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Musicians talk about copyright

Hear what other musicians think and wonder about copyright.
SUBJECT 1: I’m James Ashby.
SUBJECT 2: My name’s Ben Smith.
SUBJECT 1: We play in a band called Private Jet.
SUBJECT 3: Hi. I’m Dan, and I’m a nightclub DJ.
SUBJECT 4: I’m Hutch. I’m also a DJ, and together we collaborate to make mashups and edits to enhance what we do in nightclubs.
SUBJECT 5: My name is Miriam. I’m a musician. And I play, I teach, and I write.
SUBJECT 6: My name is Williams Cumberbache and I’m from Venezuela. And I’m a percussionist and a freelance professional session player.
SUBJECT 3: I’d say what motivates me is money, because DJing is not a hobby for me. It’s my actual career.
SUBJECT 2: I don’t think you can be solely motivated by money in this industry. It’s a really tough industry to make any money in. You just have to really love what you do. Love the music.
SUBJECT 6: What motivates me to produce music I think is the love, itself, for the music.
SUBJECT 5: Love of music, I think. I always wanted to perform, but it’s hard just to do one thing and make a career out of it. So you always have to have a few different things going on the side as well.
SUBJECT 2: Copyright, to us, is just the way of people knowing who’s written a song. You know, when you sit there for hours, sort of learning your craft, and creating a piece of music, you want people to know that it’s you that’s written it.
SUBJECT 5: I write programme notes, and I have to source images or quotes from composers who might still be alive. And I have to be very careful not to quote things that they’ve written without their permission.
SUBJECT 4: The consumers now will hear things way in advance. It’s on the radio four or five weeks before you can legally buy something. We’ve had situations in the past where we’ve kind of– we know of tunes, we know we can get them illegally, but if it was legally available, we would pay for it. We would buy it. But obviously, we need to keep up with demand and we need to do our jobs properly. So it kind of forces you into a corner in that sense.
SUBJECT 5: No. I try really hard not to. I don’t. I don’t find it very fulfilling or rewarding. And I have ideas. I like to write my own ideas, and it’s never really occurred to me to try and write someone else’s.
SUBJECT 6: I think I have plenty ideas that I don’t. No, I don’t need to be thinking somebody else. But I recognise that it’s maybe not the same for everyone.
SUBJECT 3: As DJ’s we use other people’s work every night we work. But it’s more promoting that work rather than stealing it.
SUBJECT 2: People said to us before, this sounds like this band, or this sounds like this band. I think everybody takes influence from stuff.
SUBJECT 1: I think it depends. If it’s a fan, taking one of your songs and making their own video of it, you know, I think that’s fine. That’s just helping to spread your music.
SUBJECT 5: I think that you should always ask the permission before you take some work from wherever, wherever it might be.
SUBJECT 2: It never harms to send an email to ask, does it? You know, it’s so easy to get in touch with people nowadays, and just say, could I use your video, or your track on a video I’m making? Of course you can.
SUBJECT 6: If my music reaches people and they decide to make a video with my music, as long as they give me credit, and not even asking me anything. They don’t have to even ask me. It’s already a compliment that they decide to use my music.
SUBJECT 3: I think would be very hypocritical for us to not be happy with someone using something we’d done originally, because that’s exactly what we’re doing now.
SUBJECT 5: The line between being inspired by something and copying it directly, I think, is how far somebody could be confused by it.
SUBJECT 6: We all get inspired from listening to each other, from copying other people. And I guess that you always bring your own thing into it. Your own way of expressing it, the way of making your sound.
SUBJECT 2: I think it’s all about the intention. If you’ve heard something, you know, when you were asleep by a pool somewhere, and then it springs into your head two years later in the form of a song, that’s not copying. That’s you just taking inspiration from something.
SUBJECT 5: I’d be quite curious to know about sharing music that you’ve bought. So for example, if a pupil of mine wanted to borrow a CD, would I be allowed to lend it to them, knowing that they would copy it and keep it on their laptop without buying it themselves?
SUBJECT 2: I heard there was some sort of five note rule or something, where you can’t use five consecutive notes, or lyrics, or something from a song, and I’m not sure.
SUBJECT 1: Yeah. I mean, where is the limit on how many notes you can use, in order, from someone else’s song?
SUBJECT 3: So one thing we’re confused about is, when you take an original production, take a loop from that production, and create something new from there, is there a maximum length you can use from that original production?
What motivates people to create music? What does copyright mean to musicians? Do they use other people’s work? And how do they feel about others using their own music? Where do musicians draw the line between inspiration and copyright infringement? This video explores these challenging issues and collects copyright concerns and questions shared by musicians.
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Music Copyright: Understanding UK Copyright Law When Working with Music

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