Copyright laws when making recordings from published materials.

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  • Hi, I was thinking of attempting to make some ringtones based on classical music works, but was wondering about copyright issues when it came to making recordings of more recent materials. Any piece published before 1923 should be fair game, but I'm not sure where the line is drawn for works written after that date. Obviously the published work itself is copyrighted and is subject to its laws, but does the same apply if you take an idea from the work and turn it into a recording format to sell?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Oh, just to be clear, I don't intend to directly rip off material from existing recordings. I'm going to use ideas derived from the *written work*, then arrange and render them into a recording format electronically so it might be somewhat different than the original. The intension is to sell these things online, so I would like to make sure that I'll be able to avoid any legal troubles if it arises.
  • If I'm understanding correctly what you intend, it sounds like you would be creating a derivative work of the sheet music. Making a derivative work is a right given to copyright holders. It's possible that fair use might apply, but it's hard to tell for sure without knowing a lot more about how you intend to use the original. Given the current climate in musical copyright, I would suggest that you contact a good copyright attorney before offering any ringtones created from material under copyright protection.

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