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Is it legal to make video game remixes/covers without permission?


SweTiger
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concerning the United States... a cease and desist letter is a far cry from any real legal action. composers and game companies will always set the climate for copyright infringement, and they haven't done a single thing yet, except make people stop once or twice.

oh, it's that time of month when I reference Zelda Step again! extremely high profile, extremely profitable, and still extremely available for purchase today. not so much as a hiccup.

how about these:

http://www.beatport.com/search?query=zelda

none of those have been C&D'd, and beatport makes a fortune on them, guaranteed. Some video game remixes are even available on iTunes. Sure, let's assume they have to pay royalties to nintendo or koji kondo. how do you get that permission? Let's check nintendo's website

While we are grateful for all the requests for permission to use Nintendo properties, we are not able to grant such requests. We receive thousands of requests and we do not have adequate staffing to review them all. Therefore, our general policy is to decline requests for permission for the use of Nintendo properties.

Although we are not able to grant permission, use of Nintendo's properties without formal permission by Nintendo may still be allowed under the relevant laws of the particular jurisdiction involved. Thus, we encourage you to seek your own legal counsel if you have any questions about whether your particular proposed use is permitted without Nintendo's authorization. Nintendo cannot provide legal advice.

We appreciate your support.

so.. you couldn't even pay them if you wanted to. Dunno, it just seems like they don't care. granted, that's only nintendo, but I haven't seen a single case of an "illegal remixing profiteer" having to pay damages to a major game studio or composer, and if you can find one, I wanna see it.

I personally don't want to see a day where nintendo and sega and koji kondo and tommy tallarico start suing people into the dirt because they made a few bucks re-using their intellectual property, and I also don't want to see a day where disgruntled fans are preventing artists from making the sounds they want to make and selling it to people who want to pay them for it... and thankfully, neither of those scenarios is ever going to happen.

you can't OWN music. it belongs to everyone.

edit: Derrit, yeah I ran out of download credits. everything goes back to free on july 5th!

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Wait wait wait. So that means that what Mega Ran does is also legal?

You really can't own music?

When I'm writing music, I sometimes find myself wanting to "reference" one small part of a song and just that gives me an accelerated heart beat.

EDIT: NO FREAKING WAY! While I was typing this, I was listening to the Mega Ran FFVII album and he does a big spoken word part in one song where he tells the story of how Capcom liked his Mega Man remixes enough to give him a license to use the content. AMAZING!

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As far as I'm aware its totally legal seeing as your not selling the trademark without the creators permission.

Its only when you start selling it it becomes complicated.

I ain't a lawyer so i don't understand copyright laws.

All i do know is that you need to get permission from the copyright holders to sell your own "Dōjinshi"

or your ass will get sued.

Unless your are pretty much giving way the exact same product released by the copyright holders because your basically pirating their product (example: streets of rage remake, yes it is a remake and with all the bells and whistles but your basically giving away their entire streets of rage series online)

I think remixes that are given away will be ok.

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Nothing happens... until it does.

Everyone who takes advantage of a situation leading up until the critical point at which it actually achieves enough mass to be noticeable/objectionable can be thought of in different lights... opportunists, perhaps, entrepreneurs, perhaps, but *potentially* also sellouts AND/OR those who'd risk ruining things for others to profit themselves AND/OR those who might be better advised making money off their own name & their original work than profiting through name/brand association - however talented they may be.

Not saying any sort of "crackdown" or widespread adversity to fan creations is inevitable due to increased ignorance of licensing and selling for profit, but it's at least POSSIBLE.

Just something to consider.

Well, that's comforting :<

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Wait wait wait. So that means that what Mega Ran does is also legal?

You really can't own music?

When I'm writing music, I sometimes find myself wanting to "reference" one small part of a song and just that gives me an accelerated heart beat.

EDIT: NO FREAKING WAY! While I was typing this, I was listening to the Mega Ran FFVII album and he does a big spoken word part in one song where he tells the story of how Capcom liked his Mega Man remixes enough to give him a license to use the content. AMAZING!

Yes, Mega Ran has a license to use Capcom's music. Same with The Megas, and same with OCR, and probably the same with other Capcom-related musicians. Capcom is usually pretty cool with fanmade arrangements (except apparently that one time I referenced earlier.)

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I suppose a clever argument could be crafted around OCR's goals, but the primary nature of a vgm arrangement/remix isn't to educate, to criticize, to report, or to do any of the other things for which fair use was established.

Call it a square-peg/round-hole deal, then.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I suppose a clever argument could be crafted around OCR's goals, but the primary nature of a vgm arrangement/remix isn't to educate, to criticize, to report, or to do any of the other things for which fair use was established.

Call it a square-peg/round-hole deal, then.

Well, actually, part of the mission of OCR is to educate the public about VGM, according to the OCR content policy. Read the last sentence on the page. It seems very likely that this site is covered, or could be covered, by fair use.

Plus, this site is supported by many composers within the gaming industry, and some people who have made remixes on OCR have worked on or made entire game soundtracks. The chances are slim that OCR will ever face legal challenges, especially since the very companies that would issue any challenges get free publicity every time their soundtracks are represented on the site.

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I suppose a clever argument could be crafted around OCR's goals, but the primary nature of a vgm arrangement/remix isn't to educate, to criticize, to report, or to do any of the other things for which fair use was established.

It isn't? Could have fooled me... I guess the key word is "primary," which complicates things, but I definitely think we try to do all those things, AND that we succeed.

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You can educate, criticize, and report about pretty much anything. I know nothing of the LAW but I would assume it would be a little more strict than that.

But on a similar note, here's a full length movie I uploaded to Youtube for educational purposes under the fair use doctrine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jpq7hyX-OWw

There's not a hard and fast rule when it comes to fair use, it varies from case to case, if my understanding is correct. On the off chance that OCR faces legal challenge, fair use would probably be used as a defense. I personally think it would work, since the whole point of this site is to show, or educate if you will, that video game music is a legitimate and artistic form of music. Correct me if I'm wrong. Not to mention that remixes contain variations on the original source, which may or may not make a difference.

Again, that's assuming a legal issue would even pop up. OCR has a good relationship, as I understand it, with composers in industry. I really can't imagine a game company taking issue with what goes on around here, what would they gain?

EDIT: It would certainly be easier to argue fair use for OCR, then for a movie uploaded to YouTube containing no commentary.

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I guess the key word is "primary," which complicates things, but I definitely think we try to do all those things, AND that we succeed.

Yes to all.

But again, I think it'll never get to the point where a fair use defense would need to be used. The plaintiff would first have to prove that damage was done, and it's terribly hard to imagine how they'd go about doing so with the fact that OCR is non-profit, in good taste, and with the support of multiple original artists. And surely other points that I'm not recalling offhand. Combine that with the fact that the law doesn't deal with trifles, and - even with an undertaking as large as OCR's - the defense would win without raising a hand.

Of course, if it somehow came to it, sure, use the fair use defense. If nothing else, it'll give ample opportunity to reinforce the preceding points and further demonstrate the silliness of the whole thing.

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Why is it "dumb stuff"? Feel free to elaborate on your appraisal of licensing something that does not belong to you so you can profit from it.

It was a joke, because I'm poor and wanna find a way to be totally safe, not pay, and still be able to keep improving my band through the music we play (i.e. my dream life). Although I'd still totally be willing to use it, it just kinda rubs me the wrong way (another expense in production for music tributing composers and compositions).

To rephrase: I just want to make sure, even after I pay for license, can I get a C&D from a game company/composer?

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It was a joke, because I'm poor and wanna find a way to be totally safe, not pay, and still be able to keep improving my band through the music we play (i.e. my dream life). Although I'd still totally be willing to use it, it just kinda rubs me the wrong way (another expense in production for music tributing composers and compositions).

To rephrase: I just want to make sure, even after I pay for license, can I get a C&D from a game company/composer?

Once the license has gone through, no, because that would essentially be them giving you legal permission to use their IP and then taking action against you anyway.

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