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Author Topic: No More Copyrighting of a Melody  (Read 1205 times)
Stephen W. Desper
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« on: November 28, 2021, 12:36:04 PM »

Friends in the music industry. YOU SHOULD BE AWARE !  of this development.

Basically, a lawyer and his programmer associate developed an algorithm that crunched out every possible combination of a 12 number sequence. or about 78 billion combinations. They then assigned each number to a note or half-note representing a musical octave. Using MIDI all of the melodies can be played on a synthesizer. These "melodies" were then download to a terabit memory. By doing that they meet the legal requirement of securing a copyright for all the melodies therein. Thus, these two guys now own every and any melody that can be written, going forward. However, their goal is not to corner the melody market, rather they have taken all the melodies, the algorithm used to configure the melodies and other probatory information and published them as public domain. Therefore, any melody written from now on will be in public domain. Can it be copyrighted? Under current law, no. This is a developing situation, but if you write songs or deal with the music industry, I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with all the details by watching the two videos made by this lawyer, following:

https://www.ted.com/talks/damien_riehl_copyrighting_all_the_melodies_to_avoid_accidental_infringement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfXn_ecH5Rw


~Stephen W. Desper
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chrisb
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2021, 12:53:03 PM »

Thanks Stephen.
I see this was publicised in 2020. Has it had an effect yet?
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2021, 02:59:49 PM »

Thanks Stephen.
I see this was publicised in 2020. Has it had an effect yet?
COMMENT:  Don't know. Just posting information. I'm not a lawyer, but on the face it seems that it would be a game changer. ~swd
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♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2021, 03:54:18 PM »

The idea of this makes me ill
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BJL
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2021, 06:51:41 PM »

I am not a lawyer, but I would be shocked if this stands up in court. Laws are written and interpreted by humans, and those humans tend not to be super sympathetic to this kind of loophole. It will be easy for a judge to rule that these melodies are not "works" for the purpose of copyright law. Or, what I would argue, that the work in this case is the algorithm and the set of melodies produced as a whole, and that borrowing an infinitely small percentage of this very large work therefore does not constitute infringement. Again, not a lawyer. But judges generally do not feel entitled to overthrow entire legal regimes set up by congress because someone found this kind of loophole, and they do feel entitled to close this kind of loophole...
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leoleoleoleo
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 02:30:25 AM »

Not a lawyer but my job is in music copyrights. This is a fun and thought provoking exercise but very unlikely to have any impact in the real world (though I'm always very happy to be proven wrong - time will tell!).

What's much more likely to have an impact in copyright infringement cases is the outcome a few years back of the Marvin Gaye / Ed Sheeran lawsuit, which effectively means that there is now a legal precedent for copyrighting chord progressions, which really is lunacy.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 05:24:27 AM »

Not a lawyer but my job is in music copyrights. This is a fun and thought provoking exercise but very unlikely to have any impact in the real world (though I'm always very happy to be proven wrong - time will tell!).

What's much more likely to have an impact in copyright infringement cases is the outcome a few years back of the Marvin Gaye / Ed Sheeran lawsuit, which effectively means that there is now a legal precedent for copyrighting chord progressions, which really is lunacy.

COMMENT:  Most of us posting here are not lawyers, but I hope an attorney (hopefully dealing with copyright law) will comment.  Your posting is also interesting. It seems that, as usual, the law is behind technology -- remember Napster.  This development along with others, as you cite, must all face their day in court. Until then . . .  any songwriter may OR may not find protectiion in current law.
~swd
« Last Edit: November 29, 2021, 05:28:52 AM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
Pablo.
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 07:14:35 AM »

Not a lawyer but my job is in music copyrights. This is a fun and thought provoking exercise but very unlikely to have any impact in the real world (though I'm always very happy to be proven wrong - time will tell!).

What's much more likely to have an impact in copyright infringement cases is the outcome a few years back of the Marvin Gaye / Ed Sheeran lawsuit, which effectively means that there is now a legal precedent for copyrighting chord progressions, which really is lunacy.

It was even worse, because the lawsuit between the estate of Marvin Gaye and Robin Thickle/Pharrel Williams found copyright infringement in the "feel" of the song, not even the chord progression. It was obvious that "Parallel lines" was a ripoff of the mood and arrangement of "Gotta give it up" (although making a case of that is another thing), but much of that originally came not only from Gaye but the musicians who worked with him on the record.
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BJL
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 08:33:02 AM »

It was even worse, because the lawsuit between the estate of Marvin Gaye and Robin Thickle/Pharrel Williams found copyright infringement in the "feel" of the song, not even the chord progression. It was obvious that "Parallel lines" was a ripoff of the mood and arrangement of "Gotta give it up" (although making a case of that is another thing), but much of that originally came not only from Gaye but the musicians who worked with him on the record.

That case was a miscarriage of justice, for just that reason. The jury was supposed to compare *only the composition*, but they weren't capable of doing that. They couldn't get past the fact that Pharrel Williams had obviously ripped off Marvin Gaye to recognize that under American law you're allowed to borrow arrangement ideas (as is totally necessary to musical creativity). And as you rightly point out, the feel Pharrel borrowed was created by the musicians, the producer (Art Steward), and Gaye all working together, but no one but Gaye's estate got any money.
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2021, 09:39:24 AM »

So, to take it another step hypothetically, someone could take every word available to mankind and copyright any combination?
Madness.
Hopefully goes nowhere but a quick Google search doesn’t appear to show any challenges since the story came to light.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2021, 01:26:32 PM »

So, to take it another step hypothetically, someone could take every word available to mankind and copyright any combination?
Madness.
Hopefully goes nowhere but a quick Google search doesn’t appear to show any challenges since the story came to light.
COMMENT:  I don't think it will "go anywhere" until one songwriter sues another over copying a melody.  You can claim to own any intellectual property. It is when you must defend its uniqueness-to-you that a songwriter may find he or she has no defense, since now all melodies are now in public domain (not unique).

I have several patents. They are each protected by the government. BUT, anyone can challenge their uniqueness in court.  I spent (or my company spent) $10,000 to get my idea awarded a patent. We also spent $1,500,000 defending the uniqueness of my idea (we won). This is what these lawyers are so upset about. The cost of the challenge and the cost of a win in court.

And please, if you are going to make arguments such as you make in your opening sentence, watch the two videos I posted links for. Your argument is addressed by the lawyer. No further comment is needed here.

~swd
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2021, 04:59:29 PM »

You mean 3.50 in when he mentions 117000 words in the English language and the chances were minuscule? Fair enough, but that was probably the thought 50 years ago as well with music. Now this guy has every music combination known to man in his pocket.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2021, 07:59:26 PM »

You mean 3.50 in when he mentions 117000 words in the English language and the chances were minuscule? Fair enough, but that was probably the thought 50 years ago as well with music. Now this guy has every music combination known to man in his pocket.
Comment to Prety Funky:  Not in his pocket, but in the public's pocket. So now all the melodies are in public domain. You can download them all yourself if you wish to also have them in your pocket. Download all 78 billion from his website to a terabit storage device which will fit into your pocket. No longer is any melody exclusive. That's the tradeoff. If you wish to have the freedom to write any melody you wish without challenge, then you give up your right to own any melody you wish to write. You can still copyright any tune you write, but your right of ownership cannot be challenged nor can you challenge another songwriter for writing a melody similar to one you may have written.    ~swd
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2021, 08:26:19 PM »

Thanks Stephen, but I was referring to 5.00 in the TT clip when he reaches into his pocket and actually brings out the memory holding those ‘every combination’ he talks about.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2021, 09:16:57 PM »

Thanks Stephen, but I was referring to 5.00 in the TT clip when he reaches into his pocket and actually brings out the memory holding those ‘every combination’ he talks about.

COMMENT to Pretty Funky:  Yes I know you were. This lawyer is rather dramatic in his presentation, singing and all that. But aside from his theatrics, his point should not be taken lightly.

Please read this short article (link below). It puts the issue in perspective, much better than I can.

>>> www.techdirt.com/articles/20200220/09561543951/attempt-to-put-every-musical-melody-into-public-domain-demonstrates-craziness-modern-copyright.shtml


~swd
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