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Monetizing Covers/lessons and fair use policies

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by oniman7, Feb 17, 2013.


  1. Hello all,

    I teach lessons in person and recently I've started doing some bass covers (here is my channel http://www.youtube.com/user/MrDakotapotts/videos?view=0&flow=grid). Three of those are sanctioned by the band Hinder as part of a contest and the other was done just for fun.

    Recently I've had the idea to start doing video lessons. I'd like to try to post a lot of covers along with a whole range of lessons on everything from technique to reading and chord tones. As I'm providing this for free, I would like to monetize my videos on YouTube so that over time I can hopefully build up a little bit of compensation.

    Where this becomes a little less clear is covers. I have the one cover on there under Fair use. I consider it educational in that it shows my technique and finger placement. This qualitatively transforms the nature to include the video content. I will not necessarily be heart broken to hear that I could not monetize these but every bit is nice as I'm trying to establish music as a career.

    So next are the grey areas. What if I upload a "how to lesson" on a song. For instance, I will break down the riff with tabs and a slowed down version of how to play the song (notation or charts where appropriate for the lesson). I'll talk about chords etc. Then a little section where I play what was just taught with the song. A related video or a segment at the end will be me playing all the techniques just taught along to the song.

    The final grey area, I think, and the easiest to "get away with" would be compilations of techniques or riffs featuring different artists as opposed to featuring a single one. For instance, if I'm talking about R-5-8 formations in bass riffs, I may include Pink Floyd's "Money" along with a couple others. I could also do a "cool riffs" video. One might be cool riffs by a certain band, another cool slap riffs, cool riffs to play with distortion, cool riffs for a jam, etc.

    Anyways, if anybody has experience with just this, please let me know as I would love to discuss it and get some answers/opinions.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sobie18

    sobie18

    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    I listened to "Talk to Me" and I heard quite a few wrong notes (playing an F# instead of the D and missing the B note). You might want to go back and give the original a listen again.

    "Ladies Come First" has some wrong notes, too. You play D-C-Bb in the chorus and it should be D-C-G.

    That's all I listened to.
     
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    If not actually illegal (I'm not a lawyer so I can't say) it's certainly in poor taste/bad karma. Ironic you picked "Money" as your example. ;)

    What you can do (this is what I did when I wrote my book) is change a few notes here and there and say "here some riffs in the style of Pink Floyd."
     
  4. ggunn

    ggunn

    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    In general, if you use copyrighted material to make money for yourself and are not covered by an ASCAP/BMI license (clubs where bands play covers are required to pay licensing fees), then it's problematic. Whether or not anyone comes after you depends in part on how much money you are making. An option might be to do it until you get the cease and desist letter. :D
     
  5. No transcriptions were available but I was able to find a chord chart for Talk to Me and I did the best I could. I'm not aware of a B used in there as anything other than a passing tone.

    Thank you for the feedback, but my question really wasn't about that.
     
  6. sobie18

    sobie18

    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Well, if you are going to have online Youtube lessons, you need to make sure you do your homework first.
     
  7. Sure. I hadn't heard that song until that day and I learned it in a short time frame for a contest to win a nice bass. I wouldn't feel good teaching that song because I don't know all the parts of it but I wanted to have some fun and enter the contest.

    Let's assume for the sake of argument that I am your ideal internet teacher. Then consider the OP from that standpoint
     
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Two points here:

    First, copyright has very little to do with the idea that you're making money from it or not. The law is written about unlawful copying and really doesn't take money into account.

    Second, Sobie is right. Worry about monetizing something is putting the cart before the horse here. You need more shed time.
     
  9. ggunn

    ggunn

    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    True, technically, but whether you will find yourself in hot water or not because of your violation depends on whether ASCAP/BMI decides to push the issue, and that is very much about the money. If you drive 56 in a 55 and someone else is doing 90, you are both technically in violation of the law, but who are the cops going to go after?
     
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    If you are playing your own variations on the actual bassline, then there is no copyright issue. :)
     

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