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

Nicola Battista (
Sun, 30 Apr 2000 14:47:38 +0200

Hello Matt.
Months ago I've talked in here on the subject of I am not leaving
them cause they have a wide audience and I want to disturb as many folks as
possible with my stuff. ;)

Anyway their copyright and sampling policy is schizophrenic and illogical
(but most of other mp3 sites are the same).
I have stuff on Vitaminic, an Italian company which runs 7 sites in
different languages (one for each nation: Italy, USA, Sweden, UK,
France...). They don't allow samples and cover versions.
Yet they have a SIAE license allowing them to use each song in the
copyrighted repertory for public performance. I.e. you can have covers even
if their rules says the opposite (the site is infact full of cover shit
like Lou Bega instrumentals...;))))
And as for sampling no one ever bothered me with sample issues.

I previously mentioned Riffage in here. They're weirdos. They tell you: ok,
you can have samples and also covers, but you can't give them away for free
(so -theorically- you would have enough money to pay the original owners of
the material you're using). If you want to seel your track this is fine; if
you want to publish a free mp3, the trick is: put your track online at a
minimum price of *7* US CENTS (better putting something like 0.25, 0.50 or
0.99 which is a standard price) and then after they've approved it, you can
go back to the admin page and change the price to zero. Easy.

Now let's go back to Matt's problem:

>I now join the ranks of artists blighted by This is a strange case
>though, since all the samples in my 'rejected' song are from works in the
>public domain.

>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!
>Someone who records a sound can get copyright to it, even though he did not
>compose the sound himself! Can this apply to really old recordings, where
>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

yes, it is true. If Pavarotti records Verdi which is in the public domain,
the label gets a copyright not as the publisher of Verdi's works but on the
recording of Pavarotti's voice singing Verdi.
This always applies to new recordings of classical, traditional, medieval
music etc.
I recently read in some book (maybe it was "Will pop eat itaself?" by
Jeremy J.Beadle?) that UK group The Beloved once were sued by a small label
that published medieval music, as they had used one of their samll bits.
In that case anyway the label dropped the case as a major label behind
Beloved had proposed of buying the whole label to avoid going to court. The
guy who ran the small label decided not to sue The Beloved and mantain its
independence, going on with the publishing of more ancient/classical

Anyway: if I were you I'd just write back to the guy and confuse him a bit.
After all you could have sampled cd recordings of classical music made 51
years ago. And this means that you're COMPLETELY in the public domain.
You should check those cds and see if they mention the year of recording of
each track. Or you could just lie and tell him that all recordings are from
1949 or so.

There is also another way to cheat them.
They mioght ask you for a license. In one case I really had a license and I
sent them a scan of it.
In another I didn't. I just produced a fake, and sent it. My track went
immediately off hold.

Another common trick would be removing the track you've made, putting it
back online under a different style (for example under ambient instead of
experimental-- you can always change the music genre later) so it will be
supervised by a different person and maybe even put a different (fake)
title (which you may change later).
A friend of mine had a track with dialogues in japanese from the film Akira.
He sent "Akira part 1" and they censored it claiming it had film or tv
We removed it and sent it back under the title "AK42" and under another
genre. It was approved and then we changed it back to Akira Part 1. ;)
Diabolically easy.

Now I hope that no one from "Musicology department" is on this
list. Err.
They have one though guy which once after uploading a track made by a large
bit of a Simon & Garfunkel number (looped 4 times, reversed, distorted,
echoed and with some reverb on it) wrote me "your track is on hold; reason:

>Also, now would be a good time for me to learn of better mp3 sites than
> Would anybody care to educate me?
now owned also by; you can only upload free tracks (not for
sale) but the good thing is that they don't check for samples
if you're outside the US you can always click on one of their other
international sites (UK, FR, SE, IT...) and upload your stuff from there.
Then they just replicate your page on all the sites (you can send them
translated texts like your bio if u want).
not much traffic on this one but you might want to check it... too bad now
it is owned by AOL, anyway they sometimes make cool promotions. One of my
tracks is on their free "Jetset" cd (an ugly pastiche of Moby, the Titanic,
WestBam, Italian porn soundtracks from the 70's and more...;))) ...the same
track (Fascinating Destroyer, also came out on their "Best of Techno" CD).

I'm sure I have more of them but now this is what I remember... I also run
a service as that helps redistibuting music on all these sites
and more... anyway that is aimed primarily at those who don't have a
connection (or have a slow one).

Nicola (Dj Batman) Battista

"Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief"

Rumori, the Discussion List
to unsubscribe, send mail to
with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
Rumori list archives & other information are at

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Sharerights extended to all.