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#16712 - 09/27/02 02:02 AM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Danny Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 43
Loc: California
Dear Piano88 -

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! It really illustrates the point that illegal copying is THEFT. We have to find more real life examples to "personalize" this concept.

I do several presentations each year on Copyright to music educators. I did one session earlier this year to college students. In trying to get across the point that music is nore than just black dots on white paper I use the example of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."

Not only does the song have - especially now - a very strong emotional charge but Berlin stipulated that all royalty proceeds from this composition (both print and performance) go to the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts of America. I then asked the students if they would even think about stealing a box of Girl Scout "THIN MINTS" cookies? Of course not. But... by "stealing" a copy of the song they are, in fact, doing just that.

How can we put "intangible" property on the same value scale as "tangible" property?

Sincerely,
Danny

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#16713 - 09/27/02 06:21 AM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I play it safe by not photocopying anything. My students' parents buy most of the books. I allow them to check out supplementary books from my lending library (for sightreading purposes), & I occasionally loan technique books when there are only a couple of exercises in the entire book that the student is going to work on. IOW, if it's a book that the student is going to use week after week after week, the parents are expected to buy it from the music store. I loan out books that are only to be used for a week or 2 at the most.

[ 09-27-2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#16714 - 09/27/02 06:41 AM Re: copyright law....and related issues
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
Here's the situation I usually face:

Most of my students are beginners - early intermediate and they want to play certain pop tunes/movie themes, etc... but usually these don't come in a 'big note piano' version. When I can't find an arrangement I know they can play (or when one doesn't exist, like Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" - only piano/vocal, not easy), then I'll arrange a very simplified version on my computer (sometimes in an ensemble format, sometimes as a solo).

Last Christmas we played a few pieces from Michael W Smith's Christmas folios. There was no 'easy' version, so again I arranged it myself. I certainly would have bought the music, had it been available.

Should I not be doing this?

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#16715 - 09/27/02 07:00 AM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Good question, alidoremi. I don't know if you should or not.

IMO, spending all my free time searching for pop music for my students is a big pain. I did it for a while, but soon saw that if I had a lot of students, trying to completely custom tailor each student's study program would take up more of my time than it's worth. I decided, therefore, that it would be best (in my case; I'm not telling other teachers what to do) to simply tell a student, "Practice your assignments & progress so you can play the original versions instead of simplified arrangements." Really & truly, I don't see why I should have to individualize each student's study program.

Now if a student bought some music at the store, brought it to me & said, "Can you help me learn this?" & the arrangement was at his/her level, I'd be more than happy to spend some lesson time teaching it. I'd even simplify the arrangement if all it involved was simplifying the rhythm or the chords or something. In a case like that, I'd be marking the changes on the music the student purchased, not creating my own arrangement to avoid purchase. I just don't want to be the one to have to spend my free time looking for music. The student can do that, IMO. When I was taking piano lessons & wanted to learn a song that wasn't in my lesson book, my mother would take me to the music store & help me find the song. It won't kill my students to do likewise.

[ 09-27-2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#16716 - 09/27/02 11:46 AM Re: copyright law....and related issues
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
It's not a problem for me. Since I do group classes, I'd be arranging a song for let's say, 2 classes of 9 students each. At Christmas I arranged a MW Smith song for 25 kids. I'm just concerned about the legal aspects of it all.

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#16717 - 09/27/02 12:29 PM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Danny Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 43
Loc: California
Alidoremi -
I pulled out 2 resources to help find an answer for your question about the legality of making "special" arrangements, etc.

1) From the Music Publishers Association Pamphlet "Copying Under Copyright" FAQ:
Q -"What if I am faced with a special situation?"

A - "If you want to include copyrighted lyrics in a song sheet - arrance a copyrighted song for four baritones and kazoo - or make any special use of copyrighted music when the publisher cannot supply in regular published form, the magic word is...ASK. You may or may not receive permission, but when you use someone else's property, you must have the property owner's permission."

2) From Jay Althouse's Book - COPYRIGHT:THE COMPLETE GUIDE FOR EDUCATORS - Page 87. "Any arrangement of a copyrighted musical work made without permission of the copyright owner is a copyright infringement. That's a pretty blunt statement but it's a reality. There are no Fair Uses for arranging.

One of the exclusive rughts granted to copyright owners is 'the right to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work.'

In the field of music, derivative works include the following:
Arrangements, Transcriptions, Simplified Editions (such as E-Z- or Big Note piano arrangements), Adaptations, Translations of texts, Orchestrations, Instumental accompaniments to piano / vocal works.

So if you want to arrange, adapt, simplify, edit or translate a copyrighted work, ask for permission before you do it."

Hope that this helps.
Danny

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#16718 - 09/27/02 12:36 PM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I'll just simplify it in my head & perform it the way I want without writing anything down, then. :p I have small hands, & have always rearranged chords, etc. to make advanced arrangements easier to play. I dare anyone to tell me I can't do that, especially when I purchase the music & never photocopy anything! :p \:D

Don't Mess with Jalapeņo! \:D

[ 09-27-2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#16719 - 09/27/02 02:25 PM Re: copyright law....and related issues
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
That should be perfectly legal. I tend to have a pretty simplistic, but fair, interpretation of copyright laws:

If you copy to avoid purchase, it's bad.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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