BARD SONGS - What Is Permissable?

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BARD SONGS - What Is Permissable?

Post  GM_ODA on Thu May 28, 2015 10:25 pm

I recently received a message from a PLAYER with questions about bard song and specifically about adding songs to our BARD SONG DATABASE. The PLAYER writes


I wonder, can I use external, existent songs and poems, if I give credits where it is due? I'll try myself at writing poems though, but wanted to verify if I have the right to do this.

For those not aware of the Bard Song Database (BSD) - it is a custom feature of our server which allows BARD PCs to add to and recite from the stored songs and poems (in the database). This is intended to allow our BARD PCs to give authentic seeming performances and appear to draw from 'ancient game-world lore' learned as an apprentice bard. We do plan to add a number of authentic game-world related songs and stories to the general use database, and these entries will be usable by any BARD. Beyond this, any PC Bard can add songs to this 'general pool' of performance material, or opt to add to their own Guild's private database any song or poem of the PLAYER'S choosing.

That said - I don't want to get sued. I don't want trouble from lawyers representing the owners of copyrighted material telling me I have to take such things out of the database with DMCA Takedown Notices. I do respect the rights of artists and I have no desire to infringe on the intellectual property of others. More, it is (by law) the DUTY of any copyright holder to pursue legal resolution as soon as they are made aware of any infringement (if they do not, the artist risks loosing the rights to the work). Living artists literally make their living by means of their copyright protected works, and I am never a fellow to get between a another person and their (hard-earned) lunch.

Being creative as by writing/composing is something we human beings do which is unique to mankind. While the creative act is not so obvious and sweat-inducing an effort of work as is, for example, digging a ditch manually, the creative act IS without a doubt LABOR, and difficult labor requiring specialized skills and drive; thus the creative act is deserving of compensation. A ditch-digger might quote a price for the thing they create (a ditch in this case), by the size of the ditch with perhaps some variance for the hardness of the material removed in the act of creation. This is an easy exchange to understand. For the author of a creative work the matter is less easy to understand, this is why we permit authors to OWN the rights to the works they create; so that they may negotiate means to gain financially from the work (usually this amounts to a few cents per copy). Regardless of how it was earned, the profits of the sale of the ditch belongs to the ditch-digger, and the profits of the sale of copyrighted work belongs to the author/copyright holder.

PLEASE DO NOT POST COPYRIGHTED WORKS AS PART OF OUR BARD DATABASE because it will cause us the trouble of having to remove them later.

If you choose to share one of your own works, a creative piece to which you own the copyright, when you post it to the BSD you grant us a non-revocable perpetual non-exclusive license to the work. You retain copyright to your original work, but grant us that license so that we can legally include the original work as part of our compilation aka the BSD.

PUBLIC DOMAIN - when the copyright has expired on a work, it passes into the PUBLIC DOMAIN; anyone can freely use material that is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN. Generally speaking, works older than 100 years are in the PUBLIC DOMAIN... if you have a question about a work you would like to submit to our BSD which you are uncertain of the copyright status of the work, please ask GM_ODA who has tools to research such things fairly quickly.

ANY PUBLIC DOMAIN poem or story can be added to the BSD.

This is hugely to our advantage. As an example, any PLAYER could whip open a book of actual medieval poems and add any of these to our BSD (totally legal). Want to make the work a little more targeted? Easy! Change the names of places and people in the work to that of locations and figures in the game-world! With that in mind, there is a HUGE volume of possible poems and stories, period pieces that will fit well in our D&D style world, just waiting for a PLAYER to add these to the BSD.

I leave the rest to ye kindly Bards and Scribes.

*bows*


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Re: BARD SONGS - What Is Permissable?

Post  GM_ODA on Fri May 29, 2015 9:12 am

Friends,

An exceptionally astute PLAYER wrote


...sadly I am not the best at song writing, so I have been using songs I have found from elsewhere for my bard. After 'singing' one I give an ooc message giving credit to the artist (And I haven't added any to the database for that reason).

This is the directory I've been using: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Most are traditional and thus copy right free, while others seem a little more ambiguous in whether they're free to share (with credit) or not, so I thought I'd let you have a look at them and see what you feel comfortable with players using (or even which ones might be added to the data base).

My only real concern is what gets put into the BSD - especially because the BSD allows repeated performances of a work - I want to be certain that only copyright friendly (typically PUBLIC DOMAIN) materials get placed in the database. Where "one of a kind performances just for those present ICly" is concerned a PC can recite what they please (the OOC credit is a very conscientious act on your part to be commended allowing those who liked the work to seek the author's other works). Because inclusion in the database makes such things available for performance on request, having only copyright friendly stuff in there ensures we'll have no legal take-down notices (unlikely but, as I am wont to say "if you never sleep on the RR tracks you will not get run over by a train").

KUDOS - good question, good thinking. I hope this addresses the question.

As regards the linked site and contents thereof, this is an excellent example of mostly copyrighted material (not public domain)... an example from the page is

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


Written by children's author Shel Silverstein, this song was popularized by the Irish Rovers in the 60's. We've added some our own additional lyrics to make it a wee bit more optimistic.

By googling the credited author's name I got to this entry

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

So the bulk of his work will be protected by copyright until his death year (1999) plus seventy-five years. The WWW is full of 'borrowed' works, this is why I try to find at least two additional attributions for a work to confirm the actual author and date of publication.

The good news is there are LOADS of public domain material just waiting to be used - a good source is

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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Character Name: Firkin Alechugger
Race: Dwarf
Overall Level: 11

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Re: BARD SONGS - What Is Permissable?

Post  White Lotus on Fri May 29, 2015 8:00 pm

I have found this link for public domain poetry:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Enjoy!

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