I must confess, I know diddlysquat about copyright infringement laws so I thought I’d ask a few questions. Maybe some of you know the answers.
Obviously you can’t copy a melody note per note. But what is “enough” to constitute violation? Four notes, five, six or does it entail chordal sequence along with the notes and not just the melody, or will a similar chordal sequence only, and not melody, evoke infringement.
I know most contested cases go to court for these reasons so there is no clear cut answer here. But there should be some basic guidelines.
Take an example, if you sing the Twilight Zone theme, the first 4-notes, it sounds like a broken chord. But if you repeat it and sing 8 notes, most people will say, “That’s the Twilight Zone theme”. So I guess part of the equation is how well known by the population a theme is counts in the equation.
Randy, when you did “Honey Pie” and Drive my Car from the Beatles, did you get permission, pay royalties to render your arrangements?
Lots of times I want to describe something I’m talking about with a 5 or 10 second clip from a CD as comparison as I just did in the listening room. Can you do this for training/explanation or not? Or is any fraction of a recorded CD under copyright off limits?
I probably have more questions, but this is a good start. I’d like to hear about what you know because as I said, I’m completely ignorant of the guidelines.