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Topic: What are we allowed to mockup?

  1. #1

    What are we allowed to mockup?

    I would like to know if there are legal restrictions on which pieces we are allowed to mockup with samples.

    Is all orchestral printed music in public domain? For example, I guess there is no problem to mockup a Mozart or Brahms piece right?

    But is it the same for a composer that is alive (like John Adams)? What about mockuping some Aaron Copland, or even film music like John Williams?

    Is there a difference if you make money with your mockup, or if it is only for entertaining purposes?

    Does anybody know more on this subject?

  2. #2

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    AFAIK, as long as you don\'t try to sell or broadcast your mockups of a 20th Century composer\'s work, anything goes. I\'m sure that using a mockup of a living composer\'s work to sell a sample library would not be legal.

  3. #3

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    Mmmmm, but then what about tribute bands? They get paid, they help the bar make alcohol sales, but... do the original artists get royalties?

  4. #4

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    As long as you don\'t try to sell your mockups of John Williams or some other 20th century composer, you won\'t get in trouble. Because for one thing, what are the chances they will ever even hear it?

    And secondly, if one of their lawyers happens to contact you, why not just say the mockup wasn\'t made by you, you simply found it on some website you forgot?

    I think the same goes for those tribute bands, how is the original artist really going to know that they\'re playing their music unless some one tells them?

    If I remember correctly on the VSL website it says that their Jerry Goldsmith mockup was made \"with his permission\".

  5. #5

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    I have always put up the occasional John Williams example on my personal site to show what a library can do. I will probably do the same with some QLSO stuff as well. A small potato site like me or you perhaps might not attract the wrath of the big companies especially if we are not the site of the person selling the library. Worst comes to worst, they can simply ask you to remove it. However, I would point them to the several \"MILLION\" midi files and mockups that they should consider dealing with all accross the internet before picking on me. I would not reccomend a library company post something like this to their own site but they can\'t stop others from doing so.
    I\'d be interested to know what the official word is on this. Its not like we are posting the material so that people can avoid paying for the album. In fact, most of the people concerned here, already own the albums and will compare a mockup to the album they probably own.
    Good luck

  6. #6

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    The last time I spoke to a music lawyer the story was that once the composer of the original work had been dead for 50 years the work became public domain. This is one of the reasons why a lot of classical music can be bought on cd for $5 as no royalties are being paid to living composers.

    Remember the Sting song Russians? The main melody was taken from \"Romance\" in Sergei Prokoviev\'s Lieutenant Kije Suite. (At least that is what a quick internet search tells me.)

    The point is, Sting never had to pay any royalties for using that melody, despite building a pop song around it and making lots of money off it.

    Regards, Scott.

  7. #7

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    >>>The last time I spoke to a music lawyer the story was that once the composer of the original work had been dead for 50 years the work became public domain. <<<

    It\'s been raised to 70 years in the USA recently, mainly due to extreme lobbying by Disney - imagine Mickey Mouse becoming public domain after 50 years of Walt Disney\'s death...not to goog for the company...

    Have a look at:

    BTW: It\'s been 70 years in most European countries for a long time, e.g. here i Germany.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    Get permission. If you call the publisher of a work, and describe your proposed use, they will say yes or no, and if yes, whether they expect a one-shot or distribution-based payment. For an educational or demonstrative use, provided they approve in general, they are likely to charge nothing or an extremely low (like pocket change) fee.

    Cover bands are a different story. They are generally covered by the venue. Clubs, hotels, and other entertainment/rental/party venues pay ASCAP (edit: BMI, etc., too) royalties on a yearly basis, which cover royalties on songs played...like a subscription, basically.

  9. #9

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    Thanks for the clarification Bruce! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: What are we allowed to mockup?

    In going the \"get permission\" route, of course you risk the real possibility of someone saying no. Or sometimes it\'s effectively \"no\" because they ask you for a huge sum. Try performing or recording a Kurt Weill piece, for instance. It\'s almost as if they don\'t want the music to be performed, and that\'s sad. But if you believe in ownership of intellectual property, you have to also believe an artist ultimately has the right to determine how his work is used. We all owe each other that respect.

    It\'s also pretty simple to fly straight. It\'s the sole function of a publishing company to negotiate and enforce these matters...they are there to talk to you.

    You can get permission to use almost anything cheaply or even free. You must have good intentions, and communicate them clearly, and in most cases, that is enough. All they want is compensation when you profit from the work they administer. When you ask permission to use a piece in this manner (as a mockup), what you are really asking the publisher to do is grant you permission to perform the work in public for free. To them, you are no different than a performing or recording ensemble. What they want to know is how much money you anticipate making. If it\'s a concert, what\'s the size of the venue and the anticipated take. If a recording, how much manufactured product and what\'s the distribution.

    So understand that a person who is making an orchestral mockup to demonstrate a sample library is doing a rather weird thing in their eyes...so there will be some explaining to do. The music biz is about public performance for profit, whether that\'s recorded or live. The hardest thing to understand will be why you would want to demonstrate someone\'s sample library without compensation. That will seem suspicious. So, you just have to explain your motives...in this case, it\'s a community thing. Be prepared to field questions on who this is \"helping\" (i.e., why are you freely promoting a sample developer\'s work, etc.). It\'s their job, remember, to find any profit you or someone else via you is making. Another thing that will be a potential hurdle is posting on the internet. That will immediately raise every red flag in the room, and depending on the publisher, they might say no right off to that. The artist or company might have an aversion to sample-based performance of the work.

    But still, being honest and transparent with the owner of the copyright is worth it. You\'ll probably get permission, because most artists WANT their work performed. They just want their cut if you\'re profiting from their work. If you are turned down once, try to appeal to the next level and see if that ear is more sympathetic.

    If in the end you are refused (or their deal can\'t work for you), then you at least know that another choice would be better. And \"used by permission\" is a lovely phrase in terms of your emotional well-being. You don\'t have to fly under the radar and deal with that uncertainty--and you can be confident your karma is clean.

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