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Is it legal to use a midi file for backing and sell the recording on my own album? Answered

I want to sing, improv, and add a guitar (keytar) solo to Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight" for my upcoming album, but I don't want to learn all the instruments in it.

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Millawi Legend (author)2010-09-22

Yes. You will go to prison for 345346 years. Do not collect $200 if you pass go, either.

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Oblivitus (author)2010-09-13

Thank you, I have been doing my own research too, it's just such a complicated process.

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Oblivitus (author)2010-09-12

Thank you very much, do you know the copyright laws if I wanted to cover say, the Star Spangled Banner? It would be my own unique rendition of it and it was written in the 17 or 1800's.

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ant ant 33 (author)2010-09-10

is that song the one playing on the ad for chocolate with a gorilla playin the drums???? THATS GOD DAMN AWESOME!!!

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Kiteman (author)2010-09-08

You need to find material that is "Creative Commons".

This is a useful starting point
.

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yokozuna (author)Kiteman2010-09-09

Not if he's wanting to sell it for profit. He would need to find material that is public domain.

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Oblivitus (author)Kiteman2010-09-08

I just went to your link, read the page and tried the links, but I wasn't able to find the song on any of those sites, or any famous music at all. That doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for.

A midi file is computer generated, as opposed to a real recording, so it seems to me that it should be legal to use in a song. Thanks for the suggestion though. If you have any other thoughts, please let me know.

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Kiteman (author)Oblivitus2010-09-09

If you want to use famous songs legally, you are going to have to pay for the right. Sorry.

Copyright applies not just to the famous-person's recording of the song, but to the actual order and timing of the notes, no matter who plays those notes, or how, because the song's writer has the copyright on the song, and it is licenced to the performer. The performer (or their label) has the rights to the performance, not the song.

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yokozuna (author)2010-09-08

The simple answer is no. You have (arguably) cleared the "recording" hurdle by using MIDI files, but the composition is still copyrighted and must be cleared through a licensing house. Back to the first point, MIDIs are generally considered safe, but there are no legal precedents to establish it either way, and the "not legal" crowd has slowly been gaining momentum. Maybe most importantly, MIDIs are just not good sound quality, especially for something with a lot of instrumental in it.

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Jayefuu (author)2010-09-08

The terms "Licensing cover songs" gave quite a few google hits that would be worth having a look at. It may depend on where you are and what you're covering.

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