Rock Band Network - Public Domain songs?

tacologictacologic Unsigned
edited August 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I'd first like to say that this idea might not work for a number of reasons, but I just wanted to throw it out there for debate. I also would like to add that I am not an expert, and what I'm saying might not sound right.

But...

There are a lot of songs that exist in the public domain, ones that artists are free to record. Some of these are traditional/folk songs, some were created specifically to not have ownership, some have rights that have expired, and there are probably others here too.

I'd think that these songs are probably also able to be created for Rock Band and uploaded to the Rock Band Network, once it gets going.

I know that I think that it'd be pretty cool to do some old ragtime songs, am imagining how cool a Spanish guitar chart would look, and loving the idea of a sing-along with She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain.

Anybody else think this would be cool/possible?

Comments

  • edited July 2009
    yus! i have wanted to play "the wheels on the bus" since GH2
  • IcemageIcemage Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    I don't see why this would be a problem. If a song is truly in the public domain, then there are no copyright issues to speak of, so as long as you create your own master tracks for whatever instrument(s) are present on your cover, it should be OK I would think (within reason - have to be careful in a few cases where there are well-known public variations of a song which have distinctive copyrighted elements, such as Simon & Garfunkel's version of Scarborough Fair).
  • EhfahqEhfahq Headliner
    edited July 2009
    Id love to see a version of 'When the Levee breaks.'
  • DMBilliesDMBillies Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    There are some public domain songs that would definitely be cool. Don't know how the licensing would work... as in, I would think the person releasing the song would have to prove that the song is in the public domain.

    I know they have said they won't allow covers, which is unfortunate because there are great songs out there that have been covers. Also, I'm wondering how they define cover? A ton of the music that makes it on the radio was actually written by someone else and may have been performed by the song writer plenty of times (even if the song was not really "made famous" by them). I'm sure it is the licensing that is at issue, but limiting RBN to only self-authored music is pretty limiting.
  • blzbub74blzbub74 Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    Considering there's already a band planning on releasing house of the rising sun on the network, I think this idea is pretty likely.
  • tacologictacologic Unsigned
    edited July 2009
    Not allowing cover songs probably saves them a lot of hassle when it comes to licensing, but if a song is "Traditional" then I think it's not a cover. Yeah, doing Simon and Garfunkel's specific version of Scarborough Fair wouldn't fly, but someone recording a version using the traditional music (I'm not sure how differs) would be cool.

    And while thinking of this, I also wondered if the guy that controls the music from the Kingston Trio would get wind of this. Because that'd be fun too.
  • IcemageIcemage Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    tacologic;2757595 said:
    Not allowing cover songs probably saves them a lot of hassle when it comes to licensing, but if a song is "Traditional" then I think it's not a cover. Yeah, doing Simon and Garfunkel's specific version of Scarborough Fair wouldn't fly, but someone recording a version using the traditional music (I'm not sure how differs) would be cool.
    With respect to my example, the problem would be the specific arrangement - especially the extra counterpoint vocals which are borrowed from Art Garfunkel's original song "Canticle" (On the side of a hill in the deep forest green / Tracing of sparrow on snowcrested brown / etc.).

    If you dropped the counterpoint and changed the instrumental arrangement and/or the lyrics you'd probably be bulletproof on the song.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited July 2009
    blzbub74;2757467 said:
    Considering there's already a band planning on releasing house of the rising sun on the network, I think this idea is pretty likely.
    Sorry, but that's false logic. Just because the band is planning on it, doesn't mean HMX is going to allow it. As far as I've seen, they have made no statements on this matter other than "No covers will be allowed on RBN".
  • T-HybridT-Hybrid Washed Up
    edited July 2009
    DMBillies;2757425 said:
    Also, I'm wondering how they define cover?
    I'm guessing they're going to be more lax about letting you put up a song that somebody else wrote as long as you can prove you have the rights to record/distribute it.

    What they're referring to in regards to covers is if your band decided to do a version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Everlong" and add it.
  • A New Pyro FoolA New Pyro Fool Forum Comedian
    edited July 2009
    "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for RBN DLC!

    I'm haven't been this psyched since we were told that we were getting Who's Next as Full-Album DLC!:D
  • IronPanda106IronPanda106 Unsigned
    edited July 2009
    So if no covers are allowed then why exactly do we have "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm? :confused:
    Does this only apply to RBN and not DLC in general?
  • A New Pyro FoolA New Pyro Fool Forum Comedian
    edited July 2009
    IronPanda106;2758417 said:
    So if no covers are allowed then why exactly do we have "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm? :confused:
    Does this only apply to RBN and not DLC in general?
    I think by 'covers' people are typically referring to songs that are by unknown artists "As Made Famous By..."

    Some definitions of the word may be skewed amongst these forums at this point.
  • Screaming_EvilScreaming_Evil Opening Act
    edited July 2009
    IronPanda106;2758417 said:
    So if no covers are allowed then why exactly do we have "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm? :confused:
    Does this only apply to RBN and not DLC in general?
    It just applies to the RBN stuff. The rule is intended to most likely lessen the headache that could be caused with various copyright and licencing issues if a band tries to submit a cover song.

    It won't apply for normal DLC because when Harmonix goes after the songs they'll negociate the needed licences to have the cover in the game. Hence why we have Smooth Criminal.
  • IronPanda106IronPanda106 Unsigned
    edited July 2009
    Ah, that's what I figured. I just thought I would throw that out there and see what kinds of responses I would get. Haha. :p
  • DMBilliesDMBillies Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    T-Hybrid;2758391 said:
    I'm guessing they're going to be more lax about letting you put up a song that somebody else wrote as long as you can prove you have the rights to record/distribute it.

    What they're referring to in regards to covers is if your band decided to do a version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Everlong" and add it.
    I got you T, but what if someone does have the rights or pursues the rights to record/distribute a song that has already been made "famous." I'm sure there are a lot of instances where a songwriter has released a song themselves and then had another artist come along and make it famous. The question are: At what point is it considered a cover? How can HMX fairly stick to a definition that won't prevent possibly good music from appearing? And if the definition relies at all on how popular a track already is, how is that final decision made?

    The first example I can think of off my head is the song "Society" which was in the "Into the Wild" soundtrack. It was written and previously recorded by Jerry Hannan, then taken by Eddie Vedder and made famous on the soundtrack. This is an extreme example, but if Eddie Vedder had the rights and tried to put that song on RBN, would HMX say, "sorry, you can't do that?" What if Eddie Vedder never made that song famous and another new band just starting out pursued the rights to record and distribute that song and tried to release it on RBN? The situation would technically be the same with the only variable being how famous the artist(s) and song already is... and lawyers don't really care about fame... except that they get paid more by famous people.

    I know they are trying to prevent every garage band in the world from firing up renditions of Led Zep songs and trying to upload them, I'm just interested in seeing how it is policed... because the safe route is absolutely no covers, with covers defined as anything written by an artist that is not a part of the band or not listed in the publishing of the record (if the song has been published).
  • V4VendettaV4Vendetta Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    Let's get some sick metal bands to play head banging versions of every national anthem.
  • RunesmithRunesmith Headliner
    edited July 2009
    Considering there are seperate genre categories for folk rock and blues in the RBN store (they were listed in the preview video), I wouldn't be too surprised to see a nice helping of traditional songs from both of these music types.
  • Alright_ComputerAlright_Computer Butt Neck
    edited July 2009
    One band's version of "House of the Rising Sun" is confirmed as DLC for the RBN. I'd assume other public domain songs are fair game as well.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited July 2009
    Alright_Computer;2761305 said:
    One band's version of "House of the Rising Sun" is confirmed as DLC for the RBN. I'd assume other public domain songs are fair game as well.
    As I stated in post #9, just because the band announced that they're intending to put it on RBN doesn't mean HMX is going to allow it. We'll have to wait for more official word from HMX on what their plans are for covers of public domain songs.

    The only thing we've seen so far is HMXMister_Game saying "No covers will be allowed on RBN".
  • blzbub74blzbub74 Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    davidshek;2758374 said:
    Sorry, but that's false logic. Just because the band is planning on it, doesn't mean HMX is going to allow it. As far as I've seen, they have made no statements on this matter other than "No covers will be allowed on RBN".
    I know you like getting into arguments with people about the rbn, and I agree with you on the sub pop issue. However, I stated an opinion of "pretty likely" not "definitely." Of course there's a chance HMX won't allow public domain songs. But there are no licensing issues that are complicating the matter like a cover of a copyrighted song.

    Relax.
  • BStu78BStu78 Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    I wouldn't get my hopes up on Public Domain songs. The Public Domain is sadly not as clear-cut as one might thing and plenty of songs that seem public domain aren't, as MANY artists have learned in the past. And there is the well-known example of "Happy Birthday" which is NOT in the public domain though certainly seeming like it must be. I would imagine it being likely that whatever requirements HMX puts in place to prohibit cover songs would really extend to any song where publishing rights don't emanate from the artists, including "traditional" songs. This is really a better safe than sorry issue and with the difficulty in verifying that a song is public domain and the additional issue of copyrights on arrangements of songs in the public domain, HMX would be reasonable if they wanted to steer clear.
  • princeofcupsprinceofcups Road Warrior
    edited July 2009
    IronPanda106;2758417 said:
    So if no covers are allowed then why exactly do we have "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm? :confused:
    Does this only apply to RBN and not DLC in general?
    Because any legal issues about covering the song have already been worked out by Alien Ant Farm's label's lawyers. It is probably impossible to get any cover past the HMX review unless you have your own lawyers, in which case you are probably working on a DLC deal, and not an RBN one.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited July 2009
    blzbub74;2762444 said:
    I know you like getting into arguments with people about the rbn, and I agree with you on the sub pop issue. However, I stated an opinion of "pretty likely" not "definitely." Of course there's a chance HMX won't allow public domain songs. But there are no licensing issues that are complicating the matter like a cover of a copyrighted song.

    Relax.
    Lol, I like getting into arguments? No I don't, I just don't like people getting all hyped over something that may not happen.
  • SHPhr34kSHPhr34k Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    Harmonix will not be allowing Public Domain songs to be submitted, at least not yet. Email response from Jeff:

    "Sean - We realize that public domain represents an interesting debate with regards to covers, we recently had a discussion about that very subject. It has been decided, at least for now and until we have more clarity from legal, that NO COVERS will be allowed into the pipeline. I would advise that you not spend time or man hours on this type of request until we work this out.

    This is also not a priority on legal's agenda, so please don't expect a resolution any time soon ;)

    thx
    JM"

    So again, it's simply for now. That does put a nice kibosh to Neo-Classical Metal...
Sign In or Register to comment.