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    • CommentAuthorElohim
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    Basically, I've written and am in the process of recording an album of comedy songs to help pay my tuition fees.

    But! It's been done like the Amateur Transplants - my lyrics on popular tunes.

    My internet researches have been somewhat ambiguous, and I was wondering if people could advise. For instance, do I owe royalties or licence fees? Do I owe them to recording artists or the writers of the tunes, since I've made my own arrangements as well as changing the words?

    Are there any issues that might blindside me, a total amateur and newcomer to the scene?

    Cheers for any input guys.
  1.  (4433.2)
    You'll owe the songwriter money since you're using their music. You might even have to get permission, since you're altering their original work in some way.

    Ask a lawyer. Asking for legal advice on the Internet isn't your best bet.
  2.  (4433.3)
    Weird Al had to get permission.
    • CommentAuthorElohim
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    @ WJD
    Oh, I thought he did it as a courtesy.
    Well, I thought that too, but I'm fairly broke and my law student friends don't do this sort of thing - they're all either property or human rights. So I figured Whitechapel was probably as good a place to enquire as any.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    parody is protected speech. change a melody or a chord a bit and you should be in the clear for sure.
  3.  (4433.6)
    Fair use laws differentiate between parody and satire. Parody makes fun of the original work, and generally falls under fair use protection. Satire uses elements of one work to make fun of something else. Satire generally doesn't fall under fair use protection. Sometimes it does.

    Nevertheless, get a lawyer to tell you how to do things the right way. Do it wrong, get sued, and you'll be even more broke than you are now. Maybe you can find someone who will advise you for a small % of what you make off your CD sales.
    • CommentAuthorBen Thelen
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    I am a lawyer, and I don't know much about this. And in general, I think that looking for people to shoot from the hip about legal stuff on the Internet probably won't help you.

    Generally speaking, the best legal advice any lawyer can (or likely will) give you, if your not her client, is to get a lawyer. And I'm assuming your response will be: I'm trying to make some money here. Because I don't have money. And paying a lawyer really isn't going to help me on that front.

    Well, maybe so. But here's one bit of info that might help. My former law school has a small business clinic that gives extremely cheap legal advice and assistance to people looking to start small businesses. They do this because law students want to get experience doing actual legal work, and it's generally okay for them to do that work so long as they are supervised by an actual lawyer, in this case, their clinical professor. There must be other places out there like this, perhaps you can locate one near you.
    • CommentAuthorElohim
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    Ooh, shiny. Might go on campus and have a look for one at Warwick. Law is somewhere inside the the same mazy building as my own degree. Just depends if they've closed for Christmas already...

    I have both parody and satire on my tracklist, so at least some of it will be fine, mashallah.
  4.  (4433.9)
    Allow me to join the chorus and advise you to speak to an attorney. Legal Aid is a not-for-profit organization, that's the one in NYC, there's likely one near you or a similar organization. They might answer your question flat out or pass you on to a lawyer who can help.

    My experience with parody music was in radio a few years back. The legal test usually comes with "is this clearly parody", meaning no one is buying your copy of thinking they're getting the artist. I.E., no one thinks that Weird Al's "Amish Paradise" was done by Coolio. Mainly because it was better than anything Coolio could ever do.

    Weird Al does seek out permission from the artists as a bit of professional courtesy. Oddly enough, I know this from working on a project with one of the guys in his band. My brush with glory.

    The only artist to really give Weird Al shit about a parody after giving his blessing? Coolio.
    • CommentAuthorElohim
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    I heard Eminem and Michael Jackson have both at one time or another been snitchy with His Weirdness.

    I'll give Legal Aid a try, thanks for that. Looking at what I've done, how I've done it, there's no way in hell anyone higher up the IQ scale than half of GW Bush's brain will think it's the same. And that's when things are spelt out for them. Hopefully parody will cover my stuff.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    I've heard that Weird Al has on several occasions wanted to do parodies of Prince songs but has always been turned down. So did he not release them because out of courtesy or because he couldn't do it legally?
    • CommentAuthorElohim
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2008
    Courtesy I think.
    2 Live Crew did a parodic cover of "Pretty Woman" called "Oh Pretty Woman" without permission then won in court.

    But as mentioned above, this seems to be parody rather than satire. So I don't know, depends what Weird Al wrote down I suppose.