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Re: Bug #383316: Derivative works for songs

Francesco Poli wrote:
>We must determine what is the preferred form for making modifications to
>the song.  I'm not sure an Ogg Vorbis + MIDI form qualifies...

What sort of modifications?

...Actually, a concept from copyright law may help here.  There are 
*two* copyrights on any given recording.  One is the copyright on the 
*song*, which applies to the sheet music as well.  The other is the 
copyright on the *recording*, which is represented by a P in a circle, 
not by a C in a circle.

I believe that for a recording to be DFSG-free, we need *both* 
copyrights to be licensed in a DFSG-free manner.

For modifying the *song*, the preferred form is almost certainly sheet 
music or the equivalent.  MIDI files are actually very close to sheet
music, conceptually, since they consist of instructions of the form 
"play this note on this instrument at this volume; wait this long;..." 
etc.  Modification for the *song* generally consists of making a new
song with a related melody or lyrics but different harmony or structure. 

For modifying the *recording*, the preferred form is likely the 
recording itself.  Overdubs, post-processing, and sampling 
are common ways in which derivative works are made from a a *recording*.
For this purpose, an Ogg Vorbis is likely to be exactly right.

So I believe we want to have both the Ogg Vorbis and the MIDI, and that
probably really is the source.  (Unless there's a higher-quality master
recording and the Ogg Vorbis is a lower-quality version, or the MIDI 
doesn't actually contain all the data in the sheet music, etc.)

Now, it would be preferable to be able to regenerate the 
recording from the MIDI.  Which would mean including the 
soundfonts (instrument descriptions, basically) used.  So the question 
of whether *they* are free is also important.  Here's a legal question: 
Do you need a copyright license for the soundfont in order to distribute 
or modify the recording made using them?  If not, then even if they 
aren't free, I think we can consider the song and the recording 
DFSG-free.  If you *do* need such a license, I think if the license 
allows total unrestricted distribution and modification of recordings 
made using them, again the recording would be free.

(Many pardons if my understanding of MIDIs and soundfonts is inaccurate.
This is the impression I've picked up.)

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