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   Author  Topic: Original and Adapted versions of a song...  (Read 1635 times)
Tom Garratt
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Original and Adapted versions of a song...
« on: Jun 6th, 2004, 6:35am »
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I wrote lyrics to a song, this song has now been changed by the band I wrote it with, It is still called the same thing, but has different lyrics, adn a slightly different chord sequence. Does this mean that I cannot record the version I have, or is it ok to record it as long as I say it is the original version?
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nobody
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Re: Original and Adapted versions of a song...
« Reply #1 on: Jun 6th, 2004, 3:55pm »
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If you wrote the lyrics without help from anybody else, and didn't sign any contract that says otherwise, then I don't see how they could prevent you from using your own lyrics. It would be nice if you had registered the copyright though. I'm answering this from a U.S. perspective. Common chord patterns are hard to protect.
« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2004, 3:57pm by nobody » IP Logged
Bill Guess
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Re: Original and Adapted versions of a song...
« Reply #2 on: Jun 9th, 2004, 12:38pm »
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"Common chord patterns are hard to protect. "
 
ZZ Top reached a settlement with Chysler Corp in a 15 million copyright infringement case.  The case centered on a TV commercial which featured a single plus two partial chord"riff" quite similar to ZZ Top's cat house inspired La Grange.
 
The defense claimed ZZ Top being should have been sued by Joh Lee Hooker (another coincidence:  Hooker!) for his blues standard Boogie Chillin'.
 
da daa da    da da da da (syncopated)   da da da   daa da (repeat)
 
 
Bill Guess
 
 
 
 
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nobody
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Re: Original and Adapted versions of a song...
« Reply #3 on: Jun 10th, 2004, 12:46pm »
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Common chord patterns per se can't be protected. It's what you do with them (how you express them) that may be. You certainly can't claim a broad copyright on a common pattern like I V I, I IV I, etc. And you can't claim copyright on a particular chord inversion just because the tuning of a particular instrument requires that you use that inversion.
 
However, the "My Sweet Lord" case showed that courts and non-musicians haven't really got a clue: The Even-Tempered musical scale contains the notes C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B. That's twelve notes. The number of possible three note combinations is therefore 12^3, or 1728. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and Ravel covered those already.
 
Here is the case you cite. It seems to be the precise expression of the pattern that was at issue. Direct copying was admitted. But the reasoning of the court was clueless just the same IMO.
http://www.patenting-art.com/decision/zz-top99.htm
 
If the poster means for example that { I - V - IV - I } was changed to { I - V - IV - V } for a given phrase, and that was the extent of the change, and the poster owned rights in the original version, I doubt that they could claim protection just for that change. He would be in a better position to sue them over his lyrics or come to some mutual agreement. But that's not advice.
 
Here's some related humor:
http://www.unfaith.net/pages/hoax/
« Last Edit: Jun 10th, 2004, 12:49pm by nobody » IP Logged
Bill Guess
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Re: Original and Adapted versions of a song...
« Reply #4 on: Jun 11th, 2004, 2:15pm »
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My Sweet Lord was a good case.
 
Harrison not only "subconsciously"  lifted the verse but also the bridge!
 
I think Ghost Busters v. I Want a New Drug was also a stretch.  I still don't see that one.
 
Bill
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