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Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:14 pm

Hi guys. I'm hoping you could help settle a (friendly) argument.

Suppose someone has an audience recorded audio tape of Elvis, and wants to put it on a factory pressed disc to sell. This would be a bootleg, right? Because the music is subject to copyright. I know we call them 'Imports' now, but without the Estate's permission and approval, it'd be a bootleg. And technically illegal.

Now, what if the songs were cut out, and the CD just featured dialogue. Would the CD be subject to any copyright? (I know, it'd be a pretty boring disc but stay with me). Would there be any copyright infringement on a 'talking only' Elvis CD?

In the UK the Fan Club put out flexi-discs of Elvis interviews in the eighties. I remember at the time someone telling me this was all 'above board' because there were no songs on there. There were a few of these releases, on 'Buttons' records.

Image

Put it this way, is an interview disc, or a 'Having Fun On Stage' type release a true bootleg, or is Elvis' talking voice 'public domain', yet his post 1962 musical out-put, still copyrighted.

Appreciate your thoughts on this one guys.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:31 pm

I actually don't know.....but I would have thought anything that involves 'him' in any which way, shape or form, EPE owns the rights to.....

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:36 pm

debtd1 wrote:I actually don't know.....but I would have thought anything that involves 'him' in any which way, shape or form, EPE owns the rights to.....


'The name, image and likeness' thing? I don't think it works like that. Elvisly Yours in the UK won a case against the Estate back a-while. Something to do with their Elvis soap as I remember. I don't remember the details, but it was talked about a lot at the time.

It's my understanding, if I wanted to print a magazine, book, or manufacture a china plate or tea-pot with Elvis' image on, that'd be fine. It might be tacky, but it'd be legal.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:40 pm

I remember that...so,it's 'legal' if its to remain in the UK and not sold in the US?

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:43 pm

debtd1 wrote:I remember that...so,it's 'legal' if its to remain in the UK and not sold in the US?


I'm sure it'd be legal in the US too. I can think of a shop right opposite Graceland that sells none-E.P.E stuff.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:10 pm

I could be wrong, but I thought he won the case to sell Elvis merchandise in the UK and Europe only.....

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:29 pm

debtd1 wrote:I could be wrong, but I thought he won the case to sell Elvis merchandise in the UK and Europe only.....


You could well be right.

And the thing is, there's grey areas, and there's 'pirate' merch out there that EPE wouldn't bother going to court about. It's one thing to sell a $300 box set of audio and film, it's another to sell a few handful of Jailhouse Rock guitar-picks. So when we talk 'legal' it's often illegal on a technical point only. Me copying an Elvis CD for a mate might not be 'legal', but it's not worth anyone official trying to take me to task.

But if I came on this board, or any board and shouted from the rooftops that I was selling spoken-voice only Elvis cds, would I expect hassle from the suits at E.P.E? And what would my rights be, if they did start belly-aching?

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:42 pm

As far as I'm aware, Sony only hold the rights to Elvis's vocal performances (which is why the Having Fun On Stage series of CDs is available on amazon UK). Regarding interviews, they were normally made for broadcast and, in Europe, (I think) 50 years after that initial broadcast the material comes out of copyright. Of course the 50 year rule (soon to be 70) is being bent out of all recognition at the moment. PD companies are issuing outtakes from FTDs on their poduct, but my understanding is that these are still in copyright as the rule goes from date of release, not date of recording (unless that recording has never been released at all in the 50 years since it was made). So, all the Elvis is Back outtakes issued by FTD are still in copyright because they were released after 1962 and before 2010. However, a previously lost take of, say, Such A Night which is only released now would be out of copyright as it is being released for the first time more than 50 years since the recording was made.

That's how I understand the rather complicated law, anyway.

However, companies such as Flashlight in particular are really pushing their luck with their releases of outtakes.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:54 pm

poormadpeter wrote:As far as I'm aware, Sony only hold the rights to Elvis's vocal performances (which is why the Having Fun On Stage series of CDs is available on amazon UK). Regarding interviews, they were normally made for broadcast and, in Europe, (I think) 50 years after that initial broadcast the material comes out of copyright. Of course the 50 year rule (soon to be 70) is being bent out of all recognition at the moment. PD companies are issuing outtakes from FTDs on their poduct, but my understanding is that these are still in copyright as the rule goes from date of release, not date of recording (unless that recording has never been released at all in the 50 years since it was made). So, all the Elvis is Back outtakes issued by FTD are still in copyright because they were released after 1962 and before 2010. However, a previously lost take of, say, Such A Night which is only released now would be out of copyright as it is being released for the first time more than 50 years since the recording was made.

That's how I understand the rather complicated law, anyway.

However, companies such as Flashlight in particular are really pushing their luck with their releases of outtakes.


Thanks PMP. That's pretty much how I understand the 50 year public domain thing too. And I agree, there's some cheeky PD releases of late (very good article in by Luther Moore the current TM&HM about this).

I'd still like to know, do you think there's any difference between issuing a 1974 Vegas version of Big Boss Man - and a 1974 monologue? (and there were plenty of those). I notice the new (superb) bootleg bible book has interview records lumped with counterfeit copies of legal releases, and not included in the main body on bootleg vinyl.

If you released Big Boss Man on a bootleg, the artist's estate, the musicians, the songwriters are (in theory) missing out, and the copyright laws are there to protect that. You release the monologue . . . see what I'm getting at?

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:07 pm

I do, and the answer is that I think the monologues are free of copyright (it's not like a recording of a stage play), but I'm not sure.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:43 pm

poormadpeter wrote:I do, and the answer is that I think the monologues are free of copyright (it's not like a recording of a stage play), but I'm not sure.


I believe this is correct.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:57 pm

You're asking the wrong people ................... Ask a Lawyer.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:37 pm

I could be wrong but I seem to recall that when the album Current Audio magazine featuring Elvis' New York press conference was issued in the seventies RCA took the producers to court claiming that they held exclusive rights to Elvis's voice. RCA lost the claim as it was stated that they couldn't copyright Elvis' speaking voice but ONLY his singing. I might be recalling it incorrectly but it's stuck in my mind for years. Maybe the Doc or someone more knowledgable than myself can confirm.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:47 pm

R2-D2 wrote:I could be wrong but I seem to recall that when the album Current Audio magazine featuring Elvis' New York press conference was issued in the seventies RCA took the producers to court claiming that they held exclusive rights to Elvis's voice. RCA lost the claim as it was stated that they couldn't copyright Elvis' speaking voice but ONLY his singing. I might be recalling it incorrectly but it's stuck in my mind for years. Maybe the Doc or someone more knowledgable than myself can confirm.


Yes, this is what I remember reading too.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:42 am

poormadpeter wrote:
R2-D2 wrote:I could be wrong but I seem to recall that when the album Current Audio magazine featuring Elvis' New York press conference was issued in the seventies RCA took the producers to court claiming that they held exclusive rights to Elvis's voice. RCA lost the claim as it was stated that they couldn't copyright Elvis' speaking voice but ONLY his singing. I might be recalling it incorrectly but it's stuck in my mind for years. Maybe the Doc or someone more knowledgable than myself can confirm.


Yes, this is what I remember reading too.


It is silly...Of course you can release someones interview...

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:40 am

Bear Family Records won a case in court when they had released a 12 cd box with The Carter Family complete.
JSP records released a 4 cdbox that was copied from the 12 cdbox from Bear Family Records.
JSP Records had to pay a fine of 50000 pounds to Bear Family Records for copying from the 12 cdbox.
Bear Family Records won this because they pay royalty money to the record companies that owns the original recordings,and they had restored the sound from those old 78s.
So it is not always the age of the recordings that make them legal or not. :smt006

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:51 pm

If its not an inerview with ownership rights at issue, if they just cauht him talking, it's all good. No one owns that.

I'm pretty sure about that. This is why he could sometimes appear places and speak but not sing.

rjm

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:19 pm

It was not allowed to bring a tape recorder to the show at all. So this action alone is illegal. All future actions basing on this action (including recording, of course) must have been illegal too, then.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:28 pm

Ciscoking wrote:It was not allowed to bring a tape recorder to the show at all. So this action alone is illegal. All future actions basing on this action (including recording, of course) must have been illegal too, then.


Kind of. I'm not sure if at that time there would have been laws against the taping of the shows, just that it wasn't permitted (I may be wrong). Either way, if the voice recording was then issued outside of America, the American law wouldn't have applied anyway. And considering FTD/Sony have paid people to use those recordings they shouldn't have made in the first place, it all gets rather complex!

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:34 pm

Commercial photography of Elvis's shows was also prohibited. So, if I took a photo of Elvis, stamped it with my copyright, and sold copies, do I have the right to defend my right? I don't think so.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:47 pm

Ciscoking wrote:It was not allowed to bring a tape recorder to the show at all. So this action alone is illegal. All future actions basing on this action (including recording, of course) must have been illegal too, then.


I think we're confusing 'illegal' with 'permitted' or 'allowed'. If something is illegal, a law has to be broken. As far as I know, there's no law against taking a tape recorder into a show. It's just not allowed.

I've taken lots of photos of concerts over the years, and had a good many published in magazines. In every instance, photography wasn't permitted at the venue, but I've never worried once about putting my name on the photos. Okay, photography isn't 'permitted', or 'allowed', but it's a rule, not a law, and any-one can make up a rule. Look at this forum for instance, more rules than a game of chess!

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:06 pm

When the control found a tape recorder..they took it away..cause a rule had been broken..no one ever
took legal action against it. It was forbidden and I think herewith all following action, too..
When you enter a restaurant where dogs are not allowed you cannot enter either without getting troubles.
If you want to enter with a dog..you have to visit a restaurant where dogs are allowed. It`s "house law"
so to say.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:19 pm

elvisjock wrote:Commercial photography of Elvis's shows was also prohibited. So, if I took a photo of Elvis, stamped it with my copyright, and sold copies, do I have the right to defend my right? I don't think so.


I don't understand what you're saying here. Are you saying you have no right to sell your photos? I'd say you have every right, and good luck.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:21 pm

Ciscoking wrote:When the control found a tape recorder..they took it away..cause a rule had been broken..no one ever
took legal action against it. It was forbidden and I think herewith all following action, too..
When you enter a restaurant where dogs are not allowed you cannot enter either without getting troubles.
If you want to enter with a dog..you have to visit a restaurant where dogs are allowed. It`s "house law"
so to say.


Yes, but that doesn't make it illegal - it's just a rule of that establishment and you could be asked to leave. You could never be prosecuted, however.

Re: Question regarding legality of CDs

Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:27 pm

poormadpeter wrote:Yes, but that doesn't make it illegal - it's just a rule of that establishment and you could be asked to leave. You could never be prosecuted, however.


Exactly.

If you're at a concert that doesn't allow taping, and a security guy gets your tape recorder and destroys your tape, and you take him to court for vandalism, or destruction of private property, or whatever, I'd like to think there's a few judges that would side with the claimant, I honestly think that. I've been to small claims courts and found the judges to be quite sensible and not swayed by petty rules.