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At all times, the thing that we must keep in mind whenever we are thinking about copyrights and the use of the work of others is honor and respect!

Treat your fellow Taiko players with honor and respect their hard work and talent!

Don't play other groups music without permission.

Give full credit to the authors of music you play.

Don't re-arrange someone elses work and take credit for it.

A quote from David Leong, Rolling Thunder, regarding modifying existing works.

"Please be careful about this (modifying other groups work) - creating your own arrangements of songs is a great exercise, but it does NOT create a new piece free from copyright restrictions of the original.

What you have created is a *derivative* piece based off of a (possibly) copyrighted song. Any derivative pieces are also subject to the copyrights of the original.

You certainly can create pieces "inspired" by another song. But your song must still be of an original nature. It's a grey area that would doubtless be rife with lawsuits were taiko a serious money making venture".



-- David Leong Rolling Thunder - www.taiko.com

The following was sent to me by my daughter, Stacey Clark. She is a full time student at U.C.Davis and is minoring in music. She is also the Head Instructor for the Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan at her university.

Quote from legal text..

"Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded) are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection

In addition, Copyright notices were once required on all works, and are still required for any works first published before March 1, 1989. The form of a copyright notice is simple - for written copies of songs, it should contain the copyright symbol (or the text "Copyright" or "Copr."), the year of first publication, and the name of the copyright owner (see the bottom of this page for an example). For a recording, use the same form but with the letter P in a circle, rather than a C. All works published before January 1, 1978 that did not contain a valid copyright notice may be considered to be in the public domain.

Owners of works published between 1978 and March 1, 1989 that did not contain a valid copyright notice were given a five year grace period in which to correct the problem of publication without notice before their work was unceremoniously tossed into the public domain

To be covered by laws governing published works, the work must be published. The 1976 Copyright Act defines publication as follows: "Publication" is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.

For all works published before 1923, there are no copyright protections and they are considered in the public domain.

For works published between 1923 and 1963, they must have been published with notice and the copyright extends for 28 years. If renewed when the first copyright notice expired then it is covered for another 47 years. A final renewal of 20 years, if filed, would extend the coverage for a total renewal of 67 years. If no such renewals were filed, all works are currently in public domain.

For works published between 1964 and 1977, when published with notice, they are copyrighted for 28 years and then if renewed covered for an additional 67 years.

Works that are created after 1978, and are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, are covered for life + 70 years (or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation).

Works not published, but in fixed, tangible medium of expression, are covered for life+ seventy years.

Finally, under the 1909 Act, works published without notice went into the public domain upon publication. Works published without notice between 1-1-78 and 3-1-89, effective date of the Berne Convention Implementation Act, retained copyright only if, e.g., registration was made within five years. 17 U.S.C. 405.

In respect to derivative work; -Important!

Copyright Office

To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a "new work" or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyright-able in itself.

However, the critical determination is whether the quality and value of the materials used are reasonable in relation to the purpose of copying. This is not a pure ratio test in that using a whole work may be fair use in some circumstances, whereas using a tiny fraction of a work not qualify for fair use in other circumstances. Therefore, the quantity, as well as the quality and importance, of the copied material must be considered. Some Justices have looked to see that "no more was taken than was necessary" to achieve the purpose for which the materials were copied".

End quote...

From another perspective, here is an example of the correct way to deal with the use of other groups music. This was sent by Kent Multer, KOBUSHI taiko drummers.

"Kon nichi wa, y'all --

Here's my take on several aspects of this issue. A while ago, KOBUSHI decided to learn to play the KODO piece ZOKU. Browsing on KODO's Web site, I found a rather sternly worded warning about copyrights, so I wrote to them (and by "them," I guess I'm referring to Sony Music, not the KODO staff) asking for permission to perform the piece.

Some weeks later, I got a phone call from a nice lady who works for Sony in LA. She confirmed that, for live performances, just like bar bands playing Rolling Stones songs, we don't need specific permission. The licensing agencies such as BMI and ASCAP handle this with the venues. If we wanted to record the piece on a CD, that would be a different matter, requiring written permission, royalties, etc. -- I didn't get all the details.

As to the more abstract question of why we want to play someone else's music, well, we like it! We do original works, but we also like to share other people's great music with our audiences. And playing other people's music is a good way to learn new styles & techniques.

Our arrangement is somewhat simplified, since we don't have as many people or drums as KODO. But I spent a lot of hours studying the "Live at the Acropolis" video, and I believe that what we are playing is as faithful to the original as we can get with our limited resources. I certainly would never say it's an original work of ours, just because I made a few changes. KOBUSHI generally doesn't do "our version" of a traditional song, or something from another group. We use our creativity in creating new songs; when we're working on someone else's material, I prefer to be faithful to the original."

Tanoshinde! -- Kent Multer KOBUSHI taiko drummers


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