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Previous FF6 Kickstarter *cancelled* BUT new one in the works!!


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I don't claim to be a professional in the copyright field, but I do have a few bits of knowledge and experience I've picked up in the last year or so. Allow me to address a couple of your points.

- To the best of my knowledge, the previous albums were never sold, nor were they a selling point for a fundraiser. They only got released on the website (and mirroring sites/torrents), free for everyone to download, and that was that. As such, no licensing was required because no money was required to get an item/download.

There are a few widely-held copyright myths regarding licensing and remixes.. One is that "remixes given away for free don't need licensing," and similarly, "remixes given away for free don't need to disburse royalties to the copyright holder."

The first one isn't true UNLESS it falls under Fair Use, which remember is a defense, not a right. Fair Use can't stop someone from suing you, and if that happens it's your responsibility to prove you weren't infringing on someone else's copyright. Statutory damages of several thousand dollars. Fair Use is decided on a case-by-case basis, so only a copyright judge is going to be able to decide whether or not something falls under Fair Use.

As for the second myth, copyright law requires a specific number of cents to be paid to the copyright holder for each composition, rather than a percentage of the sale price. The only way around this is to make an agreement with the owner to either waive or lessen the statutory royalty amount.

Does this mean that OCR (or insert other X artist here) could some day be held liable for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in due royalty fees? Well, no. But the artists who submit their works to OCR could be, as they are the sole owners of their material. (It's in the Content Policy). Is this likely to happen? With current legislation, no. It would (probably) not be worthwhile for game companies to hunt down artists and hand out lawsuits. However, if new legislation passes that changed things to make it actually worthwhile for large game companies to do so, there's not much really stopping them. We've won the SOPA war for now, thankfully.

Of course, none of us think that what we're doing is actually wrong or worthy of being prosecuted. We assume that game companies don't mind our infringing actions, but only because they haven't sued anyone yet. Yeah, some companies are very open about the remixing community, (looking at you, Capcom), but should we really assume that all companies see releasing unlicensed remixes as acceptable behavior? Remember, when remixes are licensed and paying royalties, the copyright holder is making money. When unlicensed remixes are given away for free, the composer (or other copyright holder) loses out on that royalty money. Most people, (especially companies), don't like missing out on free revenue.

In the case of the Kickstarter, (this is purely my speculation), it probably appeared to SE that OCR was using Kickstarter to "sell" the physical albums without proper licensing and paying royalties (though there may have been plans to do so). This of course reinforces the belief that game companies currently draw the line of morality at the point where money becomes involved. Obviously we won't find out until we see what happens next after their internal discussions, but if I had to make a guess I would say the outcome will be that OCR will make an agreement to pay royalties for all of the physical albums "sold," and possibly even a flat-rate one-time royalty fee to cover all of the free downloads on the site. It's anyone's guess.

- Square-Enix, and indeed, any IP holder whose music has been remixed, would be perfectly within their rights to request that OCR no longer host music based on their respective IPs. So if Konami decided that they didn't want Castlevania remixes on here anymore, they could draw up a C&D or what have you, and tell djp to remove the music in question, or face legal consequences. Maybe they'd win in court, maybe djp would win. But it's Konami's IP being used as a source material, and they can defend it however they wish (regardless of how frivolous it comes across).
This is exactly right, though the worst case scenario could even include statutory damages.
OCR continues to host free remixes through the good graces of IP holders. In fact, those who make remixes in general are able to put them out there for free for the same reason. Not because they're untouchable by law, but because the companies (for the moment) don't really have an issue with it as long as it's free. But when money starts being handed over to gain a physical item filled with remixes, or to download an MP3 remix, then things get hairier, and the chances of lawyers getting involved goes up. That's when it gets easier for a company to see it as people making money off of their IP, without their permission. Then you get projects being shut down, and small children weeping openly in the streets as dismay fills their hearts.
Again, I wouldn't put so much faith in the companies not taking an issue to infringing remixes given away for free. It's entirely possible that it's just not worth it to the companies until money becomes involved. Then it would likely make things more worthwhile, or at least easier to prove in court.

Just things to think about. I do hope both parties are able to reach a satisfactory mutual agreement.

Of course, it's entirely possible that SE is interested in partnering up with OCR and funding it themselves... :D

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I really hate the current copyright system, and I hate where the big companies are trying to take it to (SOPA and etc..).

It was supposed to stimulate creativity by stopping people from copying each others, and yet it failed miserably at that ( modern 3d FPS anyone ? ). Instead its used to persecute fans, and people making videos of their dogs with retail music on YouTube ! There have been very few legitimate cases of companies copying or using assets from one another, as far as I know.

However I'm not saying copyrights are completely bad.They should just additionally protect the inevitable fans too, to a certain extent.

Anyways, sorry for the rant, I'm just butthurt about companies treating fans like crap..

You guys might want to contact the OTW or the EFF , maybe they can offer advice or support.

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I, for one, would gladly raise my pledge to match whatever Square-Enix wanted to drop on the project for royalties/licensing fees. If that means $100 to get the $50 reward, so be it. I've never been so excited about the prospect of buying a CD, and I don't care about cost at this point, I just want it.

Square-Enix is definitely not doing themselves any favors with this. Are they planning on re-releasing the soundtrack and are afraid this is going to impact sales? Or maybe they just see an opportunity to make a few bucks off a property that hasn't released anything music-related in over 4 years.

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Or maybe they just see an opportunity to make a few bucks off a property that hasn't released anything music-related in over 4 years.

While I agree with you on the substance, this point is a little bit off. S-E has released arranged albums with songs from FFVI at a steady pace. In fact, Piano Opera IV/V/VI just came out a few months ago.

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I, for one, would gladly raise my pledge to match whatever Square-Enix wanted to drop on the project for royalties/licensing fees. If that means $100 to get the $50 reward, so be it. I've never been so excited about the prospect of buying a CD, and I don't care about cost at this point, I just want it.

Square-Enix is definitely not doing themselves any favors with this. Are they planning on re-releasing the soundtrack and are afraid this is going to impact sales? Or maybe they just see an opportunity to make a few bucks off a property that hasn't released anything music-related in over 4 years.

I think you shouldn't make assumptions about SE's intentions. Outrage isn't really going to accomplish anything.

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After dealing with some copyright issues of my own in the past, I learned a lot about copyright law (for the better). I don't know what is going on, but I have an idea. I hope that Square is willing to work together with OCR on this, and I believe that they will. They have been generous to work with in the past. I wish I had the time to visit this community more, and be actively involved more but I will say this in an attempt to edify and encourage:

PEOPLE NEED TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW.

(not yelling, just making a nice header) And especially this community. Just as we educate individuals about music here, we should also educate ourselves and others in the area of copyrights and music licensing. I've worked with far too many individuals in my days that take these laws for granted! I would NEVER wish ill of anyone, but the law is the law, and it is not to be taken lightly or swept under a table. Breaking it causes problems, and ignorance is not usually taken as an excuse! Believe it or not, I once had the HEAD of a music publishing company tell me to "just release" some music because it was such a small production that no one would notice or do anything about it. Can you believe that?!?!

Let me just say that from what I know about OCR, they would never willingly be part of, or support, something they believed would break the law. Sometimes our ignorance just catches up with us.

I don't have the time to write it all down in plain English for everyone here, so I will summarize greatly in the hopes that others not only be informed about copyright law, but also be encouraged to do the right thing when they are working with someone else's music.

It boils down to this:

In US copyright law, the copyright holder of any musical works is supposed to receive royalties on ANY and ALL reproduction of their music. (digital or tangible)...(exceptions and limitations are fair-use and parody use - see your copyright lawyer for details.) Law specifically states that this applies to "ANY/ALL UNITS SOLD AND/OR GIVEN AWAY." That last part is the real kicker.

It doesn't matter if you give someone else's music away for FREE, you still owe the copyright holder. It's a law designed to protect you, the copyright holder, not those who create or distribute arrangements of your copy-written works.

There are small exceptions to these rules, but the statement above holds true, and is the tree trunk and root of the music licensing system.

Free does not = copyright free.

I will say this from what I know about working with SquareEnix:

1. They are intent on upholding and protecting their copyrights.

2. They are very gracious and understanding.

I don't believe for a second that they "are out for blood" as some might think.

OCR will do the right thing, and I believe SE will be understanding. They have been very understanding with some of my past projects, and I have no doubt they will with OCR. It has always been my hope that, with whatever we do, we can support the copyright holders of our music, our community, and our awesome musicians that arrange these works. I hope this is a step further in that direction. It's certainly a project that is worth funding, and we have a lot of musicians worth paying royalties.

For those interested in obtaining mechanical licensing, I encourage you to checkout https://www.songclearance.com/ It is a much more simple way of using copyrighted works, and takes a lot of the headaches out of dealing with the Harry Fox Agency. Despite that, I strongly recommend contacting the copyright holders directly whenever you are able to. They not only usually secure you a much better rate, but it's just nice to know you're dealing with the owner directly. Cheers.

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It's a shame that this project has hit a road block. Here's to hoping it gets resolved in a way that everything can proceed according to the original plan.

Yes it's ashame that the kickstarter is on hold and may very well be shutdown indefinitely. But regardless of the fundraising effort, the music will be released on schedule. So at least that will happen on time.

-Derek

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I think you shouldn't make assumptions about SE's intentions. Outrage isn't really going to accomplish anything.

Actually his assumptions are based on the fact that square does sell the music for these games. That being said I dont believe its outrage right now. Outrage will happen if Square is unreasonable in what they want. I dont think anything is dead right now but one thing about lawyers is that they make the process take longer than it should.

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I know there's a problem going on with the project and hope it gets resolved soon, but one thing I'm wondering about is will our bank accounts still be debited the $50 or so we pledged tomorrow?

Nope.

/10char

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I know there's a problem going on with the project and hope it gets resolved soon, but one thing I'm wondering about is will our bank accounts still be debited the $50 or so we pledged tomorrow?

Once the kickstarter was frozen I'm pretty sure that drops all potential monetary transactions that were attached to it.

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I'm worried, though, I didn't have time to register my pledge before the kickstarter was taken down. The original closing date will be tomorrow, if the original date will be kept. But if the case is resolved much later on, does this mean that only those who had the chance to contribute before the early take down will be able to pledge? Or, if the legal issues are resolved and the kickstarter project is revived, will there a be new ending date to compensate this two-three weeks it was down too early? Because I really would love to contribute to this fantastic project and get the physical CDs and some of the other extra perks.

(And sorry for my bad English, I'm not a native English speaker.)

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I think you shouldn't make assumptions about SE's intentions. Outrage isn't really going to accomplish anything.
While I agree with you on the substance, this point is a little bit off. S-E has released arranged albums with songs from FFVI at a steady pace. In fact, Piano Opera IV/V/VI just came out a few months ago.

I should clarify that I'm not really outraged at the idea of Square-Enix protecting what's theirs, it was mostly just a gut reaction I had to a great project getting shut down (at least temporarily). My original post came across as feeling entitled and, as zegota pointed out in his above-quoted message, uninformed. I had no idea that album had been released, and I obviously failed on my fact-finding mission before making that post.

That said, I stand behind the main point I was trying to make in the post; as long as the project is allowed to continue with the bonuses, I'll gladly raise my pledge to cover the additional costs.

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While I cannot speak on behalf of any of the involved parties, I will offer what I know from experience about SE, Kickstarter, and legal settlements etc. To the best of my knowledge it will work like the following:

Legal issue arises.

Kickstarter page is taken down.

No transactions will go through at original deadline.

(A kickstarter page being taken down is as good as the kickstarter being cancelled.)

Legal issues are resolved between parties.

If SE permits the continuation of the project (which I believe they will) the kickstarter project is reopened with a fresh new deadline.

All previously involved pledgers will either be rolled back into the new kickstarter and/or be requested to make their pledges again.

Ba da bing.

In response to Seraph->

Although paying SE royalties will increase the cost of production, it should not be substantial enough for OCR to have to "up the ante". If SE only requires standard statutory rates, given the current projects volume of supporting fans, there is already more than enough to support hard copies and mechanical license fees etc. The only thing that I see may change is what bonuses may be offered and the methods by which they are distributed. This is all the more reason that I believe the kickstarter will be rehashed and started over after details are finalized.

The only thing that would change my view on this is if there are infringement fees up front that would further impede things.

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I know you're speaking in generalities here, not specifically about the FF6 project. So, generally speaking, would royalties/license fees apply only to distribution of physical media, or would they also be compelled for online distribution of music files? If the latter, would that restrict further redistribution?

Let's say OCR has a fund for paying royalties per download, and the fund is periodically replenished by fundraisers and/or good investment strategies. That's all well and good for the initial download, but then fans share the downloaded music amongst themselves; include it in derivative works such as re-remixes, compilations, YouTube videos, and school projects; DJ it at clubs; and broadcast it on electromagnetic and Internet radio. Could fans be exposed to legal challenges for failure to pay license fees to the video game companies? If so, at first glance it would seem nice if they could also tap into the OCR fund, but I fear there's potential for abuse, plus it would be burdensome to tally the number of times any given track has been redistributed across all forms of media. Consider the torrents. I see absolutely no way to monitor their use aside from logging *.torrent downloads from bt.ocremix.org and guessing that each such download amounts to one download of each file in the torrent and that no one will ever mirror or otherwise redistribute the *.torrent files or make magnet links.

Also, might it be possible that these restrictions apply only to tracks that include music from certain game companies? That could further complicate matters. Would OCR have to make arrangements with every game company, or only with those who contact OCR first? (Might this current episode with SE encourage others to come knocking?) Some tracks contain only brief quotations, and some tracks arrange work from multiple game companies (e.g. Livin' Large! softly plays around a dozen notes from FF9; the rest is from a VERY different game, incidentally from a company that no longer exists); how's that counted? Determining where the money needs to go could become a chore as difficult as obtaining the money in the first place or deciding how much of it needs to be disbursed.

Do you happen to know how these concerns apply outside of music? I'm thinking of cosplay, web comics, fan fiction, fan artwork, and dōjinshi featuring video game characters.

OCR and myriad others hope original copyright holders decline to sue and instead prefer to reap free publicity and goodwill. Our current situation suggests that tossing gobs of money into the mix upsets that fragile dynamic. We claim to be protected by Fair Use, but as ebuch says, it's a defense; even though we may prevail in court, we still have to get the lawyers involved. I find it rather telling that many fan sites say "please don't sue" in their "legal" disclaimer. I'd prefer to have a stronger legal foundation than trusting the copyright holders' kindness and PR sense.

I really hope I'm just blowing this out of proportion. If so, please explain to me what I'm missing.

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I really hope I'm just blowing this out of proportion. If so, please explain to me what I'm missing.

If I may be so bold as to respond to my own post, let me hazard a guess about what it may be that I'm missing. Maybe the music isn't the issue at all; Fair Use covers it adequately, and it really is the case that no one is willing to sue us over our arrangement activities. The issue could be nothing more than the fact that we were fundraising in SE's name and using their properties to attract beaucoup donations to support our site. Again, nothing to do with the music. I dunno, just making a guess here. Like has been said repeatedly, the music will be made no matter what happens with the Kickstarter.

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I really hope I'm just blowing this out of proportion. If so, please explain to me what I'm missing.

Looking at your post, you are blowing it out of proportion - if Square was trying to lock up OCR's Squaresoft music then they'd have put out a C&D order against the site, not the kickstarter. I wouldn't get yourself mixed up in the legal ramifications of being forced to pay a royalty for VG arrangements when there is no reason to believe that would ever be the case, as that just stirs confusion in this thread.

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Looking at your post, you are blowing it out of proportion - if Square was trying to lock up OCR's Squaresoft music then they'd have put out a C&D order against the site, not the kickstarter. I wouldn't get yourself mixed up in the legal ramifications of being forced to pay a royalty for VG arrangements when there is no reason to believe that would ever be the case, as that just stirs confusion in this thread.

That's some speculation right there. We don't know if Square C&D'd the site or if they will pending the results of this discussion. Best to just wait and hope staff sheds some light on it soon. :cry:

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We don't know if Square C&D'd the site...

Actually, you can assume that they haven't - remixes of their music is still up on the site. That wouldn't be the case otherwise. That's the only thing I've assumed, and there is no reason everyone else should assume otherwise, until further notice. Please chill out until further notice.

Seeing that my posts are confusing people, though, I'll refrain from posting in here. Just... yeah, please try to keep your composure, everyone, it's not really good for anybody to say anything, myself included.

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