Clarification on covers requested

geo731geo731 Opening Act
edited August 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I know that rockband network has a no cover policy. Does that mean if a band like Social Disturbance wanted to release Ring Of Fire on rbn it would have been stopped since it was a cover of Johnny Cash, even though in the regular store it was released. Or, if a single was released on a billboard track, even if it is a cover, can it be on rockband network?

Comments

  • yaniv297yaniv297 Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    I'm only guessing here, but I don't think there will be a problem with professional covers from professional bands (like if Muse wants to release I'm Feeling Good).
    It's more in order to stop cover bands like The Virtual Zeppelin or The Australian Pink Floyd from uploading exact covers of LZ and PF songs into RB...
  • masterantoniomasterantonio Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    Would it be possible to do metal covers of mozart, or chopin?
  • Chopper13Chopper13 Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    As long as you have the legal rights to the song, your fine. I think
  • ZephielZephiel Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    There's always public domain songs. For he's a jolly good fellow...~
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited August 2009
    Zephiel;2879245 said:
    There's always public domain songs. For he's a jolly good fellow...~
    Nope, even public domain songs are out. There's a quote around here somewhere about that.
  • k-mack-mac Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    what about a traditional song arranged by the band - ie. "Trad. Arr by (band name)"
  • SHPhr34kSHPhr34k Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    No covers or arrangements will be permitted at all, no matter how big the band is.
  • geo731geo731 Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    So the only way to get covers by major recording artists in the game is through the regular DLC. There are many songs that have been re-made only to chart higher and be more successful by their new artist than the original.
  • LuigiHannLuigiHann Stormtrooper
    edited August 2009
    Just having a cover version that is successful doesn't mean you own the rights to do whatever you want with the song. The contract that is negotiated to legally record a cover version of a song... only regards the audio itself, as part of a CD album, etc. So you wouldn't be able to include it in another media format (like a video game or movie) without re-licensing the song. "Real" DLC is able to do that, because they have lawyers to deal with that crap. RBN is more straightforward in assuming that the same entity owns the copyright to both the written music, and the recording... Which isn't the case with covers.
  • General Lein979General Lein979 Headliner
    edited August 2009
    SHPhr34k;2882293 said:
    No covers or arrangements will be permitted at all, no matter how big the band is.
    How is house of the rising sun by Ploy of Oracle(this version sounds great and if it makes it in the store will be getting it) making it in then?
  • geo731geo731 Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    LuigiHann;2885489 said:
    Just having a cover version that is successful doesn't mean you own the rights to do whatever you want with the song. The contract that is negotiated to legally record a cover version of a song... only regards the audio itself, as part of a CD album, etc. So you wouldn't be able to include it in another media format (like a video game or movie) without re-licensing the song. "Real" DLC is able to do that, because they have lawyers to deal with that crap. RBN is more straightforward in assuming that the same entity owns the copyright to both the written music, and the recording... Which isn't the case with covers.
    Does this mean that often it is the song writer that has the legal power to release in rockband network and not the artist that performed the song if they are not one in the same? I never thought this could get so confusing.
  • SHPhr34kSHPhr34k Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    General Lein979;2885631 said:
    How is house of the rising sun by Ploy of Oracle(this version sounds great and if it makes it in the store will be getting it) making it in then?
    It won't, unfortunately. The song is clearly in Public Domain, which will not be accepted.
  • nk40699nk40699 Opening Act
    edited August 2009
    Social Distortion, man, not Disturbance...
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited August 2009
    geo731;2885960 said:
    Does this mean that often it is the song writer that has the legal power to release in rockband network and not the artist that performed the song if they are not one in the same? I never thought this could get so confusing.
    The legalities of music are VERY confusing indeed. But as for your question, it really all depends on the ownership situation that was worked out by the songwriter and artist. Just because somebody wrote a song doesn't necessarily mean that they keep ownership rights of it. It's quite common (especially in country music) for a songwriter to write a song for another artist and then sell it completely to that artist for some set amount of $$.
  • DJFreddyGDJFreddyG Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    Now that there are new and unsigned artists/groups out there interested in RBN, it is extremely important to note that if you are a songwriter of any kind and you feel your work can be marketed you need to do 2 things: write your songs down (publishing) AND record them (even as a rough demo). That will give you a huge leg-up regarding "Intellectual Property Rights", especially if there is ever a dispute over the origin of the material.
    Once published, those rights will belong to you or your heirs for your lifetime PLUS 75 years!

    As far as covers versions, I worked with a few regional bands some time ago that wanted to either perform covers OR add covers to their albums. This is what I know:
    First, a song must be "commercially released" in order for there to be a need for a "cover version". In fact, once a song has been commercially released....ANYONE can play it live, usually without having to receive direct permission or pay royalties. That's because performance venues (Restaurants, clubs, etc) are supposed to belong to ASCAP/BMI, which would give the venue a blanket right to publicly play copyrighted music via live band, DJ or jukebox.
    Also ANYONE (100% of the time based on US copyright law) can Record said material AND sell it...provided of course the appropriate licensing fee's are payed and the songs lyrics and/or melody are not significantly altered.
    The only real exceptions are compositions from musicals. They are treated seperately.

    As far as rights. the songwriter has the greatest control over the composition. Unless the songwriter signs away ALL rights to their original composition (to another artist or publishing house) which unfortunately has been all too common, they still control "Intellectual Property Rights". The original songwriter has the rights to: Reproduce and Sell copies of their composition, Perform their composition publicly, Reproduce their composition in written form (sheet music/lyrics) for distribution, Reproduce and Sell copies (audio and/or video) of the Performance of their composition and can have their recorded performance (audio and/or video) of the composition played publicly.

    There are also rights associated with the distributor of the recordings (record companies), which are reserved for "Sound Recordings". They are usually not too important for recording a cover.
    Another set of rights/licenses are "Synchronization Rights", which allows a composition to be used in an audiovisual production (Movie, TV Show, etc). I am unsure if this is required in a video game, but it probably is.

    In order to record a cover for distribution (let's say a CD), you need to have a "Mechanical License" for the composition. Although the fee's are not cheap, that license is fairly simple to get depending on: the number of CD recordings you plan to make, where (country) you plan to produce them and where (country) you intend to sell them.
    This website, www.songfile.com, has some great info regarding this.
    However, if you plan to put your cover recording up for download or any other digital release, you will also require a "Digital License".
    These "Distribution Rights" (Mechanical and Digital) would be the hardest for an entity like RBN to deal with since there is no precedent to use to guage the number of possible downloads/sales, which is how licensing fee's are calculated. This is no doubt one of the reasons non-original material is not an option. It would just be easier to specify Original Material Only, which places the legal responsibilty of ownership on the artist.

    Maybe some of this is helpful to someone.
  • AKALinkAKALink Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    So I'm guess we wouldn't be able to do a variations on a Bach melody.
  • DJFreddyGDJFreddyG Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    As far as I know, Classical Compositions are considered Public Domain until 2019. What that means as far as use in RBN (inregards to Original vs Cover) I have no idea.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited August 2009
    DJFreddyG;2894747 said:
    As far as I know, Classical Compositions are considered Public Domain until 2019. What that means as far as use in RBN (inregards to Original vs Cover) I have no idea.
    It was already stated in another thread...no covers, no public domain. Original compositions only.
  • DJFreddyGDJFreddyG Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    davidshek;2894949 said:
    It was already stated in another thread...no covers, no public domain. Original compositions only.
    You are correct....my bad. I realized that shortly after making the post.
  • Soror_YZBLSoror_YZBL Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    So that means no punk irish trad songs?
  • DJFreddyGDJFreddyG Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    Soror_YZBL;2895213 said:
    So that means no punk irish trad songs?
    Based on the rules...No
  • SayburrSayburr The Always Informative Rock Band Forum Guru
    edited August 2009
    Soror_YZBL;2895213 said:
    So that means no punk irish trad songs?
    DJFreddyG;2895289 said:
    Based on the rules...No
    I would say Trad songs are not going to be allowed simply to keep there from being 100 different versions of the same song on the RBN.
  • LuigiHannLuigiHann Stormtrooper
    edited August 2009
    Sayburr;2895646 said:
    I would say Trad songs are not going to be allowed simply to keep there from being 100 different versions of the same song on the RBN.
    But I can never get enough rock versions of Canon in D!!!

    Ever!!!
  • BStu78BStu78 Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    DJFreddyG;2894747 said:
    As far as I know, Classical Compositions are considered Public Domain until 2019. What that means as far as use in RBN (inregards to Original vs Cover) I have no idea.
    I have no idea what you are trying to suggest here, but its really impossibly vague by any standard. Classical-style compositions are not by definition anything. It matters when it was written. Anything written in the Classical period, however, will have been in the public domain for over a century at the least. And its staying there. I think there have been a couple isolated cases of works being yanked out of the public domain by a change in the law, but I think that's limited to early 20th century works that are the focal point of the expanding terms of copyright protection. I'm aware of no suggestion to pull any works from the late 18th century out of the public domain, nor any party who could be lobbying for such a move. Those works are in the public domain and staying there.

    As has been noted, though, public domain works are out for the RBN, too. I imagine the core reason is that its much easier to ask the musician to attest that they control publishing rights. That's a straightforward approach. You either do or don't. There is no need to do due diligence to confirm that a work is in the public and is not protected by a separate copyright on a protected arrangement of said work. Its a bummer, but its a prudent approach.

    As to the notion that this creates a travisty in that cover songs can be popular, well, so? RBN is mostly a venue for emerging artists. It can't be all things to all people. Cover songs obviously have made it into the game. Repeatedly. Ring of Fire, Piece of My Heart, Smooth Criminal, Hard to Handle, Train Kept-a-Rollin', Kids in America, I Fought the Law, Summertime Blues, etc, etc. There is an avenue for this, but it just can't be part of the streamlined, "do-it-yourself" approach of the RBN because it would require more work from Harmonix than can realistically be allotted. Cover songs require a lot of clearances and Harmonix can't just hope someone else has their paperwork in order. Its a bummer. I was hoping to get The Shins cover of We are All Silhouettes by Postal Service. But I get it, too.
  • Soror_YZBLSoror_YZBL Road Warrior
    edited August 2009
    Sayburr;2895646 said:
    I would say Trad songs are not going to be allowed simply to keep there from being 100 different versions of the same song on the RBN.
    so not fair. some of my favorite bands play that flogging molly/dropkick murphy's style of celtic punk, and it's sad that most of the songs they do would be excluded. :( Then again, they can always vary the melody, slap on some nonsense about county down and grog, and call it an original.
  • DJFreddyGDJFreddyG Rising Star
    edited August 2009
    BStu78;2898149 said:
    I have no idea what you are trying to suggest here, but its really impossibly vague by any standard. .
    Thanks for the heads up. I have no idea why I wrote exactly what I did, it appears I combined 2 different thoughts into one statement.
    Allow me to clarify:

    Yes, Classical Music...or any music copyrighted prior to 1923 is now and forever Public Domain. Also, works that have not had there copyright renewed, regardless of when it was originally copywritten, are considered Public Domain as well.
    There is currently a moratorium in place on works created after 1923 (the 1998 Sonny Bono aka "Mickey Mouse" Extension Act) that allows copyrighted works...like Mickey Mouse....to remain out of Public Domain till 2019.
    As you can probably figure, there are entities that are trying to keep material from entering PD. In fact, a large portion of classic Disney material/characters would be close to or even within PD, if not for the extension. That would have cost companies like Disney big time.

    And due to the above extension, copyright ownership for music (published since 1923) is Life of the author plus 75 years.
    This info is only valid for works with copyrights in the US and the EU. Other countries have there own copyright terms, or in some cases none at all.

    There are some exceptions to what is and is not Public Domain, such as a Classical Piece that has been released with a new arrangement. That new work, even if essentially the same as the old work, could be copyright protected and would not be in the PD.
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