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Michael McBroom

How Do I Get Permission to Use an Old Cakewalk Tutorial?

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Way back in my Pro Audio 9 days, I discovered this really cool tutorial that Cakewalk included with Pro Audio. I've renamed it so many times over the years -- usually just some version of "tutorial," but I did find one copy of it that was named "Boston Rain." I'm thinking this is probably the original title.

It's just a little 16 bar blues, 32 bars in total length.  I   IV7   bV   IV7   I  is all it is, but it has a really cool melody that I like and it's in E Dorian -- what could be better for a guitarist to solo against?  All voices are MIDI and I think the instruments were originally Piano Sax Bass and Drums, but somewhere early on I converted the Piano track to Organ, selecting an organ voice with a bit of a B3 grind to it. The organ really makes it, I think.

Anyway, I would like to expand on this piece, perhaps add some sort of bridge section, and then publish it. But to do so, I'll need the authors' permission, and then if any royalties result (well, one can hope, can't one), I'll have ASCAP handle the chores.

I've never attempted to publish anyone's music but my own, so I don't know how to go about this. I figured that the forum here is as good a place to start as any, and probably better than most. Thanks in advance for any advice  you can offer.

I'm including my arrangement of it so far for you to peruse. The "YES!" I added after I found it at last.

Boston Rain YES!.cwp

 

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Hi, Michael

"Boston Rain YES!" contains related author text information, you can go to the "Notes" item to view it.

1086024755_2.jpg.5544d1dffebba5ab6de135fcc20ba7a8.jpg

 

In Cakewalk Pro Audio, you can view related information in File> Info.

760513954_3.thumb.jpg.fc49c46887a8c6cc4619f706ce0eb4ca.jpg

I found the original MIDI file of this "Boston Rain", and I also used the TTS-1 sound and built-in effects to complete this version, and share it with you!

Cheers!

Boston Rain (Easy-Listening In E-Minor).cwp Boston Rain (Easy-Listening In E-Minor).mid

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I would be pretty certain that you are not breaking any copywrite by using that midi clip. Midi clips are not easily copywrite protected anyways because it's just data, it's not really a recording or anything. They made the clip hoping people like you would use it to create something while learning the software. 

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Hey guys, thanks for the responses. Johnny -- Doh! I shoulda thought of that. Well, there are email and PO Box addresses there. Wonder if they're still any good. This was some 20+ years ago. Thanks for supplying a copy of your version. I'll be listening to it momentarily.

John, in light of the statement at the end of the note, referencing the use in a commercial endeavor, seems to me they don't regard this clip as a mere clip. But I'd like to think you're right.

 

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4 hours ago, John Vere said:

I would be pretty certain that you are not breaking any copywrite by using that midi clip. Midi clips are not easily copywrite protected anyways because it's just data, it's not really a recording or anything. They made the clip hoping people like you would use it to create something while learning the software. 

May want to do a Google search for MIDI copyright.

The file in question has a copyright notice.

Calling it data makes no difference, everything on a computer disk is data.

@slartabartfast may be around soon to weigh-in on this.

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking because it’s midi and you are using totally different instruments and the vocal and guitar by the time it’s a full song it might be far removed from the midi file to the point of not being something that would be recognizable by the owner. 
 

Well bottom line is as long as you don’t try and make money with it. The Op could try and contact the author and ask permission to use it. 

Edited by John Vere

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9 hours ago, John Vere said:

I would be pretty certain that you are not breaking any copywrite by using that midi clip. Midi clips are not easily copywrite protected anyways because it's just data, it's not really a recording or anything. They made the clip hoping people like you would use it to create something while learning the software. 

I would be pretty certain that all original MIDI data is automatically copyrighted as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium such as being accessible in the volatile memory of a computer. We tend to think that a creation has to be "written down" like in standard notation, but obviously a musical creation that is recorded to tape or disk is covered, as is music that is stored and transmitted by computers. MIDI files are either notations of  compositions, or recordings of a musical performance on a MIDI input device. The origin of the term "mechanical license" dates back to the days when music recording was done on punched paper rolls that controlled machines (player pianos). Early claims that making such punch paper recordings infringed the composer's copyright failed because the courts could find no statute that covered the nascent technology. WHITE-SMITH MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY v. APOLLO COMPANY and others.  But in 1909 the US Copyright Law was changed to provide for the application of the composer's copyright to recordings of his work. At the same time, the concern that one player piano company could establish a monopoly by licensing new recordings that would only play on their machine, prompted the addition of the compulsory license, which we commonly still call a mechanical license. Using that license a performer can record a cover of an original recording that has already been released, but he is limited in how much alteration he can make in his arrangement. He cannot change the "fundamental character of the work" which is generally taken to mean the melody and lyrics are preserved. MIDI files have the same legal status as CD's or other forms of musical recordings. Whether a compulsory license is available for the particular MIDI file would depend on whether the distribution was considered a publication. In any event, unless you can obtain a  license for a MIDI file, either by contract or by compulsory licensing you are on shaky ground doing anything with it except for your own entertainment. If you are using the MIDI file as only a portion of a new and larger work, then the compulsory license is not an option, since you are then creating a derivative work, which can never be covered by a compulsory license, and you would need to get a contractual license from the composer or his assigns.

My recollection of the licenses under which Cakewalk distributed its DAW's was that it included a clause stating that some of the material in the samples was covered under copyright by its originators and was not licensed to the purchaser to use except as demo material to use and presumably demonstrate Cakewalk's software. 

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Thanks for your in-depth explanation of the music licensing system. I forgot all about the piano roll and how that term must have come from the similarities between midi and a punchcard piano roll system.  
I’ve seen displays of mechanical air driven devices that played a whole band. The Music museum in Scottsdale Az has some of them. it was the mechanical version of midi. Amazing stuff. 

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Posted (edited)

Well, slartabartfast did an excellent job of summing things up. Y'all will note that in my original post, I was requesting information on how to contact the owner of the copyright so that, if I chose to publish my derivation of the work, I would not run afoul of any copyright restrictions -- have all the i's dotted and t's crossed, so to speak. I'll try the email first and hope for a response. I'm curious if cakewalk.com is still a valid email domain. I'm sure Ivan (or Igor or whatever his name is) is still around somewhere.

Update: I sent an email to igorkhoroshev@cakewalk.com and it got bounced. The return message stated that the email address doesn't exist. Oh well. I guess I can try snailmail next.

Edited by Michael McBroom

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That's him. Cool, I didn't know he was a member of Yes for a while -- they were my favorite band back in the early 70s.

He's still active. So maybe a letter to that Boston address will find him.

 

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