UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Music

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Discussion moved from my talk page

Well, as you all know as none of you have any idea about, I am a great fan of all types of music - EXCEPT RAP!!!!! Sorry, just had to say that. Anyway, I have and frequently listen to the soundtracks from Morrowind and Oblivion (Don't worry, I avoided Bethesda's money-hunger and transferred the files from the game data folders), and I recently discovered that a modding project has released a masterful re-working of the Morrowind theme. They have no copyright on the track itself, and have it available for download. Could we use this? I think it would be a great idea to offer this track for downloading here. As far as I can see, and I work with DRM (Digital Rights Management) a lot, there is nothing preventing us from doing so. I you want to hear it, I could upload it, or I could give you a URL link. However, if we were to do this (Subliminal Message: we most certainly should), then I could contact the creator, some guy under the name of DragonFly, and inform him of this. Any thoughts? --HMSVictory 12:47, 24 March 2008 (EDT)

I'm no expert on copyright law (talk to Wrye for that sort of thing), so I couldn't say for sure. If Bethesda had released the music for free anywhere, it might be one thing, but the fact that they do specifically sell soundtrack CDs, and separately from the games, makes it seem slightly questionable. While a remix made by someone else may be different from just copying the tracks directly, it's still based on the original, and while that may be okay for an independent site for the composer (though even then it's a bit iffy), I think republishing it here might be pushing the limits. Now, I don't expect that we'd necessarily get in trouble for it, but it may be better just to play it safe. But that's just my opinion. --TheRealLurlock Talk 14:20, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
Well, if you're no an expert on DRM, then I am. Trust me, I've checked through the file itself and there is no protection on it, nor is there a warning. I think this would be a great opportunity. As for copyright, none is stated on the file, nor on the site, nor on the download wizard. My only concern the consent of the author, which is probably the easiest thing to clarify here. The music itself was created on Ejay Orchestral, from scratch, and Bethesda has no rights concerning the track itself. According to American, English and probably Canadian law, any parody/remix/cover or re-creation of a piece of music may be done without the original artist's consent (Nor do they even have to know about it), and unless a profit is made from the production or sale of the track, then no credit must be given to the artist either. As far as my knowledge goes, and that's pretty far, there's absolutely nothing stopping us from hosting the track and making it available for public download. Credit to DragonFly and a link to the Tamriel Rebuilt website is probably a good idea, but hey - we have fanfiction, we have a links page full of unofficial sites, we even discussed fanart, so why not music? --HMSVictory 14:29, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
No, I understand that part of it - but just because there's nothing physically stopping us from hosting this music doesn't mean it's legal and kosher to do so. As for making a profit, we technically are running a commercial website, with ads, for which Daveh receives a certain amount of revenue. So we can't technically say that we're not making any profit off the distribution of the artist's work. As for the comparison to fanfiction and fanart - this doesn't apply because fanfiction/fanart is generally posted by its creator. You can't just go to some other site with fanfiction/fanart and copy it to UESP without the creator's permission, and the same goes for music, I'd say. Perhaps if DragonFly himself wished to post the music it'd be another story, though I'm still not sure if it'd be fully legal if he sampled the original music in order to create the tracks, because at that point it ceases to be a "parody/remix/cover" and becomes a directly derivative piece of work. At any rate, I think this discussion should probably be moved to the Admin Noticeboard, in order to get other people's thoughts on the issue. However, general site policy has been to never copy anything from another site without explicit permission - even other wikis - due to the potential legal complications. You can add a link to the original site on one of the Links pages if you want, that's probably not a problem. But hosting other people's work (in any medium) without their knowledge or permission seems a bit shady to me. --TheRealLurlock Talk 15:58, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
No no no, Lurlock; you misunderstand me. It is definitely legal to offer this file for download on this site. What is not neccessarily spiffy is if we can't get Tamriel Rebuilt to support us in this. Addendum: It does seem odd to me that there aren't files such as this already on the site. Anyway, I've spoken to the developers at TR before about their work, but I doubt they'll remember me. To cut a long story short, DragonFly's permission is the only obstacle in this situation. Concerning the derivation of audio from an original to a parody/remix/cover/etc, there is no point at which legality comes into it, as long as the replication differs in a clear way. Let me give you an example. Listen to Rick James' "Super Freak." Recognise that Ground Bass pattern? MC Hammer directly sampled that from the original recording for his hit single, because he failed in reproducing the sound exactly. MC Hammer, of course, made a profit from U Can't Touch This, and some of the royalties went to Rick James. We will not make a profit from this directly. I don't know about you, but I've never seen an advertisment here that says: "Check out the UESP's cool new sounds for fifty bucks!" I can understand your concern for this, however. I have worked with online music for some years now, and the industry itself has a certain stigma around it. This is why many artists refuse to allow their music to go for sale on legitimate programmes such as Napster or Itunes. They confuse these companies with illegal ones such as Limewire or Grokster. I'll see if I can send an E-mail to the guys at TR. In the meantime, please consider what I have said, Lurlock. --HMSVictory 16:18, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
When MC Hammer sampled Rick James, it's a fair bet he paid for the rights to do so, or at least asked for and received permission. As a counter-example, consider The Verve's song "Bitter Sweet Symphony", which samples the Rolling Stones song "The Last Time". The Verve did NOT get permission to do this, and the Stones successfully sued them, and all royalties from this song now go to the Stones and not The Verve. At any rate, this discussion is beside the point. The real issue here is whether we want to get UESP involved in a potentially thorny legal debate regarding the use of other people's artwork. It's most likely that we could do this and get away with it, but given the possibility that it could get complicated, it's probably better to leave it alone unless we carefully consider all of the possible ramifications of this, something which neither you nor I nor most of the other people on this site are qualified to do. In the end, I'd say the decision should be in the hands of Daveh himself - as he is the one who would directly face the consequences if this sort of thing went bad. --TheRealLurlock Talk 17:05, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
I think the best course of action now is for me to contact DragonFly himself, and see what he thinks. As I said, I've spoken to him before, and he is an avid fan of TES. Legally, we could do it without his permission, but as I'm sure everyone will agree, it'll be better if we get it. Anyway, I know it's besides the point, but under the laws of the UK and the USA, it is legal to: sample an artist's music, change it, publish it as your own and profit from it without their permission. The example you have picked out likely occurred before these laws were introduced. I could take the Oblivion theme, probably now Bethesda's most recognisable piece of music, modify it, muck around with it, and then put it up on the internet for download or for sale on an unofficial website under my name, and all of that would be completely legal. You do not needs the original artist's permission to produce something like this. You don't even have to give them any credit for it. However, it is illegal to attempt to do this while profitting from it without offering any royalties to the original artist. The more similar your version is to the original, the more royalties you must pay. DragonFly, of course, is not making any money from this, and so we need not concern ourselves with this. Anyway, al that aside - I'll contact him and see what he thinks. --HMSVictory 17:20, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
There's a more fundamental question here: do we really want to host it? We've talked about fanart and decided "No" on that one, so why would we want to host fanmusic? A link on the Music page would be acceptable, but I really don't see that we want to host it ourselves at the moment. If we get to the point where we're hosting mods, then maybe. –RpehTCE 17:49, 24 March 2008 (EDT)

Alright, Rpeh. Should I link to the file itself or the webpage, which has a lot of other information, so it might be difficult to find the link? If we choose by the file itself, how exactly would I go about it? --HMSVictory 13:29, 27 March 2008 (EDT)