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Question about sharing sheet music
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iBud
Honolulu, HI
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November 20, 2014 - 1:19 pm
Member Since: August 28, 2014
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Aloha @Fiddlerman,

In the Christian music section, you mentioned obtaining permission to use one of Hillsong United's songs for a group project and that got me wondering about a possible legal issue.  I downloaded the sheet music from MuseScore's website, which freely grants access to download files that their users have previously uploaded.  I don't know where that person obtained the sheet music - they could have learned by ear, then used MuseScore to save it as sheet music.  They could also have bought the sheet music and use their own ability to develop the other voicings.

That brings me to my question, with respect only to copyrighted music.  Sheet music more than 100 years old generally speaking no longer has a copyright.  I have some music (from Chance McCoy's first album) that I'm trying to learn by ear, then convert to sheet music using MuseScore.  This music obviously has a copyright, so am I doing anything wrong with this procedure?  I'm not a lawyer (and I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night either cool), but I don't want to get anyone in a legal hassle, most of all myself.  As long as we're not reproducing the music for commercial gain, I don't see an issue, but I would like to verify my assumption.  

If anyone else has information to help answer my question, please let me know.  Personally, if I write something and other people like it so much that they want to learn it by ear, that would make me feel very proud of myself.  I would want other people to enjoy my music.  On the other hand, were I to sell my sheet music, I would be losing compensation, but that would probably happen anyway.  

With this missive, I didn't want to appear to be a free sheet music nazi, I just want to know if anyone happens to be a lawyer, and/or has any information on this issue.  There is a lot of sheet music on the web, and my intent is to avoid any legal entanglements.

Thanks in advance for any and all responses.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 20, 2014 - 10:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

If you use something that is copyrighted and perform it for money, the venue (place you are performing at) should collect money for that piece.
It's rarely done and even rarer that anyone gets in trouble for it.
I played in a group that actually gave places that we performed at a list of pieces that they needed to pay for and made sure it was done. I wasn't in charge so I can't give you the details but I can ask the guy.
Also, you are not allowed to sell copy-righted sheet music (don't think you can give it away either) but you can learn it by ear and you can certainly play it for your own enjoyment.
I'll double check with some of my union connections that know a lot about copyright rules.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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iBud
Honolulu, HI
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November 22, 2014 - 1:28 pm
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Aloha @Fiddlerman,

This thread started as a question with respect to the Hillsong United song query.  You mentioned that we would have to request permission to play the song as a project.  So long as we don't charge money for it, I'm not sure I understand why permission is required.  I am just seeking clarification, as I have been in many groups before (as the keyboard player) where we played music we had learned by ear (Styx's Paradise Theater album, when I was in Act I my senior year of high school in 1981 was the most difficult), but never sought permission.  Of course, we never charged money for our performances.  

Thanks again for your response.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 23, 2014 - 9:14 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Just because you did it previously doesn't mean you are allowed to do to. :)

I don't think we really need permission but I am not certain. I prefer to ask. It depends on the copyright.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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iBud
Honolulu, HI
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November 23, 2014 - 9:25 pm
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Aloha @Fiddlerman,

Thanks for the clarification.  Since we are a large group, not to mention international, it's not a bad idea to ask permission.  I don't see any reason for them not to give permission, though.  Thanks for the reminder that just because we got away with it before is no reason not to suspect a different reaction in the future laugh

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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November 24, 2014 - 2:45 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
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As far as I know, to print and share copywrited material is not allowed without permission.  

But I am coming from the "knitting pattern book world."  It's pretty strict and some of those fiber artists are not afraid to lower to boom on infringers. 

Some of the patterns stipulate that you can't knit the sweater and sell it. 

I have seen Disney swoop in on someone for knitting a Mickey Mouse dolly... and even the "mouse" dolls with red pants  named Herman are usually removed and dealt with.

:)

However...I have been pleasantly surprised in the fiber world of the times I have asked to share a picture for my blog, or knit something to sell for charity and I have received permission. 

I am not sure how it is in the music business. But you know people that write the music and it is their living, I want to support ($) our fellow musicians.  However I do buy a lot of music and if my friends ever need to borrow some music... I am happy to lend. 

Touchy subject...... I don't mean to start anything... just jibber jabbing.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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