?
Are the permissions all that different?

#1106716 - 05/08/16 09:11 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: R&M]  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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I've done covers of FATHER AND SON EVE OF DESTRUCTION BLOWIN IN THE WIND....GOD BLESS AMERICA PIANO MAN AND others....it's fun....Barry

#1106937 - 05/12/16 04:19 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Barry David Butler]  
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niteshift Online content
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Hey R&M,

Once a song has been released to the public, you may play it, you may play it live, and you may make as many cover versions as you like.

If you are going to release it commercially, i.e. for money, you must give attribution, to the songwriters, and to the publisher.

You must do this when registering your song with your PRO, and you must also obtain a statuary licence for clearance. The best way to do this seems to be through the Harry Fox agency, which seems the best in dealing with this stuff. Minimum cost about $90 for the first 1000 copies, either digital or pressed.

You must then forward ( I think ) 9.1 cents per copy , as revenue comes in, to the publisher, who will then distribute income as it sees fit.

Note that any broadcast royalties are forwarded to the writers, and PRO royalties do not apply to your particular recording.

It may be a huge hit on standard media, but the PRO royalties go to the songwriter and publisher.

Note to Ms Cheyanne, I think you are confusing public domain with publically released.

cheers, niteshift

#1107399 - 05/19/16 03:29 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: niteshift]  
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R&M Offline
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Thanks for the info, nineshift.
I would like to do that one cover on the public domain. I thought that I might need permission on the net.
I intend to get it anyway.
I have heard of bands getting sued for a same sounding hook with what sounds like a completely different song.
That must be a bit hard for original musicians to keep up with.
That could be fallen on no matter what,
since even how much there are acts that are not that rote or go with a scale, it is still derived off a given form.

#1109216 - 06/24/16 11:05 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: R&M]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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R&M,

Every musician does covers as they build their skill and their fan base. It is what most venues want and how you learn to do what you do. Most hit writers learned how to write hit songs by performing covers of hit songs. Perform away.

The recording for money has been chronicled here. If you were to do something, press up thousands of copies, release it to radio, hire a publicity team to promote it, spend a LOT of money, you might have an issue. As it is, most local and smaller releases don't print or sell many copies so there really is no issue. The 9.1 cent per copy sold is only when pressing 1000 copies and since almost no one presses that many any more, again, it is rarely an issue.

The "copyright infringement lawsuits" are actually quite insane as people are suing left and right over pretty much everything. Everyone seems to have become lawyers thinking they can "sue someone and get rich" on chord progressions, words or phrases. They can't. The "Led Zepplin" Stairway to Heaven" lawsuit has just proven that. An obscure long forgotten musician, who DIES, has a friend who thinks a hugely famous song was "stolen" from the very obscure musician. But the actual progression is over 300 years old so THAT guy is probably the one who stole it.

Many of us who have to keep an eye on this find ourselves in continuous frustration with all this "someone stole my song..someone's gonna steal my song....my song my song..." CRAP!!

Most songs are not remotely copyrightable, sound like hundreds or thousands of other songs and ideas. It is nonsense. And you can't copyright a progression, a title, an idea. Much ado about nothing. And another impediment to people getting songs heard. No industry person will take a CHANCE of listening to something from someone they don't know. But they keep on spending money on copyrights.

Play what you want. If you are in a position to have something HEARD by a lot of people, pay attention to it. Other than that, enjoy yourself.

MAB

#1109531 - 06/27/16 11:59 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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R&M Offline
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I want to do a cover song by Nirvana called Lithium (crickets chirping). But I was also thinking of making these cover tracks part of an ensemble piece.
But I would not want to do that as a definitive piece to retail.
I want something completely of myself. At the same time I know that others have to understand me doing that.
It is going to be borrowed from somewhere since I am not original or a natural enough talent to do that completely on my own.
If it came to that I would rather invent a new instrument.

#1110733 - 07/14/16 11:35 PM Re: Cover song question... [Re: R&M]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
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If you use aspects of a song but change it (for example changing lyrics to something your own to a song by someone else) that is illegal unless it passes the "parody" bar which is legal. If you are not doing a parody of the original, then you must have permission from the copyright owner to do so. When it comes to Nirvana, good luck. (Or really anyone else for good reason). You can COVER any song if you pay the appropriate fees to do so. But you need to keep the essence of the song to the original intent with simply a different arrangement of the original. Keep in mind, the arrangements of a song may be owned by someone different than the owner of the song itself.

When in doubt, get one of the widely available books on songwriting and copyright for a much more thorough explanation.


Brian Austin Whitney
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#1110744 - 07/15/16 09:54 AM Re: Cover song question... [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Is not altering a song considered plagerism? (What is the "parody bar"?). I know there was song altering from anything from Bob Dole in his campaign in 1996 using the song "I'm a Soul Man" and calling it "I'm a Dole Man", to a school using Lee Greenwood's song "God Bless the USA" and leaving out the God part.
I know I want to do a faithful representation of a cover, yet in my own way.

I don't know if I want to pay a fee to do the song, though. Unless there would be money to be made off of it.
Thanks for the feedback Brian!

Matt


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