User:JWSchmidt/Blog/6 May 2007
Can Wikiversity be a place for learning music by participating in collaborative music making projects? What legal issues should Wikiversity participants keep in mind when creating and licensing song files for sharing on the internet?
I am seriously tempted to do a major cleanup of Portal:Humanities, Portal:Music and School:Music and Dance. I did not touch the Humanities Portal back when I updated most of the main Wikiversity portal pages. There is plenty of room for making improvements to these three pages with the goal of making Wikiversity more welcoming to people who are interested in music and visual arts.
I have started working at GarageBand music on the "Wiki Way" song project. I'm also making use of pages such as Introduction to music. My goal is to have a short music video for use at a new Main Page and Wikiversity the Movie.
One issue related to music files that has been raised by User:ShakespeareFan00 is the relevance of SoundExchange to re-use of audio files on the internet. The GFDL and Creative Commons licenses such as Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 allow anyone the freedom to re-use sound files that use these licenses. SoundExchange is in the business of collecting royalties for people who have the right to collect royalties from "song performances". In the context of music on the internet, SoundExchange seems to take the position that anytime a digital song file is shared by "webcasters" over the internet, that constitutes a "performance" of the song, allowing owners of songs to collect payment for the performance of songs they own the rights to.
User:ShakespeareFan00 has expressed concern that SoundExchange might try to collect money from people who webcast copyleft and ShareAlike sound files. Creative Commons licenses are generally not as "free" as the GFDL, although I think the GFDL and the CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 licenses have the same intent and it is common for people to co-license under these two licenses.
- copyright - "all rights reserved", including the right to collect royalties
- copyleft - "no rights reserved"
- share-alike - "some rights reserved"
In particular, with respect to royalties, the GFDL says, that it is, "a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration". The CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license says, "The Licensor waives the right to collect royalties," and "In those jurisdictions in which the right to collect royalties through any statutory or compulsory licensing scheme cannot be waived, the Licensor reserves the exclusive right to collect such royalties". I think this means that SoundExchange has no basis for trying to collect royalties on webcasts of songs that are licensed under the GFDL or CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.
Anyone making derivative works needs to keep in mind moral rights, but I think as long as you are not going out of your way to hurt people it should be easy not to run into any trouble with this. It might be good to add something about this at Wikiversity:Scholarly ethics.
I have been using Apple' GarageBand software. GarageBand provides some built-in sounds for you to use. "Every podcast sound included with GarageBand is 100% royalty-free, so you can use what you want at will. Add them in during your post-production, or, if you prefer a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-podcast approach, you can even trigger effects during live recording." (source). From the GarageBand license, "GarageBand Software. You may use the Apple and third party audio loop content (Audio Content), contained in or otherwise included with the Apple Software, on a royalty-free basis, to create your own original music compositions or audio projects. You may broadcast and/or distribute your own music compositions or audio projects that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual audio loops may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound effects or music beds." So, I think it is clear, GarageBand sounds can be used inside of songs licensed by their creators under the GFDL or a share-alike license.
Licensing statements in song files
I'd be very interested to know if it is possible to include licensing information in ogg format audio files without having to include that information in the sound track. I have been willing to include spoken statements about licensing at the end of some audio files (see for example Image:WCRApril28PartB.ogg), but it seems silly to have to add such a statement about licensing to the audio track of a song. We do not add "GFDL" into every image that we license under the GFDL. There are many short ogg files at Commons (including files that are single spoken words!) for which it would be crazy to add a spoken statement about licensing. Maybe there needs to be a way to play sound files into Google and automatically get a link to webpages with licensing information for the files.