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question about using samples of spoken poetry
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author question about using samples of spoken poetry
DeanG
I have a piece that manipulates a sampled reading by a famous, now dead, author / poet. I have been considering submitting it to an electronic music festival, but I am not sure if I will be violating copyright laws. The sample was recorded off youtube. I use these sources but generally I don't concern myself as so far at best I might upload to soundcloud.

Do I need permission to use the recording? It is heavily granulated and only certain fragments are intelligible but the reader has a distinctive voice that is an important aspect to the work.

Thoughts? I am inclined to just go for it because it's a minor venue if it even gets accepted.But...
shreddoggie
DeanG wrote:
I have a piece that manipulates a sampled reading by a famous, now dead, author / poet. I have been considering submitting it to an electronic music festival, but I am not sure if I will be violating copyright laws. The sample was recorded off youtube. I use these sources but generally I don't concern myself as so far at best I might upload to soundcloud.

Do I need permission to use the recording? It is heavily granulated and only certain fragments are intelligible but the reader has a distinctive voice that is an important aspect to the work.

Thoughts? I am inclined to just go for it because it's a minor venue if it even gets accepted.But...


I do not know the law of law because fuck them - they are hate filled sociopaths destroying everything that is good and beautiful in this world.

I do have an opinion on the 'Law of Art' in this case:

Have you created an entirely new, unique, and interesting piece of personal expression, inspired by a fragment of the culture we all share, that you integrated into the work, by altering and re-contextualizing it to (at least) expand upon its original message, or ultimately to create an entirely new idea? Yes? Good - you have nothing to apologize for because you are doing what artists have always done which is in fact the basis of the totality of mans creation on this earth for all eternity.

... or ...

Are you to a large extent trading upon the themes and content of an other artists creative expression in a callous attempt to piggyback upon their expression while providing little added value of your own? Is the emotional or message bearing effect of the work you have created largely the same as the one you are quoting? Yes? Don't do this, it is banal and cheap, contributes nothing to art or the narrative of human existence and should not be done even if you have the original artists permission.

I hope this helps.
dubonaire
^^ I think that's the best answer to this question I've ever read.
Niamac
Shreddoggie has just summed up my thoughts on this matter in a better way than I could have put into words.
DickMarker
+1 to Shreddoggie's post.

Out of interest - how old is the recording you're using? Could be it falls under fair use due to it's age.
DeanG
Law of art? Who set that up, Moses? Then maybe there's a lawyer and judge of art. I just do what seems aesthetically correct to me, not trying to steal anything. Framing a snip of voice and exposing different aspects of it, the whole origimal being much longer. Not unlike using photographs in a collage.

Because I do respect intellectual property, and also do not want to lose time or money defending myself I have a grudging respect for legality. Someone who blusters anarchic, f*k you, attitudes quite possibly has never been ground up in the system. While it is true there's perhaps too many sociopaths in the world, I fail to see what any of that really has to do with my question.

The sample I am using is Jack Kerouac reading, probably 1958-59. The upload source appears to have added some background music, as it is in a much later jazz style. They do not own the copyright to the material. It is not very recognizable in my piece but the cadence and rythmn of the spoken words and JKs voice are important, as are the occassional horn bleeps that bleed through.

I am not worried about the art fascists as much as having to pay some fine to a court of law and or disrespecting someone's work I admire.. Yet I doubt that I will ever get enough exposure to really worry about any of this.

Thanks for the input.
suboptimal
Artists of every sort need to have a basic understanding of copyright law. The law around sampling is hot garbage, but it's helpful to know when you're stomping on toes so you can make informed choices.

It might be helpful to know how seriously the organizers of the event take these questions. Going in with a "fuck copyright law!" attitude may feel nice n' rebellious, but if they refuse to let you perform because you can't certify under penalty of death that your piece is 100% your own . . . basically, if they've got a lawyer on their board of directors. The problem is that you might not be invited to future events if they care a lot about it and you act flippant about the issue.

If the festival has resources that make it an interesting target for a lawsuit, they will care more than if they have no money.

Since this is a recording of someone famous you may be able to trace the original recording fairly easily using a library catalog.That will tell you a lot about it. The Youtube video may also address it, though I wouldn't rely on it.
DickMarker
DickMarker wrote:
+1 to Shreddoggie's post.

Out of interest - how old is the recording you're using? Could be it falls under fair use due to it's age.


Just to correct myself - I meant 'public domain' rather than 'fair use', although glancing at current legislation, it doesn't look like the recording you refer to would fall under public domain.
scozbor
It will be interesting to watch "AI" step into this issue in the future, retrospectively trawling endless amounts of media and decoding/detecting even the most mangled samples for prosecution.
DeanG
I've decided to submit a piece with a lower profile sample. Not worth the hassle. If I were being sampled and used In a piece I would be ok with it if I was credited, if the event was a no money thing like this one, but if the piece was really cashing in I would expect some compensation, law or not. So golden rule applies.
rec.Koner
scozbor wrote:
It will be interesting to watch "AI" step into this issue in the future, retrospectively trawling endless amounts of media and decoding/detecting even the most mangled samples for prosecution.


YouTube's AI already consider that hip-hop band that sampled sounds from videogame somehow is copyright holder preventing uploading video walkthrough of stated game with sound, crazy.
CF3
shreddoggie thumbs up
calaveras
I do similar a lot.
Most of my work from the past few years features samples of conspiracy theory guys off of YT.
The law about this was a lot clearer back in the 90s' So long as you limited your samples to a certain maximum length, and did not reproduce the source in entirety, it was fair game.
But then people like Puff Daddy release tracks that are pretty much just Karaoke (like he did with Grand Master Flash's "Message" which in itself sampled other work). That raised the bar to the ceiling.
But then more recently we have people being sued for a song that sound similar to a pop song from decades ago. Not the same key, not the same lyrics. Just similar.

So it's basically cling to fair use doctrine and hope your stuff never blows up enough to turn a profit.
GuyaGuy
On creation the author owns the copyright of the words and once recorded someone owns the copyright of the recording. How long they have that copyright depends on the country you're in. If they still own the copyrights--or other parties own them--and you're in the US you need permission from both parties.

It's funny how flippant a lot of musicians are about using found audio for songs and found images for designs but get really pissed when someone uses their music without permission.
calaveras
Fair use provides for work that is derivative or satire. There is also the royalty aspect of arrangements. A new arrangement of an existing work has its own status. All of these presume you are not straight pirating someone else’s creative output. But rather enhancing it with your own contribution. But that is in the framework of songwriter, arrangement, performer and performance. Not sure how literary rights are similar or different.
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