Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reading Week 1

Copyright is such a huge issue of concern nowadays with the expansion of the Internet and the availability of media items throughout our society. Being a music teacher, I really have to pay close attention to copyright when it comes to performance of others music. One such question we had recently with copyright laws was with our Marching Band show this past year. We wanted to use a portion of a concert band piece on the marching band field and was wondering if we could tweek a couple of parts to make it fit on the field. We did our research and found out that we still needed permission even thought we had already bought the rights for concert band but since we were using it for something else we had to gain permission. Well, to make the story short, we ended up having to pay rights to arrange the song ourselves. We had to gain permission from the publishing company who owned the rights to create an original arrangement of the song. It was something that they really look closely into in marching band especially when gaining rights to create a video for spectators to purchase at the State finals. It was a new process for me but I'm really glad I went through it and learned so much more about it this year.

I really enjoyed going through the myths about copyright because there are so many questions about it and just those 10 myths can answer a lot of questions. Numerous times in videos it was said that copyright is not about using media but about gaining permission to do so. It really made me think about copyright issues and YouTube. I direct musicals and we are always told that we can't take video of a production. Its hard to tell parents you can't tape productions that your students are in because of copyright laws when they can go online and see numerous videos of other productions. Makes me wonder if I have read the copyright issues wrong or if these people with the videos are getting into trouble or if its something that is just not enforced out there.


  1. I thought your post was really interesting. Since I teach science it was interesting to read about a teacher that has to deal with copyright on a daily basis as part of their job. I am guessing that if you do not obtain the correct permission you would have been disqualified from competition? Also, did you go to the song composer or the publishing house to obtain permission to use part of the song?
    Other than those 2 questions I found your post to be really interesting.

  2. Tyler,
    I agree, you see a lot of YouTube videos that copyright problems are easy to find. YouTube really tries to do a good job in flagging videos that have unauthorized music applied to a video.

    Permission is likely rarely asked for and given in far more situations than the opposite. I am in full support of obtaining this permission though, as I feel music is just like a piece of art and to use it without the proper permissions given is theft.

  3. Great comments and concerns. The Internet and Youtube are a blessing and a curse. There's the law and netiquette and the two should not be confused. The Law is pretty clear, want to use something, get permission. And as you noted you have to get permission for every type of usage and there can be time limitations. I remember when they opened up the educational use of some videos on some of the cable channels, they'd specifically say that teachers can tape and share the following program but could only use it for the next couple months, or so. So YouTube muddied the water further by recognizing that they would be vulnerable to lawsuits so they made side deals with the various media companies and for a big bag of money Warner Brothers, for example, would not sue YouTube or YouTube's users for putting music or movie clips in their videos. Note that if the user posted another streaming service, like Viddler, that the user would not be protected. And then if/when the agreement between YouTube and the media company ended the media company would issue Cease and Desist orders and have the videos pulled down. So, yes, it's a really, really big mess.