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© 2005 Jazzorg Ltd.   Copies of these notes may be used, subject to the Jazzorg Licence 2, described under the 'Copyright' menu tab.  You can also discuss or comment on this item in the forums.

1.     Introduction.   [TOP]

ImageIs this is a picture of copyright law?   Ever heard of WIPO?   The Berne Convention?   The Universal Copyright Convention ?   What about ‘Title 17 of the United States Code’ and the UK ‘Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988’?   Maybe not, and if you’re not interested, then you can go straight to the Jazzorg licence section.   We have to include the disclaimer, of course, that Jazzorg does not warrant any of the information contained in this article and that, if you require information on the subject of copyright, you must consult the appropriate authorities.

For the less easily gratified, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an agency of the UN with 182 member states, which administers 23 international treaties   Among those treaties is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which was convened in 1886 and revisited half a dozen times since.   WIPO claims to be ‘dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit.   These works -- intellectual property -- are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts’; they also cover the ‘Phonograms Convention’.   Jazzers, who are big in Hanoi, will be delighted to learn that the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam recently acceded to the Phonograms Convention   (A ‘phonogram’ means any exclusively aural fixation of sounds of a performance or of other sounds, which means anything from a wax cylinder, through,vinyl discs, magnetic tapes, hard-drives, CD’s and DVD’s, to any recording medium that’s dreamed up in the future.)

2.     What does ‘copyright’ do?  [TOP]

The Berne Convention grants the minimum rights to authors of copyright material and the minimum term of protection.   In essence, the author, his successors and anyone assigned a copyright have total control over the use of the material in that anyone else can’t do anything with it, which affects the copyright holder’s economic or moral rights, without their express permission.   The term of protection granted by the Convention is the life of the author and fifty years after his death.  Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations of a literary or artistic work (all, of course, subject to the permission of the author) can be protected as original works but without prejudice to the copyright in the original work.   Authors of dramatic, dramatico-musical and musical works also have the exclusive right of authorizing the public performance of their works, by whatever process (film, radio, etc ) and any communication to the public of the performance of their works.  There are a couple of exceptions to the author’s rights, such as ‘fair use’, for things like ‘education’ or ‘comment’, but the ‘definitions’ are fraught with subjectivity.

O.K., so if we all had this one reference, we would, at least, all be singing from the same hymn book.   But, sprinkled through the whole of the Convention are the phrases requiring certain aspects to be ‘a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union’ or other treatments by ‘each country of the Union’.  So every signatory does it’s own thing, anyway, working from the Berne Convention merely as a base-line.   The US, for example, also had a system of fixed copyright terms, which were subject to renewal and ranged to a maximum of 95 years.   In the mid-nineties, the EU extended copyright protection by 20 years, to match Germany’s then current law and, in 1998, the US did the same with the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act .   Dubbed the "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act", because the Mickey Mouse copyright was shortly to expire, this and the EU legislation extended copyright to 70 years after the death of the author.   There are good intentions to harmonise legislation but there are also some powerful self-interests influencing the direction of the law.   For example, appended to the U.S. ‘Family Movie Act 2005’ were some amendments making copyright infringement a criminal offence with penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The copyright duration for recordings and typographical representation of a work (the actual hard copy of the work) are different from the above.   Recordings have a copyright duration of 50 years but don't get the idea that you can dust off and reissue all those pre-1955 'Bird' recordings as a CD because the copyright of the composer will probably still prevail.   For typographical work, the duration is 25 years but, again, when that period is exhausted, the original author/composer copyright will still apply.   That's why there is a plethora of published 'classical' music, photocopied and cleaned up from pre-1980 printings, because Mozart and his mates are no longer interested in the copyright.   The 25 year copyright would apply to any published hard copy of the 'new issue' but, if you wanted, you could go back and start with the originals.....

As far as we know, nobody has ever copyrighted a chord sequence and jazz should be grateful that all the new (copyright) melodies, written on 'standard' chord sequences (contrafacts) by Bird, Diz and the rest, have expanded the jazz canon.

3.     Is copyright a ‘good thing’?  [TOP]

Everyone agrees (or perhaps 39% of them - see later) that an innovator of copyright material deserves a fair reward for his/her intellectual effort.   But there is increasing evidence, in this age of digital processing, that Joe Public is not satisfied with rules instituted in the nineteenth century and which have become progressively more prohibitive.   Further, they infer that the beneficiaries of copyright laws are not the ‘authors’ but the moguls of ‘big business’, in entertainment, software, music and the media.

The public’s disaffection, coupled with a growing ease in processing data, manifests itself primarily by a disinclination to pay the price for the product.  Maybe this is an inherent tendency - after all, many people regard ‘copying a CD for a friend’ or photocopying an arrangement for their band, as ‘fair’ and, even if illegal, at least ‘overlookable’.   The more serious manifestations were evident with the popularity of Napster and similar sites and the subsequent actions to stop widespread media file sharing.   The actions against Napster were facilitated by having a central target at which to aim, but the most recent technology for file sharing, known as BitTorrent , is more amorphous and more difficult to control, although some BitTorrent distributing sites have already been closed by the actions of the movie industry.   (BitTorrent works by collecting parts of a file as it circulates the web between people ‘looking for’ the same file).

Various solutions continue to be put forward to combat file-sharing and a book by T.Fisher argues persuasively that owners of copyright should be rewarded from government funds collected via an entertainment tax.   Creative Commons , an organisation partly funded by the Stanford Law School, suggests a system of licences of which the Jazzorg licence appears to be derivative.   The Creative Commons objective is ‘to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules.’   The problem remains, however, with 35% of music 'consumers' legally downloading and 40% doing it illegally.   Of the reasons for not downloading illegally, 44% were frightened of prosecution, 39% cited that it was unfair to performers and 29% were concerned about viruses.   (Source: Digital Music Survey, 2005).

In the meantime, reactions to media control by a few companies have contributed to the rise of small, independent record/media producers (particularly in jazz) and, in the ‘pop’ sector, many groups are making their output available as downloads in addition to selling their product.   This apparently contradictory ’business plan’ is nowhere more evident, and successful, than in the ‘open source’ movement in software, a technology which suffers the same centralised powerful companies and copyright considerations as the entertainment industry.   Those forming the open source movement provide software free to the user and permit its use, with or without modification, subject to the conditions of a licence, whilst retaining all the rights of copyright.   They derive an increased exposure, from the use of the product, together with increased income from selling packages and support and other products and, occasionally, via donations from grateful users.   Many of the community provide free software for a variety of motives, other than income, varying from altruism, through polishing their egos, to fighting the monopoly of the aforesaid moguls.   (The Jazzorg website operates using open source software, acknowledged in the footer of published pages).

Because of the protection it confers, we can conclude that copyright is a useful tool, but it can be overused.   To avoid the theft of their 'ideas', it is possible for the artist to give so much thought to the protection of their copyright, that their ideas are never exploited.   Their music may rarely (never) be played and their artistic exposure, part of the route to fame and fortune, is diminished.   What everyone worries about, of course, is someone 'making a killing' using their ideas or that anyone, who uses their ideas for free, is a lost potential customer.   The first happens very rarely and, for the second, most people never get to sell their product or, at best, reach a limited market.   Licencing is an alternative, which can increase the exposure and can limit the perceived dangers.

4.     Copyright on Jazzorg.  [TOP]

So, in the context of the above summary Jazzorg seek to minimise the copyright constraint on those users who may use the copyright material but can least afford royalties (e.g. students, teachers, amateur enthusiasts, etc.).   However, all the material is specifically not available for commercial development unless agreed with the copyright holder, who retains all the rights.

Jazzorg operates, where possible, rwo levels of licence. The first is the minimum permissions, which only permits use of the material for ‘personal use only’ and does not permit more than one copy.   This licence is normally applied to audio tracks and is similar to the usual copyright constraints when you buy recorded media, in that you are permitted to make one copy. The second, normally applied to written or notated material, permits multiple copies of up to 100 copies with certain reservations, which is intended for teaching or non-commercial activities (e.g. rehearsal bands).   The licences were not drafted by a 'copyright lawyer', but are an attempt to put, in plain English, the terms under which copyright material, published on the Jazzorg site, may be used.

Where downloads of material are available, Jazzorg ask you to signify your agreement to comply with the terms of the appropriate licence.

5.     Jazzorg Licences.  [TOP]

Section 5.1.   General Conditions applying to Licences 1 and 2

  • 5.1.1   The owner of the copyright retains all rights conferred by copyright law and other laws.

  • 5.1.2   You are not permitted to sell any material downloaded from the Jazzorg site.

  • 5.1.3   You are not permitted to use any material downloaded from the Jazzorg site, whether modified or in its original form, in any commercial activity for which the income is expected to achieve or achieves in excess of $500 US, or equivalent currency.   In the event of commercial exploitation resulting in income in excess of $500 US, or equivalent currency, any real or implied licence will not apply and the copyright holder will exert all his rights under copyright law and associated law.

  • 5.1.4   You are not permitted to represent any material downloaded from the Jazzorg site as the work of any person or entity other than the copyright holder.

  • 5.1.5   The copyright content of any item on the Jazzorg website cannot be broadcast, published, used or displayed on any other website except with the written permission of Jazzorg or the copyright holder.

  • 5.1.6   Users of the Jazzorg content may provide links from their site to any content on the Jazzorg site but may not organise those links to give the impression that the content or Jazzorg is in any way associated with the linking website.

  • 5.1.7   Where a licence is permitted by the copyright holder, any copies of the original, whether modified or not, must always retain the original copyright notice and acknowledgement to the original copyright holder .   You are not permitted to charge for the material content of the copies but you may charge for the preparation of the copies (e.g. the photocopying costs).   The terms of para 5.1.3 will still apply .

  • 5.1.8   Where a licence is permitted by the copyright holder, a user, who has made permitted modifications to an item (e.g. a musical arrangement), need not transfer the same licence to any user of the modified material and may charge for his/her work but may not charge for the original part of the material.   The terms of para 5.1.3 will still apply.

  • 5.1.9   Where a licence is permitted by the copyright holder, the original copyright statement must always be retained but the user may claim whatever changes he/she has made to the material as his/her copyright.   It must be understood, however, that Jazzorg do not warrant the copyright material and it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that their own copyright position is correct,

  • 5.1.10   Copyright material or any other material on the Jazzorg website carries no warranty real or implied as to its correctness in law or its status as material which can be distributed under licence.

  • 5.1.11   You are not required to accept the Licences described in this text, since you have not signified your acceptance by signature.   However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the copyright material or its derivative works.   These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this Licence.   Therefore, by copying, modifying or distributing the copyright material as permitted (or any work based on the material), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the material or works based on it,

Section 5.2.   Specific Licences
  • 5.2.1   Jazzorg Licence 1 .   In addition to any terms and limitations specified in Section 5.1, a licence known as Jazzorg Licence 1 permits the user to make one copy of the copyright material for their own personal use and no other copies are permitted. In all other respects, the copyright holder retains all those rights conferred by copyright law and associated laws

  • 5.2.2   Jazzorg Licence 2   In addition to any terms and limitations specified in Section 5.1, a licence known as Jazzorg Licence 2 permits the user to make up to 100 copies of the copyright material and no other copies are permitted. In all other respects, the copyright holder retains all those rights conferred by copyright law and associated laws