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SubNormal J3

Game Music Copyright

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Surprisingly what Jack has said here is largely accurate from the purely legal standpoint. But any speculation as to whether OCR would 'win' in court is really pointless. You can cherry-pick examples of fair use working or not working, but ultimately, there is a gigantic mound of case law out there and people earning six figures a year would be getting paid to sift through it and argue their case. Like Larry said, if you're not a lawyer, you can't speak with any authority on whether OCR would have a successful fair use defense or not. That includes you, Wes :<

My degree was "Music Industry" so this is a topic I care deeply about. As I said earlier in the thread, I don't think there is an ethical problem with pirating out-of-print/unavailable soundtracks. Likewise, I have a problem with software developers who require internet authorization to use their product, then go out of business or stop supporting the product, rendering it useless. People should be allowed to crack that product (that they legally bought) in order to use it, and I do think copyright law needs some tweaking to accommodate cases like those.

The thing is though, it's VERY hard to make one-size-fits-all law. That's why fair use is so tricky - there are multiple factors used in determining whether or not a particular use is fair use, and it's always case-by-case. While I advocate changes like the above, we have to be careful not to penalize people who are doing their best to distribute their work, for example.

Yeah...I haven't bought any modern PC games but that's only because I don't have a real decent PC. But I don't like the idea of having to stay online to play at all, and I don't really like internet activation either, there ARE people out there who buy games just for themselves and maybe they don't have internet... but I think that'd be getting away from the topic if I went on.

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So I sent an email to Nintendo of America seeing as the plurality of mixes on the site are from games published by Nintendo. I basically asked what their policies on derivative works such as those found on the site as well as acquiring out-of-print albums were. Understandably, the reply didn't give any legal advice per se, but I still found the conversation to be useful. Fortunately, Nintendo leaves a reasonable amount of discretion to its fans.

I appreciate your interest in using music from our games. To us, it represents a great sign of success and recognition of the Nintendo brand.

We are grateful for all the requests we receive for permission to use Nintendo properties; however, we receive thousands of requests and do not have adequate staffing to review them all. Therefore, our general policy is to decline all such requests, no exceptions. I'm unable to go into detail regarding your specific legal questions. I realize this isn’t what you wanted to hear and thank you for understanding.

Although we are unable to grant permission, use of Nintendo properties without our formal permission may still be allowed depending on the circumstances. You are encouraged to seek your own legal counsel if you have any questions about whether your particular proposed use is permitted without Nintendo's authorization. This is not a comment on whether we believe your particular proposed use is permissible—Nintendo cannot provide legal advice.

Sincerely,

Nintendo of America Inc.

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oh noes...it's back DX

just kidding (a little). Nice to see Nintendo did a sorta half-reply. Better than them saying they would sue you for admitting you downloaded their works without permission XD

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It's nice to see representatives responding to random e-mails to it's fans, there (even if the answer was ambiguous). Still a worthy effort though, SubNormalJ3 - thanks for sending that out for us.

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Um, wasn't my thread? And, thanks to SubNormal, we've learned valuable information: Nintendo's official policy IS that OCRemixes are breaking copyright law, because even if the site WANTED to ask permission to mix their songs, Nintendo wouldn't give it; Nintendo just doesn't sue because it has better things to do with its time.

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I thought your comments in the thread so far have been appropriate Jack. No worries, but I think I read that email a bit differently than you did.

Um, wasn't my thread? And, thanks to SubNormal, we've learned valuable information: Nintendo's official policy IS that OCRemixes are breaking copyright law, because even if the site WANTED to ask permission to mix their songs, Nintendo wouldn't give it; Nintendo just doesn't sue because it has better things to do with its time.

Nintendo has an umbrella policy against giving anyone permission to work with their IPs, but don't forget that they said that it is not necessarily illegal in all circumstances. Perhaps a hint to 'Fair Use?'

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Yeah, I just read that part of the e-mail as "ass-covering" by whomever writes those things; maybe if an example was given of what Nintendo would consider OK "circumstances" would be, I would take that part more seriously. Also, he only says "may still be", so who knows how accurate that statement is, in the long run.

Still, it's better than nothing. Which is the point.

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Because of this, your "transformative" covers are derivative works 100% of the time, and if the game the mixes came from has in its copyright mark the term "All Rights Reserved", then under US (and in some cases, international) copyright law, you are infringing on the copyright holder's exclusive right to make derivative works.

"All Rights Reserved" hasn't been required since the Berne Convention though, now creative works are just implicitly copyrighted in signatory countries.

Now to cast my stone on the scales.

OC Remixes are pretty blatantly copyright-infringing derivative works. Arguing educational fair use is at best a flimsy defense, and parody (someone referenced Weird Al) just downright nonsense. There may be a desire to dismiss Jack's correct information because it's not what one wants to hear, and after all, for someone who pulled their opinion of how copyright works squarely out of their behind (e.g. "it's not infringement becoz no profit lol") it is not unimaginable that maybe others just made up what they're saying too. But Jack didn't.

Personally, I'm not looking for a fight or even a concession from anyone, all I hope is that if you absolutely must castle yourself in a "this is how I think it should work" fantasy understanding of what 'copyright' or 'fair use' mean, then at least don't reach out to other people and spread that misinformation, no matter how tempting it may be to fortify your precious self-delusion by dragging others in. You know who you are.

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Hmm... it's hard to say, but I think I speak for most people here when I say that we know that there is some infringement being played, here. However, it's only a problem if any of the companies invest their time and money to take action against us, so it's a problem that is minimal, at best.

The representative that e-mailed back implied that Nintendo kind of liked the effort put out by us, so that combined with the support for VGs in general that we produce from this site really means that they're not going to pursue OCR for infringement. If they don't chase us then we're all just fine going about our lives producing remixes.

Out of curiosity, since we're on the copyrights claim topic, does anyone know if composers hold rights to their own music, if the rights are shared, entirely in the hands of the companies or if it's a case-by-case scenario? I'm pretty sure it's the second option, but I don't have the experience in the field to say, for sure.

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does anyone know if composers hold rights to their own music, if the rights are shared, entirely in the hands of the companies or if it's a case-by-case scenario?

It depends on what they worked out with their employer, but most likely the compositions would be works-for-hire and therefore the company would have an exclusive monopoly on the music.

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