Monday, April 25, 2011

Video Songs

So I dig Jake Conte and the video song and Pamplemoose and everything, but it just occurred to me that the video song is technically a copyright violation unless they've gone and gotten the picture synchronization rights from the publisher and composer. Which I doubt.

Our copyright law is really from the pre-MTV age. I don't actually know how MTV handles sync rights in the videos it shows, I'm kind of under the impression they've knocked out deals with the record companies and the publishers -- and those publishers and record companies have also (by this point) forced all their artists/writers to conform to letting MTV use their music (at least in the US) for no additional fees.
But I seriously doubt that Jake Conte has negotiated with the Gaga legal team. And so far, nobody probably cares too much because they figure it just works out for Gaga and company just fine.
Although the question I've been asking for nigh on 20 years now is why does Weird Al Yankovic seem to have to ask permissions of artists to do their songs? It seems to me that a parody is pretty much right in there with fair use. Is it the sync rights he needs to get the song on MTV? Who knows?
Finding out this information is spectacularly difficult. That's mostly because the copyright law is so complex that even reporters who (vaguely) understand it can't put it in simple enough terms to write factual articles about it.
And there we are.
As it turns out, I like Jake Conte's version of Judas better. It's very Nine Inch Nails, surprisingly...
UPDATE: Weird Al, apparently, just wants permission from the original artists. He realizes he doesn't need it. But it also makes it easier for him to get credited (read: "royalties") as a writer. Which is interesting.

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