Publishing & Copyright Alternatives (piggy-backing the "ARTISTS BEWARE OF INTERNET" discussion.

I'm "piggy-backing" Cynthia Smith's great discussion on what to look out for when putting your music out there on the internet. Please feel free to post your comments on what has worked or has not worked  for you as an artist & performer. I'm especially interested in shared experiences involving publishing & copyrighting original material, managing yourself, distributing your material, use of pre-existing music & how to get publisher's permission, etc. You may want to check the aforementioned discussion on "ARTISTS BEWARE......" to see why this discussion was set up!!!

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Hi Barry,

I'm sure we all would agree with your first paragraph: Yes,...ITM "IS" a MUSIC of the people,....and those of us that enjoy the pleasure of getting together to play AND keeping the tradition alive is what (I think) TradConnect is all about,....kind of!!!

There are, in fact, many musicians whose very livelyhood is based on performing, creating, composing, selling,.....getting the music out there and being paid for it. The rent has got to be paid, bills are a very real thing, and man does not live by bread & water alone. Perhaps you could expound on your second paragraph. What is the "moral obligation to stay within the tradition" that you refer to??? Even O'Carolan got paid for his work. I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean.

Lastly, though the world is large in some ways it has gotten to be  smaller, and the Traditional Irish Music Community has been spread out all over the world. Most of us are grateful for the amount of music out there for us to listen to and learn from. Artist should be protected and compensated for their work. Your last paragraph displays a myopic vision of the world. Yes,...ITM "IS" community music shared by many, but the community is larger than your own experiences in seisiuns,....and many of us have many different ways of expressing and interpreting those experiences. Ownership is recognition of work done. One must acknowledge the worldly view that we all now face and live in (legalities, thieves, people out to make money at the expense of others, people out to take credit for what someone else has accomplished, etc.). Many of the musician members of TradConnect are more than just people going to weekly seisiuns,....they are artists seeking recognition in the ITM community and hoping to have an impact on the Traditions that exist. No need for them to seek "other genres" if this is where they wish to be. There IS plenty of room in the ITM world for copyright. Cheers,

Danny

I don't agree with you. Yes, there are many musicians earning a living from playing Irish trad and nobody begrudges them that, more power to your elbow. There's income to be got from gigs, recordings, sponsorship, merchandising for bigger groups etc. However there shouldn't be an expectation of deriving an income by claiming ownership of the music, that's all - it's plain & simple respect for the tradition. It's the importation of a foreign concept of legal ownership of the music and one that will ultimately undermine the very tradition itself.

Many Irish musicians including travellers like the Raineys & Dohertys, Fureys & Dorans have earned an income by playing Irish trad at fairs and matches down the decades. Carolan probably received 'sponsorship' in the form of board & lodgings etc. There were travelling teachers of music and dance. All these people made money like you do but they didn't claim ownership over the music itself. That would have been a foreign concept to them.

In fact, I'll draw a parallel with land ownership in Ireland. Prior to the arrival of the 'Normans', we had a clan type system where the land was managed by groups of families in various small 'kingdoms', for the benefit of the 'clan' as a whole. The English settlers brought in a new system of individual land ownership - this caused widespread confusion as Irish leaders like the Kavanaghs agreed to surrender terms but couldn't deliver on them as the two concepts of land ownership were completely at variance. Eventually the new system prevailed by way of force.

Cultural aspects like music and poetry survived this as they had little commercial value and retained a community ownership, that is until the last couple of decades where they have been become more valuable and now artists such as you mention want to bring in a new reality.

Hiya Barry. I think I have a better understanding of what you mean,...and I think your parallel with land ownership in Ireland helped to drive your point home. One's cultural history does provide a special personal perception and insight. I don't mean that cultural ownership of music is taken away from the people or community. If anything, the people and community, their shared lives, their shared experiences, helped to motivate composers to write (compose) these feelings into music. What I am saying is that if someone lays a claim to have written "Si Bheag, Si Mhor", shouldn't O'Carolan's rights as the true composer be protected??? It's his composition, his acknowledged accomplishment. If YOU wrote/composed a piece of music, I don't have the right to blatantly lie and say that I wrote it. It's not the cultural ownership that's in question but the individual's. Jigs and reels and hornpipes (etc.) belong to the Irish Musical Culture. No argument there. However, as Cynthia cited in a previous comment, Christy Barry's Jigs #1 & #2 are CHRISTY BARRY's compositions!!! Someone else didn't compose them!!!

Unfortunatley, the new reality that you mention does exist and does influence us all,.....in good ways AND bad ways. I do appreciate your perception and insight as an obviously proud Irish man. Would love to sit down with you and share a pint or two. Slainte,

Danny

P.S.: Forgive my ignorance but I've never heard the expression, "more power to your elbow". What the heck does that mean???? SMILE!!! }:^)

A good example would be Elvis Presley's writers of Love Me Tender using Aura Lee as the music.  I can't remember how many times I get hit with papers after playing the tune (not using Presley's) words in it at a dance.  "tis a fine line we walk, playing good old tunes when somebody has written words to it and claimed Copyright, but I say BRING IT ON.

It's hard as well, when one pulls down an arrangement like at The Session.org because there can be so many "variations" of a tune.

Cynthia Smith said:

OK....Here's some more fodder for Albert's query.  Even if a tune is public domain, or traditional, and your recording of a tune/set is protected by a form of copyright, and registered with BMI, ASCAP, etc., you will be the copyright holder.....Which is why many times trad musicians will use a made up name for a tune/set. That is often done to protect an arrangement of a tune/set....And that is legal. 

For instance, at this time, Smitty's Kitchen is the copyright holder to our set, If  There Weren't Any Men/If There Weren't Any Women, simply because I registered our recording of the set, from our first album, which was published via Discmakers, with BMI.  Our recording of the set is protected....But that does not necessarily mean that either tune couldn't be submitted for copyright under another name, as long as the arrangement/title is different.

I am unclear about Youtube as I have not made any of our video or recordings published through that medium.  It's a project still waiting to be done.  My understanding is that youtube is vigilant  protecting themselves re: uploads.  I do know that if anyone should use our recorded music for a youtube video, Smitty's Kitchen must be paid the licensing fees, since our music is protected.

Here's another interesting thought for y'all.  There is a worldwide datebase called MusicEye (or is that MusicI).  All recorded music which is made public is in this database....So one's recorded music can be identified, and if it's registered, and/or protected by copyright, and it is used in public, royalty fees can be paid via SoundExchange, for instance, to the artist, and licensing fees can be obtained, if necessary. 

I wear the band members out by overloading their input capacities with all this stuff....Enough for tonight!

Cheers,

Cynthia Smith http://smittyskitchenmusic.com/

I believe an artist should have rights to THEIR MUSIC, but it saddens me to see someone take a song/tune as old a over 100yrs and try to claim it as theirs to earn money through copyright laws.  We all at some pint or time do our own rendition of a tune (slightly different arrangement), but do we have the right to claim copyright laws. It is tradition to name a child after another in the family, but does the family have the right to claim that name as copyright?  I say this because as Copyright stands there is no sense in playing music or even composing.  It is hard to truly write an original piece without some where in it it will sound like a part of someone else's tune.

I am influenced by traditional folk music whether it be Irish or other, and I find it hard to not sound somewhat like a tune from a hundred or two hundred years ago at times.  I prefer to write and share it so that all who may like it can play to their heart's content without worrying about laws.  I earn my money by performing and teaching.

The old ways of music is as of the dinosaurs, or at least pretty much so in my mind...sadly to say.


BarryD said:

I don't agree with you. Yes, there are many musicians earning a living from playing Irish trad and nobody begrudges them that, more power to your elbow. There's income to be got from gigs, recordings, sponsorship, merchandising for bigger groups etc. However there shouldn't be an expectation of deriving an income by claiming ownership of the music, that's all - it's plain & simple respect for the tradition. It's the importation of a foreign concept of legal ownership of the music and one that will ultimately undermine the very tradition itself.

Many Irish musicians including travellers like the Raineys & Dohertys, Fureys & Dorans have earned an income by playing Irish trad at fairs and matches down the decades. Carolan probably received 'sponsorship' in the form of board & lodgings etc. There were travelling teachers of music and dance. All these people made money like you do but they didn't claim ownership over the music itself. That would have been a foreign concept to them.

Dear Enda, 

I have read through the terms of use for Emeraz.  By agreeing to their terms, the artist grants Emeraz a "limited license to use, modify....."   If anyone is OK with that, what's the point of copyrighting?

Dear Barry,

I am very sympathetic to your sentiments re: the tradition of Irish music.  If only we could go back in time....But the world is changing, and so is Ireland, and nothing can ever really be restored to "back in the day".  Traditional Irish music is no longer isolated in the Splendid Isolation" of Ireland.  It's all over the world!

If you read my prior reply re: Christy Barry's Set, there is an example of a good reason to copyright.  Christy composed those tunes in the 70's.  Luckily ITMA cataloged those tunes.  Unfortunately, Christy never recorded them until the 90's.  In the meantime, they were plaguerized....Which is why he asked me to name the tunes on our album insert "in CAPITAL letters".   His aggravation over the crediting of his tunes to others was very clear.

People are not always trustworthy or accurate in their knowledge of who composed what. 

Copyrighting one's tunes protects them from being credited to another.  It also protects your arrangements of tunes/sets so that they cannot be duplicated and credited to another.  Because of the aspect of licensing music, this is important.

It is a real compliment when someone wishes to share your tune, but a copyright means someone recording your tune must credit you, and when applicable, purchase the publishing rights.  If a producer wishes to use your tune or arrangement for instance, for a movie, the copyright means that you will be paid for the use/licensing of your tune.  Considering how much money is made producing, it seems only fair!

Publishing rights are something else.  If anyone wishes, I can explain that, but it's off topic here.

Anyway, please understand that this issue of copyright is not intended to offend, or minimize the tradition of Irish music. 

Best,

Cynthia Smith http://smittyskitchenmusic.com/

"If a producer wishes to use your tune or arrangement for instance, for a movie, the copyright means that you will be paid for the use/licensing of your tune.  Considering how much money is made producing, it seems only fair!"

"It's not the cultural ownership that's in question but the individual's. Jigs and reels and hornpipes (etc.) belong to the Irish Musical Culture. No argument there. However, as Cynthia cited in a previous comment, Christy Barry's Jigs #1 & #2 are CHRISTY BARRY's compositions!!!"

Dear Cynthia & Danny, with respect I think you are missing the point. It's precisely this move to individual rights that undermines the community nature of the music. Take the Christy Barry or Paddy Fahey examples given above and I've never met them but I understand their mindset from other similar people I know.

They've diddled around and come up with these tunes as you do when a phrase pops into your head. They play them for their musical friends and neighbours and if others like them, they learn them and play along and so they spread. I'm quite certain that Christy Barry or Paddy Fahey are quite happy to see their tunes enter the tradition like this as they've drawn on a deep pool of tunes and doubtless their new compositions are in part based on fragments of other tunes - that's the way of it. They'd be happy to see others record them and play them at gigs and so on, all they might ask for is that they be remembered in some way as the person who came up with the tune. That's why Paddy Fahey names all his tunes 'Paddy Fahey', he doesn't want to make money from them or sell them to movie companies etc. I doubt very much whether they would care a jot if Pixar used a tune of theirs in a movie that grossed millions at the box office. WHAT WOULD ANNOY the likes of Christy Barry or Paddy Fahey is seeing their tunes appear on recordings and SOMEONE else claiming ownership and copyright as that's an assault on the tradition, so this is their counter strategy.

In some ways, you could say there's a slight element of ego in this as many other tunes are in the tradition that were originally played by anonymous musicians and also other people like Junior Crehan, Paddy O'Brien or Sean Ryan gave regular names to their tunes, like 'The Mist on the Mountain' and unless you check carefully, you wouldn't be aware who came up with them first.

That's the way it works and all I'm saying is that people should respect that process. Make your money from gigs, recordings, t-shirts, wealthy benefactors but don't be claiming individual ownership of music in the Irish traditional idiom.

'More power to your elbow' roughly 'good luck with it, keep up the good work etc'

WOW!!! That was fun,...and invigorating!!! And educational too!!! From O'Carolan to Elvis,.....well, "I'm all shook up"!!! };^) I think what's important to everyone is to maintain the integrity of ITM,...no matter what side of the fence we speak from. Can't wait for an opportunity to use a new expression. In fact, I'll use it now in regard to this discussion: MORE POWER TO YOUR ELBOWS, EVERYONE. Well done!!! Go raibh mi'le maith agat!!! Slainte,

Danny

Dear Barry,

I really do fully understand your point.  As I said prior, the world is changing.... The old ways can't be brought back.  Ireland has stepped in Cyberspace and once there, there is no return.

I would agree that the likes of Christy Barry and Paddy Fahy are content with having their music shared.  Yes, it obviously did annoy Christy that his tunes were credited to others, as I said.   He is a lovely musician in the traditonal style and was easily generous with giving us permission to record his tunes.  If anyone asked me for permission to record any of my original compositions, I would be honored and give it in the tradition of sharing trad music, with the stipulation that I be credited for it.  

I would disagree with the "care a jot if Pixar..."  comment, given the economic impact licensing carries.  If our protected arrangement and recording of Christy Barry's Set should be used for licensing, Christy would see a portion of that as a composer.  He deserves that.

So, I guess we will have to look at our personal experiences as musicians to make our decisions re: how we earn a living with our music.  I stated before in another discussion that the most dependable mode for earing a living with music is to teach, but that's my personal opinion and experience.

Re: anonymous musicians...I would love to meet the musician who composed Banish Misfortune!

Thank you for the "power to your elbow" wish!  New one to me!  I like it.

Best regards,

Cynthia Smith

 

So again 

Hi all

I've read this thread with interest, and considered all the different points of view. For me personally, all this is of no consequence, I have not produced anything of any importance, and all the stuff I play or sings is someone else's stuff. I have written some songs myself, where the lyrics are my originals. The tunes that I deviced for those songs however, all seem to be pre-existing tunes. I wrote a song, then deviced the music around it, and the comment that came to me was  "He, that sounds like Sweet Betsy from Pike"....What I try to say is that there's such an enormous treasure of Irish music, it's hard to come up with something original, I think it will always sound like something that's been done before...

Quite personally speaking I would adhere to Barry's point of view, tradmusic belongs to the people, and should remain so....But since, undeniably so, times are changing, and even Ireland's gone "cyberspace", tradmusic itself must and does change with that. I think musicians have the right to protect "their" creations. After all, for a professional musician, it's his main source of income. I work on a refinery myself, and I work overtime on a regular basis. I know I wouldn't be happy if my colleague wrote MY overtime-hours on HIS conto....So I can see Cynthia's point of view as well...And as for copyrighting "old" music, don't you think that'll be a thing that will pass? I mean, I used to collect stamps and coins when I was a young lad( yes really :-) and it was fun till the traders stepped in, which rocketed prices skyhigh. Till that market collapsed, and prices plummeted in freefall, and their interest waned....Now all's back to normal. I mean to say, when the so-called "copyrighters" see that's there's not a lot to be won here, will they not eventually give up?

Well, enough thinking for today,

cheers, Kees

"I would love to meet the musician who composed Banish Misfortune"

Probably no one musician 'composed' Banish Misfortune - the way these things work, someone comes up with a distinctive phrase, a hook that defines the tune. They play it, knock it around a bit, share it, other people learn it and play it. It's like Chinese Whispers and as each group of musicians play it, they'll vary it either by choice or because they picked it up 'wrongly' in the first place, forgot just how it went the next day or change it to suit their instrument. That's the way it stays, the 'best' or most popular version tends to solidify, whilst the others remain as variations. But nothing ever settles.

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