Friday, February 6, 2009


Copyright is always a topic a sort of zone out on when it is the topic of conversation, so what I know of it is mainly hearsay and mythology. I figure if I really have a question I can always talk to the Liberian. What else do you use them for? Ran across this post from Wes Fryer on Moving at the speed of creativity featuring this clip from the Colbert Report.

Doing some other research, I found only one case brought to trial regarding "file sharing", all others were settled out of court, but the trial case went to the Defendant, actually the judge called it a mistrial, but....

This fall I went to a presentation by the director of the Rod Serling video festival , and under questioning, he claimed that copyright really is not enforced with student work, he claims to have talked to a lawyer from Disney, well known copyright protectors, and they say they would not sue for student work, as long as no money is being made.

Then there is music, where can we go from here? Let's start with folk music. Generally speaking, some folk music re-cycles similar tunes and changes the words around. One example off the top of my head, is the song "Stewball" also known as "Skewball". Doing some quick research, it was written in Europe and came to the US in various forms, including a work gang version, but another origian is the song "Go From My Window" an Elizabethan song, but most of us know the tune from John Lennon's "Happy X-mas war is over". Heck even "campfire songs" have different lyrics in different parts of the country. The song "Taurus" by Spirit, written well before Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" has the same guitar line as the into as "Stairway". Where and when do we worry about copyright, George Harrison had to pay for "My Sweet Lord" sounding too much like "He's so Fine"

And now we look at sampling of music for Hip-Hop, some have sued, others have not. Where do we draw the lines.

Don't want to get to far off subject here, but could talk music all day long. BTW one of the strangest similar songs is Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing" and the Rolling Stone's "Miss You", which replaced "Shadow Dancing" on the charts as #1, in my opinion, are the same tune.

Any way, in the "re-mix" culture, where do we draw the line? I post pictures on the web with Creative Commons Licence, and have had some requests to use the photos, many artists post their music on sharing sites to build up a fan base, we make music mixes for others, and have been doing so for a long time.

One last music tidbit. Did you know you could sing "Amazing Grace", "House of the Rising Sun" and "Gilligan's Island Theme" to the same tune? Always fun to sing any of these to Gilligan's Island.

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