General Discussion about THE MIDI CLUB

Share your original or public domain compositions here!
Request popular music with the suggestion form on the music store, not here!

All MIDI attachments must be one of the following:
  • Your own, original work submitted under some license that permits free private use (I recommend public domain or Creative Commons).
  • Adapted from works created prior to 1923. This goes for both the composition and arrangement. This means you cannot post MIDI versions of recent songs.
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Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 10-29-10 11:58 am

I want to grab the opportunity to be the first to express thanks for this platform, a very good initiative. I must say though, that those copyright laws, or rather my lack of understanding of them, has troubled me a bit. So I have a few questions that I'm hoping you who know about copyright rules, through the work on Synthesia, might be able to answer.

First let me say I've been gathering midis on free sites from all over the net, with arrangements (both piano and whole band) for popular rock songs. Are they all illegal? Then I don't feel so good using them and of course I won't post them here. Would be no point with it either, because they're all from open free sites found with a simple internet search.

Does the rule above mean that all arrangements of songs written after 1923, on websites open for download/no membership or fees required, are illegal? Doesn't this mean that song tutorials on YouTube are copyright breaches as well?

If a site like sheetmusicplus.com, sheetmusicdirect.com, musicnotes.com and such sites, offer midis for a payment, whether one time, monthly, per download or in any other form, can it be trusted that acquiring a score that way is no copyright violation? Does the payment process guarantee that the income is used to pay royalties to the composers or copyright owners of the works in question?

User avatar
jimhenry
Posts: 1800
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 10-29-10 1:29 pm

Very good questions!
Pianotehead wrote:I want to grab the opportunity to be the first to express thanks for this platform, a very good initiative. I must say though, that those copyright laws, or rather my lack of understanding of them, has troubled me a bit. So I have a few questions that I'm hoping you who know about copyright rules, through the work on Synthesia, might be able to answer.

First let me say I've been gathering midis on free sites from all over the net, with arrangements (both piano and whole band) for popular rock songs. Are they all illegal? Then I don't feel so good using them and of course I won't post them here. Would be no point with it either, because they're all from open free sites found with a simple internet search.
It is a pretty safe assumption that a MIDI file for a popular rock song that is being distributed for free is not licensed from the creators and is therefore a violation of the copyright on that song. Please don't post links to such material here. Beyond that, I'm not going to preach about what anyone should or should not do with material found elsewhere.
Pianotehead wrote:Does the rule above mean that all arrangements of songs written after 1923, on websites open for download/no membership or fees required, are illegal? Doesn't this mean that song tutorials on YouTube are copyright breaches as well?
The "before 1923"/"after 1922" is only a rule about what is definitely in the public domain. If it a song was published before 1923 then you can be confident that it is in the public domain and you can do what you want with the arrangement as published before 1923. If it a song was published after 1922 then it could still be under copyright and it isn't easy to figure out whether it is or isn't. Music publishers are pretty good about keeping their copyrights in force so we are being cautious for now and assuming that if it was published in 1923 or later, it is protected by copyright.
Pianotehead wrote:If a site like sheetmusicplus.com, sheetmusicdirect.com, musicnotes.com and such sites, offer midis for a payment, whether one time, monthly, per download or in any other form, can it be trusted that acquiring a score that way is no copyright violation? Does the payment process guarantee that the income is used to pay royalties to the composers or copyright owners of the works in question?
I can't answer that as I have no way of knowing what the business practices of these sites are. My guess would be that they are paying royalties to the music publishers for the popular music being sold and that the publishers are sending payments to the composers they represent according to whatever contracts they have. The main thing is that if you buy a MIDI file for a copyrighted piece of music from a source that would appear legitimate to a "reasonable person," then you have a defensible position with regard to an allegation that you infringed a copyright by buying that file. Theoretically a copyright owner could force you to destroy illegal files you bought and your only recourse would be to try to get your money back from the crook who sold them to you (good luck, right?) but the chances of a copyright owner going after a purchaser in a situation like this is probably about the same as your chances of being hit by a meteor.

I hope this helps to clarify things. I hate that the way the record industry has been enforcing their copyrights has created a climate of fear regarding using anything and I hate that the FBI cooperates in creating this climate of fear by supporting the use of the "FBI warning." Think of observing copyright laws like crossing the street. Yes, you can get hit by a car (lawsuit for infringing a copyright) but, if you are sensible and careful, the odds of that happening are acceptably small.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 10-29-10 2:06 pm

Thank you jimhenry for thorough answers. I've considered buying access to some of the sites I mentioned simply because I would probably get midis of good quality, if only for that reason. There is a musician on a campaign here in my country against illegal download, on behalf of composers. He says only a small portion of musical download is legal, and it's driving the recording industry into bankrupcy. The business goes too far in producing a climate of fear like you say, but one can understand that musicians need to make a living as others.

Actually there is an interview with Paul McCartney on YouTube where he states that there is nothing wrong with getting his music for free, if people can do it! Which resulted in many users proclaiming they'd buy the whole Beatles collection, just to express their gratitude to sir Paul. Though it's hard to set McCartney as an example for composers, since he is at least among the five of the most successful pop/rock musicians of all time.

Let me also say that I totally agree with your set rules.

User avatar
Mgbu
Posts: 16
Location: Ucacha, Cordoba, Argentina

Post by Mgbu » 10-29-10 4:59 pm

Yeah, also you can download MIDI in my favourite page:
<<links removed by moderator>>
Im Argentinean, so my lenguage its not the best...
And Google and Bing dont traduce perfectly...
^^
Windows 7 Intel Celeron 2.06 GHz RAM: 2Gb CASIO CTK-5000 GeForce 8400 GS
FL Studio 9 Sibelius 6

User avatar
jimhenry
Posts: 1800
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 10-29-10 5:15 pm

Mgbu, I know you are just trying to be helpful but we aren't going to permit links to other MIDI file sites because we don't know what they are providing, either in terms of quality or handling the copyright issues.

This area is only for submitting specific MIDI files that are particularly well suited for use in Synthesia and which are free of copyright restrictions.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

User avatar
jimhenry
Posts: 1800
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 10-30-10 1:01 pm

Here is a source of public domain sheet music for those who want to try their hand at creating MIDI files:
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/hasm/
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

User avatar
Mgbu
Posts: 16
Location: Ucacha, Cordoba, Argentina

Post by Mgbu » 10-30-10 1:20 pm

oops... sorry :oops:
I can upload a MIDI downloaded in another page but edited by me??
Im Argentinean, so my lenguage its not the best...
And Google and Bing dont traduce perfectly...
^^
Windows 7 Intel Celeron 2.06 GHz RAM: 2Gb CASIO CTK-5000 GeForce 8400 GS
FL Studio 9 Sibelius 6

MatSher
Posts: 25

Post by MatSher » 11-03-10 1:17 pm

Mgbu wrote:oops... sorry :oops:
I can upload a MIDI downloaded in another page but edited by me??
Hi Mgbu,

You can upload "ANY' midi you like PROVIDED THAT IT IS YOUR ORIGINAL WORK.

So if it is a cover of a main stream song. You CANNOT upload it, it will land us in trouble with the fuzz. (policía)
Its against the law and therefore prohibited to us. (Contra la ley. Prohibido)

I know its horrible and shitty and its not what we would like to do, but for the moment, until some issues are
cleared up, we cannot upload copyrighted materials... There are however many gray areas.

for instance if you want some help on learning a complicated section of a song, maybe how to finger it correctly for eg.
You can write the link to the url on YouTube and say that it is the section between 1.00min & 1.15 min and we will all
understand what you mean... Instead of uploading the whole song onto this forum and putting us in breach of copyright.

I also dont think it will be a problem for you to upload your variation or interpretation of a song, AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T
SOUND TOO SIMILAR TO THE ORIGINAL... Things like chord structure and baselines should be fine as long as the rhythm
of the song is not similar.

Hope this helps...

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