[thelist] [Legal] MIDI & copyright issues

Wade Armstrong wade_lists at runstrong.com
Wed Nov 13 14:56:01 CST 2002

on 11/13/02 12:17 PM, Erik Bennett at ebennett at ecasd.k12.wi.us wrote:

> what are the legal issues of MIDI? Is a MIDI version of a Beatle's tune, or
> Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" actually a copyright violation?
MIDI is effectively another instrument, right? So, let's think of it that
way. Would a version of "Coming to America" on the pan flutes be a copyright
violation, if it were made without license? Absolutely so. So, your MIDI
tracks are as well.

Also keep in mind that John Fogerty was once sued by his former record label
for copyright violation because his solo songs, done with a new label,
sounded too much like his old songs done when he was part of Credence
Clearwater Revival. So you can get sued for anything, and it'll cost you
money to defend yourself.

> Any legal eagles on the list wanna take a stab at this? Or non-legal
> eagles as well. :-) We're an educational institution (K-12 public schools)
> so please keep that in mind as well. Thanks!
<tip type="copyright">
There's a popular misconception that, because an organization is nonprofit
or educational, that they receive some kind of free pass from copyright
laws. Not at all! Everything still applies. In some cases, the owner of a
copyright may choose to license their work at a lower cost, or for no cost,
to certain kinds of entities. They are under no obligation to do so,
however. In some extremely limited cases, individuals are, for educational
purposes, allowed to make a single copy of a copyrighted work for their own
use only. Consult your librarian for more information on these rights.


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