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    Copyright when recording street performers


    if i make a recording of a street performer "jamming" or tuning their guitar, do i own exclusive copyright to the recording because i'm the one who put it in "fixed form"?

    IIUC, this wouldn't quite apply to a street performer playing a cover song, because the copyright of the composition is still encumbered (even if i could lay claim to the "recording"wink... but i think if i only used a tiny sample of the recording, that doesn't infringe on the composition (eg; too small to readily identify the composition), then it's fair game.

    can anyone give an opinion on this?

    BTW, if you give $1 to a street performer, that's more money than they would have made if you bought their major-label album for $20 wink

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    atomxxx
    if i make a recording of a street performer "jamming" or tuning their guitar, do i own exclusive copyright to the recording because i'm the one who put it in "fixed form"?

    IIUC, this wouldn't quite apply to a street performer playing a cover song, because the copyright of the composition is still encumbered (even if i could lay claim to the "recording"wink... but i think if i only used a tiny sample of the recording, that doesn't infringe on the composition (eg; too small to readily identify the composition), then it's fair game.

    can anyone give an opinion on this?


    As a professional musician for many years in many jurisdictions, as far as I am aware copyright laws for photography are different to those governing sound and video with sound. A photographer does retain copyright of the images they capture, but recording audio or video performances with audio is different in the laws of most jurisdictions. As I understand it, performers own all the rights to their performances regardless of who records them, unless the performer specifically agrees otherwise.

    In my case, if I haven't already got their permission prior to recording (and I usually try to record as overtly as possible so they can see what I'm doing), I normally tell the performer or speaker or whatever about the recording afterwards, explain what I want to do with it, and then ask them if I can share my recording of them in the ways I specified. Often they agree that I can share it however I want, sometimes they'd like a named credit, and occasionally they decline permission in which case I can't use the recording. Getting a contact email can help if further queries arise afterwards. I've done this with people's voices speaking as well as with musical performances.

    So in short, the usage rights rest with the performer. I would recommend checking with them before sharing any recordings of them. I hope that helped?

    Good luck. smile

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    In American law there is a concept called "Unjust enrichment"...

    Unjust enrichment means when a person unfairly gets a benefit by chance, mistake or another's misfortune for which the one enriched has not paid or worked and morally and ethically should not keep. A person who has been unjustly enriched at the expense of another must legally return the unfairly kept money or benefits. Unjust enrichment is an equitable doctrine applied in the absence of a contract and used to prevent one person from being unjustly enriched at another's expense.
    http://definitions.uslegal.com/u/unjust-enrichment/

    If you record a busker and your recording goes to number one on the i-tunes download chart,
    the busker can "sue your ass" for a cut of the profits using the above law.

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    if i make a recording of a street performer "jamming" or tuning their guitar, do i own exclusive copyright to the recording because i'm the one who put it in "fixed form"?

    No, never.

    Life is probably good
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    so the consensus seems to be that the artist would maintain rights to the recording.

    what are you opinions in regards to de minimis use of such a recording... like a street performer jamming (or even playing songs, or even playing covers) but just using a few notes as a loop?

    would that cause harm to the performer? to the composer? or are we thus crossing over into "fair game"?

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    Legally there's no fair game,whatever you copy and is recognisable is de minimus usage:

    http://www.goodcopybadcopy.net/

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    http://www.goodcopybadcopy.net/

    juskiddink, thank you very much for that link. The documentary and interviews are interesting and informative.

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams

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