How do I clear a song for a compilation?

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How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by Girl Toes » Thu Apr 08, 2004 8:38 pm

How do I clear a song for a compilation? Never done it before. Namely, I want to put the under dog theme song as the B side to a 7".

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by ryan_c » Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:17 pm

Where are you having it pressed? Is it a cover, or the actual theme? The reason I ask is not all pressing plants will care (United is the only one that I have experience actually giving a shit) if it's a cover. Otherwise, if you can demonstrate that you won't make a fucking dime off of it you may be able to argue fair use from whoever holds the copyright to the theme.

Good luck. You're going to need it.
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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by Girl Toes » Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:23 pm

No. Its the origional theme song. I am looking right now into Erika records.

Hmmm.... I won't be making a dime off it. How do you proove it??

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by ryan_c » Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:51 pm

If it's the original theme song, you're going to be incredibly hard-pressed to do it without permission. I would call Erika first and see what they say. It's entirely possible (though highly doubtful) that they'll let you do it anyways, especially if you're only pressing like 500. But if they say no, they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction about getting permission. Since you'll be using the original song in it's entirety, it may be very difficult to argue for fair use, unless you can convince the copyright holder that you won't be making any money (and they won't be potentially losing any) by using it. There are other pressing plants you can use (I've heard, though can not confirm, that Musicol is pretty lax about stuff) as well.

Anyways, here's a few copyright and fair use links:

1. Stanford's Copyright and Fair Use center
2. Fair Use of Copyrighted Works from cetus.org
3. from the US Copyright Office

I tried plugging in Underdog in the Copyright Office's website, but there are a million things with the word "underdog" in them and I couldn't find the owner. You could probably call them, though.

Once again, good luck. I'm interested to hear how it shakes out.
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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by hiwatt33 » Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:43 pm

A band can cover and release anything they want without permission. I have put out CDS pressed at Erica and others that never said a thing. I have also had my compositions released/covered by a major label band.

My understanding is this: Without clearance you will owe royalties to the original writer/writers at the 100% rate. This is why record labels usually ask a band to wait until they can get a royalty "deal" in writing and signed by the original writer/s.

Example one: I was contacted about 5/6 years ago by a lawyer trying to tell me that a band signed to a major wanted my permission to use a song I wrote on their debut CD. At first I was excited about this until I got the papers in the mail. Upon closer inspection I noticed that it indeed was a "deal" contract/release form. I chose to wait it out as this band was a new unproven act. They wanted like half of the action on this song-I didn't wanna give it to 'em. Strike one. So then the singer/guitar player called me himself about a week later, and asked me to sign it. That's when I found out that he had changed the lyrical content in an extreme manner. Now that does, from what my lawyer told me require me to give the ok. Plus he inadvertantly told me that the CD was already pressed and packed. Strike two. I was advised at this point to not do anything. And by doing this they would be compelled to pay the full rate. That is unless the record company re-pressed the CDs without my song on it. Anyway, the record company did indeed release the CD without me signing anything. I never saw a dime, and the band was dropped I believe within the year. Strike three, for me and them. Oh well.

Example two: Put out two releases. One was a two songer. First song original song. Song two was "Magic Fingers" by Frank Zappa from the 200 Motels LP. Pressing plant never said anything. Record company said "If it makes money, we gotta pay the full boat." Release never made money, so no problem.

Next release was a three song ep CD. Song three was "Time For Truth" by The Jam from their first LP, written by Paul Weller. This CD was pressed at Erica, they never dropped the dime.

We did not change the lyrical content on either one of these songs BTW.

I hope this helps. If I can find the old papers that came from example one, I will scan and post them for you to examine if you want.

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by Girl Toes » Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:03 pm

Sorry for not being clear. I am not covering the song. I want to use the old recording as the B side on a 7" single.

Are rates for something like that usually pretty high??? What would I be looking to spend?? Or, just putting it on the back of some 7", who is going to notice.... Well, some one probably will. I dunno.

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by cgarges » Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:21 pm

www.harryfox.com

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by ryan_c » Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:13 am

hiwatt33 wrote:A band can cover and release anything they want without permission. I have put out CDS pressed at Erica and others that never said a thing. I have also had my compositions released/covered by a major label band.
United Record Pressing now listens to everything that they press. They're RIAA-certified or something. They make you fill out a form with all of the song titles and copyright information for everything, and then make you sign a few forms swearing that you either A) own all of the songs or B) have permission from the copyright owners to press the songs. If it's choice "B," the copyright owner than needs to fill out a form saying that you have permission to use it. If something seems out of place (you have a sample that you didn't list as having permission to use, or someone recognizes a cover song that you tried to hide) they will sit on your entire order until you get it straightened out with whoever owns the copyright for the song or sample in question. The paperwork you sign basically says that if they catch you trying to pull a fast one, they're allowed to hold your order (even if you've paid in full) until you get it sorted out. You have absolutely no recourse.

There was an article about this in HeartattaCk a few years ago. A label was putting out a 7" of some band, and they used a sample from some Denzel Washington movie on it. They didn't put it on the sheet and lied on the paperwork, saying they owned everything on the record. They also paid everything upfront to speed up the process. When United listened to the record, they heard the snippet from the movie and told them they had to get permission from the studio to use it. Since they paid everything upfront, they were pretty much fucked. If memory serves correct, they were able to find a loophole with the movie studio that allowed them to use the sample under fair-use, but they pretty much lucked out.

So while Erika may let a cover slip by, it's very doubtful that they'll let an original version of a song go.
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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by hiwatt33 » Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:33 am

Whoops. Sorry.

I guess I am curious as to why you'd wanna do that though. Please elaborate.

I think it was "Fuck your heroes" Glen E Freidman (sp?) wanted to use the lyrics from a Clash song as a perface to it. They didn't cuz CBS wanted a ton of dough for it. Guess this stuff extends to all kinds of media.

John

PS: Oh yeah, I can see why a pressing plant would have a problem with what you wanna do.

I drank a lot of coffee tonight.... :P

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by Girl Toes » Mon Apr 12, 2004 1:01 am

I just think it would be fun, its something different. And above all I just think it really works. Its actually a project I did a few years ago and never officially released, beyond a small home made comp that some one did in Providence. Unfortunately, from all these kids trying slip samples on their records, its a lot tougher than it would have been a few years ago. And because I'm expecting a decent New York market and my A side is an exclusive track to the record, there's a good chance some one would pick up the record, and its very recognisable.

I will look at the Harry Fox website one of these days. I haven't really brought this project to anybody yet, because first I need to transfer it from all my old casettes to a single reel. But its teally clearing that song that is going to make or break the project. Geez, its 4 am, I'm rambling.

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by Tim Casey » Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:34 am

Harry Fox will get you clearance to do a cover version. For a short-run project like yours, it will only set you back a few hundred dollars per song. That's why nobody does it unless they think they can make their money back; otherwise, they do it under the radar.

Using a pre-existing recording is a whole other legal matter, and will set you back mucho bucks, since most all of these recordings are owned by large multinational corporations who don't give an f about you or you artistic desires.

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by ryan_c » Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:51 am

Another potential option is to just press it outside the United States, where they're less likely to know or care about US copyright law. You still may run into trouble because it's such a recognizable song, but there probably won't be in any plants in the States that will touch if without copyright clearance.
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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by hiwatt33 » Mon Apr 12, 2004 3:19 pm

Tim Casey wrote:Harry Fox will get you clearance to do a cover version. For a short-run project like yours, it will only set you back a few hundred dollars per song. That's why nobody does it unless they think they can make their money back; otherwise, they do it under the radar.

Using a pre-existing recording is a whole other legal matter, and will set you back mucho bucks, since most all of these recordings are owned by large multinational corporations who don't give an f about you or you artistic desires.
You don't need Harry Fox to get clearance to do a cover.

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by wing » Mon Apr 12, 2004 3:30 pm

punch everyone in the face involved

lasers work good too

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Re: How do I clear a song for a compilation?

Post by cgarges » Mon Apr 12, 2004 4:56 pm

hiwatt33 wrote:You don't need Harry Fox to get clearance to do a cover.
No, but it's a good, easy, and fast way to get all the publishing information. Especially if you're dealing with more than one tune.

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