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Old February 21st, 2007, 02:00 PM   #1
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Fair Use - classical music in corporate production

I'm trying to get my head around this Fair Use deal with regard to using classical music in a corporate production.

I want a string solo, specifically Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No 1 in G Major, to play while a sheet of paper commits suicide by leaping into a shredder (don't ask).

Now, the composer has been dead more than 70 years (duh) but the recording that I possess was made more recently by Jacqueline Du Pre.

Can I use the piece freely? Where do I stand?

More to the point, does Fair Use apply to corporate material as well as documentaries?

Your wise advice is humbly sought!

Cheers.

Ian . . .
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Old February 21st, 2007, 02:31 PM   #2
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I see that you're from the UK. Fair Use is a US concept. I don't know how it's covered in the UK, but I certainly expect that Bach's work is in the public domain (PD) worldwide.

That said, you would not be able to legally use any modern Bach recording, because the specific performance isn't PD.

One option is to hire (or beg) a MIDI musician with good sound libs to create a mock up for you. In that case it's between you and the musician.

To give you an idea of what can be done, here is a string quartet that I wrote and performed in MIDI with a decent sound lib.

http://www.fairhurst.com/jon/music/Spider.html

In a month or so, there will be a new solo cello library available. You can hear demos here:

http://garritan.com/cello.html

BTW, how long is the segment you need? If it's a few seconds long, you could probably find a donor. If it's minutes long, probably not.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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If you use a protected work - as in this case, I think - then you have a definate copyright issue. The 'fair use' is going to be difficult, as needle time is so widely used in the broadcasting industry.

So a corporate production is a business, you are presumably charging for the product or services, you are also doing it on business premises - the nearest PRS have is theatre where music is used as incidental music to a production.

I can't see how fair use applies here. It isn't a new 'use', but a fairly common one - and people pay, all the time. If the music is played in public, then PRS will be involved. I'd expect any music used in this kind of event to have to be paid for.

How are you thinking fair use applies?
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson
How are you thinking fair use applies?
I'm not. I was asking *whether* it does apply or not because I don't understand this law - seemingly the answer is "not"! I've only ever had to buy crappy stock muzak in the past but this video requires something slightly different.

Jon - maybe I could learn to play the cello?! Seems from Paul's response, though, that such a piece is NOT in the public domain, so presumably your suggestion of a friendly midi musician wouldn't work either. I need about five seconds, maybe seven.

I love 'Spider' by the way. Interesting to see you used Cakewalk. I've been a Cakewalk user for many years now. Great product.

Thanks, guys, for your guidance. I may knock out something freestyle on the piano with loads of melancholy reverb if I can't have my Bach! I have a fairly well equipped project studio, just no string skills!

Ian . . .
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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I'm certain that Bach's composition is PD. The particular CD recording is not. I'm sure that's what Paul was referring to.

The MIDI (or learning to play the cello) path can definitely work.

Glad you enjoyed Spider!
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:45 PM   #6
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Find a high school or college musician and pay to record them playing the music. They work cheap, from my experience. The problem is getting a good recording.

The High School I went to in California had sound proof rooms that would allow you to record quite nicely.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 07:05 AM   #7
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and FYI, your original post made it sound like you thought there would be different rules that would apply to your production for a corporate client than would apply if you were making a documentary. There aren't. The use of a copywrit recording is just as subject to licensing if your production is a documentary as it is when the production is for corporate use. With a very, very few limited exceptions, North American 'Fair Use' doctrine doesn't make any distinction between documentaries and other productions either.

As Jon and others have pointed out, Bach's music as such is now public domain now but it's very unlikely that any recording of it will be. Something they didn't mention is that while the music itself is not under copywrite, any tangible representation of that music as notes written on a sheet of paper and specific arrangements or orchestrations of that music that you are likely to purchase in a sheet music store or find in a library will be copywrit owned by the publisher and any public performance from that sheet music would require license. Maybe one of the lawyers who respond here from time to time can say whether recording your own performance of PD music using copywrit sheet music with its subsequent incorporation into your film's soundtrack would count as "public performance" requiring licensing and/or if some other licensing of the music would be required under that circumstance.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 07:13 AM   #8
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Thanks Steve(s),

Steve H: to be honest, I didn't really know what to think, hence the question seeking clarification. You've done that, thanks!

I think it's clear that without significant effort I would not be able to use this piece of music, so I will create my own.

It will be available for your licenced use in about twenty minutes time.

Cheers,

Ian . . .
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 07:25 AM   #9
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Take a look at:

http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/pr...usic_copyright

for a brief on the situation in the UK

Cheers
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 08:55 AM   #10
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Very useful, Peter, thanks. An area I clearly no little about (and until now have never needed to know about).

Ian . . .
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 10:52 AM   #11
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if it's bach, this guy may have it in his library, inexpensive and good recordings from no-names who have sold him the rights to their specific versions:

http://www.royalty-free-classical-music.org/tac.php
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
...Something they didn't mention is that while the music itself is not under copywrite, any tangible representation of that music as notes written on a sheet of paper and specific arrangements or orchestrations of that music that you are likely to purchase in a sheet music store or find in a library will be copywrit owned by the publisher and any public performance from that sheet music would require license. Maybe one of the lawyers who respond here from time to time can say whether recording your own performance of PD music using copywrit sheet music with its subsequent incorporation into your film's soundtrack would count as "public performance" requiring licensing and/or if some other licensing of the music would be required under that circumstance.
Steve,

You're exactly right that you can't photocopy and distribute sheet music, even if the music itself is PD, since the copyright of the engraving is typically owned by the publisher. (An aside - did you know that before computers sheet music was made by hammering the marks into metal sheets?) However, the publisher doesn't own the right to the notes themselves.

The bottom line is that you can use copyrighted sheet music of PD music, play and record the piece and use the recording in your film - or perform it on stage or CD. The publisher owns no rights to your performance or the music. Just don't capture the image of the sheet music in any detail on camera!

BTW, to see how people have made sheet music for hundreds of years, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8adEIMzbso
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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Jon is right about some music but not all.

My score of La Traviata by Verdi has the following warning:

"All rights of any kind with respect to this English translation and any part thereof, including but not limited to stage, radio, television performance, motion picture, mechanical [recording], printing and sell are strictly reserved.

"License to perform this work in translation in whole or in part must be secured in writing from the Publishers . . ."

Purchasing printed music does not in all cases convey a license to publically perform a work. The only thing to do is check with the publisher of any piece of music about what rights are reserved before using it. Such is standard industry practice and it's why people make their living providing music clearance services, to wit:

http://www.musicreports.com/

http://www.hopkinsmusicgroup.com/mc_101.html

http://www.musicclearance.co.uk/

http://www.signature-sound.com/11quest.html
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:58 PM   #14
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John, the Traviata example is a little different I think. You probably have a piano score which isn't what Verdi himself actually wrote, it's an adaptation by the publisher along with the translation, stage directions, etc.

But your point is absolutely valid - never assume anything!
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:06 PM   #15
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It's Peter, actually.

And you are right: it's the Schirmer piano reduction. Schirmer published LaTraviata in the U.S. from the time it was first available in this country. The edition has a nice photo of Verdi signed to G. Schirmer by the master himself.

They still control at least one English translation.
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