Soundevotion Competition entry discussion.

SDC 37 rules - Sample/Copyright issues and contradictions!!

SDC 37 rules - Sample/Copyright issues and contradictions!!

Postby plova » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:45 am

Hi guys, sorry this originally was put into the 'one liner' section on the SDC homepage - thanks to Ambtax for reminding me it would be better said here...........



Well, it seems I have fucked up - I missed this fine detail in this round's rules - 'All samples are allowed. (note: you must clear copyright and legal permission for all your samples.

As you will hear, snippets from an Oscar Peterson jazz track are in my track (howerver discrete), and a speech sample from a film that I struggle to remember the title of, or what it was about.....

You see, SDCompo states that 'This round accepts any samples!' at the top of the rules page, but does not clarify what 'any' really means. I accept that my over zealous enthusiasm led me to crack on with using whatever samples I felt like using, but the details of this statement should be clearly stated in all instances. I understand we should all read the smallprint, but is it not partly SDC's responsibility and foresight to cater for those who don't?

I studied copyright a little when I did my degree in Sound Art & Design, so someone else who may not be as aware as me about the subject (although my knowledge is very limited in the grand scheme of things) may go ahead and base a good piece of work on a sample they have not cleared, and may struggle to find a substitute sound.

And of course, who has ever made the effort to get sample clearance for the Amen break? The Winstons have never received a penny for this, and it has been appropriated a million times over.

So is it not a bit contradictory to supply the Amen break (for example) in previous samplepacks (it has been supplied at least once as I remember, round 14 maybe?), but ask us to clear any copyright samples we sue for this round?

Anyway, Im sure this seems a bit confrontational and will not win me any favours with you guys at SDC, but that is not my aim. I just wish to point out that there is a hell of a lot of complexity surrounding copyright and related issues, and if you are going to state that we can use 'any' samples, then you must make it clear and consistent throughout the rules, and state that 'any cleared' samples can be used.

But overall, I think any samples should be allowed full stop, as long as the user does not financially gain from the material's re-implementation into a new musical/sound work.

As I said before, if the original artist/author was opposed to me using extracts from a film/song etc, I would gladly remove the sample or the remove the track completely from wherever it was publicly available, i.e this website.

Some of you may not have seen this, but it is absolutely brilliant - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac- and explains a bit more of what Im trying to say. Particularly note what the guy says about the UK sample CD company Zero G at around 13 minutes.


My point is, what is the difference between the Amen break (which you have supplied in previous sample packs, which I assume you did not legally clear), and any other samples I choose to include in my entry for this round?

As an end note - I could remove the two most 'legally troublesome' samples from my entry this month, and the track would not suffer really to any degree. One is a short snippet of an Oscar Peterson tune, the other a few second speech sample from a film - they both add something, but are not essential to the main structure. For the sake of any legal complications of course I would gladly do what was required to take the heat off either SDC or myself if any legalities cropped up. This goes for any sound recording I make and submit to any organisation.


Cheers for reading, and sorry to SDC if it seems I'm having a go!!

PEACE.
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Postby gilli » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:19 pm

I think what you have written here is very reasonable.

I think one cannot judge about a song that she/he hasn't heard. Whether a song pirates samples in an illegal way or if it uses them in a creative way should rather be judged by voting.

I can agree with your statement about allowing most of the non-profit usage.

A point I would have a problem with would be the opportunistic way of using samples that cause a winner. I can think of cases when someone assumes a certain sample would work on many people (e.g. a significant loop of Benassi's "Satisfaction") while pumping basslines are just so in at the moment. When such a loop is used - still well mixed - to the bones and the song wins (maybe because only a few knew the original), then I think it's just not fair because it's not much of self-made art. Then the rules should care about it because the voters cannot take the responsibility of knowing each original. Nor the admins do but if such "faults" get uncovered after a round, we should still be able to correct the rankings.
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Postby chunter » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:34 pm

As long as artists are responsible for legal ramifications, I don't care.

I'm otherwise slightly against what I perceive as a convenient circumvention of the rules. This reeks of the complaints I often hear at my job. Do not try to bend language, you know fully well what "all except" means; this is not contradiction.
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Postby plova » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:32 am

Chunter - what language am I trying to bend?

Its simple -

The rule at the top of the 'rules' page states -

Welcome to Round 37 of the Soundevotion Competition!

This round accepts any VST/VSTi featured in a previous SDCompo Round (1 through 36)!
This round accepts any samples!
This round accepts vocal samples!

Of course I am aware of the 'smallprint' that is written further down the page that says -

5. Samples and previously featured VST/VSTi only.
All samples are allowed. (note: you must clear copyright and legal permission for all your samples.)


So maybe the question then is -

Is it a creative challenge, or a safeguard againt legal action, that SDC enforces this rule in this way? If Sonicade can tell me what the possible legal ramifications of submitting tracks that contain copyright material, I would be most grateful, because I can't see the problem.



I wasn't, and I dont NEED to try and bend any language.

I was also polite and apologised to all involved if it seemed I was 'having a go'. Plus, it is discussions like this which provoke a bit of interest and generate ideas, so please dont just rubbish it in a few lines as a 'typical complaint'. I put a fair bit of effort into trying to explain this topic.

I was pointing out the fact that if SDC says we can use ANY sampes, then this and all it entails should be made a lot more clear - I have entered the compo several times now, and have been grateful of the limitations regarding using the samples included in the samplepacks, as it forces the musician to create something out of very little (very little as compared to the freedom of being allowed to use ANY samples at all).

So Im also not complaining that I cant use whatever I want just because I find it hard to stick to the rules - yes, I should have read them more thoroughly and hold my hands up to that fact - and like I said before, I could easily remove the samples from my entry which I believe could be 'legally troublesome' and the track wouldn't suffer hardly at all - they are just there to add to the atmosphere.

Convenient circumvention of the rules? No, Im not that desperate.

And yes, what you said about 'As long as artists are responsible for legal ramifications', I totally agree - but who is going to care about what happens with SDC, other than all of us involved in SDC?

I cant see what the difference is between sharing songs in my 'back catalogue' on my hard drive, with my friends, and sharing songs with you lot that are on the SDC server - that is good, harmeless and who is going to know or care other than us?

Christ, you can walk into HMV and buy bootlegs off the shelf, because the people who own the publishing rights have cottoned on to the remix/mashup industry for example, and it makes them money. Times have changed.

If SDC wants to enlighten me with the possible legal ramifications of submitting tracks that contain copyright material, I would be most grateful, because I can't see the problem - are the rules as such to extend the creative challenge, or a safeguard against legal action (or both)?

As I said before with the Amen break, this sample is protected by copyright (it says so on my original vinyl 7" copy, and is new enough for this to be still in force), but has been given away in previous SDC rounds, so what is the difference of 'exploiting' The Winstons (whether they care or not), or the work of another band or musician?

Surely it is us individuals who are responsible if a certain sample is being used without permission, just like you said?

No one is making money from tracks submitted to SDC, none of it is being publicly broadcast (and if it was, whoever broadcasting it at the most MAY need a performing rights licence from the PRS).

Bending language, I dont think so.
Last edited by plova on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Revised version of my entry for SDC 37

Postby plova » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:18 am

Hi

Some comments about my rant regarding the rules for SDC 37 have provoked me to submit a revised version of my entry. I did this partly because I could (I only realised today we get three chances to revise our entries), but also to prove I did not intend to bend the rules to get my own way (a laughable accusation). I do not need the samples and they were not essential to the tracks structure.

However, I do believe we should be able to use 'any' samples we wish in an 'any samples' type round that may occur in the future.

I can't see what legal problems would occur, although I understand SDC probably has to cover itself should a problem arise. I would love to know what the actual score is when it comes to using copyright material and samples etc in non-profit making compos like SDC. Surely we are just sharing ideas as friends would via email etc?

Anyway, I have removed the posiibly offending samples.

Oh the joys of spring.
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Re: Revised version of my entry for SDC 37

Postby fbjon » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:23 am

plova wrote:I would love to know what the actual score is when it comes to using copyright material and samples etc in non-profit making compos like SDC. Surely we are just sharing ideas as friends would via email etc?

The actual score, as far as I understand, is that the purpose is irrelevant: it's always illegal to use copyrighted material without permission, unless it falls under an exception. For something small like SDC, the law could be simply be ignored, but it's still not legal. Now, the rule stating "all samples" obviously can't give permission to break the law, but it can certainly be interpreted to mean literally ALL samples, hence the clarifying rule.

Regarding exceptions: not making money from it has never been a valid exception to copyright law, it only decreases the potential damages if you get sued. Now, whether the (international) copyright law as it stands is ok is another thing, but I believe SDC isn't in the business of proposing laws anyway. :)

Also, regarding sharing with friends.. AFAIK making copies and such for family/friends is an exception, at least in some places. On SDC, the entries are published for the world to see, however, even if the world doesn't necessarily storm here and download everything.

In essence, since SDC is a public competition, it has to abide by the rules of the public. Competition-by-email on the other hand would be a different legal situation.

As usual, IANAL, this post is not legal advice, do not feed to children under 7, etc. etc. :)



Addendum: Note that I haven't considered what actually constitutes copyright violation here. It's certanínly possible that whatever way you used some samples wasn't in violation of any law, in which case it would be fine to publish anywhere.
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Postby chunter » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:18 pm

plova wrote:Chunter - what language am I trying to bend?

Its simple -

The rule at the top of the 'rules' page states -

*snip*

All samples are allowed. (note: you must clear copyright and legal permission for all your samples.)

I turn strange questions into proper results for a living, so I want to thank you for doing the right thing.

I know for fact that you did not get permission for your samples because you felt the need to ask about them in the first place.
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Postby plova » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:39 pm

Chunter, what is your problem?

'I know for fact that you did not get permission for your samples because you felt the need to ask about them in the first place.'

Did I say this?

No, so why are you making comments that have no point and just provoke further petty disagreements?

And it wasn't a strange question at all - don't insult me, I didn't ask for your personal opinion and I dont care what you do for a living.

You havent posted one reply to this that has anything interesting or informative as fbjon and gilli have, you are just coming off like you know it all, which is no help to anyone.
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Postby agargara » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:35 pm

I think this issue has come up before, and I'll sort of reiterate what I said then:

Ethically, I have no personal issue with using a short snippet of somebody else's work to create something new and different. To me, building off the past is the essence of art, after all. (Now, there's a line between creatively using a sample in a new way and just plain copying and pasting a sample into your work. People will draw that line in different places.)

Legally, on the other hand, that argument won't get you anywhere in court. In a non-commercial, small competition like this you don't really have to worry though, as long as you're quiet about it. If you want to use a copyrighted sample without permission, be discrete about it--if you disguise it enough that nobody can recognize the original sound, nobody will ever know unless you tell them. 8)

But please, do the world a favor and be original, whether you're sampling or not.
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Postby chunter » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:57 pm

The difference between the Amen Break and any other copyrighted sample you may choose, is simply that any other sample is not the Amen Break. Lawrence Lessig has written a far better explanation of what makes Amen special:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac

I apologize for not taking the time to carefully read your question before responding.

The reason I have been terse and maybe am coming across as argumentative (when in fact, I really just wanted to see this thread solved and silent as quickly as possible) is that I've seen and participated in many versions of copyright debate before and that there are far better places for the such a debate than here. It would have been best if I had simply not said anything.

I believe that the entirety of international copyright is outdated and should be completely rewritten, first, to be globally encompassing and second, to be brought up to date with the scope and power of current technology, but I also believe that the place for copyright reform debate is amongst the governments and politicians of our countries, who continue to ignore intellectual property problems in favor of issues they believe are of larger concern.
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Postby plova » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:14 am

Thanks Chunter, we all cool now. 8)
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