Re: [rumori] recordings of "public domain" works

Steev Hise (
Fri, 28 Apr 2000 22:05:21 -0700 (PDT)

Fri, 28 Apr 2000 found matt davignon writing:

>His reply was this:
>>You are correct on the public domain issue, however if you took the
>> >samples from a current CD or album, those are copyrighted.
>Of course, 2 of the albums that I sampled from did show copyright notice,
>but after doing some research, I found out that this may actually be true!

yes it is true. there are 2 kinds of copyrights when you're talking about
recordings. the mechanical rights and i think what are called publishing
rights. even if the composition is public domain a particular recorded
rendition of it can be copyrighted. and sampling is different than merely
doing a cover version. you have to get both kinds of clearances.

i think the reason this may seem strange to people today is that so often
now a piece of music (especially pop music) is such a product of the
studio recording process that the composition seems inseperable from the
"performance". the piece IS the recording. But more "traditional" music
actually exists on paper AND (potentially many different) recordings.

This reminds me of a recent project John Oswald has been working on that
he describes in the interview that appears in the book "Arcana". He
basically is working on pieces where he finds as many recorded versions of
a famous classical piece as he can, and then builds a "generic" version of
the piece out of these recordings. A beautiful idea, i think, and i'm
looking forward to hearing it.

>the composer himself did not own a copyright? If I were to go out and record
>some frogs, does that mean that I could claim a copyright on the frog sounds
>on my tape? Could I sue someone else for using the tape? Could I sue the

i think technically that this is true. though most frogs are not wealthy
enough for this to be worthwhile. ;-)

It's kind of like photography. you can take a picture of something that
youdon't own but you will still own the rights to the photo. however if
you take a picture of a person you need to get a model clearance from that
person. etc etc blah blah....


Steev Hise, Would-be World-Wide Web Wizard (WWWWW)
"He was a despicable human being, an egoist with nothing inside him. But he
 was a far more capable individual than I was."
                 -Haruki Murakami

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