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Topic: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

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  1. #1

    Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    I have been employed to do a jingle for a company and wanted to know if I would be able to create my own MIDI version of copy-written song (a popular top-40 song from the 70's) and place original lyrics pertaining to the company I am creating the jingle for.

    I do not know the stipulations for this sort of this so if any of you full-time jingle writers out there can advise me, I would be grateful.

    Thanks!
    _______________________________________
    "I would rather compose than decompose."


    Sean C. Dockery
    www.SeanDockery.com




    Cubase 5, Komplete 6, Alchemy, PLAY, Vienna Instruments, Spectrasonics, and much more

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  2. #2

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    Well first, congrats on landing the gig... the jingle market is brutal!

    And, to answer your question... I'd consult with a lawyer that is familiar with intellectual property law, but (and I am not an attorney nor have I ever played one) I'm pretty certain you'll need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

    There are exceptions, under fair use, for parodies, but they are not all inclusive, and I've never understood that particular exception.

    There are mechanical rights to include an existing performance on a compilation, and I believe they are still considered compulsory.

    There are performance rights, administered by ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, but I believe that they only address public performance of the original composition and/or recording.

    Which means you need specific permission from the copyright holder... but I could be wrong.

    When I have asked for permission the responses have run the gamut from "NO" to "Sure, thanks", but most of the time the artist will want to know how you are using the piece, and they may want to hear the finished version before granting permission.

    Good luck!
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  3. #3

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    If this is something you are getting paid to do, be very careful, as you will be responsible if there is a problem. What you are describing isn't clear enough to make the distinction of whether or not it is OK.

    For example: If you are taking a song (let's say for example Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi), and writing new words talking about how great the new Ford Truck line is, and they are releasing that as their new TV commercial, you are going to be getting calls from laywers very soon. On the other hand, if you were to take that same song, and write lyrics that were comical about how all of the other car companies were going to be knocked out of business by the new line of Ford trucks, and that song was played at a company retreat during a celebration dinner, you may be OK with that. In the first case, you are taking the popularity of the song to try to get people to buy a product. In the second case, you are parodying the song, and using it's popularity to reinforce the comedy behind your message.

    Now I am not a lawyer, but from my experience in doing things like this for radio, it seems to me that if the purpose of using the original song is to help get a funny message across, and not to sell anything, it is more likely to safely be used as a parody. If the music is used to sell something, though, you are pretty much out of luck unless you are then paying royalties to the original songwriters.

  4. #4

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    For example: If my client was "Don Prayer Motors" and I created a MIDI mock-up of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer", but I changed the chorus lyrics to, "Don Prayer Motors". Could that be considered a parody?
    _______________________________________
    "I would rather compose than decompose."


    Sean C. Dockery
    www.SeanDockery.com




    Cubase 5, Komplete 6, Alchemy, PLAY, Vienna Instruments, Spectrasonics, and much more

    INTEL|CORE I7 980X 3.33G, 12G CORSAIR DDR3, SSD 160G|OCZ for OS.






  5. #5

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    Quote Originally Posted by quantum7 View Post
    For example: If my client was "Don Prayer Motors" and I created a MIDI mock-up of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer", but I changed the chorus lyrics to, "Don Prayer Motors". Could that be considered a parody?
    Of course you can't do that. It's called theft.

    Call ASCAP is you have any questions.

    http://www.ascap.com/contact/membership_offices.aspx

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    Ah, the fair use...

    I believe that is not considered to be a parody because you were not "making fun" or "criticizing" or "commenting" the original work in musical way ENOUGH. In this case, you were just using the original for its already recognized value to advertise 3rd party work.

    If I were you, I would recommend you to suggest the company to contact the entertainment or copyright attorney if they like the idea and pursue, and make them reliable.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)
    Composer/Conductor/Orchestrator
    www.wisemanproject.com

  7. #7

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    Well, that answers my question. Thanks guys. I would rather do an original theme anyway, but the client wanted a song that everyone knew. I will inform them to stick with something original.
    _______________________________________
    "I would rather compose than decompose."


    Sean C. Dockery
    www.SeanDockery.com




    Cubase 5, Komplete 6, Alchemy, PLAY, Vienna Instruments, Spectrasonics, and much more

    INTEL|CORE I7 980X 3.33G, 12G CORSAIR DDR3, SSD 160G|OCZ for OS.






  8. #8

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    this is extremely dangerous territory. i created an 'elevator' version of a beatles song for an ad once, but the company had bought the rights to use the song...to the tune of millions of euros. the advice is pretty much: don't do it unless the employer has already retained rights to use of the song.

  9. #9

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    Quote Originally Posted by scientist View Post
    this is extremely dangerous territory. i created an 'elevator' version of a beatles song for an ad once, but the company had bought the rights to use the song...to the tune of millions of euros. the advice is pretty much: don't do it unless the employer has already retained rights to use of the song.

    exactly.
    rsp
    richard sven
    sound sculptist
    ------------------
    Nuendo 4.3 | Intel DP35DP : Intel Quad Core QX 6700 : 4GB RAM | Windows XP Pro SP3 | Lynx Two C | Midisport 2x2 | 2xUAD-1, UAD-2 Quad |

    Cubase 4.5.2 | MacBookPro 2.16 Ghz | 10.6.3 | 2GB | TC Konnekt 8

  10. #10

    Re: Using copy-written songs for jingles- question

    As a couple of others have said, this would definitely not be legal and you and the company could be sued for huge money.

    "Fair use" would not apply.

    And "parody" is a very misunderstood part of copyright law. Just because something is a parody does NOT mean it can be used without permission. There are some times when it is, but those times are fairly rare, and would never apply in advertising.

    Some people mistakenly think parody falls under the category of "critique" which is what 2 Live Crew relied on to win their case over their "Big Ugly Woman" song (a rip off of Orbison's "Pretty Woman.") That's dangerous territory and it should be noted that 2 Live Crew barely prevailed. I think today they would lose.

    I'll add one other thought that is admittedly nitpicky, but it's good to know: The term is "copyright" because it has to do with who has "right" to make copies. Past tense is copyrighted, not copywritten. I'm not trying be critical (I hate nitpicky grammar police,) this is just a friendly note since you may use this term in the future.

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