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Thread: Sharing song files in Word docs

  1. #1
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Sharing song files in Word docs

    So I have all these cover songs I have typed on Word docs, with chords as interpreted by me. If I wanted to share some of them here, would it be a copyright violation? Unfortunately, I think it would be a violation. I'm OK performing them for free, but publishing them apparently enters into a different realm.
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    I'm not a lawyer, I only play one on LTG. Given the proliferation of sites with guitar tabs, chords, lyrics and midi renditions of complete songs, I suspect there is no copyright issue. Indeed one site says
    All content on this page is the property of the copyright owner of the original composition
    . If these are published for educational purposes that is allowed under copyright "fair use". The only scenario where I would see an issue would be if they were being performed, in public, in a venue that was not in compliance with performance licensing.

    I don't think sharing them here would be a problem, especially if you put them in a file that is hosted elsewhere, as opposed to pasting the contents into a post. You could always stick that disclaimer on your pages or posts...
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  3. #3
    I wouldn't open a Word doc I downloaded from the Internet. If I were you I'd print them as PDFs and share those.
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    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GAD View Post
    I wouldn't open a Word doc I downloaded from the Internet. If I were you I'd print them as PDFs and share those.
    If I'm understanding your comment correctly, I didn't download them on the internet, I created them from scratch in Word on my laptop.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    If I'm understanding your comment correctly, I didn't download them on the internet, I created them from scratch in Word on my laptop.
    I'm saying that if you publish a word doc, I won't download it. This is probably a paranoia thing on my part that stems from the days of people getting macro viruses in Word, but I won't download docs/spreadsheets/etc. from the Internet.

    Also, not everyone has Microsoft Word, but every modern OS can read PDF files.
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    Senior Member davismanLV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GAD View Post
    I'm saying that if you publish a word doc, I won't download it. This is probably a paranoia thing on my part that stems from the days of people getting macro viruses in Word, but I won't download docs/spreadsheets/etc. from the Internet.

    Also, not everyone has Microsoft Word, but every modern OS can read PDF files.
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    Senior Member davismanLV's Avatar
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    Even on their phones.....
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    Yep. "Save As..." PDF and share them in that format. Via e-mail or from some download site. I think as long as you do not make money with the material, you would be OK, legally. If you charged per copy, that could be an issue.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    So I have all these cover songs I have typed on Word docs, with chords as interpreted by me. If I wanted to share some of them here, would it be a copyright violation? Unfortunately, I think it would be a violation. I'm OK performing them for free, but publishing them apparently enters into a different realm.
    Posting them here isn't publishing. For courtesy and clarity, just put the name of the songs' writers under the song titles.

    Keep in mind also that copyright rules are not about medium. Giving someone your transcriptions electronically is no different than handwriting a transcription on a cocktail napkin and handing it to a friend in a bar. That's obviously not a copyright violation, right?

    Copyright laws have everything to do with money and nothing to do with communication. That's why you can put cover songs on demos. You're not selling the demos, your giving them to people so they can hear how you sound. And if they hire you to play or record, it's because they like your sound.

    If you were asking people to pay for your transcriptions, that's when you would need permission from the copyright holders. But you're not.

    And actually, you have it backwards. Performing them can be a problem. If you perform a copyrighted song in a pub or restaurant that isn't licensed for it, then you and the venue are infringing on the creator's copyright. That's why unlicensed venues often insist that musicians only play original or public domain music.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 02-11-2019 at 01:44 PM.

  10. #10
    And, almost every cover song that I can think of has several different chord charts or tabs on several different sits. Often with wrong chords or lyrics though. And most seem to draw from the same data base as they all make the same mistakes.

    I'm not saying not to share yours, just saying there is a good chance they are already easily accessible.

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