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Legal question regarding copyright/mechanical licensing.

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by efiebke, Jun 30, 2001.

  1. efiebke

    efiebke Active Member

    Hello:
    I own a small company that produces educational and musical-comedy albums for healthcare professionals. All of our music is original on all albums.

    We have two songs that we wish to add on a new album that are not original. We are willing to pay royalties for the use of the song (melody/harmony and similar arrangement). However, we totally rewrite the lyrics and even rewrite the titles of the songs. The lyrics are set to the familiar tune but are very much healthcare or nursing focused.

    I've visited the Harry Fox Agency web-site and read their web page regarding mechanical licensing. It seems that all one has to do is simply fill out the form, send in the money . . . and you now have permission to use the song on your album. Interestingly, it appears that if you have a credit card, you can do the whole process on-line. Is this too good to be true??? Is there more to the copyright/mechanical licensing process that I need to know???

    Because we parody the songs that we want to use on the albums, do we have to obtain special permissions for the use of the melody/harmony???

    Any suggestions and feed back will be appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,

    Ted Fiebke, RN


    efiebke@toolivenurse.com Too Live Nurse
     
  2. donmorrell

    donmorrell Guest

    Originally posted by Ted Fiebke:
    [QB]Because we parody the songs that we want to use on the albums, do we have to obtain special permissions for the use of the melody/harmony???
    /QB]

    Yes. In the USA, once you tamper with any element of the copyrightable parts of a song (lyric/melody), a straight mechanical license is not applicable.

    Contact the publishers of the songs to get permission. Often, if it's for a worthy non-commercial cause, they'll show some mercy.


    Best -- Don
     
  3. efiebke

    efiebke Active Member

     
  4. donmorrell

    donmorrell Guest

    Hello, Ted.

    SOP is really to just contact the publisher. Talk to someone in licensing and explain exactly what you're doing, how many units you plan to press, how many your artist last sold. Be sure to have your new lyric and/or version of the song ready to send them for approval.

    I once read some quotes from from Cheech & Chong regarding getting permission to turn "Born In The USA" into "Born In East LA". Something about groveling while on their knees...

    I'm sure you'll fare better. But... knee pads might be handy to have around. I think Weird Al had 'em grafted on.

    Best -- Don

    Originally posted by Ted Fiebke:
    Thank you, Don.

    Unfortunately, this is a very commercial venture. Working with other songs has always been a tricky issue for our small company (which is why we do original works). However the familiar melody of the two songs we want to use will make the "laugh factor" of the lyrics even greater! It's worth a shot contacting the publishers. Will give the publishers a call and a letter. Any suggestions on how to proceed??? This is very unknow territory.

    Regards,

    Ted[/QB]
     
  5. efiebke

    efiebke Active Member

    Originally posted by donmorrell:



    I once read some quotes from from Cheech & Chong regarding getting permission to turn "Born In The USA" into "Born In East LA". Something about groveling while on their knees...

    I'm sure you'll fare better. But... knee pads might be handy to have around. I think Weird Al had 'em grafted on.


    Don:

    I always wondered how "Weird Al" got permission to do his parody songs!! :D

    I'm off to the nearest Walmart to purchase some knee pads!

    Thank you!

    Ted Fiebke, RN
     

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