Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week One: Comment to David's post

Week One:  Comment to David's post

David Mouri’s EDM Week1 Blog

The copyright laws have been an issue that I must say I don’t always understand. The EMDT program has made this issue a lot clearer in my mind. The first section of this weeks “reading/Videos” made it clear of what the basic concepts of the present copyright laws are. I always knew that if it was a fixed work, such as a book, play, or music then you could not use it with out permission. Now having said that, did I always live by that rule. Some of you know that I am a barbershopper and I have been singing that genre for 31 years. Barbershop music is one of the four original art forms, so its roots come from as far back as African slave music. As the genre came into full swing, the music was about songs that were simple and were known to everyone. The harmonies are based on 7 chords, so were arrangements always written down? NO they were not, and those that were, many were passed around. I started in 1979 and that was still going on, not because we did not respect the arranger and composer, it was the urge to make it better. Now all of that has changed, and arrangers/composers are there to help you. They arrange for you, and give you permission to sing their songs. The whole music scene in Brazil!! I had no clue that was going on, I had to watch it twice so I could fully understand what was going on. Perhaps it is my age, but I did not know anything about the remixing of songs. It makes sense after watching the video twice, and with laptops like a Mac Pro it is clear how it is done. The concept of Fair Use really seems to be something that I am not sure that I want to cross that line. The opening is very small. I love how the video said that if you can teach the lesson with out the copyrighted material then don’t use it. I can see using small clips here and there, but in the end I would be more comfortable having permission. The eye opening moment for me was seeing historical videos that are not available any more because of the copyright laws. Part of our history is lost, and I think that is a shame. Where should we go with all of this copyright talk? The section on Creative Commons makes perfect sense to me. It gives the creator the flexibility to share the work on his/her terms. Sharing allows for more to be created from anyone, and the original can get better and better. It is a win, win situation if you ask me.

 My Response to David:

Your post really got me thinking about your art form of Barbershop.  The harmonies and arrangements are very similar for all songs, so are they still copyrighted?  I found “The Barbershop Harmony Society” has an article titled,” Copyright Basics for Barbershoppers”.
It can be found at the following link:

The statement that jumped out at me was: “Violations could result in a substantial fine. Examples of violations include arranging, selling an arrangement, or photocopying without permission. Penalties can range from $20,000 to $100,000 per copy, so it behooves all Barbershoppers to abide by the copyright statutes.”All I have to say is be careful my friend!  I am curious how you obtain the arrangements for the music you use in competitions.  Is it purchased or do you compose it yourself? 

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