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Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics

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GUEST 17 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM
artbrooks 17 Feb 02 - 05:45 PM
Uncle_DaveO 17 Feb 02 - 09:26 PM
GUEST 18 Feb 02 - 09:02 AM
M.Ted 19 Feb 02 - 12:06 AM
mack/misophist 19 Feb 02 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 19 Feb 02 - 10:18 AM
M.Ted 19 Feb 02 - 10:49 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 02 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Nerd 19 Feb 02 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 02 - 08:27 PM
Kaleea 20 Feb 02 - 01:21 AM
Steve Parkes 20 Feb 02 - 03:37 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 09:09 AM
greg stephens 20 Feb 02 - 09:22 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 09:26 AM
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Subject: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM

Since there seems to be some discussion of folk music copyrights coming up again, I thought I would share this interesting link to the Folklore Fellows website, with an article about the international issues involved:

http://www.folklorefellows.org/netw/ffn21/copyright.html


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM


folklorefellows

The gist of this is, as I read it, that anyone who collects folklore should have to pay the bureaucrats for having done so, and anyone who sings a folksong should have to pay same bureaucrats royalties?

An example given is that Bolivia thinks Paul Simon owes them money for using a Bolivian folksong when he published el Condor Pasa???

The same bureaucrats also want the authority to impose "criminal penalties" if someone "uses their folklore incorrectly?"

Where do the "folk" fit into this?

John


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 05:45 PM

As I read this, Tom Lehrer, when writing a song about Lizzie Bordan, should have received permission from the town fathers or some other appropriate authority in Fall River, Mass., as should everyone who writes or performs a song about coal mining, strip mining, etc. And would that be the United Mine Workers union or the Environmental Protection Agency?


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 09:26 PM

As we all know, I think, politicians have an inborn desire to tax any thing or entity that can be identified as existing. As I see it, this is a back-door attempt to TAX folklore usage.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 09:02 AM

But if Martin Carthy can get "an undisclosed sum" off Paul Simon for Scarborough Fair, then why not the Bolivians? Isn't that a double standard? Carthy didn't write Scarborough Fair, and Simon added quite a bit to Carthy's version. So why the double standard?


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:06 AM

The thing that gets me are the criminal penalties for "improper" use--in effect, in order to "protect" folk art, it makes the folk process illegal!


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: mack/misophist
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 09:45 AM

It's grotesque. Remember what Sherlock Holms said about grotesque.


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:18 AM

its great to know some wellpaid lawyers are working on ways to make improper use of folklore a crime. i think i may have been guilty of this for years. i look forward to seeing many old and valued friends in prison. we might start a bit of a worksong group, think we'll make "new burying ground" our big number, its always been my favourite. Anyone care to join me?


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:49 AM

It isn't lawyers who are doing this, the players are politicians, diplomats, and academics--the one saving grace is that it is being done through the United Nations, which means that when the work is complete, the intent will be so watered down as to be meaningless, and, it won't be binding anyway--


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:11 PM

Folklore and folksong collectors have a financial interest in seeing this sort of thing implemented, to the detriment of the "folk" from whom they collect.


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:46 PM

I think GUEST is mistaking Martin's intentions in pressing for a settlement from Paul Simon. The point of the Carthy/Simon suit was not that Simon should have paid Martin to use the song, it's the opposite. It's that no-one should have had to pay anyone. But Simon fixed it so that he got paid every time other people sang it. By copyrighting the song, Simon sucked up fees from hundreds of people who played and recorded it after him. Martin felt this wasn't fair, since he had taught Simon the song for free.

BTW, Martin and Paul Simon have sinced buried the hatchet and are on good terms again. Let's not foment more discord than we need to.

I kind of agree with everyone, though, that copyright is not made for folklore. I wish there were an honor system whereby when, say, Michael Nyman writes a theme for "The Piano" which is basically just a version of "Gloomy Winter's Noo Awa'," he pays a fee to an organization that does benefit Scottish folk music. Of course, if I said "The School of Scottish Studies," one GUEST would say "that's just a bunch of academics!" and if I said "The Celtic Connections Festival" another would say "That's just a bunch of middlemen and promoters!" and if I said "The Musician's Union" another would say "AAAARRRGGGHHH!" And rightly so. It's just hard to figure out who should get the dough....


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 08:27 PM

Not trying to reopen the Carthy/Simon debate, but merely point out that a double standard exists, ie if you are a musician from the Anglophone world, you get royalties. If you aren't, you might get royalties, or you might not, depending on who steals your music first.


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: Kaleea
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:21 AM

If people would behave in a respectful manner & not abuse good manners, perhaps we would not have the rampant stealing of the music of good, honest composers & arrangers. The fact remains that there are people who will abuse and cheat & steal music no matter what. I was at a regular ongoing session where several folks kept asking if anyone had the music to 3 or 4 popular tunes in the key in which we were playing them. I was kind enough to go home & write out the tunes with the proper chords, and a couple of versions of melodies I had learned, which everyone said they had never heard before (as I learned it from some buddies from Ireland), & gave them to a handful of folks at the session, with my name signed at the bottom as the person who wrote them down. Not too many weeks later, there was a guy there at the session who was selling notebooks of session tunes which he said he had compiled from the internet & made copies of. Some of the folks were looking through the tunes, and lo & behold, there were the tunes & had handed out at the session in this guy's book. There were other tunes in there that others had brought to the session, which some of those regular players recognized--some of which were written by those at the session. I informed him that I recognized some of the tunes in there as the ones I had given out at the session. He quickly grabbed the notebooks & left. I saw him later told him my point is that he should have asked me (& the others) if it was ok to include what was obviously mine in his book. If I had copyrighted the arrangements, this guy would not have cared, as he had also taken copyrighted tunes right out of popularly known collections & put them in his book. Now I will grant that the handful of notebooks he will eventually sell will probably not amount to much, but he did something which was wrong, and then tried to say that it was his right to do so because this is a "free country." There are people who steal from banks & convenience stores because they believe that they have the right to do whatever they can get away with. When we condone stealing in any form, we are condoning wrongdoing. Our children see us doing this & then we wonder where they learned to lie & cheat & steal & do things which we believe they could never have learned from us. We cannot have good stealing & bad stealing, or good lies & bad lies. Somewhere along the way we have to take a stand, and copyright laws are there because there are people whose livelihoods depend upon the money from the sale of their music. And yes, there are some people who have plenty of money & we wonder how it can be that they need any more money, but nonetheless, the laws are there to protect their rights. It irks me that a song as good as "God Bless America" is not in the public domain, as I would love to be able to freely perform it whenever & wherever. I can only imagine that the greatest compliment a composer could ever have is that his or her music is beloved & sung freely by every man woman & child in their country, but copyright laws protect Irving Berlin's songs, too because the law is no respector of persons & will protect the copyrights of the rich & the poor. Therefore I suppose that the moral of the story is to copyright everything one can, before someone else does! And, perhaps, that we should remember what we were taught in kindergarten, which is to respect the toys of the other children.


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:37 AM

The Hungarian government sued Anton Karas for using a folk tune in The Harry Lime Theme. But then, quite a few "serious" composers have used traditional tunes in their works: Vaughn Williams, for example, used many British tunes. And what about Dvorak's New World? Going Home wasn't even from his own tradition!

In principle, I agree that it's right to stop anyone ripping off a trad tune and getting royalties for it (look out Lonnie Donegan!); but where to draw the line? If I get paid for a gig (please!), am I stealing from my heritage? At the other end of the scale, if, say, Cliff Richard records a trad song, who gets the writer's/composer's royalties?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:09 AM

One of the reasons why people look at passing international treaties about this sort of thing is because of first world exploitation of third world musicians. An example of how it happened here is the now very famous story of how Alan Lomax ripped off Leadbelly. The problem is with the collectors and harvesters of music in poor, out of the way places. It isn't about making a few bucks off the local session and gigs, in my view. Not at all.


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:22 AM

i have been collecting/ researching folk tunes for years. anyone, yes anyone, is welcome to come and look at my notebooks and do what they bloody well like with the contents. i would naturally appreciate it if they gave me a littlethank you if they put them in their tunebooks or record them but thats as far as it goes. but i do reserve the right to put "trad arr stephens" if I record them or publish them or play them in a PRS licensed venue, because that means i can earn a few bob (and its generally a few bob rather than pounds) that would otherwise go into someone else's pocket (eg record company,PRS) who hasnt put any work inon the songs as i have. how's that for a reasonable position? any modifications necessary?


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Subject: RE: Int'l Folklore Copyrights & Ethics
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:26 AM

None that I can see greg.


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